Table of contents

The Hangover 4

The turn to Las Vegas

The disappearing bridegroom dresses correctly, nearly semi-formal, which democracy allows. The suit is black, so he is a bit uptight; he has a narrow jaw, but a jaw; his collar is open, but the shirt is white… – But leave aside his look: he may be better understood through the actions of his friends, because they insist on throwing him a bachelor party. The second is the dandy, whom Americans call a playboy: Black suit, black shirt, open collar, hair greased back. A black shirt in Vegas is a bad idea, inasmuch as fistfights usually ruin a pretty face… The third dresses like a nerd: A bland, light-colored suit over a polo shirt, because he has no backbone, indeed, he is too afraid of offending to strut his stuff. The fourth is just a bum, perfecting the hobo look, as college kids sometimes do. The first is getting married; the second is married; the third also gets married, unexpectedly; the fourth – thought recoils.

Comedy means different things to these people. The playboy laughs at the people, having learnt that conventions do not favor him, however handsome he is. It is just as well he is a teacher, because wit is educated insolence… The bridegroom is too kind: His hobo future brother-in-law brings out his pity, not his contempt. The cautious one’s humor is sarcasm with a tinge of hysteria: Cutting things down to his size… The hobo has no sense of humor, because he is a mockery of a particular human being, the college gentleman. He shows some primitive side of desire & spiritedness. But every speech he makes is hilariously wrong.

We get their look, not their deeds. If they knew what they had done, they could not be who they are. In this sense, forgetfulness is said to be therapeutic; more likely, the comic poet shows us that it is best not to say what you mean sometimes. Our protagonists learn about themselves piece by piece, so they have to start somewhere. This time, I start from their look, because they start from the look of Las Vegas.

Vegas is desire: Good things you imagine & which therefore appear beautiful. But, of course, what happens in Vegas is never what you would have imagined: Only in this special sense does what happens in Vegas stay in Vegas. As commonly understood, that expression is the disguised self-interest of some deceiving others. Vegas fires the imagination. Vegas arouses a deep longing. Improperly handled, it explodes. The poet gently chides his audience & ironically instructs it. Las Vegas means the fertile meadows. But the desert comes first, where you see the earth in the sky: Then you must go above that.