Most Blatant Plea For An Instalanche, Ever

The subject line is a joke. The post isn’t:

Every December, Time Magazine selects what used to be called its “Man Of The Year.” That name was changed to allow for political correctness a while back, but ostensibly the MOTY is given to the individual (or group, or ridiculously in one case, a planet) who in Time’s estimation, had the largest impact on the preceding year’s news.

Many of Time’s prior selections have been dumb (the aforementioned award to “Planet Earth” in 1988, a silly dodge avoid to giving the title to a victorious George H.W. Bush) or specious (Soviet dictator Gorbachev as “Man of the Decade” in 1989), but also occasionally interesting (Andy Grove in 1997), inspired (The American Soldier in 2003), and even uplifting (the crew of Apollo 8 in 1968). Others have been unpleasant, but still accurate (Khomeini in 1979).

Newly-elected presidents almost always win the POY, while second-term presidents tend to be snubbed following their re-election. In general, commanders-in-chief fare badly in any second appearances. A besieged Richard Nixon shared the cover with Kissinger in 1972, Ronald Reagan with the despot Yuri Andropov (euphemistically called a “politician” by Time) in 1983, Bush 41 with himself in 1990 (maybe the dumbest cover ever), and Bill Clinton with Kenneth Starr in 1998, a combination that probably offended everyone who saw it.

At any rate, I don’t expect George W. Bush to be named Man of the Year in 2004, and this post is not an effort to nominate him. While the ’04 election was certainly more “about” Bush than any other individual, I think it’d be appropriate this year to look beyond the big picture of the election results, and concentrate on one way in which the election of 2004 was fundamentally different than any in the past: the existence and influence of the Blogosphere.

In 1996, the web as we know it today barely existed. In 2000, the internet was a buzz-word and a curiosity, but the only serious impact it had on the presidential race was when Al Gore claimed to have invented it. Prior to 2004, it was inconceivable that an ad-hoc group of graphic designers and political aficionados could knock down a network anchorman in a matter of hours, or that two political activists with laptops could have a major impact on the defeat of a senior US Senator, or that an entirely different grass-roots campaign could elevate an obscure vanity candidate to a front-runner, albeit briefly.

All of those things and more happened in 2004. A year ago, the words “blog” and “blogger” were obscure techno-ese. Today, they’re on the lips of every pundit on television, and the print journos who haven’t talked about the Blogosphere are now avoiding mentioning it out of spite, not ignorance.

So should the Blogosphere be named “Sphere of the Year” in 2004? I don’t think so–mostly because I dislike anthropomorphising broad, indistinct phenomena. And besides, Time already gave the ‘award’ to a large (and deserving) group just last year. Let’s return the title to its roots, and settle on an individual.

There are plenty of worthy candidates. Like him or not, Markos Zuniga and Daily Kos had a significant impact in terms of readership and fundraising–if not in actually winning any races. Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs and the team at Powerline drove a wooden stake into the flailing undead corpse of Dan Rather’s career–and the mainstream press in general. Joe Trippi and the Deaniacs online changed the way Democrats raise political money, and their methods transposed to the eventual nominee gave John Kerry a fighting chance in the general election.

But there’s really only one choice that represents the Blogosphere at its best, and at its most influential. He’s still the focal point, still the prime reference, and still the standard by which all others are judged.

He’s Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, and he ought to be the Man of the Year.

I’m Will Collier, and I approved this message.

UPDATE: A reader, er, suggests that Burt Rutan and his SpaceShipOne crew would be great MOTY nominees. I agree. I bet Glenn does, too.

61 Responses to “Most Blatant Plea For An Instalanche, Ever”

  1. Daniel Says:

    Now, why didn’t I think of that? Congratulations, you have just sucked out all the air from the blogoshpere. I’m gasping already. I hope you’ve stocked up on bandwidth.

  2. Bloggledygook Says:


    I’ve been doing things all wrong. I’ve whined, cajoled, ranted and complained and nothing has happened. Then Will Collier, with one master stroke steals every eyeball in the blogosphere by pandering to the Bloggermeister Meisterblogger.

  3. Nick Says:

    Ah yes… the Blog Father… let’s never take him for granted.

  4. Dave S. Says:

    Glenn who?
    Sorry, never heard of him.

  5. Spoons Says:

    I’m not sure I support the idea of bloggers as Persons of the Year, but if we must do it, better to be just “Bloggers” than any one particular one. As you demonstrate, there are too many who contributed.

    (Not me. I had a medicore blog year).

  6. Rusty Shackleford Says:

    I second Spoons.

    However, if it will get me a place on Glenn’s blogroll than I wholeheartedly agree that he should be Man of the Year.

    If the previous statement sounds too kiss ass for Glenn, than I take it back. I hate Glenn. He is the embodiment of evil.

  7. Tom Says:

    While Glenn is undoubtedly the most prominent blogger, I thinking singling him (or any single blogger) out for MOTY is a mistake. Not only because it slights the hundreds of bloggers who took part in Rathergate, but also because it makes the blogging phenomenon easier for the MSM to brush off. With a single person (or small group) to focus on, whoever it is, the MSM gains further ability to marginalize blogging as ‘a small group of internet kooks’. Cue the unflattering photo of the shrill nerd screeching “worst news story EVAR!!”. By making it about a single blogger, they get to conveniently ignore the hundreds of thousands of people that bogger reaches (who themselves may blog, discuss stories with their friends, and vote). You can’t see all those people in the photo of the nerd at his laptop.

    Much better to make the MOTY something like ‘The Blogger’ in general, as a class. I’m not sure how you’d depict that in a photo, perhaps a faceless figure in front of a screen connected to thousands and thousands of other figures.

    Of course, it goes without saying that however it’s depicted, they should be wearing pajamas.

  8. Rod Stanton Says:

    If a blogger is to be POY he is a very good choice. I think the fact that 3.2 months after Rathergate and Viacom has yet to admit to the smear or to fire anyone is proof that the blogs are not *YET* as powerful as the MSM. But Glenn is a great choice.

  9. Daniel Says:

    But, seriously, it’s a good idea. Speaking only for myself, I would not have discovered sites like this (which incidentally, I kept up all election day and night along with Glenn and the Corner) if it wasn’t for Instapundit.

    Maybe “the Blogger” is what it should be. But we all know who we’re talking about.

  10. PhantomObserver Says:

    Well, if you want the perfect opportunity …

    … convince Jonathan Klein of CNN to dress up himself and his office for a TIME photoshoot.

    Surround him with Glenn Reynolds, Charles Johnson, Andrew Sullivan and Hugh Hewitt, all of whom are wearing pajamas.

    Capture Klein with a look of fear on his face, while the others look on with predatory confidence.

    That photo would sum up the state of the Media in 2004.

  11. Laurence Simon Says:

    I’d suggest Arafat. The man has done so much by falling ill and dying this year, you know.

    Assuming that he is dead.

  12. knight37 Says:

    I love it how bloggers are always making out as if they are the most important thing going on in the universe. ROFL. If you want to talk about human acheivement, lets nominate the people behing SpaceShipOne.

  13. Robert Says:

    How about Pat Tillman?

  14. Outside The Beltway Says:

    Beltway Traffic Jam

    The daily linkfest:
    Will Collier nominates Glenn Reynolds for Time Man of the Year.
    Jeff Taylor finds proof Bill Gates doesn’t rule the world.
    Jen is doing her semi-annual complete blog makeover.
    Cam Edwards is skeptical of the latest development…

  15. Digger Says:

    Burt Rutan all the way.

    I hope it’s not some stupid politician like Karl Rove because Bush won or terrorist like Arafat just cuz he died.

    Blogs weren’t that important to the nation last year as a whole imho.

    They’ll probably just be media kissasses and make it Tom Brokaw. Even though I liked the guy all he did was do his job.

  16. Eric Scheie Says:

    I’ll second Glenn Reynolds unconditionally.

    From Blog of the Year to Man of the Year.

    A small step for a man, a giant leap for blogkind.

  17. pok Says:

    Indeed, Glen with be a great choice as a representative of bloggers. While I agree, with those who argue that the award should go to bloggers as a group than to a single blogger for reasons already expressed above, no single blogger represents the power of blogging as fully as Glenn.

    Incidentally, the most iconic figure of bloggers as a “guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas” may have been due to Glenn. I haven’t done an exhaustive research but my own memory and a quick Google seems to show he was the first to make a reference to Jon Klein’s comments shortly after he made it in a Fox interview. If Glen had not posted a picture of a pajama along with Jon Klein’s comments, the image wouldn’t have made it into blog history. The comments would have been filed under just another diss on blogs.

  18. pok Says:

    Indeed, Glen will be a great choice as a representative of bloggers. While I agree, with those who argue that the award should go to bloggers as a group than to a single blogger for reasons already expressed above, no single blogger represents the power of blogging as fully as Glenn.

    Incidentally, the most iconic figure of bloggers as a “guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas” may have been due to Glenn. I haven’t done an exhaustive research but my own memory and a quick Google seems to show he was the first to make a reference to Jon Klein’s comments shortly after he made it in a Fox interview. If Glen had not posted a picture of a pajama along with Jon Klein’s comments, the image wouldn’t have made it into blog history. The comments would have been filed under just another diss on blogs.

  19. Ted B. Says:

    I could see either, since they represent the future that is now…Prof. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, and Dick Rutan of SpaceShipOne.

    Personally, I’d handicap Rutan as the favorite.

  20. Kenny Says:

    i bet you it’s Karl Rove (unfortunaly) that gets named POY

  21. Steve Ducharme Says:

    The photo should be representative of all of blogging. The most deserving subject of that photo should be Glenn Reynolds, in his pajamas, working on his laptop at the auto shop while his wife’s volkswagon gets the flat tire fixed….

    The caption should simply read..

    Man Of The Year…. The Blogger!

  22. erp Says:

    Here! Here! Yea for the Perfessor,

    Eugene Volokh for the Supreme Court.

    Go Blogosphere.

  23. Armand Says:

    Reynolds doesn’t need any promoting, he promotes himself well enough.

  24. Ad Astra Per Aspera Says:

    Time Magazine and Politics

    I rarely post about politics, because this blog is not about them. However, it I feel it is important to speak out about important issues. Time Magazine, every year since the dawn of time, has given a person, group, or in one case a planet, the Man o…

  25. ArtD0dger Says:

    On the contrary, Armand, Glenn promotes every blog BUT his own. He links to both sides of the aisle, and he is unerringly civil, even to those who do not deserve it.

    And unlike Rutan’s project, significant though it is, blogs have changed the trajectory of history THIS year.

  26. Ali Karim Bey Says:


    I support Prof. Reynolds as Man of the Year. I would support him as a Man of the Century as well. Without him, the blog would have no meaning. He not only contributes, but he is THE ONLY blogger who has entire family involved in his writing – instadaughter, instawife, instadad, instabrother, etc.

    Give him the title, TIME.

    PSST: Newsweek, steal Prof.

  27. Base10 Says:

    I’m for Burt Rutan. He and his associates may have fundamentally changed the world by discovering relatively cheap space travel. We just won’t know what effect it will have for a few more years.

  28. JennyD Says:

    I desperately want an Instalanche. Would vote for anyone to get it. Want to meet somebody who drinks and enjoys it (rather than my suburban mommy friends who frown at anything but watered-down white wine). I want a martini! I want to think deep thoughts and drink real drinks. I want a million hits. And I want it all now, Santa!

  29. QandO Says:

    [Whatever] of the Year

    Via Instapundit, I see Powerline is lobbying for what amounts to a Lifetime Achievement Award for Glenn Reynolds, and VodkaPundit is suggesting Reynolds for Time Magazines Man of the Year.

  30. -Ed. Says:

    Instalanchers the world over are shouting, mumbling or otherwise vocalizing like back-benchers in the British Parliament, Here here! (Or is it, Hear hear!? I’m gonna make a vodka martini then go look it up.)

  31. -Ed. Says:

    The Straight Dope Science Advisory Board has the answer (God, I LOVE the blogosphere!):

  32. SpinDaddy Says:

    Agreed. And if not Glen, then certainly Bert Rutan. His guerilla approach to reaching Space is in many ways similar to the Blogospheres approach to the distribution of information and opinion. -SpinDaddy

  33. ed Says:

    I will venture a nomination that is off a little different vein. How bout Steve’s bride Melissa?
    Oh, have you never seen her in her pajamas? Too bad.


  34. Decision '08 Says:

    Miscellanea: Moyers, We Hardly Knew Ye

    VodkaPundit has an interesting candidate for Man of the Year (hint: it’s not me)…

  35. Alexa Says:

    Karl Rove should be man of the year. The fact that he was able to get Bush re-elected is sort of like the first man on Mars.

  36. Commonwealth Conservative Says:

    Time’s Person of the Year

    Will Collier has a good suggestion for Time’s 2004 Person of the Year: Glenn Reynolds.

    I’m hopping on that bandwagon. This has been the year of the blogosphere.

  37. Walter In Denver Says:

    Time’s Man of the Year

    Will Collier nominates Glenn Reynolds. Really! It’s a nomination that pays tribute to the effect of blogs on the political scene this year, more than just a tribute to the man. Instapundit is the center of the blogosphere nervous…

  38. Kieran Lyons Says:

    While I agree that blogs have made this presidential year different from any other in our history, does that mean bloggers were the most influential people on the planet?

    I don’t have a solid answer to that, but I will note one other thing. As much as I like and respect Prof. Reynolds, the power of blogs is in the network effect, not in the power of a single individual. Without the almighty link (and maybe comment/trackback/etc) blogs are just another soapbox.

    Perhaps is is time to honor the inventor of the link, Tim Berners-Lee, now that his innovation has matured to the point it can revolutionize the information flow in a presidential election.

  39. Jim Martin Says:

    Sheesh, reading so many Insta-this Insta-thats, I forgot my e-mail address, it’s similar.

    Burt Rutan would be nice, but hey, it’s just a rocket that went up and came down twice. No world-changing miracles yet.

    I vote for the honorable professor. No, he didn’t do everything by himself, but he’s definately everyone’s starting place for the day’s best blog topics and who is saying what. It was that Time’s online article suggested as a good starting place for newbies and I have been going to that blog first thing every morning and check before logging off.

    What is remarkable about many of the main political bloggers, and the notariety they enjoy, is how down to earth they are. That says much more about them than anything else — they are good people, you can trust them.

    From 1996 to 2000, the Internet was mainly about chat rooms. But 2004 is the Year of the Blogger, long live them all.

  40. Kevin Says:

    While I respect the Blogfather as much as anyone, I think the enabling technologies of blogging are more important than what any one particular blogger does with them.

    In that vein, I nominate Evan Williams (founder, Blogger/BlogSpot), Larry Page, and Sergey Brin (co-founders, Google). Prof Reynolds may be the biggest kid on the playground, but they *built* the playground. Even if blogs existed before either Blogspot or Google, it is the technology that they made available (for free!) that turned blogs from a fad into a force to reckon with.

  41. Mike M Says:

    I could go for “the blogger” as POTY, but not Glen. No offense intended, but recycling links and posting campus pictures doesn’t make one the most influential person on the planet.

    Rutan is very deserving of accolades, but it’s hard to say he had much of an impact in 2004. His achievement will have a much greater importance 5 to 10 years down the road.

    Here are my nominees:

    Karl Rove: not only for his campaign brilliance, but the manner in which he forced the Democrats to act to attempt to counter him.

    Michael Moore: hero to the left, hated by the right, but undeniable that he had a major effect on the election. Apathy didn’t drive 60 million to the polls to vote for Bush, you know…

    Dan Rather: Rathergate probably officially ended the dominance of network television news, and elevated the blogosphere to prominance and legitimacy.

    “The Blogger”: as explained above. (although considering that Wonkette will somehow worm her way into the story, maybe not…)

  42. Rflyn Says:

    From Hong Kong I agree, But I’ll only go fer Glenn if TIME takes a picture of him in his frickin’ pajama’s.

  43. the snob Says:

    Y’all need to quit immanentizing the eschaton here. I’m as big a fan of bloggers as anyone but we were at best a sideshow to the media’s inside baseball game. Influential? Yes. Decisive? Pshaw. My nominations:

    1. George Soros: I despise him, but he did more than anyone (even Moore) to turn the Democrats’ whine-O-matic up to 11 this year. He also epitomized the way that McCain-Feingold has helped “clean up” campaign finance.

    2. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: Take 100 of the top stories from Iraq in the past year, and well over half had this guy’s fingerprints on them one way or another. OBL has gone to ground, this guy is now our preeminent boogie man.

    3. Hamid Karzai: No one can deny that he’s been central to the almost invisible bits of optimism now emergin in Afghanistan, and if Afghanistan can be turned around, any other country surely can too.

    -il snob

  44. triticale Says:

    What percentage of Time’s readers still have no inkling that there is such a thing as the blogosphere, let alone any idea who the puppyblender is? I think it would be great.

  45. Matt Says:

    I come at it from the opposite end. I think “The Mainstream Media” or, if you want to put a human face on it, Dan Rather ought to be TIME’s POY. It was they who made (pun intended) more news than bloggers did; from the infamous “15%” they were supposed to get Kerry to Memogate to the Al Qaqaa “breaking news” the week before the election — and let’s not forget who everyone was blaming for playing Howard Dean’s screech over and over again and purportedly costing him the nomination — it was a year the MSM probably made its death rattle.

    Did bloggers have something to do with this? Positootly. But it’s still a medium in its infancy. Let’s have a blogger POY when the companion story isn’t likely to dwell on penis jokes at Wonkette’s site.

  46. Pamela Says:

    I like the idea of Hamid Karzai.or more POY the Afghanistan citizen voting, like the Afghani woman who gave birth then went out, and crossed many miles to vote?

    or how about just a picture of a pair of pajamas for the cover with the word “Bloggers”?

  47. Mike Says:

    It should be Glenn, as representative of the phenomenon. He is the Gateway and the Visionkeeper. And the cover should say “Glenn Reynolds – Instapundit and the Ride of the Pajamahaddin.”

  48. Marty Keller Says:

    If it’s to be a blogger, Glenn all the way. It’s not just his catholicity, but it’s his tone and worldview. Common sensical, humorous, and utterly unsullied by PC groupthink.

    But if it’s to be a Person of the Year, it’s got to be George W. Bush, who has not only taken on Islamist terrorism, but more importantly he’s created a coalition to challenge the bloviated, self-righteous postmodernists who seek to dominate the infoculture with their insistence that everything is relative to their absolute. Moral clarity is of superior value in transitional times like ours.

  49. Jim Says:

    Mike M’s right: The Man of the Year should be Michael Moore. It’s been the year of people with marginal personality disorders shrieking and twitching on center stage in the political forum, and Moore has been their MC.

    On the magazine cover, put a shot of Moore sitting next to President Carter at the Dem Convention. The photo would sum up the insanity quite well.

  50. Downtown Lad Says:

    I vote for the “Gay American”. Mary Cheney, Jim McGreevey, The Fab 5 (i.e. Queer Eye), Andrew Sullivan, and of course the target of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which won the election for Bush.

    And being gay, that means me too! Since I’m never going to win as an “American Soldier”, since they won’t let me fight!

    Downtown Lad

  51. sauer38h Says:

    Danger Danger!

    A couple of commentators above have been dancing around the menace but haven’t quite zeroed in on it.

    We know perfectly well who Time will put on the cover if it’s Blogdom as POY – hint: she’s blond. And there goes the Official Image of blogs, down the bidet.

    Seriously. Some anonymous Afghan woman who voted in her first election ever, even though she might have been sure some bomber would blow her limbs off while she was standing in line, is the most important person this year. People like her are the ones who will make the current war against totalitarian regimes and medieval societies succeed.

  52. lisakay Says:

    It’ll be Christopher Reeves.
    No pun intended, but how lame.

  53. JeanneB Says:

    I’d love to see the miracle in Afghanistan take the coveer. But the media has given that story such short shrift, I don’t think it would even occur to them.

    One minor correction to Will’s article. He says, “In 2000, the internet was a buzz-word and a curiosity, but the only serious impact it had on the presidential race was when Al Gore claimed to have invented it.” While the 2000 internet role was more subtle, most have forgotten its importance in bringing out Republican “protesters” in Florida. Thousands of people came together on the net, downloaded “Sore/Loserman” signs, and headed to Florida to keep Gore from stealing the election. We stormed the doors when they tried to hide the vote count. The press was astounded to see Republicans protesting…they told us they’d never imagined such a thing. Little did they know they’d just had a tiny taste of what-was-to-come.

  54. Todd Pearson Says:

    Boi from Troy nominates the homosexual. There is an argument to be made that the gay marriage referendums around the country are the reason Bush was reelected.

  55. The Interocitor Says:

    Glenn Reynolds, Time Man Person of the Year?

    The Vodkapundit, obviously trying to ramp up his hit count, suggests that not only is this the Year of the Blogger, but that Glenn Harlan Reynolds, rather than some composite deserves the award. Naming a person unknown to most is…

  56. Dishman Says:

    If the picture were to be of Glenn, I’d suggest it be his image, composed of pictures of prominent bloggers (right and left).

  57. V the K Says:

    The host on WMET in Washington was talking to, (I think, I kind of came in late to the program) a Time Magazine editor. They strongly hinted that the leading contender for “Thing of the Year” is the 9-11 Commission.


  58. RGL Says:

    Sorry, guys, but it’s going to be President Bush with his buddy, Karl Rove.

    I guess everybody underestimated him, including most of the pundits.

    Whether you hate or love him, who really left an impact more than the president did?

  59. Young Pundit Says:

    Surprise Pick For Person of the Year

    I’ve got this feeling about who will be Person of the Year in the Time magazine issue to be released on January 3, and mind you, it’s not going to George Dubya Bush. And much less the Pajamahadeen. Betsy Newmark is among the many bloggers…

  60. Retread Says:

    It’s W for MOTY and Power Line for BOTY. Go read the articles, especially on blogs. Time may not like the competition, but they recognize the impact of blogs

  61. marriedhomoinmass Says:

    Glenn is a good choice the same way Hannity is a good choice- if you like your planted propaganda blog-style, have it your way.

    you guys suck.

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