I acknowledge this as a false belief, but tough times call for, uh, sometimes indulging a forgivable weakness for a little personal religiosity cooked up in your head. Mine is: Las Vegans are extraordinarily hospitable. It’s in our DNA, it’s a civic character trait, it’s a native truth, it’s nurtured into our collective nature by our marquee economic engine — put it however you want — and our sense of hospitality is embedded with values such as tolerance, acceptance, patience, even compassion. Yeah, I know I’m probably spiritualizing an industrial prerogative or maybe even abetting the internalization of capitalist voodoo or whatever, but I suppose there are worse things to base a metropolitan identity on.
I’m not going to offer that as a balm to the woes besieging the city right now, but it can’t hurt to let a little higher awareness of that — hospitality as a meaningful value — drip into our bloodstream at this moment, what with the pandemic stomping back amid a cataclysmic vacuum of leadership and fresh outcry over racial wounds ignored for far too long.
They are not distinct and unrelated ills. In this issue, we attempt to address both. Our roundtable, “Every Voice: Race, Protest, and Power” features six local luminaries discussing racial justice in Nevada — from how to translate protest into policy to the massive enterprise of building true economic inclusion. And in our feature, “What Have We Learned?,” we talk to five minds in healthcare about the lessons they’ve learned while working amid the pandemic. Many of their lessons are practical and concrete; others ring with richer, and sometimes poignant, human truths. These are not comfortable conversations, nor should they be. Which, I suppose, is a defining feature of the kind of hospitality I’m talking about: To allow others to feel safe and welcome, you often have to venture out of your comfort zone.
Oh, Yeah, Also:
1. Developed a habit of binge-watching noxious garbage TV as a desperate bulwark against the tentacles of our increasingly grimdark reality? Same. Speaking of, we’d like to remind you that 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of Showgirls, the 1995 box-office bomb about dancer Nomi Malone trying to hustle her way to the top in Las Vegas. 2020 also marks the release of
You Don’t Nomi, a documentary that examines the more-complex-than-you-think legacy of Showgirls. Read an interview with doc director Jeffrey McHale at desertcompanion.com.
2. Updated Back-to-School Supply List:
1. Fresh copy of Dick and Jane Throw a Tantrum at Costco. 2. New crayon color: Fragile White. 3. Opera glasses for socially distant test copying. 4. Clorox jeans. 5. Wall-size flow chart to keep track of school district’s reopening plan. (Scott Dickensheets)
3. If you’re a Desert Companion subscriber or Nevada Public Radio member, keep an eye on your email come August 20. That’s when the first issue of Fifth Street, Desert Companion’s new weekly email newsletter, is scheduled to hit your inbox. Replete with riffs, reflections, recommendations, and all the fine storytelling you expect from Desert Companion, it’s our little way of saying, “As the demise of print media is only accelerated by the pandemic, yikes, we need to find another revenue model.” Subscribe here to Fifth Street.