The End of the Mob, Fun and Humanity

When I was last in Vegas in January, a cabbie and I were bemoaning how expensive things have gotten in Vegas. Gone are the days of the $5 prime rib dinner, cheap show tickets. Now the buffets are over $70 per person excluding drinks. Table minimums are ridiculous. Even “penny” slots make you play $5 a spin if you want any chance of winning something worthwhile.

Just spitting out my normal word diarrhea, I told him that the biggest problem with Vegas was getting rid of the mafia. Sure the mafia were violent, had very subjective takes on morality, but they knew how to take care of customers to ensure they kept coming back. Sometimes you had to forego some short-term profits in order to ensure the long-term profits and sustainability.

With the corporate vultures that swooped in to fill the void that the mafia left and “maximize profits to appease the shareholders,” the humanity of it all left town. (And yes, there is humanity in murder — without the humans, there wouldn’t be the murder, right? Fuck, I think that’s a Slayer lyric.) But these corporations really are about extracting every penny by any means necessary short of murder.

The 1986 explosion of Frank Lawrence “Lefty” Rosenthal’s car. Rosenthal was a professional sports bettor, casino executive and organized crime associate whose career was the basis of Martin Scorsese’s film “Casino”. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

I started thinking about this because of the Fulton County RICO indictment of Trump and Co. Giuliani prides himself in going after the mob in New York via the very RICO prosecution that he finds himself under and then “cleaning up” the city. Like Vegas, the mob gave way to this very hypercapitalist nightmare where everything is sanitized and safe. Whatever soul that was there was now replaced with luxury resorts, Michelin-starred restaurants, expensive unattainable luxury shops and day club pool parties.

I just find it ironic that Giuliani’s credibility and career is being ended thanks to the same tool that he used to end the mafia. I guess I should probably complete this thought and think about the ramification of having our former president be indicted and perhaps be reelected and become the first president to serve his term from prison and what all of this means about what Americans want. But that is far too deep and scary, and I just went off of my antidepressants because I lost my sex drive and hadn’t had sex in over a year and go months without masturbating.

That is to say, you know, sometimes the mafia just did it better.