Fear and Loafing in Las Vegas

Being a series of gross oversimplified generalizations written in various stages of being on both pain and painkillers, with a happy ending:

I spent five hours in the Las Vegas airport Saturday night. I can’t think of a better reintroduction to America.


A pleasure city built in the middle of the desert to serve the repressed desires of puritanical Americans, who would deny themselves and others pleasure. An illusory mirage of freedom from the constrictions of self imposed illusory moral rectitude. Sin City, it is called. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas….because you aren’t allowed to have fun anywhere else! Built in the middle of the desert…where no body will notice it, lol. A pleasure city to which, in part the mighty Colorado River has been sacrificed. The Colorado River, in case you did not know, no longer reaches the sea. Every drop of it is diverted now, so that Americas can have fountains and golf courses and swimming pools in the middle of a dessert.


Truly a symbol of Americas power. Americas indisputably great power, and Americas indisputably VERY odd use of its great power.

My last pre-Gringo hours in Mexico were spent on a bus, further observing a cross section of the people there…and how relaxed they are with themselves, with who they are, with their ‘lot in life.’ Not that they are perfectly content or don’t want to improve themselves, not at all. But that until they do, they are ok with who they are….unafraid of judgment, I guess. They accept that they are not …cool. That they are just them. Relaxed, and thus, happier.

Then I got to the airport in Cabo and came face to face with genus Gringo and their strange rituals, customs and behaviors. I was in shock.

Then my flight was delayed, which meant I missed my connecting flight, which meant I had five hours “to kill” (!) in the Vegas airport.

These are my observations, they are not meant to be mean or derogatory.

First, Americas WANT to be judged. They hate and fear it too, but they want it and they need it and they need to judge others as well. It is, on a basic level, what gives their lives meaning. Relativity of status.

All humans have it of course, but seeing it with fresh eyes, it is a desperation here. This is…or could be, good news in a way.

The other observation, and this one not new, is that a certain percentage or a certain type of America WANTS to be offended. I have observed this before as have others. But I was finally able to figure out why, last night. Righteous Rage. People have a deep well of anger. They wish to express it without social consequence and the ‘cleanest’ way to do this is having someone offend or wrong them.

To explain….no, that would take to long….to sum up: Americans are insecure and angry.

Insecure angry people are easily led. Whether it be in bad directions, as Bushco has done…or in good directions…..as Obama has the POTENTIAL to do. America is a great force. The last eight years have show that this force can be harnessed for downright evil purposes, if its leaders so choose.

But for Human Beings, Americans (for the most part) are darn good people! At least, they want to be good, to do the right thing…as long as it is not too scary or inconvenient. Just imagine for a moment if America got it’s priorities straight. If it’s moral compass was recalibrated. If it’s leaders led it in the right direction. If it was called upon to help improve the world instead of to help destroy it, as it has been for he past eight years.

All of this is possible.

It often takes the manifestation of evil to bring out the good. It is time for the scales to balance, to shift back to the good. Bushco has pulled them in one direction so far that no one can ignore the damage done. This has inspired and created a huge infusion of normally uninvolved people…and a whole new generation to become involved. Now it is our turn to pull them back…

Pull Harder!


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  1. But at least I get to post Magnificos latest version of the Victory Girl!


  2. This country isn’t big enough for both buhdydharma and pfiore8. 😉

    • brobin on May 26, 2008 at 20:39

    stand in line and be picked by numbers approach to being hip, cool or geeks as opposed to being judged.  😉

    I’ve always gotten a kick out of living abroad and then coming back to the USA and finding my thoughts immediately consider how different one or more things are, and then to be brought right back into reality within a few weeks of paying attention to the goings on here at “home.”

    Humanity is the same in ego, no matter if you are with the nomadic tribes of the Sahara or the couch potato tribes of Houston.

    The only difference is you, and how YOU see yourself outside of your tribe.

    • kj on May 26, 2008 at 21:52


    • kj on May 26, 2008 at 21:56

    thoughts, clearly delivered, Buddy.  

  3. It often takes the manifestation of evil to bring out the good. It is time for the scales to balance, to shift back to the good.

    As they say, from your lips to the goddesses ears!!!

    And I sooo agree with you about the well of anger and insecurity. That’s going to be much harder to fix than a simple little election.  

    • kj on May 26, 2008 at 22:11

    the last ten years in a part of the country that is considered ‘downhome’ and anything but cool, aka, rural red, i saw some of what you’re talking about, Buddy.  the coolness factor there is more about how scuffed a person’s cowboy boots are or how dusty their pickup truck is than what passes for cool on either coast (as i recall, having spent time on both coasts). the hairstyles for women are at least 10, if not 15 years out of date, Hallmark nickknacks in the work cubbie the mark of expendable cash. and, how many acres or cattle are owned.

    i could talk quite awhile on how easily and seemingly happily offended the majority of the people i interacted with allowed themselves to become. casual comments cause strokes.

    now we’re in a city, one of a couple known for its liberal bent, in Missouri.  gone is the easily offended.  what remains is the out-of-date haircuts.  an interesting mix that i’m still  observing… because the “insider v outsider” status club rules haven’t quite revealed themselves here yet.  will let ya know when they do.

    fascinating perspective. your description of Las Vegas was probably the best i’ve ever read.

  4. and no one can impress me with Vegas as it is light years away from anything I would consider fun.  My objections are not moral either but more academic.  People actually like this crap?

    And you know I have no problem stepping away from conventional Americanisms.

  5. Via a diary at dKos, I followed a link to The New Republic:

    Kass has a problem not just with longevity and health but with the modern conception of freedom. There is a “mortal danger,” he writes, in the notion “that a person has a right over his body, a right that allows him to do whatever he wants to do with it.” He is troubled by cosmetic surgery, by gender reassignment, and by women who postpone motherhood or choose to remain single in their twenties. Sometimes his fixation on dignity takes him right off the deep end:


    Worst of all from this point of view are those more uncivilized forms of eating, like licking an ice cream cone–a catlike activity that has been made acceptable in informal America but that still offends those who know eating in public is offensive. … Eating on the street–even when undertaken, say, because one is between appointments and has no other time to eat–displays [a] lack of self-control: It beckons enslavement to the belly. … Lacking utensils for cutting and lifting to mouth, he will often be seen using his teeth for tearing off chewable portions, just like any animal. … This doglike feeding, if one must engage in it, ought to be kept from public view, where, even if we feel no shame, others are compelled to witness our shameful behavior.


    Haven’t had time to read the whole thing yet, but thought that people here would find this…interesting.  It’s from a 555-page report released by the President’s Council on Bioethics called “Human Dignity and Bioethics.”

    Damn, I knew the Bu$h cabal hated NYC and all New Yorkers: but the tendency to eat a pizza slice on the run has spread across the country.  Do they want to close down fairs, too, because somebody MIGHT lick an ice cream cone before their oh-so-delicate eyes?

    Jesus *&^%$#$ C.

    NOW can we impeach the bastards?

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