20 December 2016

 Joseph O'Neil, The Dog



     Joseph O'Neil's book is interesting in several respects:  His illustration of Dubai and his characterization of the super wealthy.  Dubai and the super wealthy are, in The Dog, totally compatible and appropriate for one another--vacuous, with no substance.  The character through which we view both, is a commentator, a viewer, a critic living in an environment described as the equivalent of an airport.  Visualize your self waiting for a plane at an airport without any connection to anyone there but a destination.  This is Dubai, a gigantic airport. 

     As the 2016 election recedes behind us, a lengthy quote from the book is apropos.

      "To 'surf' even non-pornographically is to ride one two-foot wave of imbecility after another.".... "I think it's the phenomenon of these commenters--who must be taken to represent the masses, a body from which nobody is excluded--in combination with my new intercontinental perspective, that has left me with a most unfortunate impression that my fatherland--inescapably the United States of America--is, or has become, a strange, gigantically foolish place that sooner or later will be undone by the calamitous mental life of its population, whose bizarre domination by misconceptions is all to well incorporated by its representatives in Washington, D. C."

     The book is worth reading, if for no other reason, that it will depress you once again with the fact that no amount of education can defeat the mass mind.  As to facts, "A fact is where it all starts to go wrong." p. 149 of the Pantheon Books edition. Out national debate this election season has had no relation to the facts; facts are deemed irrelevant and annoying.

     The portrayal of the super wealthy is a portrait of total squander, unconcern for lesser beings, and the requirement that any inconvenience be born by those who serve them.   In  The wealth of Dubai is unseen except for the buildings in the desert, but also the control emanating from unseen sources.    Our protagonist's  job interview is at the Claridge Hotel which happens to be in London at 10:00 the next morning requiring an immediate cab to the Kennedy for a flight to London overnight.  Our man arrives at the Claridge Hotel on time only to see the person who requested his presence speed off in an auto on other business cancelling the meeting of our traveler who then flies back to New York without the interview.  This view of our friends, the super wealthy, who we would all like to emulate does not change throughout the book.

     Hence the name of the book, The Dog, which is what our man is--a pet.