In the months leading to the launch of The Huffington Post, I always knew that I wanted our group blog to include the best of the old and the best of the new. And there was nobody better as a representative of the old establishment culture than Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
So the very first person I approached about blogging for HuffPost was Arthur.
He invited me to lunch at the venerable Century Club to discuss it. I arrived to find Arthur and his wonderful wife, Alexandra, already seated at the table.
"What is a blog?" he asked. "And what is blogging?"
So in this bastion of the Old Guard, I found myself explaining to a man who didn't do e-mail, and who considered his fax machine a revolutionary way to communicate, what blogging is. Of course, he got it instantly -- and almost as quickly agreed. With one proviso: "Can I fax you my blogs?" he said.
"Of course," I replied, since I've never agreed with the purists that it ain't blogging if it's not done on Moveable Type.
And, indeed, his first faxed blog post arrived -- and was posted -- on May 9, 2005, the day HuffPost launched. There was the President of the United States, deriding the Yalta conference as "one of the greatest wrongs of history." -- part and parcel of his ongoing derision of negotiations, diplomacy, and anything but unilateral cowboyism.
And there was a man who was an expert on Yalta, countering -- swiftly and knowledgeably -- Bush's comments as delusional. It was my dream come true. (Arthur also became the inspiration for Boswell blogging).
But Arthur did more than just blog for us. He introduced me to his two sons, Stephen and Robert, and to his stepson Peter Allan, who all began blogging on HuffPost. In fact, there was one memorable day when we had all three Schlesingers back-to-back-to-back on our Featured Posts lineup -- and one memorable lunch, when I joined all the blogging Schlesinger men and Alexandra back at the Century Club.
The last time I saw Arthur was at the New York party for my book on fearlessness (see a pic from that night below). He was frail -- and it meant more than I can say that he made the effort to be there. To the end, he was the living embodiment of the cliché -- truly a gentleman and a scholar. He will be very much missed.
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