Since James Murdoch's appearance before that parliamentary committee a couple of weeks ago, media coverage of him just hasn't stopped. Amongst all the talk about his evasive manner, his shortcomings as the head of a big corporation, and whether he might or might not have been telling the truth, there's been one thing noticeably missing. No one has said in good plain language what a nasty toady piece of work he appears to be.
Well of course not! Journalists are taught not to say such totally subjective things. And quite right too. Even so, I haven't spoken to anyone of any background, or profession or sexuality who, having watched James Murdoch in front of the parliamentary committee, didn't say exactly the same thing, "What a horrible person."
Now this could be most unfair. We're talking here about how he comes across, not necessarily how he is, which is exactly why good journalists are more circumspect. Yet what people instinctively feel about Mr Murdoch is an important point to take into consideration.
For one thing, it might have worked unfairly against him, causing his interrogators to think that some of the truthful things he said were actually false. Though it's just as possible it could have worked the other way. Because British people are always keen to be fair, I wonder if the interrogating MPs didn't perhaps confer together and say, "We mustn't let how much we dislike him influence our conclusions. After all, it's not his fault he's like he is."
So what makes Mr Murdoch Jr seem so unpleasant? It's not that he exudes wickedness, or cruelty, or deliberate malice. Rather, it's the opposite. He exudes almost nothing. Except perhaps a certain disdain for everyone around him. One journalist called him "snippy", which seemed about right. My own conclusion is - he doesn't much like himself.
I checked on his career. He went to Harvard but was rebellious - left without competing his course, dyed his hair blond, wore a ring in his eyebrow, liked music and invested in a hip-hop record company, Rawkus Records. Later, he ended up selling it to his father's company, News International, swapping youthful rebellion for the benefits of being a rich man's son.
I guess the unattractively shuttered person we now see is the result of that decision. For the billions he's now worth, it's understandable why he did it. But I bet he often regrets it. Following in a rich father's footsteps has few benefits for self-esteem. And his elder brother, having done much the same to begin with, finally opted out aged 38.
Now, a little detour...
A couple of years ago I was walking in the gardens of the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok and there sitting on a chair was Robert Mugabe, alone in a white suit, looking a bit sweaty. As often happens when you see someone well-known, I had a momentary feeling he was a friend and, without meaning to, I smiled at him in a familiar way. Then realising who he was, on a sudden impulse, I said, "Far too hot, isn't it? No wonder the British never colonised the place."
I could see a couple of bodyguards a short distance away but they didn't move and Mugabe smiled and replied, "Didn't stop them in Malaya, did it?"
And we were off - a couple of minutes of chit-chat about Thailand and tropical weather.
It was interesting, as it always is, to find a pleasant side to someone who's usually considered unpleasant. So I thought, if I walked out of that hotel lobby again, only this time it was James Murdoch sitting there, would I chat to him? And the answer was no.
I then asked myself - who is the absolutely nastiest person in the entire world? Having been through Kim Jong Il, Saddam Hussein, Sepp Blatter and Colonel Gaddafi (and because this was pure fantasy, it didn't matter in the slightest that two of them were dead), I came up with Sean Hannity.
In case you don't know him, Sean Hannity is a pundit-come-interviewer on Fox TV in America - a brainless, belligerent, bellicose supporter of all things right-wing and republican - a sneeringly impolite shouter at the guests he invites onto his programme. In short, he's totally vile. Yet if I came across him in the same sort of way that I came across Robert Mugabe, I think I would still try to find a few things we could talk about politely, because it might confound me, and sometimes it's good to be confounded.
So why not James Murdoch?
Sorry! If you're waiting for an answer, I don't really have one. It's just that he doesn't look worth talking to.