Blogworld and The Imploding Casino

20 Sep

I’m at the place where a lot of Casinos have imploded lately.  No, I’m not on Wall Street, I’m in Vegas, the scene of BlogWorld 2008.  Ordinarily I’d be excited about going to Vegas but this time around it just seems as though I’m witnessing the last gasps of American excess before peak oil, peak water, peak capitalism, sub-prime meltdowns, the collapse of the financial system and the final days of Republican one party rule make the whole place unfeasible. 

I got married in Vegas years ago.  We drove out to the desert and met our preacher man on a mesa.  We had our reception way off the strip at the Double Down Saloon and listened to Johnny Legend and the Rockabilly Bastards.  It was great but that was a long time ago. These days it just seems as though Vegas isn’t funny anymore.  The folly on steroids that defines the place is just getting too expensive.   Do we really need to drain the Pacific Northwest of water to irrigate this impossible environment?  At what point does the cost become too much to bear?  The house always wins but maybe not in the long run.  

Right now Vegas has the highest foreclosure rate in the country, unemployment is running at about 8% and huge high-rise construction projects are stopping halfway through completion.  One of the guys who works at the convention hall was telling me that in his neighborhood the number of houses being foreclosed outnumbered the occupied places by about 4 to 1. Homeless people are moving into abandoned houses.  My cabbie told me that there are drive by shootings, home invasions and crackheads in the suburbs.  You may not notice it while you’re sipping a martini at the Wynn but this place is falling apart very quickly.

So what does any of this have to do with blogging? 

One of the characteristics of a healthy society is that it understands itself.  It knows its strengths, its weaknesses and can manage in changing circumstances.  This self knowledge is formed by what we read and watch.  One of the reasons America is imploding is that the media failed to warn us of the impending crisis before it happened. They failed to engage us. They failed to report it. And we failed to listen. Clearly the model of old media is broken.  Old media sent us to war in Iraq in search of phantom threats and kept us blind to real ones here on Wall Street. 

So the opportunity for someone or some organization to fix this problem and build something valuable is colossal.   While I’m down here I want to see if bloggers are up for it.  Can we mend media or will we just magnify its flaws by becoming sycophants or parrots?  

Nothing to sell.  Nobody to buy. What Nevada looks like without money The last of the construction workers What Nevada looks like without money Blogworld and The Imploding Casino The illusion of wealth

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