Celebrity self-justification platform The Huffington Post is launching a spinoff in France called "Le Huffington Post," French for "Another Fucking Huffington Post." Welcome to Arianna's global cocktail party, French people. You only think you're invited.
The editor of the new site will be Dominique Strauss-Khan's wife, Anne Sinclair. On one hand, she's an actual veteran journalist. On the other hand, that's surely not why she was hired. She was hired because she is rich and famous and well-connected and has a prominent name, all things that Arianna Huffington values far more than "journalism," or even "a decent website" (we're not trying to get too uppity, here). It's the same reason that Nora Ephron is the notional editor of HuffPo's "Divorce" section, an appointment that is just as embarrassing for Nora Ephron as it is prestigious for HuffPo.
"But reproducing the success of the U.S. Huffington Post site in French will be a challenge, analysts say. So far, news and commentary websites have struggled to generate steady profits in France," reports the WSJ, which is an oblique way of noting that the French public is more intellectual than the American public, and therefore less likely to patronize a site quite as dumb as HuffPo tends to be (nothwithstanding the army of good reporters buried deep, deep inside the site, where they cannot be found). So why does Arianna go to all the trouble of securing these A-list types to "edit" or "write for" her primarily linkdump-driven site? Because HuffPo is, at its core, just The Moveable Feast of Arianna—an easy way for a consummate networker and social climber to hand out favors, keep allies and enemies close, and generally organize her personal army of influencers, who will therefore be indebted to her and at her disposal when she decides to make her next vanity-driven foray into politics, or whatever.
You readers make the whole thing go. But you're not invited past the velvet ropes.