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Las Vegas: The All-American City
Special to FreeRepublic | 20 May 2005 | John Armor (Congressman Billybob)

Posted on 05/18/2005 7:57:36 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob

Most people consider Las Vegas the most outlandish city in America. On its 100th anniversary, I argue the opposite. It’s the “All-American City.”

In one of those kids-say-the-darnedest-things segments, a young boy said about skin, “It keeps us from having to look at our insides.” That insight applies here. Las Vegas is, ironically, a view of human nature with the skin removed. It shows our insides: power, money, ideas and sex. These are largely interchangeable.

What brought up Las Vegas is an upcoming trip for my wife and me, which we’ll take shortly. It’s something of a “do-over” for a honeymoon that began, and ended, on 11 September, 2001.

I’d promised not to take my computer. I promised not to go on the Internet all week. I broke the latter promise by writing and filing two stories that week, one on “The Law of War.” And of course I promised my wife a “real” honeymoon as a substitute.

This time, we WILL get to see a couple of the Cirque de Soleil shows, Penn and Teller, and other shows that went dark in 2001. The gaming tables, however, never closed for a second. That dedication to craft takes us back to the central point.

That power and money are interchangeable is easily proven. The prized guests in Las Vegas are the high-rollers, called “whales.” Their private jets and lavish lifestyles are eagerly accommodated. Their six-figure wagers make them the “royalty” of Las Vegas.

Think about it. The same is true in all American cities; it’s just more obvious in Las Vegas. Why is there such deference to the Congressmen and Senators in Washington? Because of this: No matter whether or not they are dumb as a box of rocks, or “as drunk as twenty southern gentlemen,” per William Faulkner, as long as they draw breath and are still in office, they control billions of dollars annually. The spending of money, regardless of whose money it is, confers power on them.

Consider the histories of the various corporate crooks recently or currently on trial. Almost always, these corporate high-rollers have made fat donations to assorted charities. Before the fall, they’re highly respected for their power/money, without serious inquiry about how they acquired same. The process is ever so Las Vegas, isn’t it?

What about ideas? Successful cities, like successful movies, tend to have a “high concept.” That means the driving idea is clear enough to be written on a cocktail napkin. The idea of Las Vegas is the heart of its advertising campaign. It translates as, “Whatever you want, whenever you want, if you can afford it.”

That’s similar to the unspoken slogan of Washington, D.C., and on a smaller scale of all the state capitols across the country. The difference is that the price of admission is paid in power, not money. But anyone who doubts the point that money is the key ingredient of political power hasn’t read the information available to anyone at the Federal Election Commission.

We shouldn’t close this discussion without a comment about sex. Again, Las Vegas is the most extreme example of a universal phenomenon. Women can exchange beauty and availability (or the perception of availability, much the same) for money and power from men. On rare occasions, that’s reversible; men can trade handsomeness and availability for money and power from women. The exception is in Richard Gere’s American Gigolo, or for that matter, Richard Gere himself.

What is the consequence of a focus on money, power and sex? Lord Acton had the answer. “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Absolute money has the same effect. (What does anyone do with more than 100 million dollars? As Art Linkletter remarked, “Beyond a certain point, the only purpose of money is to keep score.”)

As for the corrupting effects of absolute sex, I refer you to the pop tart of your choice on MTV. At all hours of day or night, ample examples are available.

I shouldn’t be entirely negative. There are people who have such excesses but are not corrupted. In money, think of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. In power, Senators Gene McCarthy, and Larry Craig. In sex, Sean Connery and Sophia Loren. In ideas, Thomas Sowell and Bill Bennett. There are many other examples. Such men and women live by a higher standard than merely getting the most money, the most power, etc.

I’ve talked about the corruption from excess without mentioning Clinton (him or her). Sometimes it’s just too easy. Write your own caption for a photograph of that pair. Don’t they really belong in Las Vegas?

About the Author: John Armor is a First Amendment attorney and author who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu


TOPICS: Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: congress; highconcept; highrollers; lasvegas; money; power; sex
Lemme know if y'all agree.

John / Billybob

1 posted on 05/18/2005 7:57:37 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob
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To: Congressman Billybob

Richard Gerebel, who?


2 posted on 05/18/2005 8:10:56 PM PDT by Brian Allen (I fly and can therefore be envious of no man -- Per Ardua ad Astra!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Richard Gerebel, who?


3 posted on 05/18/2005 8:11:58 PM PDT by Brian Allen (I fly and can therefore be envious of no man -- Per Ardua ad Astra!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Yup!


4 posted on 05/18/2005 8:12:44 PM PDT by old school
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To: Congressman Billybob
I'm sick and to tired to read, BUMP for tomorrow. Thanks Congressman Billybob, it's sounds interesting!

Goodnight Caroline

5 posted on 05/18/2005 8:15:12 PM PDT by SweetCaroline (Don't let aging get you down. It's too hard to get back up.....MAXINE)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Where are you staying? We like the rooms at the Venetian (650 sq ft, two 27 inch TVs, beautiful bathroom, lots of marble) and THEhotel at Mandalay Bay (two person tub, two 42 inch plasmas and a 15 LCD in the bathroom, 750 sq feet).


6 posted on 05/18/2005 8:19:07 PM PDT by pbear8 (Navigatrix, Tomas Torquemada Gentleman's Club - Ladies Auxiliary)
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To: pbear8
Obviously, y'all spend more money per night than we'uns do. We'll be visiting the Venetian for sure, to boat on its canal. LOL.

John / Billybob
7 posted on 05/18/2005 8:23:29 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob (For copies of my speech, "Dealing with Outlaw Judges," please Freepmail me.)
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To: Congressman Billybob; Seeking the truth

~~ping~~


8 posted on 05/18/2005 8:25:02 PM PDT by ForGod'sSake (ABCNNBCBS: An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Obviously, y'all spend more money per night than we'uns do

No, we go when there are 'specials'. We've been to the V for $99, to the Bell (lake front) for $119 and to THEhotel for $159. DH hates small hotel rooms and likes to rest whilst in LV (obviously we are low rollers, guppies, not whales).

Anyway, do the buffet at the Bell for lunch $15.95 and excellent, you won't need to eat the rest of the day. While there catch the 3:00pm fountain show, first the National Anthem immediately followed by another number (often 'Con Te Patiro', our favorite) and take your wife through the Conservatory.

See Wynn Las Vegas and tell us about it.

9 posted on 05/18/2005 8:31:36 PM PDT by pbear8 (Navigatrix, Tomas Torquemada Gentleman's Club - Ladies Auxiliary)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Las Vegas and Reno are responsible for Harry Reid in the Senate and that fact alone makes the two Sin Cities un-redeemable, methinks. Other than that, LV is a blight on the landscape that lives off losers. Crime rules, traffic is unbearable, illegals run almost all the services and huge new casinos, built with the brain dead's money, continue to appear like cancers on the desert. I expect them to run out of water in a decade, then LV will collapse.


10 posted on 05/18/2005 8:36:24 PM PDT by Paulus Invictus
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To: Congressman Billybob

IMHO, you show keen insight into the social & economic 'law of the jungle'.

Those who scratch & claw their way to the top know this law very well. The rest of us are just not that mercenary or power hungry. Very few can play that game and maintain strong character with honor and integrity.

However, most of us don't need to get to "the top". Success for us is measured in an entirely different way - one that includes strong character, honor and integrity.

That doesn't mean we can't fantasize about what we would do with money and/or power. But IMO, most of us would like to believe that we wouldn't be corrupted and that we could wield both, or either, far more wisely than those who have it.
Well, at least I would, lol.
;^D


11 posted on 05/18/2005 9:37:01 PM PDT by RebelTex (Freedom is everyone's right - and everyone's responsibility!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Nice article.

Perhaps you shied away from the obvious quote about power and sex:

Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
Henry A. Kissinger

But your article certainly brought it to mind. Be sure to visit the Bellagio if they still have the art exhibit.


12 posted on 05/18/2005 10:50:40 PM PDT by cryptical
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To: Constitution Day; TaxRelief; 100%FEDUP; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; ~Vor~; A2J; a4drvr; Adder; ...

NC *Ping*

Please FRmail Constitution Day OR TaxRelief OR Alia if you want to be added to or removed from this North Carolina ping list.
13 posted on 05/19/2005 3:23:58 AM PDT by Alia
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To: pbear8

What hotel is "the Bell?"

A few years ago, I decided to go out to LV on vacation, but didn't want to take too much money with me. So, I set up a line of credit with Ballys. Now, understand, I'm not much of a gambler, and I CAN walk away, either as a winner, or a loser. So, I go, have some fun, and lose a bit of money.

Last summer, out of the blue, I got a letter from Paris (the hotel, not the slut), pretty much saying, "where have you been?" I got a coupon for 3 nights at no charge, as well as a $50 food coupon! When I checked out, IIRC, the total on my AMEX card was about $28!

So, if you're able to control yourself, a helpful hint might be to open a line of credit at a hotel. You might just get something nice like this. Of course, I'll probably never get another offer like this from them, as I think I gambled for a total of about 3 hours while I was there... But I do LOVE LV.

BTW, where do you find out about those deals?

Thanks!

Mark


14 posted on 05/19/2005 3:43:50 AM PDT by MarkL (I've got a fever, and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL!!!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Penn & Teller are great. I interviewed them a few years ago, and Penn said they set up shop in Las Vegas permanently because they no longer have to tour America; they just stay in Vegas and America comes to them.


15 posted on 05/19/2005 4:19:26 AM PDT by HHFi
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To: Congressman Billybob
Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire...

Another wonderful read. Thanks Congressman.

16 posted on 05/19/2005 4:21:31 AM PDT by Hatteras
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To: Congressman Billybob

I agree.


17 posted on 05/19/2005 4:22:12 AM PDT by TaxRelief
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To: Congressman Billybob
P.S. - Another great celebrity remark on Las Vegas: When the Hard Rock Casino first opened, ABC (I think on PrimeTime or 20/20) set up cameras in the lobby to interview incoming old liberal rock stars like David Crosby and Bonnie Raitt and ask whether this betrayed the "spirit" of rock. Most of them went along with the whiny handwringing and philosophizing.

Then John Lydon (that's Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols) arrived and they dared to approach him to ask what he thought of it. His eyes ablaze, he shouted, "I think it's WONDERFUL! I'm very happy about it! The music business is built on money and greed, and so is Las Vegas! It's the perfect match!"

Page Diogenes, we found an honest rock star!

18 posted on 05/19/2005 4:26:48 AM PDT by HHFi
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To: MarkL
I lived in Vegas and didn't like it. I visit Vegas now and love it! Great restaurants, shopping, gambling, drinking, eating, smoking - what else do you want (ok I left off the sex part). All in a few block radius!

Some people don't realize how easy it is to "get away" from the glitter there and see nature. Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, Lake Mead Rec Area, snow-covered Mt. Charleston - all within an hour's drive or less.

Wouldn't live there again, but it's an adult Disneyland.
19 posted on 05/19/2005 4:36:16 AM PDT by over3Owithabrain
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To: Paulus Invictus

I agree! Las Vegas is a disgusting place.


20 posted on 05/19/2005 4:40:51 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: Congressman Billybob
This time, we WILL get to see a couple of the Cirque de Soleil shows...
Best live show I've ever seen. Do not miss.
 
21 posted on 05/19/2005 4:43:42 AM PDT by oh8eleven
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To: Congressman Billybob

Viva Las Vegas!....I remember the first girl I took there for the weekend...Great memories!


22 posted on 05/19/2005 5:33:17 AM PDT by Route101
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To: Congressman Billybob
Thanks for the shared thoughts.

There are people who have such excesses but are not corrupted. In money, think of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

Interesting choice of examples. I do think each of them sincerely wants to make the world a better place. I also think each of them is dead wrong on some bedrock issues.

Hope y'all have a safe and enjoyable trip out there.

23 posted on 05/19/2005 5:54:10 AM PDT by aposiopetic
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To: aposiopetic
As you surmised, I chose those two examples not because I agreed with every position they take, but because I am satisfied that they are both honest men. They may both have "more money than God" but they remain honest men.

John / Billybob
24 posted on 05/19/2005 6:16:05 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob (For copies of my speech, "Dealing with Outlaw Judges," please Freepmail me.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Billybob,

While Penn & Teller is a good show, if you want to see the best show in Vegas go see Mac King at Harrahs.

Plus its an afternoon show leaving your evening open for other shows.

As a magician myself, if limited to seeing one magic show in Vegas while in town I would go see Mac King.

25 posted on 05/19/2005 6:20:01 AM PDT by Phantom Lord (Advantages are taken, not handed out)
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To: Paulus Invictus
Crime rules, traffic is unbearable, illegals run almost all the services and huge new casinos, built with the brain dead's money, continue to appear like cancers on the desert. I expect them to run out of water in a decade, then LV will collapse.

Sure your not talking about LA?

26 posted on 05/19/2005 6:23:36 AM PDT by Phantom Lord (Advantages are taken, not handed out)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Las Vegas is impressive. Basically, because it exists at all. It is a monument to modern civilization that millions of people could cohabit such a Godforsaken area of land and not starve or get the plague. Everything these people need to survive has to be imported from elsewhere except for the slots and the dancing girls.

I played a rugby tournament there a few years back and was amazed by the fact that nothing much could grow there w/o thousands of gallons of imported water. And the pitch, every time I got tackled on it, I felt like I was playing on concrete.
27 posted on 05/19/2005 7:10:15 AM PDT by .cnI redruM ("Every man's your brother 'til the rent comes due" - Anon.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Excellent.


28 posted on 05/19/2005 7:44:31 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian (Shake Hands with the Serpent: Poetry by Charles Lipsig aka Celtjew http://books.lulu.com/lipsig)
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To: MarkL
Hi Mark

Bell = Bellagio. Though we usually stay at the 'V'enetain, we hang out a lot at the 'Bell'agio and have developed our own shorthand.

Bally's belongs to the Paris folks, I think it's Park Place Entertainment. They are pretty generous with their comps I understand. The rooms at Paris are small (350 sq ft - DH hates small hotel rooms and they don't have FOX news). My neighbor gets offers from them, according to him they only require one hour of play for each day that you stay.

A line of credit might be a good idea, but I usually just play slots and DH doesn't play at all. I do get offers for the V, more recently because of Wynn Las Vegas I think.

I just went to their websites and signed up, so when the emails come I try to plan the two trips we make a year around the good offers. We go because there is no where else we can get so much for so little money.

29 posted on 05/19/2005 8:19:53 AM PDT by pbear8 (Navigatrix, Tomas Torquemada Gentleman's Club - Ladies Auxiliary)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Las Vegas and Washington DC are the 2 most unAmerican cities in the USA.


30 posted on 05/19/2005 8:23:13 AM PDT by caver (In the words of that illustrious socialite twit Paris Hilton, "That's hot".)
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To: Congressman Billybob

I agree...Las Vegas is the Last Frontier.


31 posted on 05/19/2005 8:32:43 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Violence never settles anything." Genghis Khan, 1162-1227)
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To: caver

How is Las Vegas "unAmerican"?


32 posted on 05/19/2005 8:51:06 AM PDT by Phantom Lord (Advantages are taken, not handed out)
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To: Phantom Lord

I guess when I say unAmerican, I mean it's not like any city here in Indiana or any other "normal" city. It's more like a carnival atomsphere. That's not all bad, it's just not what every day folks encounter. Kind of like Hollywood. It's defintely unique to America but it's not the All American City nor does it define Americans.


33 posted on 05/19/2005 9:10:32 AM PDT by caver (In the words of that illustrious socialite twit Paris Hilton, "That's hot".)
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To: caver

You chose your wording very poorly then. UnAmerican has a very specific meaning.


34 posted on 05/19/2005 9:11:58 AM PDT by Phantom Lord (Advantages are taken, not handed out)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Off to work Bump!


35 posted on 05/19/2005 9:14:25 AM PDT by BIGLOOK (I once opposed keelhauling but recently have come to my senses.)
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To: Phantom Lord

I agree. I had second thoughts after posting. I should have stayed with the title All American.


36 posted on 05/19/2005 9:18:55 AM PDT by caver (In the words of that illustrious socialite twit Paris Hilton, "That's hot".)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Good article, but I have to take issue with this:

In money, think of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

When I think of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and money, I think of multi-millions to promote abortion. They think their wealth makes them gods.

37 posted on 05/19/2005 12:47:39 PM PDT by Tax-chick (I'm a shallow, demagoguic sectarian because it's easier than working for a living.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

I love Las Vegas.

I only place I've ever been where I have felt absolutely comfortable and relaxed, without a care or worry at all.

Could have been the excessive booze, but I love Vegas still.


38 posted on 05/19/2005 12:49:45 PM PDT by StoneColdGOP ("The Republican Party is the France of politics" - Laz)
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To: StoneColdGOP
Actually, I think Las Vegas is a bit tense. For absolute relaxation, I'd take the moment when a cruise ship drops the lines in the water and leaves to dock, with a steel band playing and ubiquitous waiters plying you with strawberry daiquiris.

Now THAT's relaxation.

Congressman Billybob

Latest column: "Las Vegas: The All-American City"

39 posted on 05/19/2005 12:54:38 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob (For copies of my speech, "Dealing with Outlaw Judges," please Freepmail me.)
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To: HHFi

Not sure about that: I recall U2 did all their videos for 'The Joshua Tree' in LV. Worked just about perfectly for what they were singing and paid LV no particular compliment.

Cheers,
-==Beleg==-


40 posted on 05/20/2005 8:38:08 AM PDT by BelegStrongbow (I think, therefore I vote Republican)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Interesting read.


41 posted on 05/20/2005 8:41:13 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters but PR.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

42 posted on 05/21/2005 12:50:41 PM PDT by xp38
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