Secker & Warburg, $50 hb, 399 pp
In the last week of June, after a period in the doldrums, the News Corporation share price suddenly took wing again. Buyers piled in. A lazy few hundred million dollars were added to the company’s value. The basis of the revaluation? Apparently, Rupert Murdoch himself had descended from Olympus to participate in a presentation to sharebrokers in Sydney. Enraptured at this visitation, analysts had upped their profit projections for News.
This took me back. In the years I worked at The Australian, when Murdoch was never seen though incessantly discussed, I used to conjecture to colleagues that he did not exist, or at least not as we understood it; he was immanent, a kind of plasma pervading the chipboard. We should instead see the Murdoch in things, like the fact that obtaining a cab chit required almost a papal decree, and that our huge cans of industrial-strength coffee had to be consumed to the last grain before replacement. Even now, I find it hard to believe that those Sydney analysts actually saw him: they can do wonderful things with holograms nowadays.