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Murdoch is latest target of pie-throwers

Pie of contempt. Pie of celebration. Such is the muddled, mixed-up state of the world, circa 2011 — the Golden Age of the Pie as Statement.

world Updated: Jul 20, 2011 23:17 IST

Pie of contempt. Pie of celebration.

Such is the muddled, mixed-up state of the world, circa 2011 — the Golden Age of the Pie as Statement.

Never before have so many pies — blueberry, apple, shaving foam, whipped cream — landed in so many unsuspecting faces for so many conflicting reasons. “I love you, man!” or “I hate the man,” all in the self-same flick of a wrist.

Bill Gates, Sylvester Stallone, Anita Bryant, Milton Friedman, Ann Coulter and countless baseball heroes have been pied in the past few decades. And it was Rupert Murdoch’s turn on Tuesday.

A serial antagonist who calls himself Jonnie Marbles shmeared the media mogul with shaving cream while Murdoch testified about the ongoing phone-hacking scandal before a Parliament committee. “It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before,” the marble man tweeted grandly moments before expressing his disdain more frothily.

Wait a few days and you’ll probably see more pies fly; it’s just that they might be the other kind. Some baseball player will knock a pitch out of the park to win a close game, and one of his pals will sneak up behind him with a pie tin full of shaving cream during a post-game interview. Bam. Message delivered: You rock!

Pie’s versatility will once again be confirmed.

So agile is the pie as prankster metaphor-in-action that it can be a verb or an adjective or a noun. Pie throwers talk of pieing people. And no less an authority than the relentless protester Aron Kay — perhaps the ur-pie thrower of his time — declared that Murdoch most definitely qualifies under his “guidelines for pie-able people.”

Kay has been slinging pie since the 1970s, when pieing evolved from circus-clown shtick to protest flicks. His brag book includes a couple of Watergate conspirators —Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy — William F. Buckley Jr. and, of course, Andy Warhol.

Many of the nouveau pie throwers may settle for insta-advocacy, squirting whipped cream into their tins, rather than slow-baking fruit in a shell rolled out delicately on a flour-dusted counter. But Kay, still feisty but less active at 61, always wanted his choice of confectionary weapon to have real meaning.

Kay is a legend in the pie-throwing community. Oh, you didn’t think there was a pie-throwing community, huh? Well, clearly you haven’t seen “The Pie’s the Limit” on YouTube or encountered the dessert world’s terrorist cell, “al-Pieda.”

In an exclusive partnership with The Washington Post.

First Published: Jul 20, 2011 23:15 IST