Illustration: John Shakespeare
We have to talk about Rupert. Many families reach a point at which they need to confront the antics of the oldies - it appears to have arrived for the Murdochs.
A time comes when the younger generation debates gently urging mum to leave the car in the garage; perhaps to turn in her driver's licence. Maybe, what to do about the likes of an old boy in our neighbourhood, who wanders the streets wearing his late wife's clothes - but he's not a danger to himself or anyone else, so he just keeps walking.
And Rupert keeps tweeting. But maybe its time his modem was switched off.
Murdoch heads an empire built on tabloid headlines but for him to think that he can communicate meaningfully and without pratfalls in tweets of just 140-digits - with punctuation optional - is a failure to understand that he is in his dotage. He is not to be trusted on his own.
This is a tycoon who has invested hugely in spin doctors and who, when he thought in the past of something he must share with the people, he would pick up a phone and bark at any one of dozens of editors around the world - who then might save him from himself when the idea was … well, a bit off the wall.
Now he tweets unfiltered. And in a sure sign that he does not have enough to do these days, he then sits back and monitors media reporting around the world of his tweets - upon which he might strike again, tweeting demands for an apology despite stuffing things up himself.
All this is revealed in Murdoch's little tantrum this week - "Typical ABC in Oz alleged I called hacking victims scumbags," he tweeted. "Direct lie. Major correction and apology please."
So what happened here? The ABC indeed reported that Microblogger Murdoch had labelled "some phone hacking victims as 'scumbag celebrities'."
That is hardly unreasonable, given that he did tweet as follows - "Told UK's Cameron receiving scumbag celebrities pushing for even more privacy laws. Trust the toffs! Transparency under attack. Bad."
Put to one side the shades of Alf Garnett in his use of the vernacular and his seeming vanity earlier this year, when he switched what appeared to be a self-snapped mug-shot for a professional portrait as his Twitter face.
The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, indeed did meet several high-profile victims of the Murdoch mobile phone hacking scandal because with the publication of a report into the scandal imminent, they want to hold Cameron to act on its recommendations.
The singer Charlotte Church, the TV presenter Jacqui Hames and the actor Hugh Grant attended the Cameron meeting.
In the face of a backlash, Murdoch tried to wriggle out, tweeting ''not referring to these ladies''. He claimed he did not mean ''any particular people'' but then added another Garnett touch, with a reference to ''dodgy'' self-promoting celebrities.
Murdoch was in a hole and he kept digging. Another Twitter user said: "'Scumbags'? And your journalists and executives are what?" And at this, the unbridled Murdoch was off at a gallop - "They don't get arrested for indecency on major LA highways! Or abandon love childs."
Ooops - clearly a reference to Hugh Grant. So a more subdued Rupert was back at the keyboard again - "Hugh Grant states that he is deeply involved in his daughter's life. I accept that, regret tweet on the matter. Apologies to both parents."
This little contretemps left The Guardian's media writer Roy Greenslade looking positively sage-like, as he asked who is the real Rupert Murdoch - the one who told a parliamentary investigation into his newspapers' hacking exploits that appearing before it was ''the most humbling day of my life'' - or the one who seemingly dismissed the hacking victims as ''scumbags''?
With all this talk of toffs and scumbags, Murdoch has moved on from a tweet of his own which addressed the level of vitriol directed his way, when he asked: "Why can't we have sensible tweets? You're mainly just crazy and fun to read. No loss of sleep here." Is this the same mogul who tweeted in January - "My resolutions, try to maintain humility and always curiosity. And of course diet"?
A bigger question is, why does he bother?
So what if, as he tweeted, Rick Santorum was the only candidate for the Republican presidential nomination ''with genuine big vision for the country''; or if he referred to Barack Obama as Optus, when he meant POTUS [as in President of the US].
Does it matter that Rupert Murdoch thinks scientology is ''creepy, maybe even evil'? That while he is on holidays he tweets that ''maybe Brits have too many holidays for broke country''? Are we shocked that the owner of The Wall Street Journal thinks that The New York Times is ''boring''?
Or that, as best she can tell, the only reason that Murdoch listed Kym Fox as one of just seven twitterers he followed at one stage, was because her Twitter name tag was Fox News - by dint of her job at the San Antonio Express-News and her post as a journalism sequence coordinator at Texas State University. Was Murdoch just looking for his own network?
Michael Wolff, one of his many biographers, pondered early this year if Murdoch was feeling marginalised - ''increasingly uncomfortable within his own corporation'' was how Wolff put it.
Maybe the lieutenants are trying to corral the boss, and maybe the Twitter account is an old man's last breakout.
And perhaps the family has been trying to stage an intervention. A few hours after that wisecrack about British holidays, he tweeted - "I'm getting killed for fooling around here and friends frightened what I may really say."