The Spine

The Frivolity Of The Gulf States


Is the "fix" in at the Times for Abu Dhabi and Dubai? How the hell do I know. But there sure has been a lot of attention paid to these meaningless mini-states. And from the following list I've left out Tom Friedman's periodic encomia to their wise leaders.

But I did go back six months and here's what I found.

In Sunday's Times, a half page photograph of "SURFBOARDING ON A DESERT
chic, so stylish.

Then, going backwards: "Emirates Eyes Film Eminence," June 27

An excerpt from the article:
"A few months after announcing a $1.3 billion deal with France to rent the Louvre's name and gain access to its collections for a new museum in Abu Dhabi, that oil-rich emirate says it also wants to be the film and television capital of the Arab world. In October it will hold its first Middle East International Film Festival. And today it will announce anagreement with the New York Film Academy, a technical school, to open a branch in Abu Dhabi to train 100 students a year in television and film production."

"At Park Opening in '09, It's All Ferrari, All the Time," June 10, 2007 (about Ferrari's 60th anniversary party in Abu Dhabi)

"Seeking the Real In a Desert City Known for Artifice," May 20, 2007
(article on low-budget travel options for Dubai)

"In the Desert Near Dubai, An Oasis for Drag Racing," May 13, 2007

"Eggplant Sushi and Dubai Duck Add Up in New Arabian Cuisine," May 2, 2007

"Bloodlines Worth Their Weight In Gold," May 1, 2007 (about a racing horse bred in Dubai)

"Invasor Wins in Dubai at Site of Only Loss," April 1, 2007 (about Dubai World Cup horse race)

"Home of the Thoroughbred Spirit," March 31, 2007 (ditto)

"The Industry of Art Goes Global," March 28, 2007 (on the Louvre renting its name to a museum in Abu Dhabi)

"Confessions on a Dance Floor," March 25, 2007 (article in the Times travel magazine about the young & hip side to Dubai)

"Dubai on a Budget? No, It's Not a Mirage," March 11, 2007

"Sotheby's Plants Flag," February 8, 2007 (short item on Christie's holding an auction in Dubai and Sotheby's appointing a Middle East director of sales).

"A Vision in the Desert," February 4, 2007 ("Over the next decade or so [Abu Dhabi] aims to become one of the great cultural centers of the Middle East: the heir, in its way, to cosmopolitan cities of old like Beirut, Cairo and Baghdad.")

"Celebrity Architects Reveal a Daring Cultural Xanadu for the Arab World," February 1, 2007 ("In this land of big ambition and deep pockets, planners on Wednesday unveiled designs for an audacious multibillion-dollar cultural district whose like has never been seen in the Arab world.")

I do not here include regular business stories, of which there were many, including several on the Dubai government's purchase of Barney's New York, expanding airline service into the Gulf, as well as small items that mentioned the UAE in passing, like the British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's opening a new restaurant in Dubai (among other locales).

Anybody can do this exercise going back another six months. Enjoy the frivolity.

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