Time’s nice guy of the year

Today’s Austin American-Statesman carries a column by regular contributor John Young inspired by the designation of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as Time’s “Person of the Year.”

What’s so odd about the choice is that he seems like a genuinely nice guy. And, let’s face it, 2010 will sign off as one of the meanest years in memory.

After all, Time’s runner-up was the tea party, one of the most rabid popular movements of our time. In this case we speak not of the rabidity that comes with rabid fans or rabid stamp collectors. We speak of the snarling, foamy kind, the “call animal control” kind.

After noting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s foremost goal is to make Barack Obama a one-term president, Young writes,

Zuckerberg is the anti-McConnell — not interested in making things a little more impossible, but one probing what’s possible.

Zuckerberg is driven not by what’s best for the GDP, as most of America’s public policies have been for a generation, but what’s best. Period.

… Maybe it’s not so odd that Time recognize someone like him. We turn the page to a new decade — the teens? — from a decade whose name we dare not designate. We spent 10 years spinning our wheels in ideological dust and debris, much of it in a sand storm of our making.

… But let’s face it. The [Internet] devices and networks that array themselves are the horizon to which the world is turning, and you might as well look to what a new day delivers. I say it’s delivering power back to those who believe you can change the world not by being calculating and vicious, but by being smart and nice.

Or, as he might have said, Power to the Coffee Party!

About Hamilton Richards

He retired in 2006 as a Senior Lecturer in Computer Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. These days he volunteers technical support for Citizens' Climate Lobby (Austin chapter), Common Ground for Texans, (CG4Tx.org), Integrity Texas (IntegrityTexas.org), Austin Rowing Club, and several friends.
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