Tag Archives: Rupert Murdoch

January 8th

On this day in 1941 William Randolph Hearst took very much agin Orson Welles and refused to allow any adverts for Citizen Kane in any of his publications.

William Randolph "I'm bog-eyed" Hearst.

Hearst was 70 at the time and probably the most powerful publishing magnate in the US. A bit like Rupert Murdoch, but probably a bit less friendly. Most people are aware that Hearst was not happy about CK and most people know that it’s because the character of Kane was based on Hearst himself. According to those how knew him, the thing about the film that enraged him the most was the depiction of his screen second wife as a drunk and a talentless singer. Welles himself admitted that this part of the storyline was a “dirty trick”. However, other insiders claim that while he was pissed off by the depiction of the second wife – who was a close model of his long term mistress Marion Davies – the thing that enraged him most was Kane’s sledge, the name of which led to his last word on his deathbed: “Rosebud”.

It seems a particularly innocuous word, but if rumours are true, then

Rosebud or "is that a clitoris I see before me?!

rosebud was Hearst’s pet name for Marion Davies’s clitoris. Oh and yes, Marion Davies was an alcoholic, mostly because the life she ended up living with Hearst was so difficult. She was a talented comedienne, but less talented when it came to dramatic roles. Hearst, like Kane, insisted that she be given dramatic roles that were beyond her skill, hence she looked like an idiot and drank more and …art really was reflecting life. Welles was right, this was a dirty trick, more so to Davies than Hearst who was old enough and ugly enough to take that and a whole lot more.

However, the enmity went further than banning adverts. Hearst newspapers printed articles about Welles claiming he was a communist and unpatriotic, dangerous and sick. He also threatened Hollywood studios and made a lot of noises about Hollywood being full of immigrants and refugees. In other words,  Mr Hearst, as well as being a great big crybaby, was also more than a bit anti-Semitic.  Luckily for Hearst, Welles was not very popular in Hollywood, mostly because he was young (only 24 at the time) and didn’t play the game. Louis B. Mayer offered to pay RKO $842,000 to destroy the negatives of the film. The then studio owner, George Schaefer, refused and then threatened to sue Fox, Paramount and Loewes theatre chains when they said they would refuse to show the film. All in all, things were not pretty.

They got less pretty at the Oscar ceremony the following year. CK was nominated for nine Oscars but only got one (screenplay, which went to Welles and Mankiewicz). Some might say that was fair enough, but was it fair to boo Welles and his film at the ceremony? Because that’s what happened.

A man never knowingly more than a couple of feet from a pie

Immediately after this, George Schaefer was pushed out of RKO and so was Welles. Citizen Kane was then put in the RKO archives and forgotten for about 15 years. It was seen as a piece of shit that no one should bother themselves with. Of course, now the film is seen as one of the best movies ever made. To a lot of people it’s still pretty dull, but for any cineastes, there is so much in it that is new and has gone on to influence decades of film makers, that it’s not even a case of “liking” it. It just is a truly great film.

And finally, we know that Welles went on to live his life like a show business Benjamin Button, having all his success as a young man and ending his life in adverts for sherry. Not that that is exactly what Benjamin Button did, but, blah. It’s the whole backward life type thing. Just about all of Welles later problems can be seen to be the work of Hearst. Not that Welles was without faults, he was a bit of an arrogant twat when he felt like it, but his talent, or our chance to enjoy it, was nipped in the bud by William Randolph Hearst. Rupert Murdoch probably learned everything he knows from him.


Today is the birthday of …65 today, 65 today, he’s got the key to the … well to his OAP bus pass. He’ll probably be seen at the Post Office a lot, queuing up for his pension and shaking a stick at young people who get in his way and threatening them with his scary false teeth.

Yes, the sublime David Bowie is 65 today, which seems truly mental and

Oh no love, you're not alone

makes me feel old myself. Of course given that I’m only 25 or something, it should have no such effect on me, but I guess I feel the Bowie running in my veins.

What plaudits can I pay him that haven’t already been paid? The man is a genius. He went through a well dodgy stage in the late seventies, when too much coke made him think that giving a Hitler salute was a good idea, which should have been what the government used in anti-drug adverts rather than those ones where attractive skinny people who looked like models with a cold were supposed to put us off heroin. D’oh! Thousands of girls were all like “Fuck me, all I have to do is snort smack off of some tinfoil and I too will look like Kate Moss!” A photo of Bowie doing the Nazi Salute with the caption “Drugs make you think it’s cool to be a Nazi twat” would have been much more powerful. Except of course to people who thought it was cool to be a Nazi, but frankly the thought of them all dying of smack AIDS really doesn’t bother me at all.

Meanwhile! Back in David Bowie land. I have heard nice stories about him from people who sort of knew him. I also like his songs a lot, although less so in the late 80s, but I figure if Mozart had lived to a proper age he might have put out a shit symphony or two, so I don’t really hold that against the lovely Mr B. I spent last night trying to think of a favourite and there really isn’t just one. Depending on my mood, it can be several, but there is something about Rock and Roll Suicide that makes me tingle, so right now, at this moment in time, that’s what I’d like to thank Mr B for as I wish him a very happy birthday.


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March 11th

On this day in 1526 there was a royal wedding in Seville. Isabella of Portugal travelled there to marry Charles V & I. Don’t worry, she wasn’t being married off to a couple of polygamous monarchs,  Charles was both V – as Holy Roman Emperor and I as King of Spain.


Pretty Lady

You may wonder why we’re having a look at a European royal wedding that happened nearly 500 years ago. Well, I shall tell you. Both Isabella and Charles were members of the Habsburg family. In fact they were first cousins and not the only ones keeping it in the family. Isabella’s brother, King John III of Portugal married Charles’ younger sister. The Habsburgs, you see, were keen on protecting their lands and their power and it was round about this period – although it had started a little earlier – that they began to do this by only marrying another member of the Habsburg family. And that, my dear friends, is what we’re going to take a look at today, because it’s with Isabella and Charles that the whole thing really gets started.


The first documented use of the name Habsburg was in 1108, but at that time they were just  a bunch of counts and not that big a deal on the European stage. They were also marrying outside the family, mostly women or men with lots of land and power, the better to

Remember, they'd try to flatter you in portraits in those days

get more for themselves. They carried on doing this sort of thing for a few centuries until in 1452 Frederick III finally got the role the family had been aiming for all along: Holy Roman Emperor. He was succeeded by Maximilian I and then we got Charles V.


From this time onward nearly every marriage within the Spanish branch of the family was to another Habsburg and not to a distant cousin. They were generally between first cousins, double first cousins, or uncle and niece. Researchers going through the family tree from 1516-1700 found that 80% of the marriages were consanguineous. Now, of course at the start of this intermarriage thing, this wouldn’t have been too problematic. Isabella and Charles were first cousins, but as well as being Habsburgs, they both had mothers who were from outside the family. But as the years went on, first cousins might have nothing but Habsburg parents, grandparents, even great-grandparents. The problems started arising. The Habsburg chin and the Habsburg lip became famous; both are genetic birth defects. On top of this there was also the infant mortality rate among the family which ran at about 50%, which was higher than the average for the period and far higher than the average for such an aristocratic family.

You’d think that as they noticed that things weren’t quite as they should be, that they’d maybe rethink the marrying deal they had going on, but no.  By the time of the last Spanish Habsburg, Charles II, the inbreeding coefficient was so high that even though is parents were only uncle and niece, they might as well have been brother and sister. In fact it was even worse than that. It was as though a few generations of brothers and sisters had produced children, who’d produced children who’d, etc.

Charles II produced no children. He was born with serious physical disabilities and mental problems too. Not only did he have the Habsburg lip and chin, but his tongue was so large that it was difficult to understand his speech. He didn’t start to speak until the age of four and only began walking at eight. He had no schooling, he often didn’t wash and was in no way fit to be the King of Spain. Nevertheless this is what he did become, defying all the odds by living until 1700 and dying just before his 39th birthday. His growth was stunted, he was unable to walk properly, he was epileptic and bald and senile before the age of 35. This was what the Habsburg’s desire to hold onto land and power had come to. The family survived outside of Spain, where outer-marriage was more usual, and continued to be a strong and powerful force until the beginning of the twentieth Century.

If we go back to Charles V and Isabella, we see a handsome couple, whose ancestors, if the family had married more wisely, could have gone on to be as fine and sound as they were. That said, Charlie and Bella weren’t the ancestors that most scientific researchers start with. They were Philip and Joanna of Castile. When considering what went down with the family over the centuries it’s worth bearing in mind that Joanna was known as Joanna the Mad. Poor old Charles II never had a chance.

So, if you were thinking of marrying your cousin or your niece, well first “yuck!” and second. Look at Charles II and just say no.


Today is the birthday of Australian bastard magnate, Rupert Murdoch. He was born into a newspaper family and throughout his life has done all he can to purchase every newspaper in the world and make us all read only the stuff he likes, which is mostly tits and whatever politics he likes best at the moment. Tired of only having newspapers, mostly because the print kept getting on his fancy

Gloomy Gonad

suits, the sad scrotum lookie-likie, started buying television stuff and film studios. It is understood that he cries most nights because he doesn’t own the internet and still hasn’t invented the terminator.


He wants to own the world and the moon on a stick and if you say horrid things about him he turns up at  your house with a poker and threatens to stick it up  your arse if you don’t give him a lollipop and say sorry. I have my lollipops prepared. If Satan was walking around the earth, you get the feeling he’d be a bit like Murdoch, but better looking. One can’t quite imagine Beelzebub choosing to look like a slack walking testicle. So, even though it often seems that Murdoch is the devil, he isn’t, because not only is he not good-looking enough to be old Nick, er, the devil ain’t real people!

Murdoch is merely a very rich, powerful, greedy, arrogant and ugly man, who would own your vital organs if he could. That said he’s 80 today, so he probably won’t be around being all slimy and sort of evil for much longer, so Happy Birthday, Digger, you old fucker. Don’t eat and drink too much, it’s not good for you at your age.


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