I'm currently in the grip of the strangest feeling. I'm actually feeling sorry for Dubai.
Lalaland is taking the most enormous pasting in the international media right now. The Israeli tennis player ban story and the British author book banned story are flying around and media are picking them up faster than discarded dollar bills. The 'conversation' on Twitter is universally negative and violently anti-Dubai, buoyed up with links to the New York Times piece that asserted 3,000 cars have been abandoned at the airport, Dubai's Wikipedia 'human rights' entry that details drug convictions at Dubai International Airport and stories on the tennis and book scandals.
The ban on Shahar Peer has led to an international outcry and the situation doesn't look as if it will get any better, with The Guardian reporting that a second Israeli player, Andy Ram may also be denied a visa - and that Dubai could lose the support of the WTA and the ATP as a consequence of the ban on Israeli players.
The banned British author story has also gained a lot of traction. Nobody has thought to question why a writer that had previously lived in Bahrain for five years would think that a book of that nature would go down well locally but the coverage has been another howl of anti-Dubai sentiment. And no matter how much you suspect it all of being an elaborately managed publicity stunt to get an unpublished book 'out there', the tone of coverage and sentiment is universally negative.
I do wonder how much of the outpouring of hate is about people giving someone else a kicking to help manage their own frustrations and fears in our straightened times. All of this comment, mostly based on little direct experience of the place and more direct experience of over-simplified and jazzed up media reports, does rather seem to position Dubai as the poster child for mindless excess and crassness.
But then Tinsel Town has hardly been tasteful or modest in its promotions, has it?