Just returned from Vegas for work. While the place seemed normal (as normal as Vegas can get) it was doubly surreal to be there at the beginning of a depression (yes, I’ve decided that we are now in a depression, over-reaction perhaps, but who knows).
The mood was captured by a skype chat between myself and an (american) friend of mine who was there working with me:
[15/12/2008 5:40:34 PM] David Eaves says: actually last night, I was sitting at the bar waiting for my take out. Between the glamourized homeland security tv ride along show, the gambling, the faux roman-style architecture of the Palazzo, and the hopped up gladiatorial style football coverage I was struck by how facist/starship trooperesque the whole thing was
[15/12/2008 5:40:37 PM] David Eaves says: totally depressing
[15/12/2008 5:41:38 PM] XXXXX says: i know. now you know why i hate vegas so. got off the plane to a woman at a slot machine wearing 3 stacked cowboy hats. if they weren’t paying me, i would have gotten right back on that plane.
It really was depressing. Of course, on the surface the whole place looks unaffected by the economic problems. But then, relying on how things look on the surface is the worst way of taking the termperature in Vegas. Things are clearly not going well, and are only going to get worse. A lot worse.
I was also struck by how Las Vegas related to the earlier post on cultural theories of risk. Las Vegas must be home to the fatalists. I mean, here is a place that literraly is high grid, low group – and where it doesn’t matter what you do, fate – or luck – controls your destiny, and in the end, even she can’t stop the house from winning.
BTW – Sorry for slow posting – I’m completely jet lagged and exhaused. Intense travel, work and catching up with old friends has left me drained.