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Sunday, December 18, 2005

SONG-AND-DANCE MAN NAMED PERSON OF THE YEAR 

Egomaniac, sunglasses-wearing song-and-dance man Bono, of the world-famous arena-rockers U2, has been named Time magazine's "Person of the Year," along with Bill and Melinda Gates. His contribution? Urging government leaders to cancel third world debts. Here's the criteria for the award:

The aim is to pick "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse."

Did Bono "embody what was important" about anything this year? If by "important" Time means that he (or, more likely, his staff) has worked dilligently on the thoroughly idiotic policy of debt "forgiveness." As any thinking person knows, the nations whose debts we are asked to forgive were NOT innocent bystanders to their own misfortunes. And if we forgive the debts of corruption-ridden governments whose own mishandling of money was the cause of these debts in the first place, with NO corresponding demands for internal reform, we essentially wipe the credit card ledger clean and encourage the same behavior that got them there in the first place. Not only that, but many of these dicatorships depend on just this sort of aid to prop up their socialist/communist governments, which have no hope of succeeding on their own. By writing them no-strings-attached checks, we help to perpetuate tyranny.

While the debt forgiveness program has little appeal to people who understand international relations and economics, it has immense appeal to people in the media and entertainment worlds because it sounds compassionate. Every time Time magazine nominates someone like Bono, it encourages people to think that the well intentioned, but in reality stupid, policy suggestions of know-nothing entertainers are worth giving a fair hearing. Bono should do us all a favor and stick to music. On second thought, maybe he should give that up too. After all, his band hasn't put out a good album since "The Joshua Tree" about 20 years ago.

Next year's Person of the Year? I'm betting on Jessica Simpson.
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