The charms of Las Vegas, that Mecca of mindless class, were lost on me and as of today, it is my least favorite place in our wonderful, wide country.
Vegas, to me anyway, is a city on the hustle and visitors are the hustler pry. Here, you’re a dollar sign wearing shoes. In our first five minutes at the airport someone tried to steal our luggage. A few minutes after that a cab driver overcharged us on the ride into the city. The creep asked “Highway or local route to your hotel?” Sensing a scam I answered “The least expensive way”. It actually doesn’t matter what you answer, they’re going to overcharge you either way. Welcome to Las Vegas.
Expect to be overcharged at every angle for everything, especially bottled water, which in 2015 sells for $6.00 and has a sort of, I don’t know how to describe it, “old” taste to it. So does the air. There is no fresh air in Vegas.
To call the place garish, crass classes is to be kind….to kind in fact. The city has not wandered far from the gangster/goon thug money that built the place, in fact it’s a reflection of the thug money that built the place from its cheesy chain restaurants for the monster truck crowd to its worn out generic casinos and over sized billboards starring blonde women with breasts the size of a dirigible hawking a strip club.
Vegas is everything that’s wrong with human nature and my country. Simplistic in its make up, it personifies greed and lust and mindlessness. And it’s dirty too. I didn’t think it was possible for an entire city to smell like cigarettes but Las Vegas taught me otherwise. The always crowded sidewalks smell of urine and beer and abound with drunks and hookers. In fairness, it’s difficult to tell the hookers from some of the barely clad tourist.
And then there are the “If it happened in Vegas, it’s gonna stay in Vegas” crowd….and they are a large crowd…..these are the folks from East Ardvark sometimes who are determined to fit five years of party time into a three day vacation. Trust me, you’ll know them when you see them.
I have never seen such a conglomeration of strange looking people in one place. While I can stand to lose a few pounds, Vegas seems to be a mecca for the excessively fat people of the world. I know because I had a lot of time to look at these people because there is a waiting line for everything in Las Vegas. Everything. (Except the slots and tables) Check in’s and check out are a line. In these lines you will be cheated for something called a “resort fee”. There is a for the taxi (See the first paragraph for the cheating sample in these lines)
I go to Las Vegas--or at least I went to Las Vegas--because even though I knew everything that was sinister, calculating, and evil about it, I loved Las Vegas. Only in Vegas could I dare to fantasize that I was a Friend of Frank. Or that I was throwing the dice at Dino's favorite table. Or that I might luck out and sip bourgon with Rickles after his last lounge show. The D.I. oozed that kind of heady fantasy. Marc Cooper, The Last Honest Place in America
All things may be bought in Rome with money. Juvenal
The night before I left Las Vegas I walked out in the desert to look at the moon. There was a jeweled city on the horizon, spires rising in the night, but the jewels were diadems of electric and the spires were the neon of signs ten stories high. Norman Mailer
"Las Vegas is like huge fake breasts. Nothing is real, just plastic. It is all provided with a clean veneer over the grime of its purpose, to swindle. And I don’t gamble" Komrade Komura, Forced Entry
“The reason you should go to Las Vegas is because, for only the second time, the second time, ever, they have rebuilt Sodom and Gomorrah. It's back!! And you have the opportunity to see it before it turns to salt.” Lewis Black, The White Album
“The best thing about Las Vegas is that no one pretends to be responsible for your behavior like they do in the rest of the country. There's no meddling self-righteous liberals or right-wing Christian demagogues telling you that you can't do something fun with your own time and money. If you can afford it, it's yours.” Drew Carey, Dirty Jokes and Beer
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Advertising slogan written for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Las Vegas turns women into men, and men into asses. Alan King, quoted in Neon Metropolis
"The entire city of Las Vegas—plastic opulence, treasure for the taking, vulgar towers, and cocktail waitresses with improbable breasts—is built on the self-delusion of the Beta Male." Christopher Moore (A Dirty Job)
Las Vegas has changed a lot over the years. It's no longer a mob-controlled adult play-land. Now it's a corporate, family-friendly place where no one bats an eyelid when some schmuck pushes his kid's stroller through the craps tables at 1 a.m. I'm not sure what they call Family Services folks here, but they're probably busy playing Keno anyway. Brain Sack, Banterist,
Today, we must look to the city of Las Vegas, Nevada as a metaphor of our national character and aspiration, its symbol a thirty-foot high cardboard picture of a slot machine and a chorus girl. For Las Vegas is a city entirely devoted to the idea of entertainment, and as such proclaims the spirit of a culture in which all public discourse increasingly takes the form of entertainment. Our politics, our religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death
"The last time I appeared in Las Vegas, they were wearing hoop skirts and Davy Crockett hats, ... But they say 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.' And as far as fashion is concerned, that's a good thing." Joan Rivers
Las Vegas is Everyman's cut-rate Babylon. Not far away there is, or was, a roadside lunch counter and over it a sign proclaiming in three words that a Roman emperor's orgy is now a democratic institution. "Topless Pizza Lunch." Alistair Cooke
"By the spring of 1963, Las Vegas was made up of an odd convergence of gamblers, gangsters, and government. All three forces, intentionally or unintentionally, catered to every kind of human weakness. Although the aboveground nuclear blasts were gone, the town was still full of glitzy, beckoning casinos; flamboyant, roguish celebrities; down-and-out and entrepreneurial prostitutes; and notorious, brutal criminals. By now it had gained its much deserved reputation as “Sin City”—universally considered a town where “just about anything goes.” And surrounding it were the infamous “holes in the desert.” Many of Las Vegas’s problems were known to be buried in those same holes. So, naturally, as a woman who relished audacity, this would be the place to which my mother would move my sister and me. As it turned out, that was the other part of her telephone call’s “exciting news." Gary Spetz, Easy Hearts
"….the land of fadeless day lies the city foursquare; it shall never pass away and there is no night there." Richard J. Mouw Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport: Making Connections in Today's World
"This is one of the hallmarks of Vegas hospitality. The only bedrock rule is Don’t Burn the Locals. Beyond that, nobody cares. They would rather not know. If Charlie Manson checked into the Sahara tomorrow morning, nobody would hassle him as long as he tipped big." Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
America's greatest strength, and its greatest weakness, is our belief in second chances, our belief that we can always start over, that things can be made better. Anthony Walton
America is the greatest, freest and most decent society in existence. It is an oasis of goodness in a desert of cynicism and barbarism. This country, once an experiment unique in the world, is now the last best hope for the world. Dinesh D'Souza
Las Vegas history, the real Las Vegas history, makes fops and fools of even the most sincere explorers. The city's story is riddled with blind alleys, dead ends, crazy twists, and outright fabrication. John L. Smith, forward, Nevada Yesterdays
“The secret affinity between gambling and the desert: the intensity of gambling reinforced by the presence of the desert all around the town. The air-conditioned freshness of the gaming rooms, as against the radiant heat outside. The challenge of all the artificial lights to the violence of the sun's rays. Night of gambling sunlit on all sides; the glittering darkness of these rooms in the middle of the desert. Gambling itself is a desert form, inhuman, uncultured, initiatory, a challenge to the natural economy of value, a crazed activity on the fringes of exchange. But it too has a strict limit and stops abruptly; its boundaries are exact, its passion knows no confusion. Neither the desert nor gambling are open areas; their spaces are finite and concentric, increasing in intensity toward the interior, toward a central point, be it the spirit of gambling or the heart of the desert - a privileged, immemorial space, where things lose their shadow, where money loses its value, and where the extreme rarity of traces of what signals to us there leads men to seek the instantaneity of wealth.” Jean Baudrillard
"Las Vegas – my favorite desert mirage." Val Saintsbury
Illusions of grandeur are not the same as visions of greatness. Edwin Louis Cole
Las Vegas has become, just as Bugsy Siegel dreamed, the American Monte Carlo—without any of the inevitable upper-class baggage of the Riviera casinos. At Monte Carlo there is still the plush mustiness of the nineteenth century noble lions.... There are still Wrong Forks, Deficient Accents, Poor Tailoring, Gauche Displays, Nouveau Richness, Cultural Aridity—concepts unknown in Las Vegas. For the grand debut of Monte Carlo as a resort in 1879 the architect Charles Garnier designed an opera house for the Place du Casino; and Sarah Bernhardt read a symbolic poem. For the debut of Las Vegas as a resort in 1946 Bugsy Siegel hired Abbot and Costello, and there, in a way, you have it all. Tom Wolfe, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby
"Nevada’s one of the most conservative states in the Union, but you can do what you want in Vegas and nobody judges you." Drew Carey
Las Vegas is a major family destination. Nevada casinos have become American family values now. It's considered just fine to go into one of these windowless scary gambling-malls, drink yourself silly, lose your ass at roulette, and then go ogle showgirls with breast implants. Republicans do this now. Working-class folks do it in polyester stretch pants. It's normal. Bruce Sterling, WIRED Magazine, Nov. 1996
I hate Disneyland. It primes our kids for Las Vegas. Tom Waits
Las Vegas is a city of kickbacks. A desert city of greased palms. A place where a $20 bill can buy approval, a $100 bill adulation and $1,000 canonization. Nicholas Pileggi, Casino
Vegas is purposefully constructed as a self-enclosed and isolated biosphere, sort of what a recreational colony built on the moon might be like. Marc Cooper, The Last Honest Place in America
Las Vegas is the only town in the world whose skyline is made up neither of buildings, like New York, nor of trees, like Wilbraham, Massachusetts, but signs. Tom Wolfe
There is always a sneer in Las Vegas. The mountains around it sneer. The desert sneers. And arrogant in the middle of its wide valley, dominating those diligent sprawling suburbs, the downtown city sneers like anything. Jan Morris
"Las Vegas has become a child's picture-book dream of a city-here a storybook castle, there a sphinx-flanked black pyramid beaming white light into the darkness as a landing beam for UFOs, and everywhere neon oracles and twisting screens predict happiness and good fortune, announce singers and comedians and magicians in residence or on their way, and the lights always flash and beckon and call. Once every hour a volcano erupts in light and flame. Once every hour a pirate ship sinks a man o'war." Neil Gaiman
"The people who say New York never sleeps must have never visited Las Vegas."
It's hard to imagine a bigger desert oasis than Las Vegas. Cinnamon Stomberger
It's a corny old gag about Las Vegas, the temporal city if there ever was one, trying to camouflage the hours and retard the dawn, when everybody knows that if you're feeling lucky you're really feeling time in its rawest form, and if you're not feeling lucky, they've got a clock at the bus station. Michael Herr
Bangkok, like Las Vegas, sounds like a place where you make bad decisions. Todd Phillips
Many a man who goes to Las Vegas to get away from it all soon finds that Las Vegas gets it all away from him. Evan Esar
Vegas means comedy, tragedy, happiness and sadness all at the same time." Artie Lange
Las Vegas exists chiefly to satisfy the needs and desires of its visitors, and this it does in spectacular fashion. Sin City has taken or re-created the best that other great cities have to offer and then upped the ante -- making it bigger, grander, flashier. Scott Doggett, Lonely Planet Las Vegas
Chance favors only those who court her. Charles Nicolle
Las Vegas: all the amenities of modern society in a habitat unfit to grow a tomato. Jason Love
A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness. Jean Genet
Las Vegas is a resort whose two chief sorces of income are seven and eleven. Evan Esar
Las Vegas is a 24-hour city. It never stops. Eli Roth
"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms further….The Great Gatsby
In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number. Steven Wright
In the case of an earthquake hitting Las Vegas, be sure to go straight to the Keno Lounge. Nothing ever gets hit there. Author Unknown
"Hatred is not what Las Vegas is about. We will have zero tolerance for anyone who is intolerant." Oscar Goodman
"Vegas is everything that’s right with America. You can do whatever you want, 24 hours a day. They’ve effectively legalized everything there." Drew Carey
In a city of illusion, where change is what the city does, it's no wonder Las Vegas is the court of last resort, the last place to start over, to reinvent yourself in the same way that the city does, time after time. For some it works; for some it doesn't, but they keep coming and trying. Hal Rothman, Neon Metropolis
Contemporary Las Vegas is astonishing. At night, it is a brilliant cluster of jewels of all shapes, sizes, and colors, glowing in the middle of a vast, black velvet canopy. By day, it is also an amazing sight, almost like a mirage. There is nothing but desert and rugged mountains all around, and then--in the middle of it all--one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the United States ... truly an enigma. Thomas Taj Ainlay, Las Vegas: The Fabulous First Century
“You don't look fake when you unconsciously pretend.” Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut
Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself. Jane Wagner
"Las Vegas is the only town in the world whose skyline is made up neither of buildings, like New York, nor of trees, like Wilbraham, Massachusetts, but signs." Tom Wolfe
I love Las Vegas. I like that Las Vegas has everything. Everything and anything you want to do, you can do in Las Vegas. Drew Carey
Las Vegas is perhaps the most color-blind, class-free place in America. As long as your cash or credit line holds out, no one gives a damn about your race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, address, family lineage, voter registration or even your criminal arrest record. Money is the great leveler. Marc Cooper, The Last Honest Place in America
Las Vegas looks the way you'd imagine heaven must look at night. Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
"There’s just no quiet in Vegas." Barry Manilow
"The casino played a song of its own—slot machines dinging, chips clacking as the dealer passed them out to the players at the tables, and the chatter of people throwing down money with the hope of hitting it big. It was like a carnival for adults. A person could get lost for days in a place like this." Michelle Madow (The Secret Diamond Sisters)
In Las Vegas, people seem to believe, the prosperity spawned by tourism and gaming can make them whole, financially and spiritually. Las Vegas now melds fun, work, and wealth, showing a path toward the brightest vistas of the postindustrial world. It is the first city of the twenty-first century. Hal Rothman, introduction, The Grit beneath the Glitter
In Las Vegas, everything takes place as if the absence of any sense of belonging to the environment entailed a hypertrophied sensitivity to details. There is no possibility of visual escape into perceptual horizons of indeterminateness (left-right, forward-back, near-far), but, instead, only the pregnancy of enlarged, exaggerated and highlighted forms. Behind each lit-up sign no space is hollowed out, no incipient world. Everything is there, everything is flat. As thick as the giant advertising billboards that ubiquitously package it, loading it with naïve and comic symbols, crude, schematic messages, Las Vegas is a city of literal superficiality. Bruce Begout, Zeropolis
What is sacred among one people may be ridiculous in another; and what is despised or rejected by one cultural group, may in a different environment become the cornerstone for a great edifice of strange grandeur and beauty. Hu Shih
Continuous eloquence wearies. Grandeur must be abandoned to be appreciated. Continuity in everything is unpleasant. Cold is agreeable, that we may get warm.
Las Vegas weddings are a phenomenon not quite like any other. The industry attracts cheers and jeers, but it touches a couple of hundred thousand people annually on the most important day of their lives. Susan Marg, Las Vegas Weddings
Las Vegas was and is a hard town that will make you pay for your inability to restrain your desires.... If you have a weakness, Las Vegas will punish you. Hal Rothman, Neon Metropolis
There is a very easy way to return from a casino with a small fortune: go there with a large one. Jack Yelton
"Las Vegas is sort of like how God would do it if he had money." - Steve Wynn
In the fledgling days of the town, the notorious Block 16 was set aside for card games and prostitution. Sin and commerce have marched hand-in-hand ever since, but this alliance made Las Vegas no more atypical than any other American city of the time. The difference is that Las Vegas extolled with pride what other places sought to hide. To the commonplace culture of heavily populated cities and industrial towns that made up the urban fabric of the country, Las Vegas alone stood as the behavioral "Other," a land where the "victimless" crimes of sex, drink, and gambling were not only condoned, but celebrated. Mark Gottdiener, Las Vegas
Las Vegas marks itself out by nothingness. All the negative descriptions that can generally be used in labelling a city apply to it, for its absence of consistency actually makes its existence doubtful: no man's land, waste ground, non-place, ghost town, urban simulacrum, nowhere city, etc. For us it is Zeropolis, the non-city which is the very first city, just as zero is the very first number. The nothing that counts, the nothingness of neon. Bruce Begout, Zeropolis
I believe in Las Vegas. I think its best days are ahead of it. Steve Wynn