Bloated by a medley of seasonal overindulgences, we emerge from the smouldering wreckage of 2016 like irresolute manatees and waddle out into a foreign landscape.
But don’t be perturbed by the fearful ‘f’ word my blubberous friends, the unrecognisable mass of sediment and flora that stands before you was once your very own homeland and now, with it freed from the insidious grip of overseas oligarchs, it has been handed back into the flippers of its rightful heirs. A truth verified and constantly reaffirmed by our very own popular tabloid press – owned by overseas oligarchs.
Rupert Murdoch recently announced his formal bid for a complete takeover of Sky via his multinational media corporation 21st Century Fox in a deal expected to be worth around £11.7 billion. If successful, this would result in 100% control of the company, providing Murdoch and his family with an unprecedented level of control over the British press, thereby solidifying their cataract-like role in the eye of the current political storm.
The proposed takeover has been criticised by a number of MPs, include Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable and former bacon sandwich eater Ed Miliband, with the ex-Labour leader voicing his concern in a speech to parliament: “In launching this, the Murdochs are seeking to turn the judgment of this house, regulator and the government on its head.”
News Corp’s previous bid for total control occurred back in 2011, but was later abandoned following the infamous News of the World phone-hacking scandal, which led to the closure of the publication, the criminal prosecution of a number of low-level employees and the resignation of Murdoch’s son James as chairman of BSkyB. Despite this, James Murdoch has once again ascended the nepotistic beanstalk to become current chairman of Sky and chief executive of 21st Century Fox.
Strangely absent from the criticism were objections to the hedonistic magnitude of the proposal. Should Murdoch’s attempts to rein over the sky prove triumphant, how exactly would his nightmarish vision be realised? Would an armada of high-powered drones erect a floating media metropolis unprecedented in scale into the space previously occupied by clouds? Would Damien Hirst be hired as architect for this abomination? And would said structure be powered by the tears of migrant orphans or entirely by race hate? To my dismay, all the above predictions came to fruition and building work commenced shortly afterwards.
Given the potential ecological ramifications of the development, I approached a group of local pigeons huddled for warmth around an outdoor heater and enquired as to whether Murdoch’s encroachment into their natural habitat might negatively impact the bird community.
“Indeed, you may be correct,” said one pigeon. “However, due to the limitations of my avian brain and my evolutionary lack of vocal folds, it’s difficult to articulate a print-worthy response to your question. I’m actually surprised the conversation has progressed this far, but you’re more than welcome to salvage a quote out of this, if possible.”
Above, the construction of Murdoch’s behemoth continues unabated. Monetised loudscapes begin to hang in the air, forming divisive shapes disparaging an assortment of ethnicities and minority groups. Tawdry celebrity gossip rains down like wartime propaganda leaflets.
My subsequent enquiry concerned the individual famous for holding dominance over the sky prior to the Australian media mogul – the Greek god Zeus. For obvious reasons, I was unable to speak directly to the deity, but was fortunate enough to be granted a brief chat with his spokesman.
“As you are aware, the King of Gods no longer deals with the press directly. The hacking of Zeus’s phone has been well documented in the press, as were his various infidelities. But if Rupert wishes to claim authority over the sky, that decision is ultimately his to make,” admitted the spokesman.
“You know as well as I do that the authority of Murdoch supersedes that of Mount Olympus, and Zeus knows from personal experience that immortality offers little immunity against a particularly vicious smear campaign.”
With the right-wing media monolith now fully constructed and eclipsing the entire skyline, I begin observing the fortified structure with a telephoto lens. As I pan upwards, my eye is drawn towards movement on a balcony at the summit of the monstrosity.
A frail but distinctly unsympathetic figure is visible. He appears to gaze down contemptuously to the mortal world below and all the filth contained therein. He stands pensively for a few moments, before slowly climbing up onto the ledge and gargoyling over the precipice, the ostensible wax-like folds of his skin drooping in the breeze. His spavined cloaca then proceeds to drop partially digested payloads of hate and bigotry thousands of feet below into the gaping mouths of the sleepwalking populous.Zachary Freeman