Saturday, January 29, 2005

Cause I could never understand, the mysterious distance, between a fan and a woman...

This week will live in my memory for one thing: the week that I identified with the marginalized. And the crazy thing is, I experienced it as a white, middle class, band fanatic.

The U2 presale is being dubbed, "Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday." Clearly, the demand for the Vertigo Tour outstripped supply as well as technology and thousands of "paid up" members were unable to obtain seats at all, or were stuck with nosebleed seats they didn't want. But undaunted by their anger and disappointment, these same fans (and me) attempted to purchase our tickets today on the day of general sales... only to be shut out again.

Entire venues were completely sold out in 15 minutes.

E-bay had tickets on sale before the open sales even began.

What's more interesting to me than the fact that I didn't ever get a General Admission ticket is the way various fans are interpreting this week's events.

Ticket holders shame the fans who didn't get tickets by saying really helpful things like:

"Life isn't fair. Get over it."

"You were only promised a chance to get a ticket, not an actual ticket. You took your chance and lost."

"I prayed and it worked for me. You might want to pray."

"Don't blame the band. They are awesome and it's a privilege to hear them play (and I'll be the one right next to the stage with my wristband firmly attched to my writst)." My note: since when is it a privilege to pay $40 in order to get an advantage to buy tickets and then not benefit from that advantage?

It's the stunning lack of compassion I'm observing between ticket-holding fans and those who were victiims of a deeply flawed system that sent me over the edge today. Some of the ones who got tickets credit their speedy typing abilities (I type really fast), others believe that they were just the lucky ones and that luck is one of those things that goes both ways (and don't want to admit that something went terribly wrong with the whole system).

Overall, though, there is a glib judgment against any expression of anger because they have tickets.

In theological terms, we call that attitude: privilege. Privilege corrupts. It's the sister to power.

The fans without tickets are rightfully angry, hurt, disappointed and disillusioned. Instead, they are shamed for expressing their feelings by the ones who got tickets.

I couldn't help but think of the following comparions:

Whites speaking of the conditions for African Americans—This is a land of opportunity. Take advantage of it. Use the opportunities that are there instead of complaining. Anyone who wants to succeed badly enough can. You must rise above the conditions of your poeple who have contributed to their woeful condition. (Similar to, You take advantage of the ticketing chances there are. Everyone has equal access—oh really?)

Evangelical Christians speaking of those they consider "lost"—There has to be real consequences to sin. It wouldn't make sense that everyone goes to heaven. People who are lost (and have never heard of Christ) deserve hell. (Similar to those who never got tickets didn't deserve to get tickets.)

Privilege is a dangerous elixir that makes us unable to appreciate another's pain.

I'm glad I got to identify with the marginalized fan this week.


australisa said...

Equal chance doesn't mean much when there aren't enough chances to go around, does it? :-(

May the members of the majority have the privelege of feeling mildly marginalized and understanding the larger picture of serious marginalization.

Dave said...

Hey Julie I wondered how you were going to fare in the ticket-sale frenzy. I'm sorry that you didn't get the results your devotion to the band deserves. But maybe there are deeper purposes playing themselves out in your coming out on the short end of the deal.

I had entertained some thoughts about going to see U2 with my sons this year but at this point there just ain't no way. I can't see having to work so hard and pay so much to satisfy my curiousity about what one of their shows would be like. I'm sure it will be great for those who get in, but really, the whole debacle kind of tarnishes the band's reputation a bit as far as I'm concerned. The $40 website fee just seems to me like a straight-up cash grab. Pretty corporate, which I know U2 has been for a long time, but it kinda rubs my indie/alt rock values the wrong way. Maybe that's one reason I never became a full-fledged U2 devotee. But I think about how I was able to get into the Pearl Jam concert for free, just for working a voter registration booth for a short while (yeah, I had some connections... and I would never have gone if the band didn't come right to my hometown.)

Any chance that U2 will play the Van Andel Arena? Then I could get in via the concession stand. :o) I'll be doing the Josh Groban and George Straight concerts within the next month or so. And I heard that Sting is coming later in the spring, so we'll be on for that I figure.

(Back to U2) I suppose they are in a tight spot - the demand is going to be overwhelming, apparently, no matter how they try to structure the various levels of pre-sales for all the would-be "insiders" who want to get an inside track on the tix.

Your observations on privilege are poignant and insightful. Producing these insights may be the "deeper purposes" I alluded to at the beginning of my comment. I did see your entry earlier in the blog where you at least got one ticket. A consolation prize perhaps if you can't swing something better. At least you'll be in. And the video/stage spectacle will probably be massive enough to reach you way up there anyway, right?

Bilbo said...

Hi Julie,

Bill/Bilbo here. Been checking out your blog. I've put one together myself and just wanted to see how you and others were doing it...Real sorry to hear about what happened regarding the U-2 tickets. Really am. I wanted to go see them myself since they open on the West Coast but a similar thing happened to me when Dave Matthews came to California last time. At this point I have resolved that I may not get any closer to these megaconcerts than my large screen television/DVD and home theatre system...again...sorry...Hopefully they will maybe add a few shows once they realize alot of folks have been shut out. In the past they have been sensative to their fan base and hopefully they pull through for your sake and others......

julieunplugged said...

Hey you guys! Love having you post here (Dave and Bill).

Well, ticketmaster did the unheard ot thing (which I will post at the top of the blog). They called each member and got them tickets. I got my General Admission ticket for the right prace on the phone today to right the wrongs of the presale. I am stunned. Didn't expect it of Ticketmaster.

So I will be on the floor. As I said to one of my friends, I went through oppression, marginalization and vindication (Civil Rights) all in one week, just in time to write my first paper for black theo. :)

Gosh, Bill and Dave, I'll be a flaming progressive by the end of this semester. This course is shredding my last right wings notions. :)

Anyway, woo-hoo for U2 and Ticketmaster for at least righting the wrongs.