To throw is a verb in the political jargon that comes with shoes and pies. Throwing shoes at politicians is a form of protest seen most commonly in the Muslim world and recent victims include George W. Bush. Pie throwing has had a prominent place throughout the 20th century in the Western world. It’s argued that it began in silent films and then became popularised with Laurel and Hardy’s 1927 slapstick, Battle of the Century.
Jonnie Marbles, the man who threw a foam pie at Rupert Murdoch in a British parliamentary hearing on Tuesday, wrote in the Guardian that he simply “did it for all the people who couldn’t,” and not to increase the number of his Twitter followers.
Marbles calls himself an “activist, comedian, father figure and all-round nonsense.” He says he tweets “in an impersonal capacity,” in a page that has more than 16,000 followers. It’s reported that more than half of those people joined his paged after the attack.
Marbles explained his reason further:
“It’s not difficult to find reasons to dislike Rupert Murdoch. His reach is one of the most insidious and toxic forces in global politics today. The phone-hacking scandal, despicable though it is, barely scratches the surface of the damage done by News International. It is a media empire built on deceit and bile, that trades vitriol for debate and thinks nothing of greasing the wheels of power until they turn in its favour.”
“I don’t hate octogenarians. I don’t have a vendetta against anyone over 80 who likes to begrudgingly give evidence to parliamentary committees. Nor am I in the habit of attacking media moguls on international television. Yesterday was, hopefully, a one off.”
He wrote he knew that he would make a “massive tit of myself” and “For a few bright moments I thought I might see justice done, keep the pie in my bag and spare myself a night in jail. Those moments were short lived.”
Murdoch’s third wife, the 42-year-old Wendi Deng who sat behind him in the hearing, arguably for moral support, showed her vigilance in the face of the foam attack. More effective than the police present in the committee room, she whacked Marbles in the head and prevented his full success – the pie never fully landed in Murdoch’s face.
There has been diverse reaction to Marbles’ circus crusade in social networking websites. It ranges from outright outrage at an attack on an old man to praising a hero.
By Ali Sheikholeslami