Friday, December 17, 2010

The Great Dream: An Inexistential Quest

The Huffington Post is my favourite news website, essentially a news aggregating blog. Though it can often be Americentric, well, so is today's world, though the American exceptionalism is gradually giving way to cater to a more global audience. Its contributors include politicians, celebrities, academics and policy experts such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, Madonna, Alec Baldwin, Larry David, John Kerry and Bill Maher to name a few. Just 5 years old, HuffPost has already won a number of webbies, has a huge community (over 1 million comments/month) and is notable for being completely free of cost.

Last week, surfing its Comedy section, I came across the following interview:

It's Conan O'Brien interviewing Arianna Huffington, discussing a wide array of topics, including divorced people stripping, handling 3-blackberries at once, and why HuffPost doesn't charge its readers (to which she famously replied, "People don't like paying for news and opinion...unless it's financial stuff or very, very weird porn."). But it was really the first minute and a half that caught my attention.

Born and brought up in Greece (as visible in her thick accent), Arianna has seen everything there is to see in American politics, and is a prominent voice in policy, environmentalist and liberal circles. As the founder of HuffPost, which has been recognised to be amongst the most prominent vehicles on the Internet by the likes of TIME, she is widely considered one of the world's most powerful and influential women.

When the host of "Conan" discussed her amazing success story: running a large arm of the American media, and being the voice of an animated bear (named Arianna, Tim the bear's wife on The Cleveland Show), she mentions that she got what she always dreamt of as a child. Being the voice of a cartoon bear on a hit American TV show, and a successful blogger.

In other words, she aspired to non-existent things.

And isn't that remarkable. As Conan continued, isn't that what everyone coming to America dreams of.. Aspire to something that doesn't exist, yet!

We've all come across these facts and prophecies somewhere.. so many professions of the early 20th century don't even exist anymore, replaced by those of today, that will cease to exist within another decade... the top 10 jobs in 2015 don't even exist in 2010.. new industries, new opportunities, will keep taking birth, and we'll have to prepare ourselves to face them, and when they aren't even there...

While there are many versions of the great dream out there, the American, the Indian, the IITian, and so on, I think this really clinches the one truly great aspiration for me.

A great dream: the non-existent.

Just like jeggings in 2008.


Update: AOL has now acquired The Huffington Post for US$315 million, making Arianna Huffington president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, which will include The Huffington Post and existing AOL properties such as Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater, AOL Music, AOL Latino, AutoBlog, Patch Media, and StyleList.

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