Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This is the way The World ends


Boom by Pants


I don't know about you, but I'm for a bang rather than a whimper. And please let us have a big bang, because we do need a makeover in the world-domination department. I refer, of course, to the deliciously possible implosion of the evil Murdochian empire whose insidious world view has soured our breakfast milk these three decades past and quite possibly curdled our sense of common decency for generations to come.

This is the kind of Armageddon one can happily sit down to brunch with. One's beloved Guardian has distinguished itself with uncommon acts of bravery by standing up to the biggest media bully ever and chipping away at the weakest link in its seemingly unending chain of command - for absolutely years. The News of the World was weak in every other respect than that it was owned by News International. From such oddfellows is hubris made. So let's see how far the mightiest can fall. I have popcorn at the ready.

The Guardianistas were right about everything from the grotesque culture of entitlement and deservability that has filtered from the Murdochs down to their chosen and favoured to the absurd deference paid to them by the people who we elect to, you know, serve us rather than some random, self-appointed fief who happens to decide it is he who is the rightful ruler of all Anglophone democracies.

And now it seems, incredibly, that there is such a thing as an ethical 'line in the sand' beyond which a tyrant on quest for total power over what we read and watch in the best Orwellian sense, oughtn't to be allowed across. How good is that? I marvel at the process. At what point does the moral compass stop spinning uncontrollably enough for a cool assessment to be made? When a missing child's phone messages are callously deleted to make room for more desperate pleadings from her parents to call home? When confidential information about a Chancellor of the Exchequer's sick kid is used as a weapon to brow beat him into fessing up an exclusive? When there are so many coppers on the payroll that there aren't any honest ones left to make an arrest?

The pace is so frenetic, I hardly dare write anything for fear some new and even more outrageous revelation will have happened before I've managed to hit 'publish post'. At the time of typing this particular sentence, Murdochs Snr and Jnr and the flame-slash-corkscrew-haired siren who could be the cause of their downfall, (I'm already playing the movie in my head and wondering if Minnie Driver is willing to be made hard enough), have been invited to a 'please explain' session by the British Parliament. It's even possible that the Murdoch stranglehold on the British media may drop stone dead in a single afternoon. The words dragon and slain bob tantalisingly about together.

That it's come to this is amazing in a way that only seems obvious in absurdly elongated retrospect. The most astonishing realisation is that it's not the despicable way in which the Murdoch papers have openly and proudly operated that has occasioned their present predicament, but the fact that they've picked the wrong victims. As Hugh Grant rightly pointed out, no one cared when it was just rich, spoilt celebs whose privacy had been compromised. This is where News International launched into fatal hubris. And this is why the Murdochs should and will go down - because they didn't and don't know where to stop - and none of us can live with that.

For the past thirty years, we've been existing in a world where politicians on three continents have simply accommodated the 'Murdoch factor' into all of their dealings all of the time. Life has functioned well enough, but we've no way of knowing how much more pleasant it would have been without the unquantifiable nastiness of the Murdochian influence on the political and social landscape.

As I write, the British Parliamentary debate on News International's bid for full ownership of BSkyB is beginning and I'm just about to go to sleep. Hopefully, I will wake up in a world that is down by at least one serious arsehole. It would be lovely and twisted and extremely poetic if it were class snobbery that brought Murdoch down in the end; if the posh Tory PM and his cohorts banished the ghastly colonial on the grounds that he is ill-born and shabby and not fit to be invited in for tea no matter how much grubby merchant cash he has. What a perfectly Dickensian ending that would be. And I will dream on it...