When Time magazine editors revealed the 10 finalists for the 2013 "Person of the Year," they knew the tongues would be wagging. Literally.
Incessant tongue wagger Miley Cyrus is on the list, nestled among the Presidents of Syria, Iran, and the United States. The controversial "We Can't Stop" singer is on the same list as Pope Francis and Health and Human Service secretary Kathleen Sebellius. She kind of sticks out like a sore thumb -- or at least a foam finger.
In Time's defense, the annual "Person of the Year" title is given to the person or group who's done the most to influence the events of the year -- for better or for worse.
In 2001, longtime Time managing editor Jim Kelly defended the mag's consideration of Osama bin Laden for Person of the Year. At the time, Kelly told Time: "The classic definition of Time's Person of the Year is the person who most affected the events of the year, for better or for worse. I think what has happened over the years is that the Person of the Year title has become non-honorific. It was never meant to be solely that."
While New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani ultimately took the 2001 title, the mag has made some controversial picks in the past, including Adolf Hitler in 1938, Joseph Stalin in 1939 and 1942, and Ayatollah Khomeini, in 1979.
"When Hitler made Man of the Year, the illustration was of him playing the Organ of Death with skeletons all over it. It was not meant to be an honor to Hitler," Kelly said. "The reaction to it was surprisingly mute. But then again, I think it was because it was 1938. The selection of Khomeini was controversial. And a few hundred people did cancel their subscription."
Miley Cyrus's impact on 2013 has been well documented, but is it deserving? Her raunchy twerk-fest at the MTV Video Music Awards made headlines in August, and she trumped that stunt by allegedly smoking a joint onstage during MTV's European Music Awards in Amsterdam. Her nearly-nude "Wrecking Ball" video also create buzz, as did a controversial Rolling Stone interview that had her touting the merits of marijuana.
"I think weed is the best drug on earth," Cyrus told Rolling Stone in September."Hollywood is a coke town, but weed is so much better. And molly, too. Those are happy drugs -- social drugs. They make you want to be with friends. You're out in the open. You're not in a bathroom. I really don't like coke. It's so gross and so dark. It's like what are you, from the Nineties? Ew."
Cyrus capped off her bad girl year by wearing a skimpy red outfit and twerking with Santa Claus at KIIS FM's Jingle Ball in Los Angeles. But even that may not land her on the naughty list: According to Us Weekly, the accompanying bad Santa dug the dirty dance, and was just as naughty with a bottle of holiday spirits concealed in a brown paper bag.
Up until now, an entertainer has never actually taken the Person of the Year title, unless they were in politics, like Ronald Reagan, who was named in 1980 and 1983.
Whether or not Miley will be the first celeb to take the title is up to Time. It's their party, they can do what they want.
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