They call it Sin City, but, honestly, my greatest offense against the Almighty was eating too much red meat, and if God is as Right Wing as Pat Robertson will have us believe, eating steak is the next best thing to cleanliness. (And making babies [within sanctified wedlock (and not with a turkey baster.)])
Las Vegas might be saturated with unholy neon lights (the city holds the record as the brightest in the world), topless women (the city holds the record for marriages), gay male strippers, godless drunks, obese Southern women with their husbands' credit cards, and married men looking to make a few secrets (the city holds the record for divorces), but the most drawing aspects of the city is its self-awareness and its absolute understanding of human nature.
The aura of the city simulates everything we consider "real": the Eiffel Tower, Venice, New York City, pirates of the open seas, women. Those simulations remind me of the unreality of the rest of my life. When I saw Winnie the Pooh posing for pictures on the south end of the Strip, I took offense at first.
"Look how this brutal world turned my childhood friend into a costumed whore!"
But who was Winnie the Pooh anyway? What is a Pooh? These fabrications we cling to hold no more importance than Vegas' fabrications of fabrications. As I watched dozens of drunkards crowd around Vegas Pooh, I saw the birth of a new icon, and who can say Vegas Pooh is any less life-altering than "original" Pooh?
As Baudrillard so obtusely said, "[Simulation] is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. Henceforth, it is the map that precedes the territory -- PRECESSION OF SIMULACRA..." We live in a world in which Vegas -- in all its miniaturizations and replications, Madame Tussaud's, M&M World, Statue of Liberty shrouded in palm trees -- is reality, and preferable to the "territory." Why else do we flock there? We flock to see the painted skies inside Caesar's Forum. We seek refuge in something more real than real. Not a surreality, but a beautiful mind-fuck, a hyperreality. But thank God (and Seattle Fudge) I didn't have to pay for any of it.