I decided to have Vegas be my first city because it is a place that I have already been to and I had fond memories of being there with my family. When the class got to scouting around the city though I realized that both the great, big city and I had changed. We both had grown and learned some stuff. No longer was I able to see this place simply as a tourist destination; instead I continued to find my vision of it clouded with all that I have gained thus far in my education.
We began the day by going to the Las Vegas Convention Center. I thought it would be interesting to get an inside look at one aspect of the biggest industries in the city, county and even state: tourism. The tour shed light on ideas that are known about Vegas but are not always recognized within the public. Take for example the branding of Vegas, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The branding of this city is second only to that of Google! With branding a person must once again reflect on consumption in America. Why is it that American’s wish to escape from their daily lifes to places where morals are not recognized generally or even expected? I believe that this mindset speaks of a greater issue within American society that I have yet to truly define. In fact, I am not sure one can define such a mentality until you fully understand what it means to be an American. So with that in mind let’s get back to the day.
While at the convention center we were also made aware of American’s consumption because of the trade show that was taking place within the building. It was a beauty trade show so all the exhibitors had merchandise for the betterment of the female body generally. The amount of men present was barely existent. However there were women flocking everywhere. Gender can be a great predictor of purchasing patterns. I wondered once again though why? Is it because we are socialized (until a recent, and slow change) that women are the ones that are always concerned with their looks while men are not viewed in such frames? This sounds plausible, and frustrating.
Sometimes a person just gets lucky. That was the case for me with going to Red Velvet Café for lunch. En route there all I could think was something along the lines of “oh my gosh, I hope this place is good and how much further.” It turned out that I/we got more than just a good meal! Another customer was a sociologist from Las Vegas. A group of us ended up talking to her for quite a while. She brought to surface some of the things that a tourist would most likely not realize about the city. One thing that stuck with me is she said that Las Vegas citizens tend to lack a cultural identity. Due to the way that they live their lives based on tourism their identity and unity is sacrificed at times. The city government has become aware of this situation, and is giving feeble attempts to fix this huge problem. It concerns me though. If a place doesn’t have an identity besides its business than it has no foundation in which it can fall upon if say a recession removes most of the aforementioned businesses. American’s are kind of like this too. Without our own personal identities America cannot be founded on a firm foundation either.
To be continued: either here or a new post.