Thursday, April 16, 2009

Greek Idol : Arianna Huffington

So I was watching MSNBC or CNN and the familiar face of Arianna Huffington popped up on my screen. Then that voice creaked through my speakers and I winced in pain. Even as a Greek who is used to that accent, it is painful to hear. It is the voice of cousins, hotel clerks and shopkeepers in Greece painfully trying to remember their English lessons. This is the voice of a media superstar and the founder of a popular blog? Doing some research I discovered that Arianna Stassinopoulos left Greece and moved to England at the age of 16. Her sixteenth birthday was in 1966. She has lived for over 40 years in English speaking countries and she talks like the woman behind the counter at the Avis in the Athens Airport? Is it a put on? Does it make people believe she's a great thinker like Henry Kissinger?

She was born in Greece to a prominent Greek family in 1950. Her father was a newspaper editor who apparently worked on an underground paper during the Nazi occupation. His paper was free to publish during the right wing junta from 1967-1974. Unlike other prominent Greek ex pats she did not criticize the Junta. Open opposition to the Junta, a tool of the American Government was not seen as terribly extreme during the late sixties.

She was a bit of a media celebrity in the 1970's London. She hosted shows on BBC, wrote songs for Irene Papas and a popular biography of Maria Callas. A series of rumours linked her to prominent men. While in England she became a follower of Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA). MSIA is a "nondenominational and ecumenical church whose purpose is to "teach Soul Transcendence, which is becoming aware of yourself as a Soul and as one with God, not as a theory, but as a living reality." You may not find yourself shocked to learn that many call it a cult. She is probably still be a member.

Arianna first came to prominence in the USA as the wife of oil millionaire and Republican Congressman Michael Huffington. She had previously been involved with the extremely liberal California Governor Jerry Brown. As a candidate for Senate in 1994, Mr Huffington ran the most expensive campaign in American history to that point. Widely seen as an empty suit under the control of a foreign wife, he lost the election. Arianna was seen as one of the new breed of political wife. Like a right wing Hillary Clinton, she was a smart determined woman who tried to ignore her husband extra marital wanderings. While Bill was a dog, Mr Huffington turned out to be bisexual. This was not a shocker to most, including Arianna.

Receiving a hefty marriage settlement Arianna, who was knows as Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington during her marriage dropped her maiden name after her divorce. She continued her support of right wing causes. As a co host of public radio's "Left, Right & Center" she began by representing the Right Wing as a keen supporter of the Republican Party but over time her role shifted to represent the "fourth dimension of political time and space". This shift occured over time and her blog "The Huffington Post" is one of the top sources for progressive news and celebrity bloggers. She was briefly a candidate for California Governor but was left in the dust during the Governators win.

What does Ms Huffington really believe? Is she simply an oppourtunist who will choose a side which best suits her needs for publicity? That's almost certainly the case, but it doesn't take away from the fact that she has put together a pretty kick-ass website. Most importantly though her ever present Greek accent is still a mystery, especially since over two thirds of her life have been lived outside of Greece. What we do know is that Arianna Huffington is a Greek Idol.

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1 comment:

w.c.b. said...

go back to greece they need you to solve there socialist money problem's.Please they need you.