If you loved the idea of a Hermès-branded helicopter, you're going to be thrilled to hear that Ferrari is now in talks to stamp its name of a line of luxury homes. If the deal goes through, you'd have to move to Abu Dhabi to actually be able to move into a house with a prancing horse statue on the roof. But that may not be such a bad thing considering you'd be close to the long-delayed Ferrari indoor amusement park that, when finished, will boast the world's fastest roller coaster. [Maktoob via WSJ]
Everybody, quick, open an office in Abu Dhabi! The oil-rich desert metropolis is opening a new "media hub" consisting of bizarre, bubble-like office buildings, and major news outlets are rushing in. CNN is opening a whole new bureau there! And they'll be joined by the FT, the BBC, Reuters, and some book publishers. How the hell did a city that got its first paved road in 1961 suddenly become the place where news networks simply have to have their Middle Eastern headquarters? By offering reporters more cool futuristic offices, and fewer car bombs: Abut Dhabi took its billions in oil wealth and, through sheer force of will and money, made itself into a default location for news outlets to situate themselves. CNN, for example, can now cover the Middle East exclusively from the Middle East, while staying safely in the lap of luxury. Invest more in Baghdad, where the news is? Or invest in a state-of-the-art new facility in Abu Dhabi, which has far more world-class restaurants and fewer I.E.D.'s?
The inflow of foreign cash to Hollywood may look stalled with the DreamWorks/Reliance deal held up in all these fashionable new bank implosions, but as discovered earlier this month, the oil barons of Abu Dhabi have enough stashed under their mattresses to greenlight some $1 billion worth of film projects over the next five years. The guy the emirate brought in to spend it, ex-Disney overlord Edward Borgerding, has hinted at a few of his more modest goals in recent weeks — "[Abu Dhabi Media Company] is fulfilling its ambition to become a global player in the media industry," he told the Financial Times — but only finally spelled out his real plot for world conquest in a new interview with Sharon Waxman:
Hello. I am here to tell you about the article entitled "The Power of Green" (AKA "The Greening of Geopolitics") in this week's New York Times magazine by my American friend Mr. Thomas L. Friedman. Allow me to introduce myself. I am called Pookunhi Takahiro Pierre Velazquez y Al-Sadr. By birth, I am of the Oulad Bou Sbaa ("Father of the Lion") tribe; it is a noble tribe. Because of the globalization, however, in the mid-1990s, I became a cab driver in Abu Dhabi, and it was on the corner of Liwa and Sheik Hamdam Bin Mohammed, peace be to Zarathustra, that I first met my American friend Mr. Thomas L. Freidman, who was flapping his arms like that traditional bird I know about, which I still take seriously as a beautiful metaphor even as I face down modernity. Anyway, he came into my taxi and asked to learn my name, and also my existence.