What happens in Vegas
By no stretch of the imagination are any of these phenomena an expression of the ordinary or the natural; these sights and sounds are exclusive to this city and completely divorced from our experience of normalcy. There is a danger in this understanding; our conceptualization of Las Vegas faces the threat of teetering into the outright bizarre. Yes, Las Vegas is the only place in the world that simultaneously believes the pyramids should have been built with glass, drunkenness is better on public streets and that sidewalks look sexy when littered with adverts of naked women. See, Las Vegas can only be Las Vegas when we misunderstand the bizarre as the extraordinary. The city is simply a weird orgy of stereotypes with hints of Hollywood faux-pas and we the public, aren’t supposed to realize this. Think for a moment - only when we deny ourselves the luxury of recognizing these clichéd clichés can we begin to indulge in the fictitious, glittering glory that is Las Vegas.
By allowing itself to escape any sense of self-recognition, Las Vegas does not associate with the reality of its boring suburban neighborhoods, its failed business ventures nor the drivel of homeless people that reside in its subterranean drainage system. The city perpetually embraces self-denial so that an international collection of willing participants can do the same. By thriving on misrepresentation, Las Vegas exists solely as a stereotype of itself so that you and I can afford to lose a thousand bucks on slot machines, vomit in public elevators and run naked down the streets all in a single morning. We are given the ultimate excuse to live through our own personal stereotypes and faux-pas because at the end of the day we can tell ourselves that none of it was real. Who needs a reality check walking through a city built on the tenets of denial? Be a party animal, be a cowardly drunk or be a cheating spouse.
We can do all these things and more because we know we can come home to a real reality, one that doesn’t lie to us about the normalcy of pooping in hotel stairways; and as a bonus, we can proudly look our confounded colleagues in the eye and summarize our trip for them by simply whispering: Las Vegas is Las Vegas.