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Sep 02, 2007

Tower Of A Man (Or Is It, Man Of A Tower?)


Given the controversy surrounding Rudy Giuliani's 9/11 commemoration activities, as well as shifting thoughts about what profile the day merits six years out, TIME's "Person Of The Year" cover for 2001 seems to grow that much more audacious.

Three months after the attack, TIME helped to cement "the Rudy myth" by equating (and confusing) the expression of strong mindedness during and immediately after the attacks with a demonstration of moral virtue.  But how, exactly, does the photo-illustration pull off the idea that Giuliani is bigger than the buildings and that he rises above the attacks?  How that works is by playing off a metaphor that resonates as equally and cleverly well on both a visual and a moral plane.  In other words, the offer here is of a man who, through the most shattering national tragedy (one immediately framed, you'll recall, in term of good versus evil) could somehow remain so personally "tall" -- in the sense of "upright" and "upstanding."

So, what does the cover suggest today?

One thing it indicates is that Rudy rises or falls with that monumental pridefulness and self-righteousness associated with the disaster.  To the extent 9/11 grows more complex, more distant and less the simple straw man to symbolize America's absolute (moral, as well as -- thanks to BushCo. -- military) strength versus weakness, well ... it's a long way down.

(image: Gregory Heisler.  TIME Magazine.  December 31, 2001 - January 7, 2002.  Cover)


Not what I wanted to see first thing on a lazy Sunday morning.

So is Time trying to sell us Superman now? That this Nesferatu Look-a-like can leap tall buildings in a single bound?

I feel nothing but revulsion and a really strange urge to give Ghouliani a little push...

This photo is so phony, in that the "Big G" seems to be standing on the top of a building, but is PhotoShopped onto the "pedestal." Even the lighting, which comes from "below" and behind makes him look less like he really does. In fact, I think it gives him a sinister glow. At any rate, why did Time give him this honor over people who deserved it? And, why would anyone really want it? I read some years ago, that people featured as Person of the Year later "crashed," in some way, in their careers or reputations. Maybe, it's the bigger they are, the harder they fall syndrome.

Margaret, Rudy's in with heavy hitters as Times Man of The Year, which started in 1927 with Charles Lindbergh. The heroic portrayal of the mayor as their choice, reaches mythical proportions ( "..trying to sell us Superman now?-Asta) in the 2001 article he seems greater than the man who was faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap...

jtfromBC: Rudy is in there with Hitler and Stalin, too.

Margaret, yes and so are Roosevelt, Churchill, Gandhi etc. I wasn't particularly interested in good or evil folks or success or failure types I was simply thinking how ironic such a light weight character like Rudy could be included.

Context is everything--I think Rudy looked so good on 2001 because he ran toward the trouble (as a mayor should do) while another so-called leader was jumping on a plane for Nebraska.

Whew! Gezzus, I thought...whew!

I have to sit down for a sec.....

By Time's own criteria--"the person or thing that had the greatest impact on the news, for good or ill"--the Person of the Year in 2001 was Osama bin Laden. The "Rudy myth" was a reaction to bin Laden's actions, so by definition bin Laden had a greater impact than Giuliani.

They should change the title to Newsmaker of the Year, so people don't misinterpret the choice as an award and Time doesn't make chickenshit decisions like Giuliani.

It looks to me like he is one big blast of wind away from getting blown off his pedestal and taking a very long fall.

It seems weird to be revisiting this 6-year-old cover, almost as weird as the cover was itself. What does it say about TIME that they picked a philandering mayor on his way out of office to the obscurity of most NYC mayors? What does it say that they didn't pick the real heroes, the first responders, the firemen, many of whom believe Rudy to be directly responsible for the loss of many of their brothers? Could it be that to feature any/all firemen would beg the question of why not the most well-known and respected one of all of them, the chaplain, who just happened to be gay? No, no, no. Better to stick with the mayor who jumped in and out of the rescue effort until all that 'missing' gold was 'found' in the basement. et seq.

He turns his back on The City: the man is not Manhattan happening, here. The text tells us "Tower of Stength" yet he supports nothing. This is no Atlas, man. One arm limp, its finger pointing to their hallowed ground; the other absent, pointless, in self-important contempt, or just plain impotent.

More tombstone than tower: he grandstands on their graves and shrugs, "Alas: behold me."

He is obscene, in this scene.

Surely the artist knows this. The image reeks of this man's hubris ~ there is nothing heroic or glorious about this image ~ the artist screams at us: can you believe this shit? look at what this bastard is doing!

But they didn't "get it." So many, still don't. That's the most bizarre thing about this bastard; about {gasp!} so many of US. So desperate for heroes, be we? Celebrity on others' sacrifice?

Jesus! How can any of US look at this image and say:

There he stands for what I want we to be” (!)

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