Unreasonable Expectations and the Commercialization of Fun

Ed at Gin and Tacos highlights a comment (boldface mine):

Vegas is what people who have never seen America, or who have never seen an America that exists past the nearest Circle K, imagine when they think of “having a good time.” All the things one can do in Vegas–Eat, Drink, Gamble, Watch Sump’n Purty/Dirty–these are not recreations of substance, but of quantity. They appeal to people who literally have no idea how to have a good time, because either their culture or their income doesn’t allow it. Vegas offers them plenty of what they’ve been *told* is a good time–or a *lot* of what they’ve had to made do with in order to have a good time (booze and carbs and throwing a little money away at the OTB parlor.) If “Steak” is good, “All You Can Eat Steak” is better. If pissing away a few bucks on the Lotto is good, pissing away the mortgage at the slots is better.

But what I’m aware of in Vegas is how *forced* it all seems–how the people there are actively *trying* to have a good time. Because they came all this way, and spent all this money, and yet somehow, *somehow*, it’s not quite filling the emptiness inside. So they overcompensate, with “Wooo”s, and drinking-dares, and forming into roving gaggles. But you can see it in their eyes, especially when they’re briefly stuck–waiting for the elevator–in line at the buffet–at one of the endless lights on the Strip’s crosswalks. They’re worried that everyone else seems to be having such a good time, and what’s *wrong* with them?

I think this applies to many things, not just Las Vegas, in U.S culture. We’ve been told that person X is HOT!, that going to place Y is AWESOME!, and that activity Z is really fun (even though it’s not, and you would rather be doing something else). While brandwashing is too pervasive to escape, ignoring it as much as possible is very good for your psychological health.

Cut your own groove, baby.

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1 Response to Unreasonable Expectations and the Commercialization of Fun

  1. Markk says:

    I think the article is bunk. This is classic sample bias. If you go to Vegas where the people are stuffing themselves, drinking, gambling and nothing else, well then you are going to see people trying to escape their lives and getting tired. This is no Vegas thing. But if you go to the golf courses, the big water spectacles, the goofy museums and such, or down to Hoover dam, you see a magnified type of thing that lives all over the country in “tourist areas” from the Ozarks, Wisconsin Dells, Rapid City, Nashville and on and on. Spectacle, escape and actually having a good time for many people. And (of course) drinking and gambling and maybe some titilation. That is pretty much human universal, not American.

    I have been to Las Vegas twice in my life, once when I was seven, and Reno and Lake Tahoe once, so I am not an apologist, but this just sounded foolish. “How forced it all seems” – what sniveling.

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