I recall asking my mother what ‘without portfolio’ meant, when I was seven or eight years old, as I looked at one of her copies of Ladies Home Journal. This popular woman’s magazine, for generations of women, had as one its writers, Claire Boothe Luce and her column was called Ambassador Without Portfolio, or a title something like that. What brought this memory back to me, was that when I read Mr. Kuper’s essay on Ms. Huffington, I was reminded that what Mrs. Luce and Ms. Huffington have in common was their shared and very canny ability at self-promotion.
Mrs. Luce was a talented writer, who married well, and wrote ‘The Women’ for the stage that became a Hollywood film. Mrs. Luce was a very conservative Roman Catholic and an even more conservative Republican. And a rabid Anticommunist, like her husband of the Time-Life empire. Henry Luce was a powerful force in controlling public opinion, before the age of the Internet, and Time magazine was his very powerful instrument of enforcing his world view, while demonizing those who dissented. Compare his influence to the Hearst family nation- wide, the Chandler family in Los Angeles and Robert R. McCormick of Chicago. The present ‘Time’ is a pale ghost of what it once was under Luce’s management. The only time one sees Time mentioned on the internet is when its editors. of this ‘News Magazine’, name their ‘Person of the Year’: this year’s pick Donald Trump!
Ms. Huffington built her American ‘brand’ on her biography of Picasso, and her long time status as acolyte of Milton Friedman. Then Ms. Huffington, once a pillar of Conservatism, morphed into that ersatz political category of Progressive. And launched her Huffington Post on the unpaid labor of her stable of writers. And then sold it to AOL and declared it was ‘just a business’, rather that a political instrument to elect fellow ersatz Progressive Barack Obama. In her latest book, Ms. Huffington now offers her fellow overachievers advice on getting more sleep, enabling their continued triumph in the dog eat dog world of an utterly collapsed Neo-Liberalism.