The Two Towers, Dubai Edition

For brainfood this week I’ve been reading Jim Krane’s excellent book City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism. It’s like an extremely entertaining real-life soap opera, an epic Dallas in the Desert.

Hence my posting of this video recently commissioned by Dubai’s Crown Prince, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. It’s a timelapse filmed from Dubai’s (and the world’s) tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, and the Burj Al Arab (which sets a far weirder height record with the world’s highest-altitude tennis court). You’d never guess that as late as the 1960s this hallucination of a city was a Bedouin badlands.

I haven’t seen Mission Impossible 4 yet but I figure this video is almost as good, minus Tom Cruise. Actually maybe that’s a plus?

(For another read on Dubai check out George Saunders‘s kickass essay “The New Mecca.”)


  • Kirstin—
    Your writing IS energetic and filled with a plethora of intriguing connections. I’m going to keep reading.

    I enjoy anagrams, and here are some based on your title that may be related to your plot: “ads duels,” “lads used,” “add slues,” and “lads dues.”

    Okay, that extended high point in the writing zone is awaiting you.


    Ps. Those are familiar hallucinations; I lived in that wild and zany Dubai for seventeen months.

  • Kirstin Butler wrote:

    Ooh I would love to hear more about that time in Dubai! I can’t imagine what the day-to-day experience of that was like. Regular life in the States is surreal enough for me as it is…

    Also: I love anagrams. I just tried to make one with the word anagram, but nothing doing.

    Also: Thanks for saying hi!


  • Douglas Hartig wrote:

    Just trying to impress you. I love your mind because it’s so quick, and you’re able to write such dark-enlightening-comedic-engaging stuff. Chilbert—I wonder if he falls victim to his own device, but I admire his tenacity and single-mindedness.

    Ah, Dubai. My friend played beach volleyball with Sheikh Hamdan a few times. I’ve seen the royals shopping at a mall, after they arrived in an iridescent Bentley and hugged each other. Dubai isn’t as crazy as say, Nepal’s hilarious grittiness, but does elicit laughs at the obstacles of building its lovable absurdities. Day-to-day consisted of 160 kph driving to work, living next to artificial islands and lagoon, and going to interesting happenings.

    As for the excerpts, what comes to mind with ProbR, is Clif High’s Web Bot Project that predicts events and trends of the world’s cultural pulse of building and release.

    Ridiculous startups (for the last excerpt): a company that promotes 1) a device which takes cues from everything you do to produce a design for a future house which truly is a mirror of the self. Or, 2) A machine that calculates realtime, the architectonic of your life, including main goals & meanings, then pings when a suggested person, event, or way of doing something would help you achieve the vision.

    Happy writing day!

  • Kirstin Butler wrote:

    Hey Doug!

    Three months later I’m finally responding to your lovely comment. I hope you’ll accept my latest blog post as a kind of apology; I was down and out for a bit there, but now I’m back.

    If we meet IRL someday I need more detail about these wacky anecdotes. Also how come you’ve been to so many amazing places? Is it weird that I want to live in that Lacan House? But I digress.

    I hope you’ve been well, and all kindsa big thanks for your conversation and support.


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