Shitty American Tour Guide Reviews Shitty American City: Las Vegas Edition

Look, I suppose you might live in Las Vegas and you might know some cool things about it and there might be all kinds of wonderful aspects to living here. Cool. Fine. But for the purpose of this—a semi-coherent, not thought out review—I’m speaking of the Las Vegas everybody thinks about, namely the blisteringly overwhelming mile or two that is The Strip.

If I had to write about it in one sentence, it would be a begging question of a sentence and it would be, “Can you please turn everything way the fuck down?”

If I was going to add some culture to it, I’d, perhaps, choose to write a haiku. That haiku would be this haiku.

am I on set now?

all these lights are killing me

buffet closes soon

The first time I visited Las Vegas I was 17 years old, it was a few days after Christmas when we landed, and I had the fortune—in the way of being in a bad situation later in life leads to being able to tell shitty stories at shitty parties—of being on The Strip for New Year’s Eve. The best part of that? It was roped off and the cops who were on the outside warned us, “If you go in there, you’re on your own until we pull your body out in the morning.” Being 17 and not giving a shit about law and/or order, and also sporting our Invincibility Letterman Jackets, we went in anyway. Obvs, I didn’t die, but what I did get to see was, as the clock ticked down towards midnight, people started throwing full champagne bottles in the air, more than one of which came crashing down on some unsuspecting revelers hatrack. Bam! Welcome to 1994! O.J.’s gonna kill Nicole this year!

The Vegas of ’94 was gaudy enough. We hung out in Circus Circus, watched the pirate show at Treasure Island, saw Ashford and Simpson walking the floor. It left an impression on an impressionable 17 year old boy from the Midwest. As I got older and made other trips to Vegas, there was a rise in trendy clubs, shitty dance music, bro culture, prototype Kardashian shitheads and all of the grandiosity that comes with it. Maybe it was always there on some level and I just didn’t see it when I was 17, but I definitely saw it when I was in my mid-20s my early 30s, etc.

But now, this place is like the Mall of Aspirationmerica. All the big names you know and love and can’t afford. All the ones the rappers talk about. All the ones you see on tv. And not only are they here, but they’re here with bullhorns and a light show that rivals Times Square in that “look it’s midnight, but you think it’s the middle of the day” way. It is suffocating your peace of mind.

So that’s my review–Too much noise. Too much light. Too many people. I guess they have to do it up big now, because the desert is coming to reclaim the land. The next time I come back it’ll be on ATV when I can point out the skeletal remains of skyscrapers to wayward youth I’m teaching to survive in New Amerika 2028.

About Ben 56 Articles
Ben LeRoy writes about a lot of things, but really loves talking about music. In his pre-retirement life he ran a publishing company. Now he gardens and travels and pretends to have authority on cultural matters.

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