December 04, 2009
When the Marx Brothers announced in 1946 that their upcoming film was called A Night in Casablanca, Warner Bros threatened to sue for breach of copyright. Warner had produced the great hit “Casablanca” four years earlier, and insisted the funny men were trying to cash in on it. But Groucho was no slouch. He had his lawyer threaten Warner Brothers with breach of copyright for using the word brothers. The Marx boys won, as they were brothers before the Warners had formed the company. A Night in Casablanca turned out also to be a great hit. (Here, as bores and pedants tend to do, I have to declare an interest. I am related to the Marx Brothers, Harpo in fact, as my sister-in-law is married to his grandson. It’s the relation I brag about the most).
I thought of the Marx Brothers when I heard about Dubai and those other comedians, the Maktoums. It was while racing during Ascot week that I first saw them. I can’t remember how many of them there were, but in they came to the royal enclosure’s paddock inspecting the “orses,” and never having heard of them before I started to laugh. Mind you, this was some time ago, when people tended to laugh without fear. They really looked quite ridiculous, all stony-faced, bearded, tawny and wearing top hats. The English even more so, running behind them forelock tugging, rubbing their hands nervously as those monkeys looked the horses over. I remember telling Charles Benson that these people were funnier than the Marx Brothers, but he told me to shut up. He then went over to bow and scrape in front of the lead clown, but poor Benson had a good reason to do so. He was the poorest man at Ascot and needed every crumb he could get. Benson is no longer with us and was a great buddy of mine—my first English friend back in 1961—but for the record he never got a penny from those bearded bums. Very few did but hundreds of thousands believed they could. Now they’re running for the exits, but it’s too late, as it always is when the penny drops for the suckers.
I suppose one can look ridiculous and still be someone of value, but not often. When asked about the debt couple of months ago, the ludicrous Mohammed Maktoum—the head towel—confidently assured reporters that everything was honky dory. Reporters tend not to be very smart and are also known for taking very rich people at their word. But the Maktoums are not the kind of people who make money or create wealth. They know how to spend what belongs to others, and that is all, believe you me. As is the case with the rest of those crooks in the Gulf, starting with the Saudis and Kuwaitis.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the Dubai debacle is how genius status is conferred upon business gambits by shyster wallet lifters, scam artists, and other assorted body snatchers who descended to that crappy little place down south hoping to sell sand to the Bedouins. Many of them were Iranians and Pakistanis, and not a small amount of Lebanese, all as honest as the day is long on December 21st in Helsinki. What they all did do was pay the poor Philippine and Pakistani work force below survival wages, confiscate their passports in cahoots with the Dubai authorities, and work them literally to death. So, it couldn’t happen to nicer people, and I hope they eat lotsa sand and they can also drink it if they like. They’ve literally held workers hostage for a very long time and in conditions far worse than those in Gitmo—without the water boarding—so don’t cry for the Dubai Brothers as yet. They’ve been pocketing their percentages for years and will show up around June in order to inspect more horses arses.
Sam Goldwyn once said that if you want to send a message use Western Union. Hollywood didn’t listen and lots of crappy movies were made. Well, I liked old Sam, not that I ever met him, but we should follow his advice and send a message through Western Union to the Maktoum Brothers comedy act. It should read as follows: Palace intrigue old hat stop decision making lousy stop greed comma arrogance comma and all round hirsute facial ugliness too much stop no longer welcome to rainy comma full of towels already comma London stop. Not that it will ever happen. Because you can fool all the people all the time when you promise them riches. Because that’s all the Dubai debacle ever was. A desert mirage fueled by greed and sold to suckers by tawny types whose ancestors used to sell flying carpets to dumb Englishmen with sunburnt noses, knees, and elbows.
Ironically, the vast majority of the media outlets that spew out daily omnipresent bulletins in the Muslim world accusing the West of being responsible for all the grievances of Muslims are Arab-government owned, and mostly from the Gulf. These bums retain power by strangling dissent at home while churning out their propaganda against us. And we pay good money to them and some even genuflect before them.
As I said, these people are clowns, but we are much bigger clowns for taking them seriously and allowing them to push us around. Bravo Bank of Scotland once again. I must introduce you to a prospective client, and soon. His first name is Bernie.