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Heard it all before
This month AA Gill wrote a demolition of Dubai for Vanity Fair. We swear these guys are working from some sort of ‘journalism by numbers’ sheet.
March 14, 2011 12:47 by shafeer
If Kipp was going to write a Dubai bashing article, it wouldn’t be hard. We’ve read so many of them, we could do it with our eyes closed, and we imagine there are plenty of journos out there who feel the same.
AA Gill clearly did. So much so that he actually wrote one, in the process ticking pretty much all of the same clichéd perception boxes as guys like Johann Hari and Rod Liddle. It’s a lazy piece, so lazy I’m surprised he managed to file it.
In his piece Gill writes about the “white mercenary workers who come here for tax-free salaries to do managerial and entrepreneurial jobs, parasites and sycophants for cash. For them money is a driving principle and validation. They came to be young, single, greedy, and insincere. None of them are very clever. So they live lives that revolve around drink and porn sex and pool parties and barbecues with a lot of hysterical laughing and theme nights, karaoke, and slobbery, regretful coupling. In fact, as in all cases of embarrassing arrested development, these expats on the short-term make don’t expect to put down roots here, have children here, or grow old here.”
We’ll be sure to mention that to our “not very clever” white mercenary friends with MBAs, double Masters or Doctorates, shall we Mr. Gill? While we’re at it we’ll stop in on one of our numerous friends who have lived here for more than the two decades you claim Dubai was created in. They raised their kids here too, by the way.
You know what? Kipp is not going to worry about it, since Gill’s career is largely built around having a negative view of things. He’s generally hated by gays and lesbians, Welsh people, and even people from Norfolk thanks to his various nonsensical blathering. In fact, it has occurred to us before that his ramblings make only vague sense. We can’t escape the thought that his success has more to do with his name than anything else. A A Gill. It just sounds like a literary great’s name, doesn’t it? Much better than simply ‘Adrian Gill’.
The thing is, he’s not a literary great. He’s a restaurant critic. Yes this haughty lecture on what Dubai is was penned by a restaurant critic. At last, we have a man with an opinion worthy of note! What’s that? A restaurant critic is not enough for you? Fear not, for he is also a television critic. That’s right, when he’s not offering insights on a city he clearly knows nothing about, he’s watching Secret Diary of a Call Girl and complaining about The X Factor.
Kipp is just plain tired of this. Gill is entitled to his opinion, of course, and if he genuinely believes what he writes about Dubai, then so be it. But this whole thing smacks of a freelance gig he couldn’t refuse. The editor asked if he fancied a trip to Dubai, and said all he had to do was write a nasty article about it. Gill thought, why not? Can’t be hard. In fact for all the insight the article offers, he may as well have written it at home. Perhaps he did.
We just wish one thing: If you’re going to bash Dubai, at least do a proper job. Go to a labour camp, uncover human rights issues if you can, speak to people about fraud and laundering and corruption and whatever else you say goes on here. But also meet the extremely intelligent expats who have lived in Dubai for decades, making a life for themselves, not just the drunk Brits at Double Decker. Go to the old parts of Dubai, see some of its history. Don’t just show up and go, “Ooh, Dubai is so crass and tasteless and it didn’t even exist 20 years ago and now everything’s abandoned”, because, frankly, you’re making a massive fool out of yourself.
This is just cheap, lazy journalism (and yes, Kipp is more than qualified to comment).