Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Viva Las Vegas

Last night I watched a very interesting program on PBS - Las Vegas: An Unconventional History. There were many factors that lead to the development of this city in the desert, including the building of Hoover Dam, the surge in quickie marriages during World War II, investment by organized crime and the atomic test program.

Also interesting is the recent role of casino owner Steve Wynn in creating the "Disneyfied" Vegas of today - with its fake Paris, New York and Venice, elaborate shows and the loss of ultracheap hotel rooms and buffets.

If you can catch a rerun, I recommend it.

Update 12/16: The program apparently had some unconventional funding. As Richard Abowitz notes: "As I said about this in November, that while PBS is a special case, let the viewer beware when watching any reality show or documentary shot in Las Vegas. There is no city on the planet (well maybe Pyongyang but they get to use other methods for media control, ones even casinos dare not dream of) better at controlling its image and how it is presented than Las Vegas."

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