Here is a piece that is a break from the Christmas season.
We have a few Christmas stories up if you are in the mood for that.
I referenced another article that I wrote in this piece. Here is the link for it, if you are interested.
Don’t worry. We aren’t done writing about Christmas just yet.
Thanks for reading.
What Does A Writer Have To Do To Win Person Of The Year? - Op-Ed Piece
Every year there is an honor given out to the most influential person in the world. This recognition provides intrigue and discussion among people like you and me because we are told who is affecting this world. Did you know this person changed the world in this past year? Have you heard of him? Do you know why they are even included on the list? Do you agree with the choice? Regardless of choice, it is always fun for us to talk about ourselves. (why do you think that social media is such a hit?) Are there some people around here actually doing stuff? Wow, I didn’t know that. I thought we were all on Facebook and Netflix and pretending to do our jobs until it was time to leave, and then after wasting hours upon hours on our devices, we complain that we got nothing done. Or is that just me? Apparently, some individuals have the nerve to change this world without asking the world, mind you, and do a pretty good job at it, so they are given a photo opportunity and an interview about themselves. Boy, we really do like ourselves. I don’t see monkeys lining up their cameras to take a photograph of the chimp of the year. Mostly because monkeys don’t use cameras, and that isn’t an actual award, but you know what I mean.
If you are feeling adventurous and know your audience when this question is analyzed, you can define “influence”. It is a neutral term. You can be bad and influence society. From the Devil to Hitler to The Joker, bad guys have an awful habit of changing our world. You may not like the Devil, honestly, who does, but you have to admit he is screwing up things for God and Jesus on a large scale. You don’t have to like Hitler, but you understand that the guy almost took over Europe, which is pretty difficult to do. And sure, the Joker isn’t Batman, but he is the guy that Batman always punches in the face, so you have to give him credit there. Bad people can change our world as much as good people. It is a harsh but true fact of our world.
A while ago, I asked the question of art vs. artist, and I think this is apart of it. We don’t want the villains to win. No matter how big their army is, or how many bombs they explode, or how evil they are. We want the heroes of our world to reflect our world, so Time Magazine doesn’t give the bad guys their time in the sun (and yes, I know Hitler won the award once). I don’t want to see the villain on the cover of the magazine grinning as if they are not only proud to be on the cover, but that they got away with it too. I’m sure would ask the question, “This is the enemy. Why are we sitting him down and interviewing for his reflections on the destruction he brought to us all. We hate this guy!” We would be ashamed to say that the most influential person on the planet was that because of some bad thing they did.
So after that whole dilemma of explaining why Hitler wasn’t the person of the year, and that you can’t give Osama Bin Laden the honor either, I am left with two questions of the strange honor.
First, who is the actual most influential person?
Second, where is the love for my writers?
How do you define influence? Well, I already told you that you don’t need to be good or bad, but how do we determine who affects our world? Okay, you know what, I am going to make this easy on all of us. Screw the calculation and the computer programs that run studies on this stuff. Forget what the numbers say. We are overthinking this. There are only two people that should ever be considered the person of the year. The guy who literally changed our world, and that half the world pray to, Jesus, or the president. (or king, or pharaoh, or emperor of the most powerful country in the world at the time) That is it. Jesus has more of a say over people’s lives than anyone else. It honestly doesn’t come close. If you want others to think you are an alien, then you should just not know who he is, because at this point in time, not knowing him is weirder than knowing him. Go and find me another group that is as large as his and has as many buildings. He is responsible for the most popular holiday. The book he is in is the best selling ever. My boy Jesus is doing pretty well for himself in terms of influence, and he has been dead for 2000 years.
Then there is the influence of power. You know, the big boss of this place. The guy who decides who lives and dies. Like literally, this person can make a law to kill someone for something. Right now, that guy is the president, not because of his own greatness, God knows that barely exists in any of them, but because of America’s power. When the pharaoh was doing his thing, building pyramids and starting at the sand, he was the most influential because what he said was law. When the emperor of Rome was looking at the map and calling the people in the North barbarians, he was the most influential because of the empire’s size at that time. If we are talking influence, then the guy who runs the most powerful country at the time is the most influential. He can start or end a war. He can sign treaties for his allies. He hires the people who make the laws that I bitch and complain about. He hires scientists to find the cures. His decisions shape our lives. Sure the peasants help with the land, the scientists help us go to the moon, but they are not the leader. As much as I respect the common soldier, it is the general that is the influential one.
So right now, it is Jesus or the president.
Why is it not like this, then? Why is it that every year a different person is given this honor? Well, I relate it to sports and the MVP. The best player in the game doesn’t always win the MVP. Not because he wasn’t the best player, but because it just isn’t that interesting to do. Michael Jordan should have won the MVP basically every year he played, but he didn’t, because nobody finds that appealing. So they gave it to other worthy players, who were not the best, but contributed enough to earn the award. Do you really think that Time is going to give Jesus the award again? Or for four straight years, give it to the president? No. Where is the fun in that? So they give it to someone who fits our larger story of ourselves. (Remember what I said about the heroes?)
Now, what about my writing pals? The ones who help create the stories we love, the verses we quote. Where are they in all of this? Unfortunately, nowhere to be found. Let’s just say it for what it is; society doesn’t really give a damn about writers. To say that a writer is a person of the year would offend some people. We love reading their books. We love their words. But we don’t love them enough to put them over musicians, and scientists, and those generals and religious leaders. Sure, that bestseller was great, but was it really? Like really?
Okay, so what does a writer have to do to be the most influential person of the year? Probably not be a writer for that year.
Seriously though, is there anything that can be written that is so profound, so great, so influential that society would deem that author the person of the year, and more importantly, would society even want that person to have the honor?
No. In the year that Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, he wasn’t the person of the year. When Poe wrote the Raven, he wouldn’t get the award. When Melville wrote Moby Dick, he wouldn’t get it. (and yes, I know that the term “person of the year” was not around for their time)
Is there anything that a writer can do to be considered for the honor? How many classics and bestsellers does an author need in one year to get that damn honor? I don’t think the number matters because the books would be considered entertainment at a certain point, and the other “more serious” individuals would get the nod. I am talking about the scientists, and the politicians, and the religious leaders. We take them more seriously than we do writers. Even though the scientist, politicians and religious leader is reading the novel written by the author.
Writers have a stigma that closely mirrors what I was saying about the bad guys winning, in that, at the end of the day, we really don’t want them to win. We don’t want a writer to be held up as the best thing we did all year. All the scientists will look around their labs, confused over the outcome. The politicians will talk to their teams about the rigged event. Religious leaders will point to God’s disapproval for such a thing. It pains me to say this because I always support the writers, but society doesn’t really want us to be the best. An author with their row of books that they wrote from the past year of greatness feels wrong to us. Why though? It isn’t some crazy dictator starting a war? Or some terrorist planning a hijacking? Writers are good people. I don’t know.
But if you line up a group of people, the scientist with their new formula, the business owner with their new company, the religious leader with their new perspective, the politician with their vision, and the author with their novel; the author is getting the least respect of them all. Generations may read the novel, but for the year it was written, the author got beat by math, business, religion, and politics.
Sorry writers, I guess next time instead of writing bad stuff, you should just do it instead. You may get more recognition.
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