Time has selected “The Protester” as the Person of the Year. Not a specific protester, or even a group like Occupy Wall Street, just protesters in general, so if you've formally bitched about anything this past year, congratulations, you are Time's Person of the Year. But beyond the generic banality of giving the award to a vague group of people defined by partaking in a poorly-defined action, Time makes their selection seem even more ridiculous with their press release about the POTY award.
“A year after a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself ablaze, dissent has spread across the Middle East, to Europe and the U.S., reshaping global politics and redefining people power,” the magazine explains. The problem is that Tunisian fruit vendor had a name: Mohamed Bouazizi. He passed away in early January after setting himself on fire after Tunisian authorities trashed his meager fruit stand because he couldn't afford a vendor's license. Before setting himself alight, Bouazizi complained that even after getting a college education, there were no jobs for young men like himself in Tunisia, and now the government wouldn't even let him sell fruit at the local bazaar. Bouazizi's act sparked protests that would eventually topple the government of Tunisia, an act that would go on to inspire Egyptians, Libyans, Yemenis, Syrians and others to rise up against their oppressive governments. If anyone met the criteria of being the individual who “most influenced the culture and the news during the past year, for good or for ill,” it was Bouazizi.