Monday, January 21, 2008

Many fools have tried to embrace the 19,000,000 neon bulb excess of Las Vegas and only gotten singed for their hubris (how many copies of U2's Pop have you counted at your local used CD store? has Brandon Flowers kept the mustache?). Occasionally someone gets it right -- in this case, Carl Wilson, whose entry in the 33 1/3 series on Celine Dion Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste proved excellent consumerist product on the airplane. I chewed on this aside on Sin City:
If there is a laboratory demonstration of the antagonism between economic and cultural capital, it is Las Vegas, a city of such pure commercialism that money is its entertainment, interrupted occasionally by a show...In this non-stop carnival of social inversion, only money is purely beautiful, in Kant's sense of being an end in itself. Vegas's fabled love of the ersatz, like its mini Eiffel Tower, is money giddily blaspheming culture's sacred icons. All of which, in the abstract, seems kind of healthy. But in the flesh it depressed the hell out of me.
Well, yeah, it would, if you've never been to Walt Disney World, which, in addition to that Kantian sense in which the money-entertainment complex will consume itself after you've overdrawn your checking account buying a pair of Mouse ears, specficially targets the one segment of the population more uninhibited than the adult heterosexual male: the child. I wasn't very depressed: celebrating a bachelor party means you get the ride you pay for. But I must say, walking those labyrinthine subterranean corridors connecting mega-resort and casino four times a day, I never saw so many mirror-image representations of our group.

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