The tagline on the new ad campaign for Las Vegas as a tourist destination is something along the lines of: “Vegas — What happens here stays here.” In other words, Vegas is presenting itself as a kind of anything-goes Eden of hedonism, a place for young & old alike to visit and let off some steam, at best, & at worst, marry someone you just met & spend the extended weekend fucking in public places, sometimes with an audience.
Now, if the people that I knew who had been to Vegas, & if the people the TV-commercial’s actors are portraying, were all ascetic responsible people, then maybe I could get on a side of this campaign. But is there any restraint left in contemporary American culture, at all? If Vegas didn’t exist, would anyone have to look very far for an excuse to act self-indulgently on a weekly basis, if not every day?
The only thing that makes Vegas different—other than allure & fantasy (wrong word)—is the fact that the lights are probably brighter there, and drinks are free, provided you’re willing to throw money into machines or decks of cards. Prostitution—not legal. Drug use—not legal. But nor is it legal in our hometowns & look how easy they are to enjoy.
I guess what I’m upset at is the way Vegas provides an excuse for everyday abandon that after a trip to Vegas, caught up in the spirit of excess, it’s easy to excuse excessive living in yer day-to-day. “Sure, I got so drunk last night that I drove home & parked in the middle of the street,” the admin asst tells his pal in marketing, “but that’s small potatoes compared to the shit I pulled in Vegas.”
1. It’s always a surprise the concerns that weigh on my head for years and years.
2. It’s also a surprise the shit I spent time writing about before I met N. and found real concerns to be concerned with.
One more: note the period on the T-shirt above. Such an unintended rhetorical puzzle!