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Exile on Fleet Street



on Rupert Murdoch’s beef with the British.

Rupert Murdoch’s strange, covert reign over British public life did not begin all at once. It came about gradually, by accretion, and started with his purchase in 1969 of a dusty old tabloid called The News of the World.

In the same year, the BBC — keen to understand the man who some said would transform British media — dispatched one of its cherished sons to interview Murdoch. David Dimbleby — then a 30-year-old reporter, today the august host of the BBC’s flagship political debate program — set about Murdoch with the clipped vowels and polished cunning that will be familiar to viewers of Question Time. Halfway through the report Dimbleby speaks to Murdoch’s second wife, Anna. Here, he strikes on a more informal line of questioning, and says with an almost coquettish lilt in his voice:

“I expect it’s awful to be the wife of a media tycoon. I mean, don’t you feel cut out of so much of his life?”

Anna considers for a moment. Then she says:

“I don’t like it when people call him a tycoon. Tycoon is a sort of Americanism. He’s a good Australian businessman, and he’s come over here.” The beginnings of a smile flicker over Anna’s face; she suppresses it, and adds: “And he’s going to show you how to do it.”

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Two things jump out at me in this picture:

1. Holy shit those shoes are huge.

2. I don’t look nervous or uncomfortable; I look genuinely happy. That, combined with my haircut, makes me think that this must have been taken when I was 14, perhaps in the Spring just before I turned 15. This is probably right when Star Trek was starting.

When I look at these cheesy teen magazine pictures of myself— wait. That sounds creepy and weird and awful. Let me try again. When I gaze lovingly at these old pictures, I remember how sad and unhappy and uncomfortable I was for most of my teens, and how much I hated all the posing for pictures and attention from magazines. I was shy, I was uncomfortable in my own skin, I was nerdy and anxious and weak and weird, and being put under the Teen Media spotlight just made me want to crawl into a hole and die.

But this picture reminds me that it wasn’t always overwhelming and weird, and I’m glad to be reminded of that, because it’s way too easy to focus on the awkward and uncomfortable times I really wanted to be alone playing Blades of Steel on my NES, but I was at some teen cheese thing, trying to fit in.

(Source: chambers1986)

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