This Year Was All About You, Sort Of...

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The much anticipated Time Magazine Person of the Year has been announced, and it's...YOU. That's right, you. Time says it's honoring you for creating your own content in blogs and social networking sites and "for seizing the reins of the global media." Humorist Brian Unger wonders if the "you" that Time is honoring is really YOU.

BRIAN UNGER: Time magazine says move over me. This year is all about you.

(Soundbite of song, "Only You")

Unidentified Man #1 (Singer): (Singing) Only you…


Here with today's Unger Report, humorist Brian Unger.

UNGER: Well, I say not so quick, you. While it may appear that it's no longer just about me, I beg to differ. All Time magazine has done here is shifted the act of naming me person of the year to you because when I hear it aloud…

(Soundbite of song, "Only You")

Mr. ELVIS PRESLEY: (Singing) Only you.

UNGER: I'm relieved to know that it's still all about me. That's the genius behind Time magazine's pronouncement. It's both narcissism and altruism; selfish and unselfish at the same time.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Woman (Singer): (Singing) …embraceable you.

UNGER: But enough about me. Let's talk about you for a minute, and why the editors of Time picked you, which is ultimately Time picking itself, or its inner me. According to Time, what is bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter is the World Wide Web.

Twenty years ago, some kid dropping Mentos into a liter of Coke would not have mattered. Now it does. A bear falling from a trees onto a trampoline; Michael Richards tapping into his inner rage on a comedy stage; Britney Spears getting out of a car in a, you know, indelicate manner - none of these things would've mattered. Now they do.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified People (Singers): (Singing) (Unintelligible).

UNGER: Because of you, you Wikipedic, YouTubing MySpacers. Sixteen million of you used a social networking site. Thirteen million of you created a blog, according to the Census Bureau. You, 9 percent of the country, you are the real you Time magazine celebrates.

(Soundbite of song, "Who Are You?" by The Who)

Mr. ROGER DALTRY (Singer): (Singing) Who are you? Who, who, who, who?

UNGER: Now if you are among the 91 percent of Americans who did not create a blog or visit MySpace, that makes you them.

(Soundbite of music)

UNGER: And what do they, the them, do? Well, they will spend a little over a week on the Web next year, but a whopping 113 days in front of the TV, listening to the radio, and reading the newspaper. Yet Time claims we can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos, those rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms. I've seen those bedrooms and basements on the Web. They're dirty, and there's usually someone naked in them while a pop-up ad tells me it can find my old college roommate for $29.95.

But it's more than a new way to see naked people or buy things, it's about people who Time magazine says make Facebook profiles, and second-life avatars, and reviewed books on Amazon, and recorded Podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing, and we wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcorded bombing runs, and built open-source software.

We did all that? Really? Or did the people who work for Time magazine and their friends do all that? You know, this makes me think, in the end, what Time magazine's editors find so fascinating isn't your or me, it's themselves.

(Soundbite of song, "Only You")

Unidentified Man #1: (Singing) Only you.

Unidentified People (Singers): (Singing) One and only you.

UNGER: And that is today's Unger Report. I'm Brian Unger.

(Soundbite of song, "So Into You" by Atlantic Rhythym Section)

Mr. RONNIE HAMMOND(Singer): (Singing) I am so into you, I can't think of nothing else. I am so into you, I can't…

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from