March 26, 2017:

Miss Teenage Alabama parades beneath artificial thunder. Her chaperone holds one arm, her sash is faultless, her posture is perfect, her crown looks ridiculous. She's empty, a hollow cliché, and the entire mise-en-scène pisses me off, from the painted sky ceiling to the lost-looking crowds to the false gold filigree on her false gold crown. "Nice tits," I tell her in passing, purely to blow their false cool. It does.

The mall is claustrophobic, there's a false pond beneath the false sky funneling narrow streams of actual humans to either side, jostling. The people are either obese or dressed like hookers; absolutely no-one looks happy.

My hotel has no other exit to the city: you're forced through the mall, and the cynicism of that transparent calculation is offensive. It has no restaurant, the bar is half-stocked, and the snack shop carries only Pepsi products. It's 59 floors of mediocre suites intended to impress country bumpkins; when you look closely the furnishings are cheap motel-quality crap.

This is America, these are Americans, and the fact that the world is on fire is not relevant here. Air-conditioning pushes all distressing thoughts far, far away.