I suspect the recent and unlamented demise of Bin Laden filled Rupert Murdoch with a certain trepidation.
That arose from the fact that once the world’s #1 arch-villain had passed from the scene the crown had to pass on to another and the guy that Private Eye magazine chose to christen ‘The Dirty Digger’ quite naturally needed to assume the honor.
There’s a huge responsibility to be assume when one is deemed the international bastard par excellence. I mean the earlier title-holders like Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Pol Pot and David Hasselhoff set a standard not easy to live up to. Waver just a bit and another bit of vileness is bound to replace you.
There is a reason we have such creatures on the planet, and we’ve always had them back to the days of Attila and Genghis Khan, it keeps the peasantry in its place. You know, “Don’t hate that piggish Lord Dukeofearl, folks. Not when Saladin is at the gates!”
The heads of the world’s religions have always known that, which is why they trot out Satan upon which figure we can blame damn near all our transgressions. “Not me. The Devil made me do it.”
George Orwell also knew the psychology behind villain figures, which is why in 1984 he offered the always to be feared (much more than ‘Eurasia’ and ‘Eastasia’) character Goldstein. Goldstein, you see, is the international scapegoat for all the sins of Orwell’s metaphorical future society. It matters not what excesses the state perpetrates on its benighted populace, for Goldstein (who may or may not even exist, much as there was doubt that Bin Laden was actually around as long as they said he was) will always be so much worse.
Murdoch, of course, does exist. We’ve seen the recent pictures of the man we are now expected to love to hate. On the one hand, you’ve got to admire the bastard. He’s 80-years-old (an age at which a lot of guys are already looking at the bulbs rather than the blossoms), is in charge of the biggest media empire ever, and has a young popsy wife (one of her responsibilities, apparently, is to protect the old bugger from badly aimed custard pies).
I guess one of the reasons we are expected to hate Murdoch is that he is so unrepentant over such transgressions as wanton phone hacking, impeding police investigations (arguably costing lives), and coopting a lot of lawmakers and other who should have fucking known better except mammon is powerful temptation and Murdoch knows it. I mean, erstwhile media lord Conrad Black, who is a learned boy scout compared to Murdoch is doing time (rather unfairly, in my opinion), which Murdoch who even tapped the Queen’s phones, for crissake, trots around a free man while empires (like the British one) crumble in his wake.
And then there is his Medusa-haired acolyte, the viraginous Rebeka Brooks who was known to make seasoned editors wet themselves in business meetings, such was her profane wrath. But, the less about her, the better. Murdoch, of course, wuvs her to bits.
I guess another reason we hate Murdoch is that his legacy is one of crude vulgarity and profit at all costs.
”What did you contribute to world culture, Granddaddy?”
“Well, lad, I put bare-titted tarts on Page 3!”
“Wizard! Just the sort of thing a 14-year-old needed.”
And then there is Fox News.
Yet, there is also The Simpsons, arguably his only redeeming decision.
Do I hate Murdoch more than anybody else on the planet? Nah. There is an actual person of my erstwhile acquaintance that holds that honor. But, in Murdoch’s case his transgressions are legion and as a sometimes journalist I’d take great pleasure in seeing him taken to task.
And then he can be replaced by another bad person.