The force and momentum of marketing is surprisingly successful in betraying a sober sense of reality. They say if you repeat something enough the masses will eventually and inevitably take it for reality, as a fact of life. They soon begin to see reality through lenses snared and hued by the mantras the marketers drill. It’s not so much that people are stupid; they all have a capacity to be discerning. It’s more that they typically do not care enough to discriminate. It takes work and effort to see the bricks & mortar of the world, the reality of the situation, and it’s rather unromantic compared to the reality which marketing campaigns promise of.
Case in point — the boom of Dubai. The culture here uses words like “proud” when describing their feelings toward the city and the progress it has made throughout the past couple decades. But the growth here isn’t organic, the economy didn’t develop through natural processes. It was a gold rush where the bright light of Dubai summoned the best and worst talent of the world. The ‘powers that be’ spent wealth which was discovered, depending on your perspective, either by accident or providence. The phenomenon is not so dissimilar from that of a lottery winner.
Most of us are familiar of what happens when an average Joe wins the lottery. We know the stories of extravagant purchases and acquisitions, grand parties and wild adventures, inevitably leading to a proportionally intense crash. So the phenomenon here may be quite akin to that which you see when an average Joe wins the lottery and spends his riches in a frisson mood. The difference is here the advisors are hired and the marketers are busy selling and sustaining a story which, more often than not, succeeds. Ultimately the city becomes a rather enjoyable and comfortable environment — at least for a little while before the lack of substance draws you back to a more grounded, organically grown city.
So the point isn’t to bash the city but to clearly perceive what it is we’re living in. People tend to forget quite easily, or their views stretch and bend until they become the very opposite of what they once were.