The worst of both worlds

TWO THINGS: who is Hannah Montana, and why are people willing to pay so much money to see her?

An article in this Monday’s edition of The Collegian informed me that Hannah is 14-year-old Miley Cyrus, daughter of country-music singer Billy Ray Cyrus, and star of an extremely popular TV show on the Disney Channel.

Miley’s TV show is about a young girl who leads a double life as a normal teenager by day and a pop star by night. If you want a quick synopsis of this lifestyle’s advantages, I recommend listening to Miley’s “Best of Both Worlds.” It explains everything.

But why are people willing to pay hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for a single ticket to a Hannah Montana concert?

The ready answer is that the adult ticket-buyers are being nagged and harassed by their preteen and teenage daughters to such an unbearable degree that they will pay any amount to stop the incessant chorus of high-pitched voices screeching, “I wanna see Hannah Montana!”

Parents: I sympathize (but happily, I don’t empathize).

But are they the majority of ticket buyers? Of course not.

Most (good) parents have a financial limit beyond which their little girl’s dreams and wishes remain the stuff of fantasy.

Pony ranches would be doing a lot better business if this weren’t so.

These 8 to 16-year-old girls aren’t the only source of fuel for Montana-mania.

Ladies, you know that some of you watch her show regularly. And gents, you know very well what those unlabeled songs are in your iTunes libraries.

There are still some hangovers from younger days among college students, and it’s reasonable to assume that some small portion of the massive ticket sales is attributable to the perpetual 14-year-olds among us.

And then there are the adults, the crowd of full-time workers that can’t get over singing along and dancing to songs with lyrics like, “Who would have thought that a girl like me/ would double as a superstar?”

They will also make up a (hopefully) small portion of the screaming fans at Miley’s next concert.

So who is buying most of these absurdly-priced tickets? We’ve already covered the torturously nagged parents and the denizens of Neverland who walk among us.

Who’s left?

It’s the parents who just can’t say “no,” of course.

It’s the parents who believe that nothing is too expensive for their child.

“Whatever baby wants, baby gets,” they say, never thinking that maybe baby also has important needs like learning the value of money and developing good spending habits.

Maybe they just don’t get that their children will never grow up into wise adults if they don’t suffer the disappointment of not seeing Hannah Montana because the tickets are unreasonably priced.

And there’s the answer.

People are willing to pay so much for these tickets because they don’t care that $200 or more is not a reasonable exchange for a two-hour concert.

They just aren’t being reasonable. Nobody with a bit of reason would pay $2,565 to see a concert (unless John and George could somehow return from the grave for a reunion tour; that would be awesome).

There are some things money can’t buy, like taste, or parents who are a good example of civic and moral virtues for their children.

For everything else, there’s Mastercard.

Timothy Ellison is a senior at Fresno State majoring in classical studies and getting a minor in English. He didn’t even get a dime from Mastercard for that obvious product placement.

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