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.