Friday, 20 March 2009

Enough!

I ♥ DubaiImage by el7bara via the banned website Flickr thanks to the wonder that is RSS...

The Guardian's been at it again. This time it's Simon "I saw the place two years ago through a plane window" Jenkins who has followed in a long and honourable line of Guardian writers who have lined up to give Lalaland an almost weekly kicking.

Simon's article, however, beats even Germainipops' whine for its inaccuracy and sheer noodle-headedness. He slags off Dubai for being super-planned, architect-designed and "bailed out by Bahrain and Dohar" (sic) among other things. As usual for The Guardian on Dubai, the article is so packed with untruth and unsustainable assertion that it simply does not stand up as a piece of professional writing.

It's amazing to me that one of the UK's leading and most respected quality newspapers continues to publish completely inaccurate rubbish about Dubai from people with no qualification whatsoever to be writing about the place - and I'd include actually visiting Dubai and speaking to some people here as qualification.

But the rubbish is popping up everywhere - not just The Guardian - to the extent where I'm finding myself, to my immense surprise, coming out of the Dubai corner boxing FOR the city.

I never thought that would happen!

Like many other residents who have commented on these articles, I've had enough, really. There are now so many articles packed with so much rubbish, from so many writers who have spent so little time here that you start to question whether you were right to believe in journalism in the first place.

Germaine did her research from a tour bus. Simon talks about looking out of a plane window. But the Sydney Morning Herald's Elizabeth Farrelly goes one better, starting her piece with the immortal words, "For longer than I can remember - six months at least - I've wanted to write on Dubai as a ruin. Not that I've been there..."

She goes on: "Dubai, the oilless emirate, was conceived as the business end of Abu Dhabi's more oleaginous cultural empire."

You don't have to believe me when I tell you that her article goes downhill from there - you can go and read it for yourself. I bet it makes you angry. And yet it's merely symptomatic of a whole outbreak of similar pieces, written by people that have never even visited the place they're so eager to vilify, never walked on the streets they accuse of being filled with prosecco swilling expats dazed with the crash around them.

Another excellent example of the genre is here, featuring yet another marvellous line: "So last week I spent an entire day reading newspaper articles and travel guides about Dubai and am now much better informed..."

There's plenty to accuse Dubai of - many of us posting to blogs here have had more than a few swipes at a whole range of issues. And there are plenty more, for sure.

But enough of this uninformed rubbish, really!




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18 comments:

Samer Marzouq said...

Does it have anything to do with banning Israelis from visiting Dubai? You know, if you stand against Israel, "the Kingdom of Angels", then you are the enemy.

Anonymous said...

Simon Jenkins should write Sci Fi, you gotta love the last two paragraphs,

"Gangs will seize the gated estates and random anarchy will rule the soulless boulevards. "

No, not a drama queen at all...

Will we be ruled by Robots too ? Or camel robots ? Camel robots that shoot bees out of their mouths...bees that give you violent explosive diarrhea when stung of course. This whole spiel reminds me of the movie Bladerunner, the last bit when Rutger Hauer says

"I've seen things...you people..wouldn't believe..."

DUBAI JAZZ said...

"mostly abandoned concrete housing blocks and barracks littering the landscape of Syria"

hahaha... is this guy for real?! I would love to know where those "concrete housing blocks and barracks" are.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Another factual error is that Jermaine Greer wasn't amongst the 'stage army of British writers' who came to the festival.

rosh said...

"When prices go up, buildings go up. When prices come down, buildings tend to stay up."

Eureka!

"the vast Atlantis hotel, built for $1.5bn with a whale shark in its swimming pool, was spending $20m on its launch party"

pfft..$30 million, and worth it.

"Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum"

umm..Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

"Eighty per cent of the population of Dubai are passing migrants who are there, like gold-diggers of old, only for the cash"

hmm..old hag's a weee bit touchy. Seems Guardian's got more loony tunes than GN/KT, combined.

Mockingbird said...

If only. I have long held the Guardian in semi-contempt. Mostly because every Thursday, the jobs supplement appears, stuffed to the gills with public jobs... for five a day co-ordinators and the ilk. Under the Tories, it was relatively minor, just another supplement. Under Labour... well put it this way, I bought it one Thursday not so long ago. 105 pages of meaningless jobs for enormous salaries... and we have to pay taxes to keep people in these dumb, pointless and irritating posts??? So it isn't too great an intellectual leap for me to expect one of their journalists to be an empty-headed fool who hasn't actually done any real research (such as actually going there), just watched Dubai out of the corner of his eye, and done the rest based on his own guess-work. Feh!! The Guardian, telling it like it is! I don't think so.

Mai said...

Oh for God's sake. I don't think I'm even going to bother reading any of these or anymore in the future. It's not even a case of being kicked when u're down. It's a sudden explosion of incompetent writing. Maybe these people just want to raise their SEO by writing about Dubai. Just because it's a topic of interest.

Rose in Dubai said...

Makes Gulf News look good and that's really scary!!!

The Spear said...

They make one huge mistake. Dubai forms part of a federation, a country and their neighbour, Abu Dhabi have money and oil and will not allow Dubai to go down, because it is bad for the COUNTRY.

Jacques Renault said...

You seem very keen to point to a few factual inaccuracies (such as the assertion that Dubai has been bailed out by Bahrain) but you know in your heart of hearts that there is an overiding truth in what is being said in this article and others.
I'm not sure how long you have been in Dubai but I imagine quite a while. What you fail to realise is that the reason there is sucha strong sentiment against Dubai is because the ethos of the place jars with the direction of the rest of the world in going. As he says in his article, in years to come Dubai will be seen as the punctuation mark of a half century domnitated by size. Things are changing in the world and Dubai is the exact opposite of the where things are heading. People in the post crunch world want subtlety, originality and compassion. All things that Dubai certainly is not.
What Simons Jenkins says rings true Im afraid.

Graeme Baker said...

Couldn't have said it better myself, Jacques. You can slag off journalists all you like, but much of what is said rings true. Dubai is a weeping sore, the mirror of all that is wrong with the world, and you'd be fools to yourselves to think any different.

Anonymous said...

Hi ! This is addressed to Alex. If you're going to fight in Dubai's corner, changing your alias to something less uncomplimentary then 'Fake Plastic Souks' could be a good start :)

alexander... said...

Hi, this is addressed to the Nony Mouse.

Fake Plastic Souks is the name of my blog, not my alias. I don't have an alias, I write under my own name.

Whether I feel Dubai has been wronged by international media or not, I shall remain a critic of things I think wrong or worthy of criticism, as and when such things pass me by. I'll also continue to laugh at the absurd and dumb.

It doesn't all have to be hate and kill or slavish adoration. There are shades of grey and movements of opinion, you know...

If the title of this blog implies that Dubai's shopping mall culture has extended to creating facsimiles of Arabian souks while the city's real souks dwindle, unloved by tourists that would rather walk in the air conditioned comfort of a facsimile, then so be it...

In the court of international public opinion, BTW, I do think Dubai could probably benefit from the support of critical voices more than the support of fawning sycophants, no?

Jaacques Renault said...

I do agree with your last point actually. It all seems a bit too easy to bash Dubai at the moment.
I just find it harder and harder to ignore the harsh truth of where Dubai stands in the context of major world changes.

rosh said...

Alex,

Mabrooks! Gulf News concurs!

alexander... said...

Yes, Rosh. What worries me is whether or not that's a good thing...

Saguaro said...

Even the Economist has added thier two cents. Dissapointing.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2009/03/look_on_my_works_ye_dubaiwatch.cfm?Fsrc=glvrnwl

Graeme Baker said...

so this guy's been. looks like it's not all sweet tea and beaches after all...

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/the-dark-side-of-dubai-1664368.html

what say you, boys?

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