Who is Charles Foster Kane?

Citizen Kane was one of those movies that they used to show us in school to illustrate the ‘art’ of cinema and I think most of the kids watching resented it because we really didn’t want to see some ‘old’ movie where nothing blew up, no one got shot, there was no shower scene and we had to pay attention to what people were saying in order to understand the point of the film.

Despite my immaturity at the time of the first viewing, I remember thinking Citizen Kane was a great movie, even though, as a kneejerk teenager I was probably predisposed to hate everything that a teacher might have said was worth watching. What I continue to like about it is that it is one of the few films in which the ‘hero’ (Welles’ “Kane”) transforms from a charismatic, idealistic and energetic reformer into a tyrant. Usually we get to see it go the other way around (the ‘bad man’ gets a shot at redemption).

I understand Rupert Murdoch’s career has followed a similar trajectory, except without the “once having been a nice guy” part. According to folks who knew him ‘back in the day,’ when he was in college he was an outspoken leftist and continually publically pilloried his fellow students for perceived defects in character or ideology. As the son of a wealthy Australian newspaper owner, he was apparently one of those people who claimed to ‘love the common man’ without ever wanting to actually go through the inconvenience of having to be a common man. He dropped the ‘Labour’ party bit like other folks droped flares and found his raison d’etre as a “kingmaker.”

My own hope is that, frustrated by the recent “News of the World” scandal, he will soon retire to his Xanadu where he will marinade in isolation and bitterness and eventually mutter the name of a beloved childhood toy before slipping off to the next world. Unfortunately, the real world is not like cinema and the grasping, cynical people seem to live forever.

5 Comments on “Who is Charles Foster Kane?”

  1. kelvingreen says:

    I hope this is the end of Murdoch's influence in Britain at least, but I rather suspect it's not, particularly with our spineless government.

  2. ClawCarver says:

    I think Kelvin is right, sadly, but I live in hope. Things are moving by the minute: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/12/miliband-cameron-meeting-phone-hacking-inquiry

    It would be nice to think that Murdoch and his grotesquely evil henchwoman Brooks will not only suffer in business terms but also be brought to account for their crimes. And if the whole nasty affair damages Cameron's government by association, then that's a bonus.

    Time I watched Citizen Kane again, too. Great post.

  3. DRANCE says:

    Wow, another case of powerful, rich people thinking they are above the law?! Human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together, MASS HYSTERIA! The more I let myself view/listen to the news, the more I am convinced that I just want to bask in RPG goodness until the end of the world…and then keep on basking as the world actually ends. I mean it. I will be working on my campaign and reading gaming materials right up until a roaming band of post-American collapse rejects cave in my skull with a lead pipe after they burst through the meager defenses of my boarded up house. I'll be at the kitchen table. The family will already have been evacuated to safety moments before, of course.

  4. Malcadon says:

    I hold no doubt that Hollywood would make a big-budget remake of Citizen Kane, with all the action, explosions, sex-scenes, you'll expect from such an epic blockbuster! It would be expunged of any unessential “dept” or “subtext” to make it more appealing for foreign markets. And in the end, the world would forgive him and he will get the girl. You know, a good wholesome Hollywood “revision”. JOY!! =D

    We should start a British earthquake relief fund, to help the people who have been injured and displaced from the quake that was started by the collapse of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

  5. Erin says:

    …he will soon retire to his Xanadu where he will marinade in isolation and bitterness and eventually mutter the name of a beloved childhood toy before slipping off to the next world.

    So glad you came back to the blogosphere, Limpey. Truly.

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