Wednesday, December 20, 2006

From "Me" to "You"

Congratulations! You are person of the year!

Tom Wolfe was an avid reader. Early on, he knew he wanted to be a professional writer. He graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1951 and earned a Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale University in 1957. He went on the serve as a reporter for the Springfield Union, the Washington Post, and the New York Tribune. The rest is history. His essays and novels have introduced “household name” phrases into our language, “the right stuff,” “radical chic,” and “good ol’ boy,” to name a few.

Mauve Gloves and Madmen, Clutter & Vine, Wolfe’s 1975 collection of essays, introduced a phrase that would characterize a generation of Americans: “the Me decade.” Wolfe's coinage, “the Me decade,” was soon transformed into “the Me generation” in popular parlance. Now, “Me” is “You.” Time magazine's “Person of the Year” is “You,” which is really “Me,” which is more specifically, “Everyone.” The issue includes a mirror on the cover so readers can reflect upon their favorite subjects. Little did I know when I wrote “Reflecting of Narcissus” in November that Time would so soon provide such an unmistakable case in point.

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