After being named Time magazine's Person of the Year, I've updated my CV. Frank Rich in the Sunday Times glows with similar faux enthusiasm for the mag's cyber-cheerleading, as does Jon Stewart over at the Daily Show, just press play above.
As our country sinks deeper into a quagmire -- and even a conclusive Election Day repudiation of the war proves powerless to stop it -- we the people, and that includes, yes, you, will seek out any escape hatch we can find. In the Iraq era, the dropout nostrums of choice are not the drugs and drug culture of Vietnam but the equally self-gratifying and narcissistic (if less psychedelic) pastimes of the Internet. Why not spend hour upon hour passionately venting in the blogosphere, as Time suggests, about our ''state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street''? Or an afternoon surfing from video to video on YouTube, where short-attention-span fluff is infinite? It's more fun than the nightly news, which, as Laura Bush reminded us this month, has been criminally lax in unearthing all those ''good things that are happening'' in Baghdad. As of Friday morning, ''Britney Spears Nude on Beach'' had been viewed 1,041,776 times by YouTube's visitors. The count for YouTube video clips tagged with ''Iraq'' was 22,783. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But compulsive blogging and free soft-core porn are not, as Time would have it, indications of how much you, I and that glassy-eyed teenage boy hiding in his bedroom are in control of the Information Age. They are indicators instead of how eager we are to flee from brutal real-world information that makes us depressed and angry. This was the year Americans escaped as often as they could into their private pleasure pods. So the Person of 2006 was indeed you -- yes, you.