vegas probably shouldn't exist from an ecological standpoint. it's unjustifiable. i also love las vegas and will defend it as long as it manages to exist against all logical and environmental odds. it's filthy and full of equal measures pleasure and pain; it is a place of few lies. it feels desperately human. it chafes against countrywide expectations of wholesomness and propriety. capitalism is alive and well here, but it shows its fangs. no one comes to vegas expecting to not get swindled. no one comes to vegas thinking they will be anything but an exploited consumer. in return, they get genuine spectacle. in many US cities, wealth has taken on a strange patina of denial. the elite of various industries compete to see who can appear the most rustic or drink from the most ball jars. restaurants no average person can responsily afford bedeck themselves in reclaimed materials. 21st century american wealth is obsessed with denial, guilt, and poverty aesthetics. vegas doesn't give a fuck. vegas is about spectacle and your money travels as long as you don't sink too much into slots. you get bang for your buck and you will be delivered from your mundane (sub)suburban existence to something that feels big and thrilling. even just walking around you get to take in sights like the Paris or Bellagio. Worldly travelers will turn their nose up and deride what is, objectively, a cheap facsimilie. but a well executed facsimilie is beautiful and anyone who makes it to vegas can gaze upon the baroque shapes and texture of antique paris without spending a dime. opposition to las vegas on a cultural level is pure classism. capitalism is a broken system that encourages exploitation and suffering for the benefit of an undeserving minority, but within that context there are degrees of punishment for the poor. las vegas minimizes the punishment and encourages pure hedonism for whomever can make it there. pure hedonism is a pure expression of humanity, second in virtue only to selfish altruism. self-flagelleting altruism is pointless, but self enriching altruism ensures a species that balances self-care with other-care. are we eusocial yet?