Time Magazine has been one of the most authoritative and informative guides to what is happening in current affairs, politics, business, health, science, and entertainment since its inception in 1923. Over 20 million subscribers worldwide turn to Time weekly for award-winning exclusive coverage. But do you know who was voted Time Magazine’s Person of the Century?
The top spots in Time Magazine’s Person of the Century online poll went to Jesus Christ and Ric Flair, both of whom were not considered eligible.
The Man of the Century: Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was chosen as the Person of the Century out of the 100 candidates because he was the preeminent scientist in a century dominated by science.
The 20th Century will be remembered foremost for its science and technology, and Einstein serves as a symbol of all the scientists such as Fermi, Heisenberg, Bohr, and Richard Feynman, who built upon his work.Editors of Time Magazine
(Source: Time Magazine)
Controversies Around the Man of the Century Award
It was argued whether Adolf Hitler, who was responsible for World War II and the Holocaust, and Benito Mussolini, who was responsible for the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, should have been named Persons of the Century for their political influence.
The argument was founded on Time’s explicit criterion that the chosen individuals should have the most significant impact on this century, for better or worse. (Source: Time Magazine)
No Elvis, Yes to Bart Simpsons in Time Magazine
The list of the top 20 Artists and Entertainers, in particular, was chastised for omitting Elvis Presley, a decision that Time magazine representative Bruce Handy initially justified as follows:
One of the most important, innovative things about rock is the whole notion of songwriters singing their own works, of the immediacy of expression. Since Elvis didn’t write his own material, unlike The Beatles or Bob Dylan or Robert Johnson, who’s also someone who could have been included, maybe that cut against him… I think the Beatles pushed the envelope a lot further. Elvis’ most original recordings were his first. The Beatles started out as imitators, then continued to grow throughout their years together.Bruce Handy, Time Magazine Representative
Handy was also asked to defend Time magazine’s decision to include the fictional character Bart Simpson from The Simpsons television series among the 100 most influential people of the twentieth century, and he responded as follows:
I don’t see how you can look at this century and not include cartoons. They’re one of our great contributions, along with jazz and film. I know, I know. The movies were a 19th-century invention. But we 20th century folks really put them to good use. To some extent, too, we wanted people who also represented important 20th century trends or developments. That would help account for the Barts and Oprahs… What Bart, or really the Simpsons, have done is merge social satire with popular animation in a way that hasn’t really been done before.Bruce Handy, Time Magazine Representative
(Source: Time Magazine)
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