Friday, November 5, 2010

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

I like her name. I like what she does. I like what she says.

"Arianna " is a Greek name that means holy. Her maiden name is Stassinopoulos. She was born in Greece, and came to the United States when she was sixteen.

Is she someone I'd like to be when I grow up? (Yes, I'm grown up, but when I bump into someone I admire, it's a question I ask myself. )

Hmm ...

She's a writer. She lives in Los Angeles with her two teenage daughters. She is the founder, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post. People think of it as the internet newspaper and often refer to it as the "HufPo." She's also involved with several organizations that promote community solutions to social problems,

I've seen her many times. 'She's guested on Oprah,” “Nightline,” “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Inside Politics,” “Larry King Live,” “Hardball,” “Good Morning America,” “Today,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” and “Countdown.”

She's written fifteen books. The subjects intrigue me. Browsing the titles and publication dates, I'm respectfully jealous, aware of the emergence of her as an ever more thoughtful observer of life in America.

Her private life is a little messy, confusing. She went to Cambridge University in London; graduated, and lived with a journalist, broadcaster. Though she still calls him "the big love of my life," she left him when he wouldn't marry her, and moved to the U.S.

During the eighties, she was involved, probably more than spiritually, with John-Roger's Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness; also romantically involved with the Governor of California, Jerry Brown (currently the Attorney General of California who is running again for Governor). While becoming known as a liberal Democrat, Arianna wrote two great biographies that were optioned and sold to movie producers -- "Maria Callas: The Woman Behind the Legend," and "Pablo Picasso: Creator and Destroyer." That she was accused of plagiarism is on her resume -- she paid off one accuser; a second accusation faded away.

In 1985 she met oil millionaire Michael Huffington. They married and have two daughters. They moved to Washington, D.C. when Michael was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. Later, after they established residency in Santa Barbara, California, Arianna campaigned for her politically conservative husband, touting smaller government, reduction in welfare (25 years ago Republicans had the same issues as now). Michael won a seat as a Republican in the House of Representatives. But when he ran for Senator, a few years later, he lost to the incumbent, Dianne Feinstein.

They divorced in 1997. She kept the name Huffington. Michael Huffington revealed that he was bisexual and said that his wife knew about it throughout their marriage.

Though Adrianna supported Newt Gingrich's "Republican Revolution" and Bob Dole's 1996 candidacy for president in his campaign against Clinton, in the late nineties her politics shifted back to the left. She teamed up with liberal comedian, Al Franken. Bill Maher and Adrianna were a writing team. She guested on various news shows, did a few of acting roles, and was on her way to becoming the celebrity, the liberal democrat and political entity, that she is today.

Her private life? Well, her men friends include Maher, Franken, Werner Erhard, Mort Zuckerman, Jerry Brown, David Murdock, and currently Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark.

She's everywhere in the media -- making comments, quoted, recognized. (When I'm researching, again and again, the HufPo appears with succinct articles on whatever is in the news.)

I've seen many videos of her discussing diverse topics, handling argumentative people -- conservatives, Tea Partiers, Republicans. Democrats -- with persistent logic, calmness, and grace.

Arianna Huffington is sixty now, non-conforming, not in any way outrageous, but unique. She's ten years younger, a vivacious fifty, in her looks, bearing, and ideas.

So ...? Well ... ?

No I wouldn't want to be her. It's the small messes. Her former boyfriends, lovers, whatever, are still part of her life and the experience that makes her what she is. All books she's written, the HufPo -- all that is part of the messes -- failures, new directions, ups and downs she's been through along the way.

I like my own ups and downs, my own messes better than hers. I know how to handle them.

1 comment:

Carola said...

I just can't get out of my mind the picture of her campaigning with her previous husband and spouting conservative beliefs.

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