The Huffington Post has a new feature where the children of famous, wealthy, and well-connected media and Hollywood moguls interview and
pay someone to ghost write about their powerful and famous parents. Called “Talk To Me,” creator and producer Christina Huffington has written the first piece where she talks about the woman who raised her—her nanny . . . oops, I mean, her mother—the founder and namesake of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington.
Setting aside the hard-to-ignore stench of nepotism, self-indulgence, and hypocrisy given the “check your privilege” narrative so often promoted on sites like the Huffington Post, Christina Huffington offers an interesting insight into her family’s dynamic.
She starts off explaining that she’s very close to her parents and speaks by phone to them daily. Yet, she’s also confused about the relationship, which has required regular trips to various therapists, all of whom have advised her that she needs to establish “a firmer parent-child boundary” so that she can better ease into adulthood.
Perhaps this is a good time to mention that Christina is almost 30-years-old. I’ll just let that sink in while I write this next paragraph.
Scott Fitzgerald adroitly pointed out that “the rich are different from you and me.” Ernest Hemingway supposedly responded to Fitzgerald’s quip with, “Yes, they have more money.” Yet clearly that’s not the only difference. It seems to me that many—including the Huffington clan—lack basic common sense. And so often—from the Hilton’s damaged offspring to the media savvy and sexually exploitive Kardashians—children of the rich and famous often are unfamiliar with the normal phases of life, what maturing into adulthood means, and how relationships are supposed to develop.
Here’s Christina’s description of how the conversations with her parents run:
. . . Despite the frequency and intimacy of our conversations, I recently realized how much there still is left unsaid. I started noticing how many times our phone conversations about some problem I was having or some exciting news I’d received would end with me hurriedly asking, “and everything good with you?” before saying our I love yous and hanging up. I’m generally a pretty inquisitive person and tend to like asking questions more than giving answers, but with my parents the conversation is undeniably tilted in the opposite direction.
While Christina scurries off to her various therapists to figure out this puzzling problem, there’s an obvious solution. Christina could simply stop talking about herself for five minutes. She could begin the conversation with a simple “How are you?” instead of leaving that question to the very end, when she has to jump off the phone. I give this advice minus a psychology degree, by the way.
These common sense solutions never seem to occur to Christina. But that’s okay; this “Talk to Me” series isn’t just a vanity project (or a desperate move to work out her problems after her umpteenth therapist gave up on her). Rather, Christina reveals this series was born out of an altruistic need to help others. She uniquely understands that making the transition—you know from a self-centered toddler to 30-year old adult in a matter of weeks—isn’t just a problem for her, it’s a problem for, like, everyone!
We are launching ‘Talk To Me’ in the hope that children everywhere will begin to initiate these conversations with their parents and ask the questions there never seems to be the time to ask.
For those of us dealing with real problems, does this child-parent relationship- building issue really cry out as something worthy of a generous benefactor and a feature in a prominent online magazine?
Is it even a problem at all? While this may come as a shock to Christina, plenty of Millennials manage to have conversations with their parents on topics other than themselves, their love lives, money woes, and how this season’s Fendi bag is, like, a total let down. Parents have even been known to head off these developmental problems with their kids by explaining the basics of civility and by telling their kids that every conversation should not revolve around them.
Clearly some HuffPo readers will enjoy this series, not because they get anything out of it personally, but because it’s yet another voyeuristic peak into the blessed lives of celebrities.
And let’s face it, when you consider the real problems families are facing these days: drug abuse, unemployment and stagnant wages, rising healthcare costs, and an overwhelming sense that things just aren’t right in this country, who wouldn’t rather be entertained by the silly “problems” faced by the world’s richest children?