Blessed are the Big Noses

Don’t know much about physiognomy, but remembering what Lincoln said about a man earning his face, the cartoonist in me has been thinking about the noses worn by J.P. Morgan and his current avatar, Rupert Murdoch. Is there something about a bulbous nose that is not content with owning just part of the world, but has to own everything, knock any opposition to the ground?

Both men reached the enviable postion of doing whatever they damn well please and ignoring the laws of lesser men. Morgan got fat by controlling railroads and steel, dominant of their day, while Murdoch has sought hegemony over the space between the electorate’s ears. Morgan had a famously bulbous, purple nose deformed by rhinophyma, the result of untreated rosacea. Rupert Murdoch's seems to have been shaped by character, curling his upper lip and squinting his eyes at all the smells of a world he doesn’t like. He wears a frown that cannot, cannot permit any serious worldview that diverges from the worldview of Rupert Murdoch.

We have the miserly, pinched image of acquisitiveness, as captured in cartoon shorthand by the likeness of Scrooge, caricatures of Rockefeller, and Henry Ford— traits combined in the design of The Simpsons' C. Montgomery Burns, and before that, the stock figure of Pantalone. Morgan and Murdoch and their noses are of some different order altogether. Did this nose possess W.C. Fields, who could never drink his fair share, but had to drink it all?

How powerful was Morgan? It was Morgan who bought out Andrew Carnegie from U.S. Steel, the first billion dollar deal in history. How rich was he? In 1895 Morgan bailed out the federal government itself, then rescued it again in 1907. (It was the second bailout, incidentally, that prompted creation of the Federal Reserve system as an alternative to the whims of billionaires). The New York Times itself was purchased by the Ochs family with a loan from Morgan.

And Murdoch? Murdoch is "the organizer of half that is evil and nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the centre of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows every quiver of each of them-- beg pardon-- that's Moriarty, not Murdoch. Of Moriarty's nose we know very little, though Alan Moore might make something of these connections, il miglior fabbro. and all that. Rupert Murdoch has shaped the world in his own image, sold his prejudices to the English-speaking world, giving the uber-rich a grip on power and resources that a medieval despot would envy. No need to instill a belief in the divine right of kings-- Rupert has empowered the ruling class to steal the common man’s shoes and then sell them back to him, taught them to deny the existence of a ruling class, hold out the pretense that the economic deck isn’t stacked, mock anti-Murdoch forces as fools and villains.

Urologists in London have debunked the penis-to-ratio myth-- so what is it about these men, that they spend their lives trying to fuck us?

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