Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dubai On Empty: A Rebuttal

For anyone who picked up this month's Vanity Fair, you may have stumbled upon a fascinating treatise written about Dubai from author A.A. Gill.  In two pages, Gill rips the city "a new one" as they say.  Never, have a I read an article that is so subjectively one-sided, so mean spirited, and so poorly researched.



The problem with Gill's article is not that it doesn't make a few good points.  Even though they are uncomfortable, a number of his observations might find a basis in reality or truth.  Unfortunately, his seemingly boundless capacity for vitriolic and unnecessary comments damage any real credibility he could have established with a reader of this article.

While I'm tempted to write a point-counterpoint rebuttal of the piece, I'll resist the urge to legitimize his article with my full attention.  However, it's a shame that Mr. Gill couldn't even attempt something actually journalistic, rather than a pandering, salacious piece.

As they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.  Guilty as charged.  Here is his article:
http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2011/04/dubai-201104?currentPage=1

Unlike Mr. Gill I like to do my research.  Here's a little of what I uncovered about him so you can take this article with a grain - make that a shaker full - of salt.  A rap sheet that would make any mother proud:
  • He was once ejected from one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants after calling him a "second-rate human being".  Hasn't he watched Kitchen Nightmares?
  • Gill (who is Scottish) has described Welsh people as "loquacious, dissemblers, immoral liars, stunted, bigoted, dark, ugly, pugnacious little trolls" in The Sunday Times (he was reported to the Commission for Racial Equality as racist).
  • Gill has described the English as "embarrassing" and an "ugly race" as well as a "lumpen and louty, coarse, unsubtle, beady-eyed, beefy-bummed herd".  I would love to see what a sketch artist does with that description!
  • Gill sparked controversy by reporting in his Sunday Times column that he shot a baboon dead. He said he knew "perfectly well there [was] absolutely no excuse for [the shooting]", and that he killed the animal in order to "get a sense of what it might be like to kill someone".  He went on to state that "[t]hey die hard, baboons. But not this one. A soft-nosed .357 blew his lungs out." The action prompted outrage from animal rights groups.
  • The Sunday Times disclosed Gill had been the subject of 62 PCC complaints in five years.
  • Gill was nominated for the Stonewall Awards as Bigot of the Year for his remark calling Clare Balding, a "dyke on a bike, puffing up the nooks and crannies at the bottom end of the nation" 
  • In February 2011, Gill described the county of Norfolk as ‘the hernia on the end of England’,causing outrage across the East of England (no problems in  the west, apparently!)
  • In September 2010, the Press Complaints Commission made a formal judgement against Gill for referring to the sexuality of the BBC Sport presenter Clare Balding in "a demeaning and gratuitous way".  They couldn't even print what he said.
I hope that in time Mr. Gill's hateful speech doesn't find a voice in the mainstream media.  In the meantime, a quick shout out to Vanity Fair - you guys should try to assign feature stories to real writers and not food critics (yes, that's his full time qualification - food critic).

4 comments:

Pam said...

I have posted this on FB and re-blogged this!!!

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

"The problem with Gill's article is not that it doesn't make a few good points. Even though they are uncomfortable, a number of his observations might find a basis in reality or truth. Unfortunately, his seemingly boundless capacity for vitriolic and unnecessary comments damage any real credibility he could have established with a reader of this article." You have written exactly what I have been saying since I read this piece.
Also, if a similar article had been written about a community in England he would be accused of racism.
Good rebuttal.

jimdad said...

Now that Glenn Beck has some free time, these two may want to collaborate on an article or two.

Romil Zaveri said...

Hi Katie, well said, but would you like to analyze a bit more so as to prove which part of the article is incorrect? As the facts mentioned about Dubai are absolute. It's the writer's way of saying things. Maybe someone else would have been "milder" or "sensitive". Cheers Romil