Holiday preview: T-Day at the Murdoch house

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News item: "A simmering debate over the trust that owns the [Murdoch] family's 28.5% voting stake in News Corp. surfaced with the resignation of Lachlan. ... The precipitating reason for Lachlan's departure, he has told several people, was his father's undermining of his position within the company over a long period. People close to both father and son have also acknowledged, however, that tensions over the trust were a factor, and those tensions stem from the conflicting maternal ambitions of Ms. Deng and Mrs. Mann." -The New York Times, Aug. 2

Setting: Thanksgiving dinner at the Fifth Avenue Manhattan penthouse that Rupert Murdoch purchased for $44 million in December 2004. In attendance: Rupert, 74; wife No. 3, Wendi Deng, 36; their two daughters, Grace, 3, and Chloe, 2; Prudence, 46-a daughter from Rupert's first marriage; second wife, Anna Murdoch Mann; and their children, Elisabeth, 36; Lachlan, 33, and James, 32. Also: Lachlan's wife, Sarah O'Hare, and their infant son, Kalan.

Grace [to Lachlan]: ... And if you hadn't quit, you should have been fired for bringing that cretin Bill Hemmer over to Fox News. Your looks are fading fast, so you decided to hire a new pretty boy? To shore up the pretty-boy quotient at News Corp.?

Lachlan: Look, that wasn't my call-

Grace: Oh, excuse me, right. I forgot you were only sort of, kind of, a little bit in charge. So what was your call, then? Putting Saddam Hussein in diapers on the cover of The New York Post?

Lachlan: Those were underpants! But, jeez, what is this? I'm not going to justify my legacy to a goddamn 3-year-old. Anyway, I'm done with News Corp. I resigned, remember?

Chloe: Oh, yes, we know! And Da-da said he was "particularly saddened." Ha! Quelle dommage! Gosh, I hope News Corp. doesn't just fall to pieces now that you've left.

Lachlan [exasperated, to Wendi]: Tell me again what kind of deranged school these two are attending?

Anna [interjecting herself]: She's sending them to pre-pre-school for the gifted [rolls her eyes].

Wendi: It's fantastic. It's a shame Kalan won't be able to go, now that you've all moved back to Australia.

Sarah [defensively]: There are plenty of good pre-pre-schools in Sydney.

Kalan: Waaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

Rupert [entering the room]: Oh, good, everyone's here. [To Kalan:] What's wrong, little one?

Chloe: He's pissed off about Bill Hemmer.

Rupert: The Fox News halfwit we stole from CNN? I like him. He's pretty!

Grace [ignoring Rupert]: James, you're picking up some of Lachlan's slack, right?

Chloe [under her breath]: Yeah, until he has a hissy-fit and runs back to Oz, too.

James: Um-

Grace: We need to do something about Bill Hemmer. He's stinking up Fox News, and that place was no bed of petunias to begin with. Why don't we send him over to FX? He'd be good on a sitcom. He could be the next Kirk Cameron.

James: Uh-

Chloe: Or he could be Paula Abdul's boy toy-you know, now that Corey Clark's out of the picture.

Grace: Hey, I've got an idea for a new Fox reality show: "So You Think You Can Cheat?" Ha ha ha!

Kalan: Waaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

Elisabeth [to Rupert]: Daddy, now that you're publisher of The Post again, can you make Keith Kelly grow his mustache back? I really miss it.

Rupert: Honey, in the reorg Peter Chernin will set corporate facial-hair policy.

Wendi [annoyed]: Rupert, that's not what we discussed. Peter was supposed to be in charge of the Paula Abdul investigation, you were going to work on the Su Doku puzzle, and Chloe and Grace were taking charge of personnel matters.

Grace: And The Post editorial page! Don't forget the editorial page!

Lachlan [to Rupert]: What?! You never let me touch the editorial page!

Elisabeth: Yeah, Daddy, it's bad enough you want to cut Poopy Pants and Fart Face over here in on the family trust. Now they're setting editorial-page policy?

Wendi: Rupert, sweetheart, didn't Elisabeth quit News Corp five years ago? [To Elisabeth:] What's it to you?

Rupert: Chloe and Grace happen to be very informed about both the war on terror and private Social Security accounts. Besides, they're loyal, and they listen to their father. Unlike some people around here.

James: Um-

Prudence: Can we just eat already? I'm starving.

Rupert: Yes, let's eat. I'll say grace: Bless us, Dark Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive...

Kalan: Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

Lachlan: Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

James: Uh-

Grace [muttering]: I still say those were Pampers Saddam was wearing.

Rupert: Pampers? Oh, that was all Photoshopped anyway. Wait `til you see the dog collar and chaps we've come up with for Hillary!

Chloe: Oh, Da-da! We love you so!

Rupert: I love you too, sweet pea. By the way, on Monday I need you to fire Greta Van Susteren...

[Ritual feasting on raw kangaroo flesh commences.]

Email: dumenco@gmail.com

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