Someone PLEASE burn Las Vegas to the ground. I’ll give you $50.

17 Jun

I grew up in Southern California, and somehow every town in that region is a five-hour drive from Las Vegas. That unfortunately means I have been there many, many times in my lifetime, and that I’ve watched it develop from a fading, seedy shithole into the world’s biggest high-end mall complex. Since I got old enough to tell my parents to fuck off when they tried to drag me to Las Vegas, I’ve only been there twice, once for an hour and once for three days, and I’m 99% sure I’ll never, ever set foot in the 702 area code again.

I hate Las Vegas for a lot of reasons: gambling is maybe the most assholish thing one can spend one’s time and money on, the place is a worldwide mecca for prostitution and sundry other forms of the exploitation of women, and the cultural environment is nothing but an arrogant celebration of wastefulness, materialism, and vapidity. Add to that a bunch of red-state dicks on vacation and a few thousand assholes from LA who feel like they need to head to Vegas for the weekend because they can’t get up to enough hedonism in one of the world’s most disgusting cities, and you’ve got what might be the most obnoxious party city in the world. Las Vegas is now the American Ibiza, and if you can think of something more embarrassing than that, I’ll buy you ten Jager bombs (Vegas style, baby!).

After a night last week that included about seven too many Whiskey Dick Stouts with Nate-thaniel, I found myself paralyzed on Davetavius’s couch staring at a horror show on the television that, due to the lack of a remote control, I was powerless to escape. That horror show was Rehab Party at the Hard Rock Hotel on Tru TV. I’m not even sure what to call this show. It might be called a documentary, or maybe it’s a reality show. Fuck, I don’t know. I mean, what do you call a show that’s nothing but footage of people dancing in bathing suits spliced between interviews with the least interesting waitstaff on Earth?

Maybe I should back up a little and give y’all the background on the show. Apparently there’s a club on Sundays at the hotel pool at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, and that club is called Rehab. The pool is surrounded by lounge chairs and an upper level with cabanas, and the partying generally takes place in the pool, in the cabanas, and on every single surface that anyone can get enough of a toe grip on to do the Tootsee Roll. Rehab employs a large staff of Barbies with fake breasts who wander around in bikinis and sell $15 drinks and $250+ bottles to the male tribal-tattooed patrons that have already paid $50 to get in and to the lucky-ass ladies who only had to pay $30. The club opens at 10 AM and closes at or around dusk. It looks real cool, if your idea of cool is spending $600 on getting wrecked and getting a sunburn while listening to house music (yeah, house music, in 2009) with a bunch of date rapists and girls who have gone wild.

Tru TV decided to make a show about this club, and that show is Rehab Party at the Hard Rock Hotel. One might wonder why no one has ever made a show about people getting fucked up around a pool before, and it does seem unbelievable, but I think I’ve figured it out: until recently, anyone who saw a show comprised of nothing but footage of women in bikinis and interviews with waiters about what kinds of tips they’d scored would say, “Hey, this show has no substance! It’s nothing but a transparent excuse to broadcast a bunch of footage of nearly-naked women. I feel cheated!” But now, television producers have surmised that they’ve gotten us so used to having our brains sucked out through our eyes by utterly inane bullshit that they can fob this off on us and we won’t say shit. I’m pretty sure we can expect to see the premier of Ow, My Balls! any day now.

The producers of  Rehab Party at the Hard Rock Hotel clearly went out of their way to make sure that the show had almost no redeeming social value, but they totally failed. They’ve accidentally created a documentary illustrating the most serious social problems we face as Americans and citizens of the world. I’m serious, dude. You see, the environment at Rehab is such a pure distillation of our screwy values and priorities that it is very nearly a caricature. Let me explain.

At Rehab, everyone knows where they stand. There is a scale for men and a scale for women, and every man knows his position on the male scale by the position on the female scale of the women he can associate with. I’ll give everyone three guesses as to what is being measured on the male scale and the female scale. If you guessed intelligence and dancing ability, you’re wrong. Really, the club is an arena in which men compete to see who can throw away the most money and the women compete to prove they do more Pilates, waxing, and spray tanning than anyone else.

The people at the club fall into three distinct groups: the dudes with the cash to throw down on the cabanas, the women who are there to party and hook up with the dudes in the cabanas, and the rest of the dudes who are there to pick up on the chicks who aren’t hot enough for the cabana guys. Any geek off the street can pay the $50 cover and come in, but the badasses go for the cabanas, which carry a $200 food and beverage minimum, and the uber-badasses take it up a notch and go for bottle service, that gauche method of displaying one’s bourgeoisitude that only people in Las Vegas and New Jersey haven’t figured out is embarrassing yet. In the clips on the show in which the waitresses discuss their customers’ desires and behavior, they almost all take note of the fact that the men who are partying in these cabanas want to make sure everyone knows they’re wasting a shit-ton of cash, and the waitresses help them out in that endeavor by carrying bottles of Grey Goose and Patron (the two most obnoxiously Philistine-ish brans of alcohol there are) over their heads on their way to the cabanas. They can frequently be seen cloyingly complimenting their customers on their partying sensibilities, which encourages even more lewd wastefulness and whooping and hooting. The waitresses also help their customers out by wrangling women from among the crowd to party with the cabana dudes, telling hot chicks that they’ll be able to drink for free and be seen partying in the cabanas if they’d like to join a group of gentlemen who’ve expressed a desire to meet women, effectively turning Rehab into an ad hoc, unpaid hostess bar. But hey, who doesn’t want to party with  a guy who can afford to buy a $2500 9-liter bottle of champagne that’ll get hot before anyone drinks it?

The only time any confusion arises within the hierarchy is when a D-list celebrity shows up. I mean, how do these chicks know who to shake their boobs at when you have a guy with a $9000 bar tab on the one hand, and somebody like David Faustino on the other?

So we have here the ultimate crystallization of modern gender roles in America: men’s worth is defined by how much money they have, and women’s worth is defined by how much of that money they can get those men to spend in the hopes of having a chance to see the few inches of flesh that the public doesn’t get to see. And here we get a clear picture of the kind of world we live in: a world in which moderate celebrity, inconsequential displays of insignificant wealth, and other such worthless status markers are the currency with which men rent and buy women who can think of nothing more exciting than simulating sex via dancing with a dickhead in swim trunks and a gold chain in hopes of being seen on TV.

Rehab is like a church at which people sacrifice their dignity to the gods of vanity, waste, empty celebrity, and nudity, and Las Vegas is the fucking holy land. If only these fools knew that Eurotrash have been doing this same shit for so long that even the parodies of it are old.

This show is a peek into the abyss, my friends. But it is really, really funny.

(Sorry to rip on your hometown like this, 702.)

31 Responses to “Someone PLEASE burn Las Vegas to the ground. I’ll give you $50.”

  1. RenegadeEvolution June 17, 2009 at 5:57 AM #

    Figures. I love Vegas…then again, I would, wouldn’t I?

    Never seen the show though…I prefer reruns of NCIS or Avatar.

  2. isme June 17, 2009 at 9:59 AM #

    As tempting as it is to destroy Vegas, once I get my death ray into orbit, I\’ll be irradiating Dubai first…maybe the Vatican next.

    *cackles, and covers face with the end of cape*

  3. Laurel June 17, 2009 at 10:38 AM #

    I\’ve never understood the appeal of Vegas. Or LA.

  4. syndicalist702 June 17, 2009 at 12:56 PM #

    Oh noes! Don’t burn my city down! I’ve gotta live here (at least for the next ten years or so). Just torch the strip. The rest of the city is just like any other city – not any more or any less exploitative than anywhere else. There’s plenty to do and see here without getting involved with all the douchbaggery for which Vegas is so famous (infamous?).

  5. syndicalist702 June 17, 2009 at 12:58 PM #

    By the way, my hometown is Albany, GA. xD

  6. Argive June 17, 2009 at 2:06 PM #

    One facet of 18-24 year old guy culture is endless “mine’s bigger” oneupsmanship. This tiresome bullshit manifests itself when talking about Las Vegas, in that guys my age often feel the need to talk about How Awesome Their First Trip To Vegas Will Be, or Was. For my part, I’ve been there once; I was driving cross-country with my sister and two of her friends back in 2003 (I was 18). We stayed outside of the city for the night and had dinner in one of the casinos. My sister and her friends are extremely devout Christians, so there was no gambling. Not that I really cared, as I think gambling sucks. I was surprised that we went into the casino at all, actually.

    As I recall, it was like 9 pm on a Wednesday, so there weren’t many people there, apart from the hordes of slot machine zombies. I did see something interesting, though: a person trying to pull the old quarter-on-a-string trick at one of the slots. Given how many security cameras surrounded this person, I considered this to be one of the most morbidly funny things I’d ever seen.

    The entire time I was in the casino, I felt tense. It was that feeling you get when you think someone’s about to jump you. My sister thought the reason for this was that we were in a city where traditional morality did not apply, and therefore I was out of my depth. Could be.

    I have no plans to go back to Vegas. Being there as an outside observer was kind of interesting, but I’m not a sociologist. Frankly, the place seemed overrated. There is one thing I can recommend about Las Vegas, though. While looking for our hotel, we found ourselves driving along a ridge several miles outside the city at night. The desert was pitch black, and Vegas appeared as an island of light in a sea of darkness. It was like a piece of the sky had fallen to earth. Really a very pretty sight. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Mafia had that in mind when they started the place. In short, Vegas sucks.

  7. RenegadeEvolution June 17, 2009 at 10:08 PM #

    ND: Any chance you’ve been to Miami? If you dislike Vegas so…wow, do not put Miami (or most of South FL) on your vacation list.

    • Nine Deuce June 17, 2009 at 10:17 PM #

      I have, once, and plan to avoid it in the future like herpes.

  8. Aileen Wuornos June 18, 2009 at 2:29 AM #

    The money these assholes spend on getting shitfaced could cover my textbook requirement for remainder of my four year degree. And I’m still in my first year.
    Reading shit like this pisses me off.
    They waste so much money on this tomfoolery.
    For what?
    Argh. My brain is moshing out of hate in my cranium.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like getting fucked up as much as the next person. But you know, I’d rather just drink a bottle of jacks, smoke some billies and talk shit with my mates. Which would probably cost about $80-$100AUD tops. Oh yeah, and i have to work for like two weeks to get enough money to do this.

  9. youllnevergetrich June 18, 2009 at 9:56 AM #

    you make me happy.

  10. Laurelin June 19, 2009 at 1:38 PM #

    I have never been to Las Vegas, but I have to say that I dislike gambling intensely, as it appeals to one of the worst parts of human (particularly male) behaviour: greed. And then of course wherever you get gambling you get the exploitation of women in pornstitution. Hate hate hate the whole thing.

    • James June 21, 2009 at 5:00 PM #

      Particularly masculine? Or are we descending into open biological essentialism?

  11. Jenn June 19, 2009 at 6:08 PM #

    See, I like gambling and drinking and partying. Which is why Las Vegas is such a let-down. It’s prohibitively expensive, and takes all the fun out of drinking with bullshit politics about hotness and exploitation. No fucking way I’d wear something with less fabric than my underwear to drink some overpriced and poorly mixed cocktails.

    Patriarchy and American vapidity ruins everything. If this was post-revolution, you’d catch me at my local bar about every other day. Until then, I’m just going to have to mix my own drinks at home and gamble with friends at our monthly poker night.

  12. Laurelin June 20, 2009 at 10:00 AM #

    I really fancy a strawberry daquiri right now.
    Shame I can’t spell it. And that it’s 11am.

  13. Gayle June 21, 2009 at 1:52 PM #

    LOL! This post is a great antidote to all the pro Vegas stuff I’ve been hearing recently. Seems everyone wants me to go to Vegas.

    “What? You’ve never gone to Vegas Gayle? Oh, you just have to go! Gone are the days of carb filled buffets and old ladies smoking out of their necks at slot machines. Why today you don’t even have to gamble! You can go to the great shops and fabulous resturants and there’s like 47 Circ shows! It’s all very high end!”

    I don’t know who would want to go see Circ every night (or who could afford it.) If I ever do go to Vegas, I’ll steer clear of the Hard Rock Cafe.

    • Nine Deuce June 28, 2009 at 2:12 AM #

      If you ever go to Vegas, steer clear of Vegas. That business about it being high end now might be true, but all that means is that the mega-hotels have figured out how to get customers to pay full price for hotels and side attractions, whereas in the past you could get rooms and do other shit there cheaply because they were trying to get you to hang out in the casinos. Now they get to hose everybody from both ends (I didn’t mean that to sound sexual, but it does).

  14. James June 21, 2009 at 4:59 PM #

    “Las Vegas is now the American Ibiza, and if you can think of something more embarrassing than that, I’ll buy you ten Jager bombs (Vegas style, baby!).”

    Now, to be fair, Ibiza has at least moved on from House.

    (mostly)

  15. Polly Styrene June 21, 2009 at 7:47 PM #

    We have clubs like that in Manchester. It’s not just Vegas. In fact most straight clubs in Manchester are a version of that. I suspect it’s worldwide.

  16. buttersisonlymyname June 23, 2009 at 3:28 AM #

    I loved this post. I’m glad your criticisms of Las Vegas were not merely radical feminist, but also just general ethical criticisms. For a long time I have been of the opinion that radical feminists should incorporate a broader virtue ethic into their moral framework, and this post is a good example of how to accomplish that.

    However, I would not say greed is an especially male motive. I think that’s going too far into gender essentialism.

  17. Genevieve June 23, 2009 at 3:40 PM #

    Agreed, Vegas sucks. I’ve only been there once, as a wee lass, for a giant family reunion. At that age, it was great–just swimming in a giant pool, eating food, and doing touristy things. But going back as an adult? Nein. I personally find gambling to be one of the most selfish, wasteful activities people can participate in. If you have money to just throw around, how about donating it to some charity or non-profit organization? And sure, I drink, but there are bars everywhere.

  18. Tapati June 27, 2009 at 10:16 PM #

    If you are forced to endure Vegas ever again, leave the city and check out the Red Rocks:

    http://www.americansouthwest.net/nevada/red_rock_canyon/nca.html

    Most pure joy I had in Vegas. I hear the dam is pretty cool too.

  19. crankosaur June 28, 2009 at 6:52 AM #

    Ha, I’m moving to Vegas for school in about six weeks. I went there last month and found it completely fascinating… I mean, an entire city whose biggest industry revolves around appealing to the most base desires inspired by a patriarchal system? The greed, the exploitation, the lack of pants being worn by women… It’s incredible.
    But just as syndicalist702 said, aside from the strip, the rest of the city is pretty awesome, with lots of thrift stores and taco places and laws that allow open alcohol containers in public.

  20. Renee July 4, 2009 at 1:27 AM #

    Gotta say that not only should vegas be burned to the ground but every single fucking casino on the planet. They are nothing but black holes sucking the life out of people. If I never set foot in another one it will be to damn soon.

  21. harmony July 14, 2009 at 8:40 AM #

    this was great! nice analysis of american culture.

    some of the funniest quotes:

    0:38 “our staff makes sure that no guest ruins the experience for another guest.” (they’d have to kick out every last one of em, then!)

    1:20 “this is, possibly, the best day of my life i’ve ever had.” (said by the guy who was kidnapped by a sadist at 3 months old and just escaped from the torture dungeon the night before.)

  22. Plecto July 18, 2009 at 5:50 AM #

    Gosh, I find myself strangely mesmerized – what starts off as a ramble about how Vegas sucks (which it truly does) turns into something quite substantial.

  23. JOhn July 26, 2009 at 1:42 AM #

    I went to Vegas once as a kid, and it sucked. The only things you can do are eat, drink, gamble, and hookers. Obviously, a minor can only do one of those. I think the time I spent in the hotel playing video games was the most fun part of the trip. Fuck Vegas.

  24. Turel August 2, 2009 at 7:47 AM #

    >.> Fifty? hmmm…o.o I do need more money for college….throw in a free lunch and you have a deal! :D

    (this is a joke! I’m not really going to burn down LA.)

  25. Lola September 28, 2009 at 9:59 PM #

    I live in Vegas, born and raised. It is the most vile, disgusting place on the planet. I know this post is old, but I had to comment after reading my exact thoughts on this city from someone else. I avoid the strip like the fucking plague. You basically nailed everything I’m surrounded by on a daily basis. The people you see in that video all look exactly like everyone I’ve ever known. Oh and if Vegas couldn’t get even more disgusting, there’s a commercial for a new strip club called “Badda Bing” where it shows a schluby loser, made to look extra schluby, sitting on the couch with his perfectly lovely girlfriend (who, of course, is already too good for him). He’s asleep, dreaming about being at the club, it cuts back and forth between his dream and his girlfriend trying to wake his smug, smirking ass up. At the end it shows the stripper sitting on his lap in the dream saying “I know what men like, men like me.” in some bizarre, baby voice. I honestly couldn’t believe I’d just seen that when it first came on.

  26. Nico July 9, 2010 at 6:12 PM #

    I’ll never go to Vegas for the very reasons illustrated by this article. I prefer to hang out with humans.

  27. jose sense September 2, 2010 at 8:03 PM #

    I came out to Vegas for a new beginning. Left three years later. There is no sense of community, everybody I knew didn’t know anybody there after living there for 10 years. The jobs don’t pay you squat. It is one gigantic tourist town, if you are not a celebrity or at least a visiting one, there is no place for you. Oh, and it’s a great town if you want to see a musical act for double of what it would cost you in another major city. It used to be a cheap place to live, not any more, other than buy a cheap house because the housing market tanked. And I have never run into more flakes in all of the 10 major cities and towns that I have lived in than when I lived in Vegas. Oh and the Violent crime index is double the rate than what is the national standard. But they let you carry a gun there! I guess you might need it!

    • Don September 14, 2013 at 1:06 AM #

      Went to Vegas years ago because it was the only place to gamble in those days and that nasty Atlantic city.
      But now gambling is every were so there is no need to visit Vegas.
      Let the losers who live there support the casinos and whore houses.
      My money goes to my own neighborhood now.

      Vegas is so yesterday and so is Atlantic city both shit holes that got patronage because there was no were else to gamble.

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