The Voice just returned from a trip to Las Vegas. While we enjoyed the UNITY 2012 and NLGJA conferences, we were disturbed by the “city” itself. Here are 37 reasons why we hated it, presented in no particular order, except that No. 37 is the most insidious.
1. The architecture of confusion reigns supreme, so that you never have any sense of direction, time, or space
2. Carrot Top
3. There is more than one Hard Rock Cafe
4. There’s a pyramid with THREE different Starbucks inside of it
5. There is little difference between the strip and the airport, but the airport is better. (While both have slot machines and trap people inside a closed system, the airport has better, cheaper and healthier food options.)
6. Vegas is the only city in America to make brute, Darwinian capitalism look more out of control than it is in New York. (Wall Street usually takes your money far more discretely than The House.)
7. Vegas is devoted to American car culture and it is nearly impossible to walk outside. Yet inside, ironically, you must walk more in a day just trying to get from your hotel room to a convention center conference room than even the most hardcore New Yorker could have ever dreamt possible.
8. The New York, New York Casino interior doesn’t look like New York City, but rather like the Times Square Vegasification of New York City (as re-imagined in Las Vegas). #verisimilitude
9. Hotel guests refer to The Shining multiple times a day
10. There are 31 flavors of Cirque Du Soleil, all peddling the same shit with a different soundtrack. (This secretly makes you worry that maybe New York and Vegas aren’t so different!)
11. The Luxor’s Bodies and Titanic exhibits make you worry that the South Street Seaport could overrun all of NYC. (This really makes you worry that New York and Vegas aren’t so different.)
12. A 10 minute cab ride from the airport to a hotel on the strip (see No. 5, there’s little difference between the two, but the journey must be made) costs almost $30
13. There are actually LINES for people to PAWN THEIR SHIT. (After they have lost everything else, people can go to a 24-hour pawnshop to lose even more.)
14. There is something called “The Fremont Street Experience”
15. It seems as if there is a law banning any benches in public spaces. Feet hurt? Need to sit down for a moment? You can only sit in front of a slot machine. Now give us your money.
16. There is a restaurant where people over 350 lbs can eat for free
17. People roam around Vegas in tribal packs, exuding testosterone or estrogen like prowling animals in heat
18. It’s like depression has a zip code (89119)
19. The pools, like everything else, are a mirage. You are charged an additional $10 “daily resort fee” to use them on top of your room rate. But, they look so big and inviting outside your hotel room window from 30 floors up, you forget the fee and run gladly to the mirage for relief. But when you go out to the pool, it’s well over 100 degrees and your flesh starts to burn right off of your corpse body. It is then you realize that the best parts of the pool have been blocked off and you need to pay $70 to use them. As for the “free” area (which you’ve paid $10 to use) there is not one square inch of shade. This has been carefully orchestrated by a sadomasochistic landscape architect to grab you by the short hairs, so that you’ll be so boiling hot, you’ll actually consider renting a poolside cabana for $250.
20. Who do they book to sign autographs? Pete Rose.
21. People can actually smoke inside
22. You are forced to walk through the worst malls of America just to get to your bed
23. It’s the convention capital of the world, but what responsible person would book a convention there? If you’re trying to gather a group of people for a purpose, why would you so do in a place where they are endlessly distracted from actually attending your event?
24. You can’t tell the gay guys from the straight guys, because almost any guy who would travel to Vegas willingly becomes equally shitfaced and tacky within an hour of arrival
25. It costs over $20 to print out a six page MS Word file at a hotel
26. At the Mandalay Bay, there is a pair of giant, alabaster tits coming out of a wall that are molested many times a day in exactly the same way by tourists. People actually lick the nipples for Facebook photos to send to the folks back home, even though they’re sucked on by more mouths than the Octomom’s.
27. There is something called the House of Blues. (And finding that making people exit through the gift shop isn’t an obvious enough tactic to take your money, they make people enter through and wait in the gift shop for 10 minutes to get a table, even when dozens are clearly available.)
28. The decimation of the Native American people is on full display, as Native American women on the strip pass out cards with pictures of blonde women strip shows to hordes of horny men
29. It’s in some ways sadly like that other loud Nevada party town – Black Rock City
30. It’s nothing like that other loud Nevada party town – Black Rock City
31. Hotel staff treat you like a criminal every second you’re not gambling
32. When you realize an entire “city’s” “economy” is based on this madness, it makes sense why it spent 22 straight months as the metro area with the highest rate of home foreclosure
33. The most aggressive alpha male frat bro types don’t wander around in flip-flops to mark their territory – they wander around in bare feet!
34. There are few places in America as beautiful for viewing a sunset as the Nevada desert…but this view is ruined in Vegas by things like a light column so bright, it can be seen from outer space
35. Once inside the Casino Industrial Complex, there are endless “restaurants,” each offering the same food options which all taste terrible, deliver little nutrition, and cost a fortune
36. There is something called the State Farm All-White Freedom Friday Party (which, ironically, is only attended by black people) advertised between something called The Hoodie Awards and something called Tyler Perry’s For Better of Worse Beach Party.
37. The architecture is so hideous, Daniel Liebskind’s complex actually fits in contextually.
37. When you start seriously considering that Vegas is a city which takes your money outright, and New York is a city that just takes your money when your landlord assaults you, evicts you for not paying back a predatory loan you never received, and throws you in jail for trying to close your Citibank account, you realize the towns are more alike than you’d like to admit. (See No.’s 10 & 11.)