December 19, 2007

Time's Person of the Year.

It's Vladimir Putin!
No one is born with a stare like Vladimir Putin's. The Russian President's pale blue eyes are so cool, so devoid of emotion that the stare must have begun as an affect, the gesture of someone who understood that power might be achieved by the suppression of ordinary needs, like blinking. The affect is now seamless, which makes talking to the Russian President not just exhausting but often chilling. It's a gaze that says, I'm in charge.
He's not just the Person of the Year, apparently. He's the Eyes of the Year. Time Magazine looked into them, and saw no soul. (Compare: "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy...I was able to get a sense of his soul.")

35 comments:

George said...

Compare the Putin photo on p. 1 of the Time piece with the Esquire cover of another world leader in 2000.

Henry said...

Slow news year, I guess.

MadisonMan said...

A better choice than last year's. And at least it wasn't a Harlow Curtice-type choice.

rhhardin said...

Stanley Cavell :
It may be that the sense of falsification comes from the way I understand the phrase ``have a body.'' It is really a mythological way of saying
that I am flesh. But I am not satisfied with this myth, for it implies that I also have something other than a body, call it a soul. Now I have three things to put together: a body, a soul, and me. (So there are four things to be placed: I plus those three.) But I no more have a soul than I have a body. That is what I say here and now. People who say they have a soul sometimes militantly take its possession as a point of pride, for instance William Ernest Henley and G.B.Shaw. Take the phrase ``have a soul'' as a mythological way of saying that I am spirit. If the body individuates flesh and spirit, singles me out, what does the soul do? It binds me to others.


_The Claim of Reason_ p.411

Roger said...

Time Magazine continues its descent into irrelevancy--Patients in professional offices will scratch their heads in amazement asking Vladimir who?

rrubel said...

And the 1st runner up was Al Gore, and according to Time, apparently he has been chosen by God to save the earth.

Fen said...

Thank God they didn't choose Petraeus - I don't want him sullied by association with that rag.

Now, all we need to complete the farce is a noble peace prize for Assad, or maybe Ahmadinejad.

dax said...

Ok, so it's Putin with Gore in tow...........wow
I can't remember the last time I read Time or any other weekly 'news' magazine and I wonder why anyone would.

GOD SAVE THE AL

SteveR said...

As a former winner myself (2006), I congratulate Mr. Putin and welcome him to the the club.

Roger said...

Well done, SteveR

rcocean said...

I've noticed Time/Newsweek are usually in the "Unread" pile at my local doctors/dentists office.

Who reads these magazines? I want proof.

rcocean said...

I didn't want to boast; but I too am a Time Man of the Year.

Sadly, I had to hear it on the street, since I don't read the magazine.

Zeb Quinn said...

In the big scheme of things, I guess I'm surprised they didn't give it to Ahmadinejad or Hugo Chavez.

Cedarford said...

Stability is and security far more important to a people than freedom and "rights".
Time and time again, we miss that ALL Rights are predicated on living in a secure and stable society. And in their lack, such freedoms become irrelevant to people whose safety and family's safety is under constant attack and where justice and hard-earned standards of living are pried away by corrupt oligarchs and corporatists selling their country out for bits of silver.

Putin has ended some freedoms and rights, but has used authoritarian measures to make Russia strong and free again. Chased down the oligarch thieves. And the people avidly support him for it.

No one has done better except maybe President Lula of Brazil in checking corrupt ruling elites that talk freedom and rights but put a country in chaos, while serving the People, not themselves.

You can say that the US emphasis in Iraq on more freedom, democracy. and focus on lawyers and "constitution" to dictate "rights" for a country we let remain insecure, in chaos, with all jobs at risk while we pretended that was not more important - was a 600 billion dollar mistake US taxpayers will be generations in paying off.

Putin well deserves his Man of the Year designation for rescuing Russia from disaster.

A lesson perhaps to those who revere the Oligarchs that pillaged Russia then fled. A lesson perhaps to those that say terrorist rights and "rule of law" are more important than the lives and security of US citizens. If the US fell as far as the former Soviets did and all the talk of freedom was just a way to worsen things and allow corruption to loot the whole place - we would want the same thing. A strong leader to put in place the stability and security all rights fundamentally rest on.

(This is also what Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau believed. No rights, even natural rights, had meaning and value without security and stability established under a lawful ruler. And to have a ruler vs. anarchy, meant giving up some rights to protect the most valuable rights.)

rcocean said...

Excellent post Cederford. The constant painting of Putin as our "enemy" puzzles me. And the British support for the thieving billionaires who fled Russia is even more puzzling. He a nationalist and is looking out for Russia, and whats wrong with that.

Its hard to imagine two countries that have less to fight about. I think some people in this country are constantly searching for threats and "enemies" to get excited about.

Fen said...

the gesture of someone who understood that power might be achieved by the suppression of ordinary needs, like blinking. The affect is now seamless, which makes talking to the Russian President not just exhausting but often chilling. It's a gaze that says, I'm in charge.

I'm starting to notice this more and more: Castro, Chavez, Che, Putin. Even Hillary. The leftists in this country tend to romanticize authoritarian figures from their side of the aisle.

"Bush evil. Executive abuse, loss of civil rights, NSA eavesdropping, [whine moan complain]

"Stalin strong. Vibrant, robust, dynamic [swoon]"

dbp said...

I think Time is right about that stare. I still remember this picture:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/21/international/europe/21diplo.html?pagewanted=all&position=

Putin has the famous stare going, and you have got to wonder what expression is on Sec. Rice's face, or what is going on in her mind.

Zeb Quinn said...

He a nationalist and is looking out for Russia, and whats wrong with that.

Were it only that, yeah.

Palladian said...

"The leftists in this country tend to romanticize authoritarian figures from their side of the aisle."

Leftists? Try Cedarford a few comments up. It's not merely a leftist phenomenon to romanticize power and to jettison freedom for the security of the prison.

Roger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger said...

Could it be that Cedarford was the model for the citizen during the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napolean.

Invisible Man said...

As a liberal, I can agree with alot of Cederford's post. I'm not as gung-ho for his power grab as Cederford, but the earlier post minimizing Putin's legacy is way off base. I can't think of a current world leader who comes close to matching up with Putin's past and potential-impact on his country except for maybe Lula or Chavez. Him using Bush like a low speed bump in 2001 was a signal of how powerful of a leader Putin would become. And while I'm definitely not in favor on his curbs on freedom, especially freedom of the press, his war against the greedy oligarch's is something that was kind of necessary.

Hoosier Daddy said...

And while I'm definitely not in favor on his curbs on freedom, especially freedom of the press, his war against the greedy oligarch's is something that was kind of necessary.

Would only liberals embrace the same kind of sentiment where the term oligarchs are replaced by Islamic terrorists.

Invisible Man said...

HoosierDaddy,

Of course we liberals want to invite Islamic terrorists over for milk and cookies, just like conservatives hate brown skinned people and want to put them behind a fence.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Of course we liberals want to invite Islamic terrorists over for milk and cookies, just like conservatives hate brown skinned people and want to put them behind a fence.

Well acknowledging the threat itself would be a start. I'm not sure the milk or cookies would be considered a halal meal.

Just for the record, Islamic terrorists aren't necessarily brown people. I don't mistake religion for race but then again, some can't seem to shake sterotypes.

Roger said...

I am fascinated by the use of the term "brown people." If we are talking about Islamic terrorists, they are semitic, caucasian, malay or negro. Is brown the new catch all term for "not caucasian?"

hdhouse said...

The rememberance of the Bush quote is notable. But then Bush could looking into the bottom of a whisky shot and see moonlight.

Russia has no real history of control by those other than very strong willed leaders. If you have spent any amount of time there, all the people want is a semblance of peace, a decent chance at things, and actually a civilized life. Putin delivers these and after the Gorbi angst (all for the better but angst and upheave) he has restored order that we might not like or understand but they do. Their love of a peaceful and unobtrusive motherland is pragmatic.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Russia has no real history of control by those other than very strong willed leaders. If you have spent any amount of time there, all the people want is a semblance of peace, a decent chance at things, and actually a civilized life. Putin delivers these and after the Gorbi angst (all for the better but angst and upheave) he has restored order that we might not like or understand but they do. Their love of a peaceful and unobtrusive motherland is pragmatic.

Interesting. I bet he has the trains running on time as well.

You do make a compelling case in which those dumb ass Russian peasants prefer stability over say, liberty. Then again I never lived in the Rodina whereas you seem to have some firsthand knowledge. By your written description, I'm guessing a speech writer for Bhreznev no doubt.

all the people want is a semblance of peace, a decent chance at things, and actually a civilized life

So did a lot of Germans in the 1920s.

Joe said...

The problem with Putin is that like most powerful leaders, he doesn't know when to let go and step aside. (This is yet more proof that term limits are valuable.)

SGT Ted said...

I have a colleague who is Russian. I asked him about putin once. He said "Putin is KGB." rather dismissively. I tend to agree, regardless of any positive things he may have accomplished.

Nichevo said...

Just one thing: Don't confuse genius with $90/bbl oil.

Putin is short and a fussy eater. Bad news.

Putin is a neatnik with a neat complex. I think it was Kipling? who said, The trouble with the Russian is that they seek to be the most Eastern of the Western peoples rather than the most Western of the Eastern peoples. The Russian is a fine fellow till he tucks in his shirt.

And a Bible reader, eh? That's nice. Forget I said all that. President Huckabee would (shudder).

As for Bush and being walked over, etc...Well, he said nice things about Putin and I guess we got a year or two of some cooperation out of 'em. That's gravy. I suppose Bush should have called him a viper, then everything would be all right.

I used to like to think it wasn't true that the muzhiks crave the knout.

knoxwhirled said...

conservatives hate brown skinned people and want to put them behind a fence.

Fuck you. "Liberals" are the ones who come on these threads talking about "brown people," and they do it often. I'm sick of you all thinking stuff like using the moniker "alphaliberal" exempts you from racism.
Who's going after the "brown people" all over the world, anyway? In Darfur? In Somalia? Conservatives? Fuck. You. Terrorism has exactly zero to do with skin color and if you had any fucking clue what's going on around the world you'd know that too.

Ann Althouse said...

knoxwhirled said..." "Liberals" are the ones who come on these threads talking about "brown people," and they do it often. I'm sick of you all thinking stuff like using the moniker "alphaliberal" exempts you from racism."

I'm sick of it too. The expression "little brown people" might have been funny 40 years ago for about 20 minutes or the first time you heard it in college for about 10 minutes, but it really needs to be retired. I don't believe the people you think you're defending appreciate the constant reuse of "little brown people." You think there is more racism involved in going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq (and saying some naive things about freedom) than in opposing that war (and talking about how we should use the money to buy ourselves more things back home). It's sure as hell not obvious why. So you end up sounding like a racist to me.

amy said...

did you all not get the irony of alphaliberal's comment? He was talking about how conservatives stereotype liberals (want terrorists to come over for cookies) with how liberals stereotype conservatives (hate brown people)? ????? am i missing something? how was that comment so offensive?

amy said...

that should be Invisible Man's comment, no alphaliberal