Friday, August 08, 2008

Department of the Obvious

James Howard Kunstler, on Las Vegas:

Las Vegas is the fastest-growing city in the United States. For a culture that understands things only in terms of numbers, this supposedly proves that it must be a splendid place. I’ve heard it touted often as the American city of the future, the prototype habitat for a society in which the old boundaries between work, leisure, entertainment, information, production, service, and acquisition dissolve, and a new exciting, colorful, pleasure-laden human meta-existence finds material expression in any wishful form the imagination might conjure out of an ever-mutating blend of history, fantasy, electrosilicon alchemy and unfettered desire. If Las Vegas truly is our city of the future, then we might as well all cut our own throats tomorrow. I certainly felt like cutting mine after only a few days there, so overwhelming was the sheer anomie provoked by every particular of its design and operation. As a city it’s a futureless catastrophe. As a tourist trap, it’s a meta-joke. As a theosophical matter, it presents proof that we are a wicked people who deserve to be punished. In the historical context, it is the place where America’s spirit crawled off to die.

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