TIME Magazine started naming a “Man of the Year” in 1927, and part of the reason for it is that they felt so much shame about not having Charles Lindbergh on its cover that they decided they had to make it up to him – and the public – somehow. So they gave him the first award, and of course, the cover.
Since then it has evolved to a “Person of the Year,” although it is sometimes given to a group of people, like the American soldier in 1950. And it is given to people in general as well, as it was in 2006, when it was named, well, “You” in honor of the spirit of do-it-yourself creation on the internet (a memorable issue, it had a mirror on the cover). Inanimate objects are not disqualified; “The Computer” took the honors in 1982 for ushering in the information age.
The honoree has, “for better or for worse … has done the most to influence the events of the year.” It is not a popularity contest. And there is something that is widely misunderstood; there is nothing that says the “winner” is to be well-loved. For example, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and the Ayatollah Khomeini have all been Persons of the Year.
So who will wind up being the “Person of the Year” for 2023? Well, there’s quite a bit of 2023 left, but BetOnline has offered some sportsbook futures odds on who it’s going to be. Let’s take a look:
Time Person of the Year 2023
Elon Musk +150
Joe Biden +333
Volodymyr Zelenskyy +350
Vladimir Putin +800
Xi Jinping +1000
Donald Trump +1200
Jeff Bezos +1200
Since this “award” has been instituted, almost every United States president has been named. In the case of Biden, he was named in tandem with Kamala Harris in 2020, for winning the election. But that doesn’t mean they can’t win again. Franklin D. Roosevelt, for instance, has won three different times.
And when you consider the “for better or worse” part of Time’s explanation, you know he’s right there in the running. Is there anyone whose grocery bill is LESS since he’s been elected?
The inclusion of Zelenskyy and Putin in this field should be self-explanatory. Putin, by the way, got it in 2007, while Zelenskyy, the former comedic actor, is the “defending champion” of sorts, winning it with the “Spirit of Ukraine” in 2022.
Xi Jinping is the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, so his influence on world events is going to be inevitable and unquestioned.
Bezos and his creation (Amazon) has an effect of the daily lives of tens – or even hundreds – of millions. Trump, like Bezos, has been a Person of the Year in the past. But we’re not sure that his recent declaration for president is going to be the thing that has enough of a considerable effect, even after creating a “cause celebre” with his (in his view) persecution by a liberal Manhattan judge.
Musk, the 2021 recipient, is the justifiable favorite. Even though his purchase of Twitter was finalized in 2022, the sweeping changes he is making are the source of much controversy as they seek to transform the way that free speech is, for lack of a better word, governed in the social media world. It is a powerful and influential platform to control.
Musk, it goes without saying, also makes news with anything he does with SpaceX, and he was one of the original founders of Open AI, which, through Chat GPT and other offerings, will change the world. Musk is no longer associated with that business, which has moved from non-profit to for-profit status, but he does have some AI interests of his own, as they relate to Tesla, and when he speaks about the potential benefits and dangers of artificial intelligence, people are listening.