Yep, here we go again. Save the date on your calendar, here comes Art Basel Hong Kong right around the corner. Art Basel has a pretty good spread across the globe at this point, of course the annual in Basel Switzerland itself, the somewhat iconic although over rated Art Basel in Miami for all of […]
With the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe displaying its quiet splendor mere blocks away, the artifice and forced glamor of the casinos just on the Nevada side of the border are set in stronger contrast than I’ve ever seen elsewhere. At least in Las Vegas, you’re so surrounded by casinos and flashing lights that it’s easy to succumb to their invented reality. In South Lake Tahoe, though, there’s really no excuse. The water and mountains are right there, reminding us of the beauty of the wild world, and yet the casinos are always crowded.
What does that say, I wonder, about human nature? Is it the flashing lights that ensnare us, or the chance of winning something the natural world doesn’t have to offer? Is money that much more alluring than beauty?
I don’t mean to sound self-righteous with these musings. I’ve been drawn into those casinos too, and gambled here and there, hoping (like everyone does, I suppose) that a few cents and the push of a button at the right millisecond will change the rest of my life. The last time I was in South Lake Tahoe, I even stayed at Harrah’s — and honestly, I recommend it as a lodging option, its not quite as tacky as you might expect from a casino.
Overall, Tahoe is a fascinating place to observe people and how they work. If you’re not sure what I mean, go to South Lake Tahoe during winter and try this. Walk through the casinos, doing your best to avoid getting drawn in by the lights and sounds. Just look at people’s faces — you’ll see they so often wear an identical glazed expression with no emotion, regardless of whether they’re winning or losing. Then step outside, and observe the animated expressions on the faces of those just heading to (or returning from) the slopes.
I don’t know what conclusions can be drawn from that. I’m not making any point in particular here. Only suggesting that the questions on their own are interesting enough to be worth asking, no matter where you go with them.