Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hanna Montana and the New Age of Equity

I came across a small item on a New York Times blog called "Moral of the Story" about the singer Miley Cyrus (Well, to be honest, it wasn't that small). It seems that Ms. Cyrus feels that the prices scalpers charge are totally not fair, and has decided to, like, do something about it.

Sorry, I sound like I'm making a mockery here (can't help it - it's my nature), but in truth I'm entirely behind what Ms. Cyrus is doing.

As someone entirely raised in the digital age, I'm sure it struck Cyrus as odd that paper tickets would even be needed. Airline tickets are sold electronically, money is transferred the same way, and pretty much every form of communication between living and breathing human beings has been placed within an electronic medium. What's a videophone for if not to eliminate the unnecessary tedium of actually going over to see see someone and have a chat? So paper? Not only "how analog," but also "like, why?"

Every generation, up and until the current one, has marked special moments of their lives with physical mementos. Be it a Polaroid of a drunken house party, the stub of a movie ticket from that first date, or the concert ticket you saved, which reminded you of the night you "became a man (or) woman" it was always something physical, some tangible connection to a past event or place. The current generation uses digital photos, texts, and emails in the same way. So much so, that everything else is only so much useless junk. Indeed, why keep a ticket stub from a concert when you have hundreds of photos and videos stored on your mobile showing the event itself? What would be the point of keeping that little stub?

In that sense, perhaps Miley Cyrus was the perfect age to see as obvious what most everyone else wouldn't have been able to fathom. The way things were done, need not be the way things continue to be, and the accepted, or at least acknowledged practices of the past (i.e. scalping) do not necessarily have to be carried forward into the future. In that sense, I salute this move, though I do see it as a noble, though mostly futile gesture.

Electronic form or not, I think scalpers will find a way to keep on keeping on. Instead of hawking the physical tickets outside a concert, they just carry around an iPhone, ready to transfer that e-ticket to the highest bidder.

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