Las Vegas and America

What you see when you stand in a buffet line in a Las Vegas casino is the real America: ordinary working- and middle-class Americans, with kids in tow, who want to be entertained. (You remark that you had a hard time finding America’s “fat epidemic”; try a buffet.) Many sophisticates from the East look upon all of this with horror, but it’s not Las Vegas they’re reacting to. What they find distasteful is the American demos itself, with all of its excess and energy.

Francis Fukuyama in “It Doesn’t Stay in Vegas,” a discussion between Bernard-Henri Lévy and Francis Fukuyama, The American Interest

It is impossible to think of Howard Hughes without seeing the apparently bottomless gulf between what we say we want and what we do want, between what we officially admire and secretly desire, between, in the largest sense, the people we marry and the people we love. In a nation which increasingly appears to prize social virtues, Howard Hughes remains not merely antisocial but grandly, brilliantly, surpassingly, asocial. He is the last private man, the dream we no longer admit.

Joan Didion, U.S. essayist. “7000 Romaine, Los Angeles,” Slouching Towards Bethlehem

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Posted in: Caught Our Eye

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