MICHAEL IAN BORER
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA
The image of Las Vegas, Nevada, USA is often more important than its reality, at least for those who do not live beyond the neon glow of the Strip's mega casino-resorts. The neon-infused Strip of Las Vegas – a four-mile stretch of concrete littered and glittered with hybrid amusement parks/resorts/casinos – dominates public perceptions of the once sleepy Wild West mining town. Images of the Strip abound in popular narratives from movies (e.g., Oceans 11, Casino, The Hangover I), television shows (e.g., Vega$, Las Vegas, CSI), and other pop culture media. These imagined narratives often support the images of Las Vegas as a place defined by and designed for adult consumption and entertainment. The dominant venues for consumption in Las Vegas are replicas of other places that span both national boundaries and historical time periods. An unsettling “kaleidoscopic” (Baudrillard 1988) narrative emerges from the odd juxtaposition of Pharaoh's Egypt, the Roman Empire, Caribbean Pirates and their displaced Sirens, South Pacific Volcanoes, the Emerald City, New York City, Paris, Venice, Monte Carlo, medieval castles, and grand temples to the patriarchs of consumer capitalism (e.g., Donald Trump and Steve Wynn). And that's just the Strip. The sprawling suburbs that stretch outward toward the mountains from the Strip are populated with Mediterranean-style houses on streets and in developments ...