x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Might I meet Matt, the son of Mitt? Sadly it all turned out to be moot

The Dubai evening with Matt Romney that Frank Kane mentioned a couple of weeks ago was, he was told, a great success, with about 25 staunch Republicans shaking the hand of the son of their contender for the US presidency, Mitt.

Mitt Romney, left, with his son Matt at a fundraiser in California last month. Mandel Ngan / AFP
Mitt Romney, left, with his son Matt at a fundraiser in California last month. Mandel Ngan / AFP

The Dubai evening with Matt Romney I mentioned a couple of weeks ago was, I'm told, a great success, with about 25 staunch Republicans shaking the hand of the son of their contender for the US presidency, Mitt.

They also got their wallets out, I'm further informed, but not to fork out the exorbitant sums suggested in the pre-event publicity. Maybe US$1,000 (Dh3,673) a head, rather than the $100,000 maximum mentioned in the invitations.

I'd love to be more specific and give a detailed report of the fund-raiser drinks evening at the Dubai International Finance Centre offices of the law firm Latham & Watkins. But at the last minute, just as I was stuffing the chequebook in my pocket and considering how much to donate to the "next president of the United States", I was warned off.

A friendly text told me I'd be "recognised" as media and it could cause an "embarrassment". I was flattered by the thought of instant recognition in the highest circles of US politics but perplexed as to the "embarrassment" my presence would cause. But then Mitt has had a lot of bad press recently.

Matt, or Mitt, if you're reading this, see you when you've got more time, OK? After the election?

***

If there's one thing that gets my goat it's the "realist school" of film critics.

Usually set in the context of some kind of historical drama movie and often British, the realists will come out with things like, "Oh no, it couldn't have been like that, you see, because the Americans didn't wear those uniforms on the western front until 1945." Or, "That's a load of rubbish. I've been through the Titanic's passenger list and there's no sign of a Jack Dawson anywhere."

It's drama, for pity's sake and mostly Hollywood drama at that, so just take it for what it is: fiction, even when "based on true events".

So I was particularly angry at myself when I left the Mall of the Emirates cinema the other night having just enjoyed Battle of Two Empires: Fetih 1453, because I was doing exactly the same as the realists. 'That can't be right because …

My wife had to snap me out of it. "It's only a movie, now shut up and drive home," was how she did it.

The film tells the story of the epic siege of Constantinople in that year between the Ottomans, under Sultan Mehmed II, and Constantine XI, the Byzantine emperor.

The movie, directed by Faruk Akzoy, is the biggest Turkish box-office hit of all time and is a great night out. 300 meets Lord of the Rings, was The National's critical opinion.

But surely it wasn't all true, was it? Were the Ottoman women really all caring wives and mothers? And the Byzantine ladies semi-clad wenches doing 15th-Century disco dances for the pop-eyed emperor?

And did that baby at the end really give Mehmed a big kiss on the cheek in the church of Hagia Sofia?

Oh, just shut up and drive.

***

Back to Mitt/Matt. I have a feeling both father and son, in their heart of hearts, would agree with the latest sentiments overheard in the Goldman Sachs elevator: "You don't feed wild animals, because they become dependent and can't fend for themselves. How's it different for poor people?"

fkane@thenational.ae