“America is a desert”: the metaphor by Jean Baudrillard, one of the most important theorists of post-modernity, is also the title of his book describing the USA as the polar opposite of European cities which over the centuries have inherited the structure and concept of polis.
Unlike them, America is just a space, completely devoid of culture and sociality.
A large number of cities in the USA derive their characteristics from the desert and right in the Mohave desert, in the middle of nowhere, Las Vegas was built, freezing in winter and scorching in summer, unraveling on the “strip“, a narrow stripe of asphalt along whose four miles every inch is used, developed and lived 24 hours a day.
Las Vegas seems to be made of cardboard, not of solid reinforced concrete as in reality, and this is where I decided to go, wishing to plunge into the madness and jarring contrasts of a city a European could never have conceived.
Trying to get a sense of it, I let myself slip into dreaming that there can be an Eiffel Tower for everyone, although smaller in scale, and that ancient Greeks and ancient Romans welcome people into hotels, casinos and restaurants, while coyotes howl along the “strip” at night.