Steve Jobs Is Leading Contender For Time’s Person of Year

By

TIME Person Of The Year Lunch

Steve Jobs is the leading contender for Time‘s annual Person of the Year award, even though it’s not usually awarded to someone who is no longer alive.

“The smartphone has changed the world as much as the Bible has,” said celebrity chef Mario Batali, who was pro-Jobs at Time‘s annual POY panel debate in New York.

The 2011 Person of the Year award was discussed by a panel led by NBC’s Brian Williams and Time‘s managing editor Rich Stengel. Also featured were actor Jesse Eisenberg, comedian Seth Meyers, lawyer/professor Anita Hill, senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, lobbyist Grover Norquist, and Batali.

Much of the debate was about whether Jobs should be the first person no longer alive to become Time‘s Person of the Year.

But Jesse Eisenberg, who played Marc Zuckerberg in The Social Network, said it was like the Oscars giving best director to someone who just died when they really deserved a lifetime achievement award.

Here’s some of the debate:

The panelists also suggested:

Mohamed Bouazizi — The Tunisian fruit vendor who triggered the Arab Spring
The Occupy Wall Street movement
Esraa Abdel Fatah — lead organizer of the uprising in Cairo
Nicolas Sarkozy or Angela Merkel — trying to stop the euro debt crisis

What do you guys think? The guy who started the Arab Spring (who also passed) or Jobs?