NPF: XANADU

I have now been to Las Vegas four times in my life, twice in the last six months.
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This is, in my view, a sufficient amount of direct experience to conclude with confidence that I don't get it. The phrase "_____ is why people hate America!" is overused, but it is tempting to say that Las Vegas is in fact why people hate America. Tempting, but wrong. At least based on the vast quantity of Japanese, European, and Middle Eastern tourists blowing obscene amounts of money there on any given evening.

That Vegas is garish and overdone requires no discussion. For many people this appears to be part of its charm. It creates for its visitors a unique experience. Bear in mind, however, that getting kicked in the nuts is also a unique experience. My primary issue, however, is not that the Strip is an incredible sensory overload, nor that everything that passes for entertainment – gambling, strip clubs, celebrity chef restaurants – is staggeringly expensive and leaves one with the feeling of being on a steam locomotive, shoveling piles of money into the roaring fire of the boiler.


Not pictured: taste, restraint, dignity

No, my problem is that I developed my mental image of Vegas as a kid from things like James Bond or old Rat Pack movies. And when you visit for the first time, it hits you: no one is wearing a tuxedo or playing high-stakes baccarat. It's a bunch of slobs walking around in flip-flops, their rolls of fat and Tweety Bird tattoos protruding from clothes that might have fit 5 years ago, stumbling up and down the strip with giant novelty frozen drinks in a container shaped like the Eiffel Tower. It's every jackwagon you see riding the average city bus, except they're piss drunk at 2 PM and they won't get out of your way.

The casinos, despite the amount of time people seem to devote to discussing their relative merits, are substantively identical once inside.
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And the patrons are almost universally depressing – old people, some attached to wheelchairs or oxygen tanks, listlessly pressing a button on a slot machine for hours and hours until the Social Security check is gone. The younger people are a mix of fratboy types and the kind of crowd one would meet at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in the bad part of a rural Midwestern city. You see people who look like the only time they leave casinos is to tend to their meth labs or sell whatever they can burglarize from the seedy apartment blocks set just off the strip. You see a lot of old cocktail waitresses who look like they've lived indescribably rough lives, the kind that makes you look 60 when you're 42. You see pawn shops with lines of people out the door (and around the building) displaying baby strollers in the front window. There's nothing even fake-classy about the city. It's just sad. Apparently I'm more disturbed than most Americans by throngs of sex workers who look beaten up and strung out.

I enjoyed myself because I was with my friends and that's where they wanted to go. I will go again if it gives me the opportunity to be near people I like. But I do not get it. I do not understand the appeal, other than that many people enjoy an adult version of a low-rent Spring Break – say, whatever destination is two or three steps down from South Padre in terms of cost, class, and vomit coverage. Lots of people see Vegas as paradise, but all I see is one of the ugliest things in America built in the midst of one of the most beautiful. For the thousands upon thousands of dollars people spend there – throwing money away in casinos, paying for bottle service in tacky clubs with $30 drinks, seeing overpriced shows, shopping in "luxury" mall stores, or jamming $100 bills into the thong of some runaway from Beloit, WI – it blows my mind that none of the city's visitors could come up with a better destination on which to spend all that money.

67 thoughts on “NPF: XANADU”

  • Thomas Collette says:

    It would be 25 years since I've spent any amount of time on the ground there, other than a couple layovers at McCarran. Sometimes someone will mention going to Vegas, and I'll wonder if the allure is back… nah!

  • You've elsewhere noted that John Mulaney has described Donald Trump as being what a 1930s hobo thinks of as "a rich guy."

    Vegas is what people who have never seen America, or who have never seen an America that exists past the nearest Circle K, imagine when they think of "having a good time." All the things one can do in Vegas–Eat, Drink, Gamble, Watch Sump'n Purty/Dirty–these are not recreations of substance, but of quantity. They appeal to people who literally have no idea how to have a good time, because either their culture or their income doesn't allow it. Vegas offers them plenty of what they've been *told* is a good time–or a *lot* of what they've had to made do with in order to have a good time (booze and carbs and throwing a little money away at the OTB parlor.) If "Steak" is good, "All You Can Eat Steak" is better. If pissing away a few bucks on the Lotto is good, pissing away the mortgage at the slots is better.

    But what I'm aware of in Vegas is how *forced* it all seems–how the people there are actively *trying* to have a good time. Because they came all this way, and spent all this money, and yet somehow, *somehow*, it's not quite filling the emptiness inside. So they overcompensate, with "Wooo"s, and drinking-dares, and forming into roving gaggles. But you can see it in their eyes, especially when they're briefly stuck–waiting for the elevator–in line at the buffet–at one of the endless lights on the Strip's crosswalks. They're worried that everyone else seems to be having such a good time, and what's *wrong* with them?

    Mostly, Vegas is loud. Really, really loud. You can't hear other people talk in Vegas, and you can't hear yourself think. That's not a place that sells pleasure–it sells negation, which is *not* the same thing.

    Which is to say: I think I get Vegas, and I wish I didn't.

  • I live in Salt Lake City, and being close to Vegas makes it both a popular destination for weekend trips and a clear demonstration of some of the biggest problems in the American West. Without water from Utah and Colorado, Vegas couldn't exist. At least not as it does. But it continues to receive water–and tourists, and money–because our politicians sell out the interests of people who need the water for more than keeping tourists happy while they blow their hard earned dollars on a dream–or, more accurately, a fantasy.

  • HoosierPoli says:

    I really, really, REALLY don't get gambling at all. Pouring hundreds of dollars into bets that are mathematically designed to screw you makes no fucking sense. The "rush" of gambling is soon displaced by the disappointment of having spent a shitload of money on nothing.

    I've been to a casino once, I am up 3 dollars on the house for my life, and that's how it's gonna stay.

  • Well, it's nice if you like to play poker. But these days you can do that just about anywhere.

    I live in South Korea these days, where foreign nationals can gamble legally in the casinos but South Koreans can't. Kind of weird. But a good situation for when I get a Hold'em itch.

  • Two points. First, for me, the "it" to which you refer, and do not get, is the fact that things just seem to happen in Vegas, things that don't usually happen outside of Vegas (to me, anyway). I won't bore you with humble-brags about Vegas adventures*, except to say that most have been good, some have been bad, but I've always come back home with at least one thing where I have to ask myself "did that really just happen"? And it's not like I'm a completely different person in Vegas than I am at home, I think it's more the general Vegas environment of sensory over-stimulation that makes other people step out of their usual selves and do things they wouldn't ordinarily do. Oh, and years of being bombarded with "stays in Vegas" propaganda.

    Second, yeah, there's no denying that Vegas is packed with fat-roll slobs, whoo! people, etc. The unfortunate, inconvenient, Mitt Romney-esque truth is that you basically have to pay to get away from them–places like Bellagio tend to price them out. Sure, the fat-roll slob crowd will walk through to gawk at all the fancy stuff and eat the buffet, but then they go back to Circus Circus or wherever and take naps, so there aren't as many of them around at night when the fun stuff happens.

    *OK, one story, which isn't really a brag at all. Last trip, I saw Jay-Z playing blackjack, and it was oddly humanizing. He wasn't some superstar up on stage with thousands of adoring fans in his hip pocket, he was just a guy playing cards with a couple of friends and/or business associates. Sure, most people don't have security around them keeping the riff raff at bay, but he makes the same stupid faces when he's wondering whether to hit or stand as the rest of us.

  • I haven't been for several years, but I'm fond of Las Vegas – but then I have a soft spot for strange, unreal places like theme parks, and Las Vegas often struck me as more artificial than Disneyworld. It's like a vaguely sleazy, neon-lit R'lyeh in the desert with its vast, perspective-distorting hotel facades. As long as you don't have any particular susceptibility to the various vices on offer, it can be a reasonably affordable and entertaining place to kill some time – on the other hand if you do happen to have any compulsive tendencies towards its attractions, it is essentially a giant machine expressly designed to destroy you.

    That is a pretty serious catch though – lots of folks get to run around an have a good time, but it isn't hard to notice many people who stopped having fun a long time ago, as well as somewhat creepy details like casinos encouraging people to cash their paychecks there.

    I'm a bit saddened that the trend seems to be away from elaborate themed casinos and table games, as more generic interiors and endless rows of slot machines aren't very interesting to look at. but I'm probably not their target audience anyway.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    I don't get it either.

    I went there once, when one of my closest friends of, at that time, 35 years, decided to hold his bachelor party there for us ushers. I hated it.

    To me, it's everything that's wrong with America:
    It's loud, brash, and incredibly tacky.
    And it's designed to separate you from your money as expeditiously and boldly as possible.
    I'm not a gambler, and I don't understand the allure of trying to beat a system that's rigged against you.
    The restaurants were incredibly over-priced – and so were the drinks in them.

    It's like Disney World and Epcot, rolled into one, for people jonesing for something that they don't have in their lives – like gambling, hookers, and whatever else they may lack.

    I can see the appeal of it – back in the 50's and 60's. It had top-flight entertainers, and gambling – something you couldn't do at home.
    But now that practically every state has a lottery, and the Native Americans have figured out their method of righteous revenge, by opening-up casino's everywhere, and taking the pale-faces money, and more and more states wanting to allow casino's, Las Vegas's days may well be numbered.
    Or maybe not – as long as they keep the "sin" in "Sin City."

    We are a stupid nation full of righteous religious hypocrites.
    And the God-bothering buttinsky's need a place to hate – but also go to see the "sinners."
    And if you're one of the people who accidentally sins – well, 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.' And they figure God knows that, too – and will forgive them. God always forgives "them" – you and me, uhm… not so much.

    So, I don't get it – but I know I didn't/don't/won't like it.
    And, will never go back there. It was awful. You see the worst in humanity – stupidity, avarice, hypocrisy, etc.
    Who needs to travel to the desert to see that?
    I could go to any church near home and see the same things. And I can wait for bingo, or Las Vegas night there. And maybe that nice-looking singe woman in the pew ahead will…
    Well, one can dream, can't one?

  • I find Reno to be even more depressing. It seems to be visited by the people who couldn't even afford to go to Vegas.

  • I've been to Vegas once with my SO.

    We didn't like it at first – it was just hot, huge, and confusing. We eventually realized it was fun to get tipsy and walk around making fun of how ridiculous everything is and that kept us entertained for the next two days.

    We did wind up having a very meaningful moment at the Bellagio when the fountains started dancing to "Time to say good bye"; we looked at each other and burst out laughing while the crowd around us ohhhhed and ahhhhhed. I realized right then that yes, this is definitely someone I can spend the next few decades with.

    So we had a good time, but I'm not sure we ever need to go back.

  • Some really nice hiking within an easy drive of the city though, my brother almost got chased off of a mountain by some mountain goats when he lived there :) . When I went out to visit him I lost $6 on gambling but didn't mind the city too much to stay for a short while, being able to get decent draft beer for $1 was nice…

  • "That's not a place that sells pleasure–it sells negation" – I think you hit the nail on the head there. Something very insectile and hive-like going on there, like ants coming back to the hill to deposit food. Yuck.

    When I was a kid I hitchhiked all over the country for most of my mid-late teens, passing through almost every state at least once. Nevada was the worst. If you think Vegas and Reno are depressing try being told by a state trooper to get on the other side of the road and start walking out of the state… in Winnemucca. There is some true perspective to be had penniless on foot trying to get out of a place like that…

  • I think you and the rest have summed it up as well as can be.

    Though riffing off of what JDryden said about the American need for *more*. It's that pathological philosophy that much much bigger is better. Who the hell else could come up with the idea of selling Escalades and Hummers to average consumers?

    While there are places where owning a piece of equipment that's the size of a city block makes sense, like an open pit mine, but not the guy next door.

    It's the perceived understanding of "value for money". When I first arrived in Aus, I'd go out w people for dinner and pay $25-30 not incl bevvies — prior to this expensive to me was Stuart Anderson's. Dinner would arrive and I was, "Where's the beef!" as I'd get about 150–200gm of meat and a bit of garnish, not even salad. But *DAMN!* it was good! That 150gm, was from the best part of the fillet, cooked to absolute perfection and incredibly well presented. This is closer to the European concept of value for money.

    The American concept is closer to the 54oz Challenge. It doesn't matter that that steak came from an old decrepit cow that was about to Cark it. That the steak had skidded through excrement when it fell on the floor during slaughter. I paid for it, now gimmee more! The bragging rights are mine, and so is the heart failure.

    So yeah, it does say all of those horrible things about 'Murika!

  • Bugger! Cut off my conclusion:

    Unfortunately, this horrible philosophy seems to be contagious, and I've noticed that portions have gotten bigger, whilst quality is dropping off.

  • My attachment to Vegas is strictly sentimental. I got married there, at the Little Church of the West — my anniversary is in a couple of weeks, so the nostalgia is waxing. I love old Hollywood, too, and James Ellroy, which helps me cope with the ugliness. Vegas is a brief waypoint for me and it might be the same for some of the sad desperadoes I see. At any hour, Vegas can be the human version of that Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercial that makes everyone cry or leave the room.

    But I have friends who go there regularly. There are super cheap travel packages to lovely hotels, and you can eat well on very little cash or splurge on fabulous restaurants, as you wish. There's shopping and shows and hilaaarious people watching and $15 domestic beer. But the warm sunshine is a huge selling point. After leaving for work in the dark, coming home in the dark, and trying to remember the last day you saw the sun (possibly two months ago? Remember, we had that break in the weather?) Vegas is the poor man's Acapulco.

  • Grumpygradstudent says:

    On behalf of all fat people, let me tell all you fat-bashing fucks to eat several bowls of lard-covered dicks.

  • For no politics Friday, you do a great paleocon, which is just fine, they're not quite approved of by the vast wing-nut conspiracy.

  • I've never been to Vegas (and also feel like I missed my dream moment there, much like I missed 1923 in Paris, but I heard the sign graveyard in the desert is killer) Apparently, though, it's not only a culturally and politically useful, immediately affordable escape for unhappy people trying to make the best of fucked-up lives they don't have the education, courage, class status or sheer blinding rage to change. It's also an essential reference point for people who are far far better than that to get their sneer on. Fat ignorant losers make such bad choices, don't they?

  • In my former career as a sportswriter, I went to Vegas to cover fights. A big fight is ultimate Vegas, for better and worse. The place doesn't bother me, but it does bore me stiff after about 36 hours. Unlike most visitors, I know I can't beat arithmetic. And if you don't gamble, there are hundreds of tourist destinations in the U.S. that are more fun.

  • I don't gamble. I always figured that they didn't build those gazillion dollar casinos by giving money away.

    There's a saying in poker "If you can't spot the sucker at the table, it's probably you."

  • Las Vegas, and casinos in general, are very good at customer service… so good that they are basically selling discounted luxury goods. It's not cheap by any stretch, but it usually costs a TON more money to buy what they are selling. And when you get right down to it, what they are selling is 'act like a rich guy' for the price of a couple grand. People kiss your a$$ no matter how obnoxious you are, you can cavort in any way you see fit and the cops look the other way, the stuff is bright and shiny, people use the word 'class' un-ironically and without the word 'warfare' right after it. Before you point out the stuff looks cheap and tacky, who do you think they are trying to appeal to?

  • The novelist Stephen Wright in "Going Native" called Las Vegas "A bloated monument to sensory redundance and group fun". I think that might be the most apt summary of Las Vegas I have read.

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    I enjoyed Vegas when I was in college in the 80s, and riding the Strip bus in the middle of the afternoon while tripping balls on weed last year was pretty fun, but if I want to play blackjack, I'll just head to Reno. It's closer, cheaper, and doesn't pretend to be a family vacation place.

  • middle seaman says:

    Vegas is the good old US. Mafia guys build a city from scratch in the middle of an empty desert and it works.

    Do we want the whole country slim and trim? White people's concept of beauty is not universal.

    Some gambling once in a while isn't too bad.

    Union workers in Vegas are doing better than in other places.

  • Vegas is for two people. Masochists who love self destruction and those who love spectacle. And a spectacle of the grotesque is just as thrilling as a spectacle of the sublime. Leave us be.

  • I don't think it's the person's weight so much as the general "I obviously care nothing about my appearance" attitude marked by extremely casual dress.

    I'm certainly not svelte, but I at least acknowledge that the world probably doesn't want to see me wandering around in a tank-top.

    There are only a few people that can actually pull off that "look" and they already know who they are.

  • If you hate America and you've just eaten a handful of hallucinogenic mushrooms, Vegas is pretty great.

  • I've never been to Vegas. I've turned down probably a dozen offers in my life to go because what you describe is exactly how I expect it to be. This isn't to sound snobbish or better than those to do go. If they are really having fun I'm happy for them. It's just not for me. Personally, I feel like I would get more jollies out of taking a lit match to a $20 bill than putting it down on a table in Vegas.

  • "it's ok to make fun of fat people"

    Well, yeah, they do present a big target for cheap sneers [such as the one 4 words ago], but Major Kong has a point – People of Walmart mock skinny people as well as fat people, and it's pretty much all due to insane or slob dress and grooming.

    So it sounds as if Vegas is now Walmart on steroids.

    And let us all contemplate yet again that about 4 in 10 Americans are obese. I've always liked Dave Barry's description of the American tourists roaming Paris as "beef cattle in white sneakers."

  • Eric the Infrequent says:

    Yay! Yet another chance to rant about how I fucking hate Vegas.

    I fucking hate Las Vegas. Did I mention that yet? I admit I am biased from bad childhood experiences. My father's mother and grandmother both retired to Las Vegas. This meant that as a child I got to go to Vegas every damn year. 80's Vegas. To stay with my grandmother in her seniors only complex. with fuck all to do. Circus Circus? Try having fun with that when your parents can't afford to give you more than $20 to spend there. Once per trip. Add in the fact that even back then I hated pseudo gambling that was Circus Circus. Every stupid game I played, all I could think was that I'd rather take the money to the corner store and buy some bubble gum because it fucking lasted longer.
    I went back a few times as an adult. Gambling didn't get any better by being able to win money instead of crappy stuffed animals. Every time I pushed a button on a slot machine or laid a bet on a table and it disappeared I was pretty much disgusted. Neither did winning ever get exciting, even if I went up say, $100, I was still thinking that it was poor payback for the time I'd wasted sitting there being miserable.
    This spiel of mine usually brings out protestations of 'all the other things' one can do in Vegas besides gamble and it's biggest pile of shit ever and makes me want to punch people in the throat. The first problem is that if I go, it's with friends, who almost invariably want to spend more time gambling than 'other things'. I could ditch them and go do 'other things' but then why the fuck did I go here with friends?
    The second problem is that the 'other things' are largely things available in most any major city, and most importantly in cities that I haven't visited, or have visited and didn't fucking despise. Yes, I can get great sushi in Vegas. I can also get it San Francisco and I love that fucking city. I hear you can get some in Seattle, and I've always wanted to go there. Shows? Spectacles? Yeah, large cities have that kind of thing and I go see them there, without ever hearing that hated sound of slot machines even once, much less every fucking place I go.
    I get invitations to go there every so often, but not much anymore, because I've worn this shit out and said more than once that only way I'm going to Vegas is if the people I go with agree to drop me off at Lake Mead with a kayak and enough camping supplies for the duration. Lake Mead is about the only part the yearly family trips to that hellhole I didn't hate, and even that was tempered by the fact that we were usually there in February. Still, I'd love explore all the crazy canyons in Mead by paddle. That would be awesome.

  • Work just sent me for a weekend in Biloxi, MS, where the casino business has obliterated what was once a relatively nice stretch of beachfront. My experience there was of unrelieved misery. Think of Vegas, but smaller and without the sense of humor. Kind of like Branson, but sadder.

    But my big gripe about the whole enterprise (having been forced to endure Reno for work last year — think Biloxi, but with all the sex workers added) is the utter lack of imagination that the participants have. Everything is filled in for them. Is that why everybody looks like they're having no fun?

  • Most horrific visual…

    A line of people on there hover-rounds, with oxygen tanks, smoking. Each with a set of lanyards around their neck with debit cards attached. Plugged into multiple "slot" machines and punching the buttons like a rat in a cage. But nobody ever seemed to get a food pellet.

    It's The Matrix. Feed the machine.

  • I'm really glad I never got into gambling. I never found anything interesting about LV until Cirque set up shop there. Now I go once or twice a year just to stay in a nice hotel, watch a Cirque show (KA is astounding) or Penn & Teller, then go back home.

    The prices of those shows usually allows me to avoid much of the drunken white trash masses.

  • I've had good and bad experiences there.

    I may owe the good ones to my extremely dark sense of humor.

  • "It's a bunch of slobs walking around in flip-flops, their rolls of fat and Tweety Bird tattoos protruding from clothes that might have fit 5 years ago…"

    THIS is America.

  • Halloween Jack says:

    I think that part of the appeal that you're missing is for that certain sort of person who doesn't really feel alive unless they can have a cheap holiday in other people's misery. The kind of person who can watch Leaving Las Vegas, go to Vegas, and leave disappointed that they didn't see some guy staggering around a liquor store with a cart full of booze so that he can drink himself to death, or a prostitute staggering home after being raped by four frat boys.

  • My friends in college went to Vegas (I couldn't afford to join them). One night, my roommate called me at home.

    "Hey!" he said, "they give you free cigarettes while you gamble here!"
    "Really?" I responded, suitably impressed.
    "Yeah! I got three packs for only $500!"

    Personally, Vegas is about the last goddamn place on Earth I need or want to visit, but I do encourage foreigners to check it out. It really does feel like maybe the most "American" city in the country. It's a massive monument to greed and gluttony that tries to be awe-inspiring, but ends up tacky and gaudy instead.

  • I went to Las Vegas, NV (we here in NM have to specify, as there is a Las Vegas here, too) last Nov. I hadn't been since 1992. I didn't remember it being the a)crush of sloppy, dazed people in flip-flops and sloppy drunk college/post-college kids; and b)as expensive and pushing the "rich" lifestyle. One thing: there weren't the frozen novelty drinks to go being sold by the casinos, so there was none of the frat rush party atmosphere. And there were just not that many people because that was just the beginning of the "spectacle casino."

    I knew I'd had enough on this last trip when I berated some frat boys for rating women outside the Bellagio fountains (yes, they were holding up signs, like Olympic judges). I told them that frat boys did that when I was in college and that was 30 years ago and maybe they should evolve. Then I lectured some idiot Trustafarian whose girlfriend was getting in a fight with a friend–they were begging for money and had a dog with them. The cops had shown up to break up the fight, some drunk was taunting the dog…I told Trustafarian kid that it was fine if he wanted to fuck up his life and beg on the streets, but he should leave the poor animal out of it. My advice was not welcome.

    I vowed never to go back to Las Vegas, NV.

  • Strangepork says:

    "On behalf of all fat people, let me tell all you fat-bashing fucks to eat several bowls of lard-covered dicks."

    Are you trying to make them fat too?

    In all seriousness, as one of the fat people you deign to speak for, chill the fuck out. The word fat appeared precisely three times in the thread before you made your comment/worst recipe swap ever; once in Ed's post, and twice in Ed W.'s "I saw Jay-Z and he's just like a real person" story.

  • duck-billed placelot says:

    Death Valley Natl Park is only about 2.5 hrs from Vegas, and it's so much more fun (and conducive to life). Every casino I have ever been in anywhere has been depressing as fuck. Also, although you're not likely to see kangaroo rats in the Park, you're even LESS likely to see people gambling at machines with a 1000 yard stare. Seems like a pretty fabulous trade-off to me.

  • No, my problem is that I developed my mental image of Vegas as a kid from things like James Bond or old Rat Pack movies. And when you visit for the first time, it hits you: no one is wearing a tuxedo or playing high-stakes baccarat.

    There are a few casinos in the city in which I went to university, and I got pretty soundly mocked, as a fresher, for declining an invitation to go to one on the grounds that I didn't have a dress to wear. I was picturing a glittering world of Bond-esquery, but apparently casinos are just somewhere to go and drink after last orders.

    My attachment to Vegas is strictly sentimental. I got married there, at the Little Church of the West — my anniversary is in a couple of weeks, so the nostalgia is waxing.

    Congratulations, Ladiesbane! Have a very lovely anniversary.

  • I think the good doctor summed it up the best:

    "The Circus-Circus is what the whole world would be doing Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. This is the Sixth Reich."

  • On another blog my username is humans_off_earth_now. Pretty much my philosophy of life and all I have to say about anything anymore.

    My gods, the utter pointless horseshit. Now with extra Vegas.

    /eeyore

  • Noskilz- I love the Cthulhu reference! I never thought of it that way, but it is good one.

    Sadly, I am allergic to Vegas. I spent 4 days there once for a conference, was sick as a dog by day 2. I left the Strip to do some climbing in Red Rocks, and was all better within 24 hours of leaving the Strip. Saves me thinking about it, trying to comprehend it, etc. My body simply rebels at the notion.

    Good way to get to the Mojave though

  • Wow I can't believe what a bunch of self righteous, judgmental fucks this post has spawned. Not overly surprising considering the tenor of the post itself is nothing more than bullshit pontificating about how much better the author is than all these dregs of society he so disdains.
    The ridiculous self-aggrandizing of the 'I'm too smart to gamble" crowd is repugnant. Whoopee for you. I'm sure you never waste your money on anything frivolous or stupid. I'm not much of a gambler, I might go to a casino 3 or 4 times a year and blow a couple hundred bucks, but I've also blown a the same amount on Broadway shows, tickets for Concerts, or really nice dinners, so how is that any different. Besides the fact that with the spending of that money for my entertainment came no chance of leaving with more than I came with. Your pontificating about what someone does for fun is little more than what the church ladies do sitting around and clucking about how someone chooses to live their lives. I think that NASCAR is moronic, but I have friends that love it, I don't denigrate them for their choice. If they aren't hurting you, then what the fuck business is it what they do for fun, and why do you think it's appropriate to turn those who do it into some "lesser than" part of society? And ragging on people because you don't approve of how they dress, or because you think they're too fat. Go fuck yourself. You sound like a junior high girl that thinks she's cool by criticizing the girls that aren't up to her standards. What; should we pass a law that makes it illegal for anyone to offend your delicate sensibilities? And who does J Dryden think he is deciding whether or not people are having fun, or just faking having fun. I didn't realize you could read minds. Bite me, just cause you don't think its fun, doesn't mean everybody else there is faking it.
    Having hung around a lot of Deadhead hippie types in my life I have particular disdain for people that have contempt, and judge people because they do not approve of their lifestyle choices or their appearance. How does their choice affect you in any way?
    So if I haven't made it clear; the whole denigration of people because they don't look or act the way you think they should, particularly when their actions have basically no effect on you, makes you a pathetic, judgmental, pompous jagoff. So. Go. Fuck. Your. Self.

  • I would just like the experience of going there once in my life. Vegas is the only place in the world like it. :)

  • I might go to a casino 3 or 4 times a year and blow a couple hundred bucks, but I've also blown a the same amount on Broadway shows, tickets for Concerts, or really nice dinners, so how is that any different.

    Well, a Broadway show is a couple of hours of watching and listening as very skilled and gifted entertainers perform from scores and scripts and dances written by very skilled playwrights and composers and choreographers. A concert is a couple of hours listening to very skilled and gifted musicians performing music written by very skilled and gifted composers. A really nice dinner is a couple of hours savoring appetizers and entrees and cocktails and wine prepared and chosen by very skilled and gifted chefs and sommeliers.

    A couple of hundred bucks blown in a casino is a couple of hours (if that) sitting in front of a succession of card dealers and noisy machines of no great skill or gift.

    But hey, if an expensive but non-threatening adrenaline rush of a completely interchangeable type enjoyed in the company of like-minded people turns your crank, be happy. Just don't expect the rest of us to chip in when the real bill for Vegas (all that electricity doesn't generate itself, and the water is not going to be available for long) comes due.

  • "…If they aren't hurting you, then what the fuck business is it what they do for fun, …"

    You obviously haven't been paying attention. Gambling causes huge amounts of social harm. I work in a place where sadly a good part of my pay packet is subsidised by pokies (slots). It keeps the beer cheap.

    I refer to the pokies den as "the pigeon coup". When they were doing the learned conditioned response tests with the pigeons — the one where the light goes on the pigeon pecks three times and gets a reward — they had three groups.

    1) the pigeon pecks three times gets rewarded. These pigeons continued to respond this way for the rest of their lives.
    2) after awhile the reward was stopped. The pigeons ignored the light, even if there was food available.
    3) the reward was randomised (could happen on three pecks, maybe 1 or perhaps 10, or 4 this time…) the reward was later stopped altogether. These pigeons would peck themselves to death.

    There's something in that…

  • Xynzee claims…. You obviously haven't been paying attention. Gambling causes huge amounts of social harm. ….
    Yes, just horrible, as opposed to beer which does no harm and apparently provides you a source of income. Wait, how is that word spelled again? I think its H-Y-P O go fuck yourself!!!

    Docamazing says…Just don't expect the rest of us to chip in when the real bill for Vegas (all that electricity doesn't generate itself,..
    I'm sorry are you somehow paying the electric bills for all the businesses in Vegas? Considering if Vegas wasn't there, nobody in their right mind would live there, and there would be no reason for power plants to exist, how would that work out for all the regular people that make there living working in power plants, or on construction crews, or have jobs maintaining highways. Perhaps in your world LA shouldn't exist either because of how much water is diverted to run that city. What an idiotic argument, and hardly addresses the point of my comment that the post itself, and a decent amount of the comments had little to do with electricity, or water usage or even the societal costs of gambling, which in all likelihood is similar to the societal costs from the consumption of Fritos and Ho Hos. Maybe we should rant and rave about snack foods as well, because apparently fat people are all losers who dress poorly and have bad tattoos. Or is that only applicable to the fat people who also gamble? My comment was addressed to all the self important assholes that were spending their time congratulating themselves on their superiority because they chose not to engage in an activity that they didn't enjoy, as well as those spreading hatred towards people merely because they objected to their choice of entertainment and travel destinations.
    Which brings me to Major Kong who apparently doesn't understand the definition, or the concept of being an elitist. (OK I get that you were just trying to bring humor but it helps me make a point) Not "getting" Vegas, or not enjoying gambling, doesn't make one an elitist or a snob. But running down others for liking something, or doing something that you don't agree with, (and has, at best, a slight tertiary effect on society,) and has basically zero measurable negative effect on you personally, is being a snob, and an asshole. See not liking NASCAR is not the same as saying all NASCAR fans are fat stupid rednecks. Which is what the actual post and many of the people commenting were doing.
    Then, finally, I was criticizing the people that proclaimed to everybody how superior, and intelligent they were because they didn't participate in something they didn't enjoy. It reminds me of Ted Nugent, and how he brags about how he has never done drugs. No, he just gets his jolly's by killing shit and engaging in statutory rape.

  • Judgmental? Self-righteous? Superior? Snob? Asshole? Could someone please lend me a dictionary? Mine just has "Bears Fan" listed as definition for each of these.

    Have a pal that went to Mt Everest, twice. First time about 20 yrs ago and was so enthralled by the place he spent the next 15 yrs pining and planning a return trip. Went back about 5 yrs ago and returned sickened by the commercialism, the mounds of garbage at the camps and the trails clearly marked by human waste, clumps of coloured toilet paper and discarded oxygen bottles.

    I went to Vegas in the late 70s, had a great time playing nickel slots, dollar blackjack, enjoying inexpensive buffets, drinks and great shows. Loved the reasonably priced trips to the dam and the canyon, found some nice artisan communities and met lots of warm, welcoming local folks. The atmosphere was casual, relaxed and fun. (Yup, the entertainers all wore tuxs, but I think Bond hung out in Monte Carlo, not Vegas) Went back to Vegas last year, and knew immediately how my friend felt about Everest.

  • Recently, I had the pleasure of spending two weeks on working on Guam, an American neocolonial lump of coral out in the middle of Typhoon Alley. We stayed in the Tumon district, at a hotel (like the Tumon district itself) which caters entirely to middle-class Japanese tourists. (From Tokyo, Guam looks like a closer Hawai'i; from the wallet of a Japanese family, Guam looks like a more-affordable Hawai'i.) These tourists know what they want, and the Tumon gives it to them: beautiful views of the Phillipine Sea at sunset, golf, tennis, Prada, The Hard Rock Cafe, firing ranges, and "gentleman's clubs". (For the young, single Japanese women, the American military bases provide plenty of buff young American service men to service them.) At one point, a wedding party (all Japanese, all in traditional Western wedding attire) strolled through the hotel's lobby. They had just had their ceremony, at a chapel overlooking the turquoise waters of Tumon Bay, and the bride had clearly gotten everything she came for. So, that is their paradise, or at least the paradise they can afford. Me, I couldn't wait to complete my work, and put as many miles between my pasty flesh and that hot, moldy, damp lump of coral as I possibly could. To each his own.

  • Tell me Celynne how does pointing out that people that were being hateful, and improperly speaking badly about others, just because they disapproved of how and where those people choose to entertain themselves, makes me a snob or asshole?

    By your putrid logic calling Rush Limbaugh an asshole for the way he treated Ms. Fluke would make the people criticizing him an asshole as well.

    I'd like to know, do you believe those, including the author, were acting properly by slamming anyone that might like Vegas, as being somehow an inferior human being? Are you actually defending the shitty things that these people said. Or should I have just let them get away with it. I was intentionally as harsh as I could be to make a point to them about how it feels to have people say hurtful things about them.

    I find it quite interesting that you immediately went the route of ignoring the transgressions of those you identify with, and instead attack the messenger. Hmmm…..who constantly uses that tactic ?
    Perhaps if you follow this link you'll figure out who I'm referring to.
    http://youtu.be/GBD_d9SZYnw

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  • @Bears Fan

    Pointing out that you are being judgemental and superior equates to an endorsement of other posters' messages? Rather putrid logic.

    These people are expressing their opinions, which they are entitled to do. You appear to have mistaken attacking their character for disagreeing with their opinion, precisely the error RL routinely makes. Pointing out that he makes this error does not consitute a judgement, it's a statement of fact.

    I find it curious that you felt necessary to teach us all a lesson, and I'd ask what makes you think you're qualified to enlighten us, but I'm not that interested.

  • Steve from Canada says:

    I love Vegas. I hate gambling. I hate "shows." I hate fat stupid Americans. I am a vegan with zero use for revolting Vegas buffets. I hate overpriced clubs full of shitbags who could never get into a real club in a real city. I hate desert heat and burn almost instantly in Nevada sun. But nonetheless, I love Vegas. Who knows why people have the evaluative dispositions they have?

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