25 February, 2009

Book Review

Emaar Properties is commissioning a book about the Burj Dubai. It will not just be any book. Oh no - this being Dubai, it will be of course the largest book in the world.

Someone ought to tell Emaar that it is usually not the size of the book that matters, but what’s in it. Quantity is very rarely preferable to quality. This holds true for property development even if there is severe shortage of housing, but especially when it comes to literature.
A large cover doesn’t make a book automatically interesting to people over the age of three. But then again, the mindset of many people in Dubai may be about that level. And to advertise this feat of Dubai’s intellectual prowess, the big book will be sent around the world. This gives a new meaning to the term ‘book tour’...

I am looking forward to the day when Dubai can send a national author on a worldwide book tour. Just one author of some standing, please. Just one teeny weeny cultural achievement, please. One little drama about foreign labourers and their shattered dreams perhaps? 'Sonapurdog millionaire'? Just one painting or sculpture of value, or, forcryingoutloud even a conceptual art installation to capture the country and times we are living in. Pickled Camel anyone?

I am not asking for Dubai to instantly produce the equivalent to Khalil Gibran or Naguib Mahfouz or Orhan Pamuk (who, through their writing, are directly responsible for interesting me and many other Westerners in the Oriental world, and indirectly for my ill-guided attempt to find it in Dubai).

Perhaps a society must travel through a thousand years to produce artists of this calibre. But, Dubai, why not make a start today? Why not foster culture and the arts instead of getting the 'largest book in the world' made - in England, by English craftsmen, about a building designed by Americans and built by Belgians and Koreans.

It seems Dubai cannot even physically make a book, let alone create literature...

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why make things when one can simply buy them fromt those more qualified to make them.

Kyle said...

Why not foster culture and the arts instead of getting the 'largest book in the world' made - in England, by English craftsmen, about a building designed by Americans and built by Belgians and Koreans.

Globalization, Man, Globalization!

Dubai, the epitome of Globalization.

Having said that, a good post; eye-opener too but I doubt anybody in authority would give a two-bit to all that you have coined here. What with their obsession for absurdly abstract & hokey structures including those in shaky waters!

Anonymous said...

Geez.. me thinks someone got screwed over in the property meltodown and has some misplaced anger issues.

Just because the country has poets and writers in a language that you and I don't read does not make it a cultural dead end.

The largest book to celebrate the largest tower may not be your idea of how Emaar should promote the tower but certainly it makes marketing sense.

I can't decide if you are racist or just a self absorbed condescending ass but regardless posts like this show how so many expats automatically assume that every country they visit should meet their own cultural norms.

Naseem said...

my hats down for you...

well said

Anonymous said...

A bit harsh, don't you think? Emaar is not particularly in the business of culture. This is obviously a publicity thing, with Man Utd cited as an example of organizations who used outsized books.

With that being said, it is the job of the government to give educational institutes the freedom that enables it to foster culture. Since both are absent in the UAE, I don't see that happening any time soon.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
L'Insolente said...

I suggest that comments be disabled on this post. It's all been said by the post author! ;)

samuraisam said...

UCLA dating: Fuck off with your stupid SEO bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Although the nick can be a "self absorbed condescending ass" type at times, I'll have to give him credit on this one. I can only imagine what he would have to say if he were able to read some of the drivel that passes for poetry. It's usually quasi-homoerotic musings fawning over the great "vision" or some other important personality, just be thankful its not translated.

The sad part is we'll probably never know about the diamonds in the rough, if they had anything interesting to say they'ld be put away for being troublemakers.

Who was it that said every story/idea that has ever been thought up has already been written/told ?

On a side note, not a single "u dont like it then leave" comment....yet.... Oh well, let's call it progress. :-)

rosh said...

haha! Anon 19:37 -Touché!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this is fallout of a market economy! Why take the trouble of writing (and of course thinking) when you can have someone do it for your for a fistful of $.

Anon 19:37:

"On a side note, not a single "u dont like it then leave" comment....yet.... Oh well, let's call it progress. :-)"
Perhaps a lot of ppl have taken that advice very seriously. Wih the economy in troubled straits, wise guys offering that particular advice my run into trouble with the authorities.
-FR

A Blessing in Tragedy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bb said...

Wow.. since when has art to be commissioned by flailing real estate company? If you want art so badly go make some... You'll find some canvas at Magrudy's..

They have made a big tower, they make a big book... not particularly subtle but it sort of make sense. And you don't expect subtle from the people who called their fountain "Dubai Fountain" anyway.. :)

Finally I would like to remind you that most of what westerners now call art were made to order portraits of kings, queens, castle, cattle, memorable battles and religious scene like.. Hmm the sistine chapel for example. So who's to says that this book can't be a nice piece of art?

Anonymous said...

ABIT needs to get a job or a hobby, or something to distract him. It is not THAT important to rip every single post but your own.

Perhaps future posters will enable moderation and do us all a favor - delete his comments before they get to 'press' and further infect others.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A Blessing in Tragedy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
rosh said...

Anon, 26 February, 2009 08:33,

Everyone's got a right to an opinion - challenge thoughts, perceptions, opinions and so on. I'd say, try not read into drama, but substance of what's being said. When moderation is on, profanities or insults are almost never published.

Abu Dhabi Blogger said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Lady said...

Wow. Ridiculous.

I sure hope this isn't what the UAE Federal Government's proposed $10 billion bailout will be going towards.

Anonymous said...

A Bit

"So who's to says that this book can't be a nice piece of art?"

You have got a point there. But will the said article last long enough for it to become art? Lets hope so.

-FR

A Blessing in Tragedy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Try reading 'Opportunity Dubai'!

Anonymous said...

The whole world is in major financial crisis and ur talking about a book, who cares and who is going to spend money on such a book. Please go out of the nutshell and look at the horizon a bit, "this is globalization".

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