Dasein, Red Elephant.

Las Vegas, America. Intellectuals.


Just had to post this when I saw it. Francis Fukuyama meets with Bernard Henry-Levi and complains about Henry-Levi's impression of Las Vegas in Levi's recent book American Vertigo. This is a fun discussion to read.. other topics of discussion include views on American vices, neoconservatives, religion and the role of public intellectuals in future.

Fukuyama explains the birth and true meaning of Las Vegas:

The best piece explaining the ethos of Las Vegas (and the American West more generally,) is a short essay by Joan Didion entitled "7000 Romaine, Los Angeles." In it, she explains that Howard Hughes founded modern Las Vegas in 1967 because he, a reclusive insomniac, couldn't find a place to buy a cheeseburger in L.A. at three o'clock in the morning—so he created a whole city to cater to that need. It had nothing to do with sin or sex, but rather the perpetual American desire to reinvent oneself in a place where conventional expectations don't apply.


In case anyone is interested, Joan Didion's essay comes from her book Slouching in Bethlehem. Although I haven't read the book, Im pretty sure the title of the book came from a Joni Mitchell song title and has something to do with this Yeats poem.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * natalie says:

    Thanks for the link! It’s a fascinating discussion.. If only it wasn’t 1:30.. I’ll have to read it later.. I like your blog; it’s cool.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 2 months ago
  2. * Erin S. says:

    Interestingly enough, I was in Vegas a few weeks ago… most of the restaurants shut down at midnight. We had a tough time finding a place to eat. Eventually we found an all night diner in the Monte Carlo.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 2 months ago
  3. * Mr Angry says:

    And here’s me thinking it was all about the mafia laundering money via the gambling. I like your explanation better, far more lyrical.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 2 months ago

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