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Dec 11 2013

Seriously, Time magazine?

They’ve announced their person of the year, and it’s…Pope Francis, The People's Pope.

You have got to be fucking kidding me. They’ve got this great pulpit with mass media attention to actually highlight the important events and people on the planet, and they pick the pablum-spewing head of an antique organization that demands its followers adhere to obsolete and dangerous beliefs, and this is what they say about it?

The papacy is mysterious and magical: it turns a septuagenarian into a superstar while revealing almost nothing about the man himself. And it raises hopes in every corner of the world—hopes that can never be fulfilled, for they are irreconcilable. The elderly traditionalist who pines for the old Latin Mass and the devout young woman who wishes she could be a priest both have hopes. The ambitious monsignor in the Vatican Curia and the evangelizing deacon in a remote Filipino village both have hopes. No Pope can make them all happy at once.

Jebus. It’s no more mysterious and magical than the Mafia, or the Medellin Cartel, or Phillip Morris, or the NRA, and the people who turn a septuagenarian into a “superstar” are the sycophants in the media.

And this…

But what makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all. People weary of the endless parsing of sexual ethics, the buck-passing infighting over lines of authority when all the while (to borrow from Milton), “the hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed.”

His virtue is solely palliative — he’s there to say soft words and create the illusion that the church isn’t the domain of child-rapists and oppressors. The church denies family planning to women in Africa, bounces pedophiles around to unsuspecting dioceses, buries tales of generations of abuse in Ireland, demands that women die in the name of fetus worship…oh, look! Pope Francis said atheists might get to go to heaven! Aww, he’s so folksy and kind.

The sheep are still not fed. But maybe they’ll be a little quieter in the slaughtering pen.

There can be only one reply.

As for Time magazine…I remember the old magazines that would gather dust on the coffee table at my grandparents’ house, Reader’s Digest and Look and others so tired that I can’t even recall their names, and I would read them because I was desperately bored, and I would mainly be curious about them because they represented what old people cared about (and near as I could tell, they didn’t even care that much about them). The magazines survived on subscription by habit, I suspect, and even then I could tell they were doomed. Welcome to that club, Time.

88 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    The requisite Onion post.

  2. 2
    jacobbasson

    I don’t know, I’m no fan of religion, but I do think economic injustice and class exploitation are globally more important issues, and at least for once this pope is calling on his followers to recognize that. Christians wouldn’t be so bad if they had the compassion for the poor Jesus is believed (yes, foolishly) to have taught, and this pope is reinforcing that message at least. He’s also been rather liberal with respect to homosexuality for a pope. I wouldn’t call the guy a hero or have made him man of the year, but given someone’s going to occupy that position, I’m pretty glad it’s him rather than the last guy. Less backward is more forward, or something…

  3. 3
    ludicrous

    Popey video reply requires subtitles. Some people need to wake up to the fact that their video will mostly applear on computers, tablets or smartphones with lousy audio.

    And while they are waking up they could notice that in the real world many people do not have perfect hearing.

    But they know what they are saying they probably wrote it down, might even have rehearssed it, so it’s no prolbem for the self-posessed

  4. 4
    chigau (違う)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Person_of_the_Year
    an interesting list

  5. 5
    drken

    Right now, Pope Francis is harboring Bernard Law, a fugitive from justice responsible for not only allowing priests to rape children, but helping them find new victims once their diocese found out what was going on. Once he has Mr. Law frog marched from the Vatican and placed on a plane to Boston, then orders all priests to turn over any and all information regarding the rape and torture of children to the authorities, I’ll believe that he’s a “new kind of Pope”. Until then, he’s just better at public relations than Benedict.

  6. 6
    Jacob Schmidt

    I think the previous popes dragged the standard through the floor, burying it in a subterranean cavern half a kilometre below sea level. He isn’t totally shitty at first glance, so in comparison he’s pretty good.

    He did take a swing at “trickle-down capitalism.” It was amusing to watch the nominally Catholic talking heads try to dismiss their own holy man. They argued that “church” and “politics” should not mix, as if they had ever done anything else.

  7. 7
    Nick Gotts

    I’m no fan of religion, but I do think economic injustice and class exploitation are globally more important issues, and at least for once this pope is calling on his followers to recognize that. – jacobbasson

    Until he repents of his church’s millennia-long oppression of women, and specifically, recognises their right to bodily autonomy, this pope’s bleating about injustice and exploitation is pure hypocrisy. While he’s about it, he might also apologise for his role in supporting the vicious Argentinian junta while he was head of the Jesuit order in Argentina.

  8. 8
    holytape

    So the pope is on the level with Vladimir Putin (2007), Ken Starr (1998), Ayatollah Khomeini (1979), Henry Kissinger (1979), Richard Nixon (1978, 1979), and well, (1942, 1939, and 1938)

    On a related note, how much longer do you think time will be around. I say in five years its gone.

  9. 9
    Eamon Knight

    Still waiting to see what’s inside the velvet glove. Maybe it’ll be a human hand, for a change, extended in good will and genuine assistance. But I won’t be surprised to find it’s the same old iron fist.

  10. 10
    Nick Gotts

    Actually, judging by the list at chigau’s link @4, the “person of the year” is not someone Time approves of, so much as someone who has made an impact on the news media (Hitler, Stalin and Khomeini feature, for example). By that criterion, the pope is a reasonable choice.

  11. 11
    doublereed

    Yea, actually looking at who has also been “Person of the Year”, it’s no big deal. Yawn.

  12. 12
    LykeX

    He’s also been rather liberal with respect to homosexuality for a pope

    I think it’s more that he’s good at sounding liberal. The church doctrine is the same as always: homosexuals are going to hell (unless they stay celibate). That’s no different from the last pope.

    It’s just like his supposed out-stretched hand to atheists. Once the bullshit was washed off, it turned out that all he was really saying was that we would still be welcome if we decided to convert. Gee, what an open-minded guy, huh?

    It’s not that he’s more liberal. It’s just that he’s more PR savvy.

  13. 13
    roythesnake

    Everyone knows the People’s Pope is Dwayne Johnson.

  14. 14
    jblumenfeld

    Time always insists that ‘Person of the Year’ is not a moral judgement, but a ‘newsworthiness’ judgement. Whatever.

    Tim Minchin is my hero anyway.

  15. 15
    dõki

    LykeX #12

    He’s also been rather liberal with respect to homosexuality for a pope

    I think it’s more that he’s good at sounding liberal.

    Exactly. And I don’t think he was even sounding liberal during his campaign against same-sex marriage in Argentina, a couple of years ago. Maybe he decided to change his tone after his defeat in that legislative battle.

  16. 16
    barbyau

    Until a Pope changes the church’s policy from dealing with pedophiles in house (which invariably translates to covering up, shuffling around, destroying evidence, and defending with the full might of their institution) to CALLING THE POLICE, there’s nothing a Pope can do that is meaningful at all or worthy of recognition.

    Social justice? He’s not the only one calling for it.
    Leaving gays alone? Well, they still fight marriage and would have gays be celibate or ex-gay themselves.
    Women? Well the war has expanded from abortion to birth control.
    Atheists? He said we could go to Heaven, but he used that “mental reservation” doctrine to tell this lie. We first have to find God, which by definition means atheists can’t go.

    He’s a PR machine who’s changed NOTHING but manages to fool simpletons and get positive press. What a joke.

  17. 17
    devnll

    The very archetype of old-fashioned ideas with nothing to say and everything to sell – print media – thinks the pope is awesome. No surprises there.

  18. 18
    barbyau

    He did get credit for fighting for civil unions in Argentina. By simpletons who don’t realize that pushing for civil unions is a way to get people who are sort of gay friendly to vote to ban marriage. Everywhere the Church has fought marriage, they’ve banned civil unions. The tell is in how they write the bans. They ban anything “marriage-like.”

    Again, positive PR for sounding like there’s some sort of policy change where there isn’t. No wonder this guy made Pope. He’s slick.

  19. 19
    Pierce R. Butler

    The Pope’s “reforms” reached their limits this month:

    The Vatican has refused to provide information requested by the United Nations on the alleged sexual abuse of children by priests, nuns or monks. … In its response, the Holy See insisted that it was “separate and distinct” from the Roman Catholic Church… Vatican officials are due to be questioned about child abuse, among other issues, by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in January. …

  20. 20
    Lynna, OM

    As was noted in comment #6, the bar for “good” in popedom has been set so low that simply being a better pope than the last pope is amazeballs (everybody run around praising, bowing, scraping and throwing your hands in the air in gratitude that this pope is going to screw you over a little less than his predecessor).

    Being a better pope still leaves the man a long way from being an A-number-one, top of the line world citizen. He’s still a Pope.

    Person of the Yeah? He’s a joke.

  21. 21
    Raging Bee

    Seriously, Time magazine?

    Seriously, Time magazine hasn’t been serious in decades.

  22. 22
    Jacob Schmidt

    Time always insists that ‘Person of the Year’ is not a moral judgement, but a ‘newsworthiness’ judgement. Whatever.

    <Insert cynical quip about popular definition of ‘newsworthy’ here>

  23. 23
    Eamon Knight

    @21: Well, Time isn’t for blockheads.

  24. 24
    John Kruger

    The “new” pope’s stance on homosexuality is exactly what they have been saying for half a century, he just glosses over the “grave disorder” part that Ratzinger was more honest about. In the end it is “sure you can have same sex attractions and get into heaven, you just can’t ever have sex with someone you might want to”, as forked tongued a statement of “acceptance” as it ever was.

    People just seem to prefer the dishonest PR savvy criminal over the honest one. Not one change in doctrine, not one priest held accountable for sexual misconduct. I second the Minchin song.

  25. 25
    chrisv

    Come ouwn! Everybody knows that the REAL pope is Mike Francesa. And at least he is right most of the time. The “other one”? He wears a dress – and he hangs around with dudes that wear dresses. Come OUWN!!!

  26. 26
    Quodlibet

    He’s also been rather liberal with respect to homosexuality for a pope.

    He’s liberal about the idea of having a gay pope! That would be refreshing.

    Oh … you meant “He’s also been rather liberal with respect to homosexuality, for a pope.”

    :-)

    /pedant

  27. 27
    John Kruger

    @#4

    What great context. Bravo on that link.

    So, George W. Bush made that list. Twice. I might put those two on a list together as well, but I probably would not call it “man of the year”.

  28. 28
    Ryan Cunningham

    He’s lobbing bombshell after bombshell at economic inequality. The man is doing more than any other prominent world leader to make this an issue. None of you are facing grinding poverty, so I guess you have the privilege of recycling the same atheist complaints about any pope. But The Catholic Church isn’t going to change overnight for anyone. Do you want him to stand up and tell everyone Jesus isn’t real, too? Grow up.

  29. 29
    Raging Bee

    He’s also been rather liberal with respect to homosexuality for a pope.

    Never has any bar been set so low. This is like giving someone a cookie for being “more humane than Hitler.”

  30. 30
    Raging Bee

    What’s most despicable about all this is that Time — like so many other people — are hearing this Pope say what he intends to do, and instantly treating it like it’s already been done. This is nothing but wishful thinking at best, intentional dishonesty at worst.

    Nelson Mandela accomplished more when he was IN JAIL than this Pope has yet accomplished as head of the Church.

  31. 31
    carlie

    ludicrous – lyrics to the Pope song (and video)

  32. 32
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Ryancunningham #28

    None of you are facing grinding poverty,

    That’s an awfully big assumption there, chummer. I’ve nearly been evicted for inability to pay the rent 2-3 times already this year, and I know I’m not in the worst financial straits on these boards either.

    He’s lobbing bombshell after bombshell at economic inequality.

    Talk is cheap. What’s he actually doing to reduce it? When he starts taking actions that actually have some kind of real-world benefit, I might start giving a rat’s ass about him.

  33. 33
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Ryan Cunningham:

    None of you are facing grinding poverty, so I guess you have the privilege of recycling the same atheist complaints about any pope.

    I note your use of grinding as a qualifier. Nonetheless, how on Earth can you be so certain that people here are not facing poverty?
    FFS, yes, we acknowledge that the Pope has done a few things that are good. Yah! Seriously. It’s about time someone in his position of power has done something to help the people of the world.

    But he still has a long way to go before becoming a decent human being.

    BTW, our complaints aren’t atheist complaints. They’re humanitarian complaints.

  34. 34
    twas brillig (stevem)

    I get all my “news” from The Daily Show, I’m a satireholic, straight news is so angering that satire is the only way I can take it. So, didn’t you see tDS the other night that highlighted the Pope as being on “our side” (secular humanists) of the “War on Christmas”? He says to resist the over-commercialization and capitalism of the X-mas season, while the U.S. “saints” of Palin, and BillyO, are trumpeting commercialization as the true spirit of X-mas.

    But, more seriously: Francis as Pope is a huge contrast to the previous One (Benedict), and that is what I think Time is highlighting by naming him Man of the Year. Even with all the other “issues” of the Pope office, Francis seems like a refreshing change that might be able to steer it and not just “ride along”. [I know; so optimistic… I don’t mean to apologize for Time, nor for the Pope, just trying to see the faintest silver lining

  35. 35
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    What is the Pope doing about this problem?
    (excerpt):

    In its audit of the Christian Brothers’ day schools, the NBSCCC reported a massive 870 allegations of abuse against 325 brothers, of whom 50 are still alive. Despite the scale of the allegations, just 12 convictions have been secured between 1975 and today.

    The files read by the safeguarding reviewers left them “in no doubt that a great number of children were seriously abused by brothers”

    He’s saying superficially nice things about atheists and homosexuals. That stuff is making the news. But what about doing something to hold child raping priests accountable. For someone who is trying to be PR savvy, the Pope is missing an opportunity here.

  36. 36
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    stevem:
    Until the Pope does something concrete about the various human rights abuses perpetrated by the Catholic Church, he can talk all he wants. He’s got to prove–through his actions,not his words–that the leadership of the Raping Children Church has changed.

  37. 37
    consciousness razor

    But The Catholic Church isn’t going to change overnight for anyone.

    If that’s what you want. But don’t you think that’s rushing it? Maybe you should give them a fortnight to not change. Or a few more centuries than they’ve already had. You know, something reasonable.

    Do you want him to stand up and tell everyone Jesus isn’t real, too? Grow up.

    You’re right. An old man who is the head an enormously influential international and historical institution probably should grow up. That’s not a bad idea.

  38. 38
    Lynna, OM

    You can put me in the grinding poverty category. Yes, I appreciate it when any of the world’s Head Honchos speak out about economic inequality. But that still does not make the Pope a Person of the Year in my book. For one thing, the Pope has less leverage to affect governmental policies that would alleviate poverty than many other public figures, especially those who are heads of state.
    Paul Krugman’s analysis of President Obama’s inequality speech. Emphasis in excerpt below is mine.

    … Obama laid out a disturbing – and, unfortunately, all too accurate – vision of an America losing touch with its own ideals, an erstwhile land of opportunity becoming a class-ridden society. Not only do we have an ever-growing gap between a wealthy minority and the rest of the nation, we also, he declared, have declining mobility, as it becomes harder and harder for the poor and even the middle class to move up the economic ladder. And he linked rising inequality with falling mobility, asserting that Horatio Alger stories were becoming rare precisely because the rich and the rest were now so far apart.

    …What struck me about this speech, however, was what he had to say about the sources of rising inequality. Much of our political and pundit class remains devoted to the notion that rising inequality, to the extent that it’s an issue at all, is all about workers lacking the right skills and education. But the president now seems to accept progressive arguments that education is at best one of a number of concerns, that America’s growing class inequality largely reflects political choices, like the failure to raise the minimum wage along with inflation and productivity. And because the president was willing to assign much of the blame for rising inequality to bad policy, he was also more forthcoming than in the past about ways to change the nation’s trajectory, including a rise in the minimum wage, restoring labor’s bargaining power, and strengthening, not weakening, the safety net….

    When it comes to our budget, we should not be stuck in a stale debate from two years ago or three years ago. A relentlessly growing deficit of opportunity is a bigger threat to our future than our rapidly shrinking fiscal deficit. — President Obama

  39. 39
    Pierce R. Butler

    Another nugget of profundity from Time:

    Why There Are No Atheists At the Grand Canyon

  40. 40
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Shit, Black Francis would’ve been a better choice. And he fired both Kim Deal AND Kim Shattuck this year! /lamenting the state of the Pixies

  41. 41
    dõki

    Ryan Cunningham #28

    Do you want him to stand up and tell everyone Jesus isn’t real, too?

    I, for one, would be satisfied if the Catholic church stopped promoting regressive policies in my country, including anti-choice and homophobic ones (which haven’t changed, since the core of his message is still the same). Silly supernatural claims are the least important, actually.

    But, to be fair, I must confess the tension between him and traditionalists gives me some hope deep down.

  42. 42
    MJP

    This is like giving someone a cookie for being “more humane than Hitler.”

    Hey, nothing wrong with free cookies for the vast majority of the human race.

  43. 43
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Lynna #38
    Yeah, I’m not real impressed with Obama’s track record on actually doing anything about it either. I don’t give a flaming fuck what he (or any other politician for that matter) says in his speeches, and never have done. So, when he actually does something, then I might start giving a rat’s ass.

  44. 44
    Bicarbonate is back

    Carlie @ 31
    Thanks for the lyrics. Does help.

    Everybody else:
    At Carlie’s link you can watch and read lyrics at the same time and also nominate the song for song of the day. Maybe if enough of us did that??

    Dalillama @ 32

    My favorite version of what you say is Talk’s cheap. It takes money to buy whiskey!

  45. 45
    Marcus Ranum

    it turns a septuagenarian into a superstar while revealing almost nothing about the man himself.

    If they know so little about him, how could they elect him person of the year? Perhaps they meant “best prize for special effects”??

  46. 46
    Marcus Ranum

    Do you want him to stand up and tell everyone Jesus isn’t real, too?

    Yes, please.

  47. 47
    omnicrom

    I note your use of grinding as a qualifier. Nonetheless, how on Earth can you be so certain that people here are not facing poverty?

    Well it’s obvious Tony, if you were facing “Grinding” poverty you wouldn’t be on the internet talking about things, you’d be at work boostrapping yourself out of poverty donchaknow. I mean, unless you’re one of those parasitic takers the poor should have no luxuries, no free time, and no relief from stress. You know, because they’re poor and that’s their punishment for being born into the wrong family at the wrong time in the wrong country.

    As for the pope he’s said a lot of nice things, but he’s done very little. He’s yet to walk back policy on gays, he’s yet to hand over pedophile priests to the proper authorities, and he’s yet end the church’s anti-choice agendas. Kudos to the pope for talking about income inequality, but it’s also really really cheap talk because it’s something he’s a couple of steps removed from being able to fix or alter. He is in authority in an anti-choice, anti-gay, pro-pedophile organization and he’s done nothing in any of those areas. It’s nice the pope has basically said that Atheists can be good people, but talk is cheap.

    Maybe the pope honestly can’t change the church. Maybe the pope is more interested in trying to salvage membership numbers and is only interested in appearing more reasonable and liberal. Maybe the pope is so blinkered he doesn’t even realize how empty his rhetoric is. Doesn’t matter. At the end of the day the church has not changed, no matter what the pope says.

  48. 48
    busterggi

    No surprise, the RCC has evolved into a cult of personality over the past 50 or so years. My home town has so many citizens of Polish descent that it seems as though half of everything is named Pope John-Paul yet I’d bet not one of the believers could say one thing he accomplished.

  49. 49
    markkernes

    I hear the runner-up was Edward Snowden. Now THERE’s someone who’s changed the world!

  50. 50
    unclefrogy

    I used to read in the dim past both Time and Newsweek and at the time found that of the two Time was the least informative and stopped reading it all together. In the intervening time Newsweek failed and there was only Time magazine. I have tried to read it in waiting rooms waiting for an appointment because there isn’t anything else to read. It still is uninformative and conventional. Its man of the year is an idea for the Sunday supplement of the newspaper not anything serious.
    It is continuing to publish looking around at what is available as news sources it appears that there is no business or future in telling people what is really going on and why because the majority do not seem to want to know
    Like why did the U.S. sell its shares in GM at a lose the company seems to be in a turnaround stock price has been steadily rising all year ?
    man of the year?
    uncle frogy

  51. 51
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    The media have been swooning over Pope Francis’ feel-good speeches and humanizing habits since he was installed into the position last March, so it’s no surprise that he was chosen for such an incestuous media award. Expect him to win next year’s Nobel Peace Prize, too. (He was installed as Pope too late to be nominated this year, according to Wikipedia.)

  52. 52
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Sorry for using “swooning”.

  53. 53
    unbound

    Let’s be honest. Time stopped being a reputable news magazine over 2 decades ago.

  54. 54
    indicus

    First of all, there is the minor fact that Time’s Person of the Year does NOT have to have had a positive role. Hitler and Chairman Mao both earned the title and Assad was one of this year’s runners up. It is the person who has influenced the world the most, good OR bad.

    Second, lets ignore whatever reasons Time had for giving my the title and the fact that what the Pope represents is a lot of superstition and hokey. He is an enormous source of influence for roughly one out of seven people on the planet. He says “jump”, they say “How high”? So to have someone who seems truly intent on reversing at least some of the church’s most egregious acts against humanity seems to be a very, very good thing in my book. If you have someone convincing 1 billion + people to act like fucking human beings towards each other, that is WAY more than enough to justify any title and who gives a shit if he worships the Tooth Fairy?

  55. 55
    Raging Bee

    I used to read in the dim past both Time and Newsweek and at the time found that of the two Time was the least informative and stopped reading it all together. In the intervening time Newsweek failed and there was only Time magazine…

    I dumped both of them for the Economist back in the ’80s, and never looked back. Even their wet dreams about Margaret Thatcher were more informative than either Time or Newsweek.

  56. 56
    randay

    Do all of you mean that someone still reads Time Magazine?

  57. 57
    hoku

    I have to say, pedophiles and abusive priests aside (and yes, I know that’s a huge aside), he has worked to change a lot of the church’s horrible policies. I think the most important thing he’s said is that the church should stop focusing on issues like contraception, gay rights and abortion, and instead devote it’s time to helping people and income inequality. It’s sort of saying that he officially believes that those things are bad, but there are much more important things to focus on. Isn’t that really what we’ve always wanted? They can believe what they want, as long as they keep it to themselves?

    That said, he hasn’t really accomplished any of it, and I’ve honestly curious if that’s because it’s platitudes or he lacks the power to actually make those kinds of significant institutional changes. I have no idea of the church structure. Is it like Putins Russia, where what he says goes, or like the US, where the President can tell the governors to do things, but they don’t have to follow? Anyone know what authority he has over people like Cardinal Dolan? Could he punish them for not falling in line, or is it more of a huge mess of bureaucracy and fiefdoms?

  58. 58
    doublereed

    Second, lets ignore whatever reasons Time had for giving my the title and the fact that what the Pope represents is a lot of superstition and hokey. He is an enormous source of influence for roughly one out of seven people on the planet. He says “jump”, they say “How high”?

    Oh come on, Catholics don’t actually pay attention to the RCC. You’re giving the RCC way too much credit here. In fact, Catholics tend to be on the liberal spectrum in the US.

  59. 59
    LykeX

    He is an enormous source of influence for roughly one out of seven people on the planet. He says “jump”, they say “How high”?

    Both and. After all, many Catholics happily ignore the church teachings on contraception.

  60. 60
    LykeX

    Of course, when it comes to depriving non-Catholics of proper health care, suddenly the proper doctrines are incredibly important (see Ophelia’s blog for recent examples).

    Perhaps these are expressions of different factions in the Catholic community; a wide majority that doesn’t care and a small, but powerful and active minority that cares very deeply. That doesn’t seem too unrealistic.

  61. 61
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Re Time:
    What’t's the corollary to Argument from Authority? I.E. where one argues the source is true because it’s descendants are true? I.E., never forget, Time spun off People aand it was a total success, that just about everyone wants to read (even moreso than Time itself). Based on that, Time must be a GOOD magazine. [/snark]

  62. 62
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    To be honest, I’m more interested in who Baseball America chose as their Person of the Year (better be Manny Machado).

  63. 63
    loren

    They’ve got this great pulpit with mass media attention to actually highlight the important events and people on the planet,

    Except this appears to suggest a different agenda for Time’s label than Time itself thinks it’s bestowing.

    #4 above linked to the Wikipedia list of honorees. Look at the last decade or so of people so honored. Barack Obama, twice. George W. Bush. Vladimir Putin. Mark Zuckerberg. Ben Bernanke. “The Protester”. “The Good Samaritans”. “The American soldier”. “You”. This is not exactly a challenging or illuminating list of winners.

    Time has named either the US President or the Russian/Soviet leader as its winner 10 TIMES since 1987. They’re plainly not interested in highlighting important but under-recognized people; they want to put a face on their cover that people already know. Choosing Francis fits exactly with this tradition.

  64. 64
    aaronbaker

    @39:

    They’re banning atheists at the Grand Canyon?

    Will their villainy never cease?

  65. 65
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    As long as the RCC is buying up hospitals and medical centers and installing their anti-choose policies, I will hear to talk about economic justice from this pope. The right to control one’s reproduction is an economic issue.

    As for Catholics being on the liberal end of the political spectrum in the US, I have this to say; Pat Buchanan. Also, where do the catholics in the US end up on the abortion debate?

    Also, the RCC backing first catholic monarchies and. after 1918, authoritarian regimes cannot be ignored.

  66. 66
    doublereed

    As for Catholics being on the liberal end of the political spectrum in the US, I have this to say; Pat Buchanan.

    What about him? He’s just one dude. Catholics tend toward the liberal end.

    Also, where do the catholics in the US end up on the abortion debate?

    Maybe you should find out. It turns out that they don’t differ much from the general population.

    The Catholic Church does not represent Catholics no matter how much it likes to pretend it does.

  67. 67
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    What about him? He’s just one dude. Catholics tend toward the liberal end.

    Fine. I will ignore all of the right wing catholic organizations that claims to speak for all catholics. And Catholic Charities, which threatened to close down orphanages if they had to deal with gay and lesbian parents.

    The Catholic Church does not represent Catholics no matter how much it likes to pretend it does.

    And yet those “liberal” voices are not represented in most Church organizations. And the Church holds more sway then those individual liberal catholics.

    Or should I ignore all of the catholic run hospitals?

  68. 68
    anbheal

    I agree with all the condemnations here, of both Time and the Pope. But….given how the “centrist” mainstream media has fallen so pathetically for the ever-rightward-shifting Overton Window, and is now at about the midpoint of what would have been considered a raving 1980 Republican fringe; and given how pundits anywhere right of Maddow have been savaging the Pope for saying (yes, just saying, not doing) anything remotely negative about capitalism or positive about poorer browner populations; well, then, I’m not so sure it’s an awful pick. Other candidates included Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. And Miley Cyrus, if I’m not mistaken.

    So, having a propaganda organ for bankers and warmongers and international bullies (Time, that is) actually choose a person who has been saying that these behaviors aren’t very nice, as opposed to choosing yet another mouthpiece for these toxic behaviors, isn’t so very awful.

    Sure, I’d have preferred Liz Warren or Malala. But damn, there were a lot of worse choices than a guy who seems to be publicly chastising a money/banking system that is drowning us all in choices between bad and worse. Pick your poisons, I guess.

  69. 69
    dõki

    indicus #54

    He says “jump”, they say “How high”? So to have someone who seems truly intent on reversing at least some of the church’s most egregious acts against humanity seems to be a very, very good thing in my book. If you have someone convincing 1 billion + people to act like fucking human beings towards each other, that is WAY more than enough to justify any title

    Look, I think this title is mostly meaningless and so I won’t discuss its merit. As mentioned, Hitler was one of the recipients.

    Now, what annoys me is all this talk of how progressive he is when I don’t see any sign that his deciding to dodge a few questions during an airplane interview resulted in any practical change in the behavior of the Catholics around me. Their prejudices seem to continue to be the same.

    And, then, I’m not sure which acts of the church he is supposed to be reversing. Free markets don’t sound exactly as a Catholic invention.

    hoku #57

    It’s sort of saying that he officially believes that those things are bad, but there are much more important things to focus on. Isn’t that really what we’ve always wanted?

    Fuck no. I acknowledge people’s right to be bigoted scumbags, but being surrounded by millions of voters who consider me subhuman is far from what I always wanted. Especially because, while Bergoglio entertains the media with his weasel words, the church keeps promoting intolerance from Zagreb to Springfield.

    Anyone know what authority he has over people like Cardinal Dolan? Could he punish them for not falling in line, or is it more of a huge mess of bureaucracy and fiefdoms?

    I don’t know about cardinals, but he sure as hell is capable of excommunicating priests who advocate same-sex marriage or who offer magic bread to dogs.

  70. 70
    Azuma Hazuki

    Having studied the history of the Papacy, this new one is probably the best we’ve had aside from John (the murdered one) in centuries. Certainly better than Pius XII, Alexander VI, or Innocent fucking III.

    Incidentally, as a Jesuit he’s probably better educated than most others in his circle. I think I remember reading somewhere, not sure where, that a good half of Jesuits are closet unbelievers.

  71. 71
    Area Man

    I don’t get the incredulity. Time has always chosen a Person of the Year based on someone’s importance in world affairs, not necessarily as an endorsement. And there’s no arguing that Francis is important, and that he’s managed to seriously shake things (if not within the church hierarchy itself, at least with respect to our political culture’s view of the church). And he represents some 1 billion Catholics, so yeah, kind of important.

    To put it another way, if I had the power to choose who the Pope was or to choose who led American Atheists (or whatever secular organization you want, or all of them together), I’d definitely pick the former. The Pope has vastly more power and authority, ergo, you can affect the outcomes of people’s lives far more profoundly with the right Pope. It shouldn’t be that way of course, but that’s the world we live in.

  72. 72
    tbtabby

    I have to admit, I kinda like the way Pope Francis made the supposedly-Christian right start jumping through hoops trying to chastise him for preaching about charity to the poor and condemning lassez-faire capitalism, but without actually suggesting that the Pope could be less than infallible.

  73. 73
    Bicarbonate is back

    Hey Azuma Azuki @70,

    I love the sound of the words Innocent fucking III. Sounds like he really was. Or like a family values show in the land of the Marquis de Sade. Those words seem to conjure lucre, luster and deformity, the hideous and the adorable, the essence of baroque.

    You who have studied the popes, please tell us more.

  74. 74
    Nick Gotts

    indicus@54

    First of all, there is the minor fact that Time’s Person of the Year does NOT have to have had a positive role. Hitler and Chairman Mao both earned the title and Assad was one of this year’s runners up. It is the person who has influenced the world the most, good OR bad.

    Apparently Edward Snowden was another runner-up. I’d say he has actually influenced the world more than Bergoglio.

    He [the Pope] is an enormous source of influence for roughly one out of seven people on the planet. He says “jump”, they say “How high”?

    The vast majority of Catholics in North America and Europe ignore the church’s strictures on contraception, for example.

  75. 75
    Anri

    Nick Gotts @ 74:

    The vast majority of Catholics in North America and Europe ignore the church’s strictures on contraception, for example.

    Now all we have to do is get them to ignore it’s position on tithing…

  76. 76
    chigau (違う)

    Catholics are not required to tithe.

  77. 77
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    What with his principalled stance on class exploitation and general support of the poor, his anonymous homeless-helping stints and the facts he doesn’t demonise the godless, I would say this pope is a vast improvement on the last. But that’s like saying paraplegia is a vast improvement on quadriplegia.

  78. 78
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    What about him? He’s just one dude. Catholics tend toward the liberal end.

    Whoa now. I grew up Catholic in a very Catholic city. Very few of the Catholics I knew were in any way liberal.

  79. 79
    prfesser

    First Runner-Up to the pope, and she will take on the duties of Man Of The Year if popey is unable to do so—–

    Miley Cyrus!

  80. 80
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re chigau @76:

    Catholics are not required to tithe.

    Correct! They are not required to tithe, just strongly encouraged to tithe (i.e. threatened with purgatory (not eternal) if they don’t). And guilted if you pass along that collection plate without adding to it. My Catholic upbringing haunts me…

  81. 81
    chigau (違う)

    stevem #80
    My Catholic indoctrination never mentioned the word “tithe”.
    We put money in the collection plate every week but it was nowhere near 1/10.
    And we were never threatened with Purgatory because of money.
    I always thought that tithing was some weird protestant thing.

  82. 82
    Rey Fox

    I just hope there will be some friction between him and Justice Scalia.

  83. 83
    Uncle Ebeneezer

    Ugh. Just after reading the comments here and having a FB friend of a friend arguing that the Pope’s statement MIGHT make a difference in the political landscape, therefore his NOT doing anything on: AIDS/Africa, Pedophile harboring, abortion, health insurance (Hobby Lobby), gay marriage etc. is all justified, I see this pop up:

    http://www.alternet.org/belief/why-atheists-should-listen-pope-francis

    Face-freakin-palm!!

  84. 84
    dõki

    Uncle Ebeneezer #83 (re: Alternet article)

    I find it precious that in that opinion piece the author suggests ways to improve the image of atheism while at the same time thrashing other atheists. Perhaps reducing friendly fire would make the rest of the population more accepting to us?

    And, anyway, I want to train a batallion of lemmings to bite the ankles of the next person who suggests the pope is doing a lot to protect minorities.

  85. 85
    Area Man

    I love the sound of the words Innocent fucking III.

    I think I’ve got that one on my hard drive.

  86. 86
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    doki:

    And, anyway, I want to train a batallion of lemmings to bite the ankles of the next person who suggests the pope is doing a lot to protect minorities.

    I’m trying to picture such a training session…

  87. 87
    Uncle Ebeneezer

    @Doki- Exactly. It’s just just Version ∞.0 of the old STFU Atheists suggestion. First and foremost, atheists need to stop criticizing religion.

    I’m surprised to see such stupidity on Alternet (where Greta and Amanda Marcotte often write) but I guess everybody is getting in on the old Atheism-bashing racket, nowadays.

    Firstly, it neglects the differences between atheist organizations and the Vatican (hint: the answer is in Billions of $.) Second, it neglects the fact that the primary goal of most atheist organizations is to create a world more friendly to atheists, reduce discrimination against atheists, encourage people to come out publicly as atheists etc. Social concerns like poverty can absolutely be a part of the bigger program, but there are still important fights that are more central to the primary concerns of atheism (creationism in schools, custody for atheist divorcees, protecting children from faith-healing etc.) that are ongoing and need addressing. Third, it ignores the creation of Atheism+ and other secular/humanist organizations that ARE talking about poverty and other social issues.

  88. 88
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @doki

    And, anyway, I want to train a batallion of lemmings to bite the ankles of the next person who suggests the pope is doing a lot to protect minorities.

    PMSL :D The image in my head right now is hilarious.

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