Katy Perry Tickets

My daughter is amongst those legions of fans disappointed to have missed out on Katy Perry tickets. For those not keeping up with the play, Katy is a pop star with a strong Christian background (not that her current music or image particularly reflects that), and who has over the last few years become one of the world's biggest pop stars. She's coming to New Zealand later this year.

Tickets were on sale for just over $100 which is pretty standard for an international concert these days. I paid $90 to see New Order a couple of years ago, and while they were/are a band I've grown up with, there was no danger of a sold out concert as with all respect they are probably not a big drawcard these days. The crowd was mostly dad-blokes like me having a rare night out. Given what a treat going to a live concert was, I felt it was relatively good value for money. So to pay maybe $40-$50 more for one of the world's currently biggest pop stars didnt seem to me to beoverly pricey.

However tickets inevitably sold out in the blink of an eye for Miss Perry, and now on trade me they are scalping for $1000 for a front row ticket. I guess it's one of these "the market will decide the price" type situations. That's the position trademe have taken anyway. But I have to ask -

Who in their right mind pays $1000 to go to a pop concert?

The reason why I've chosen to post on this is that it made me think of a book I read recently – "The Progress Paradox – How Life Gets Better, While People Get Worse". It's a really interesting read, looking at the multitude of ways in which each of us (at least here in NZ) live far more pampered, indulged lives than at any other time in history, with relatively few immediate dangers or threats to our way of life by comparison to other eras. In almost every measure, we as a society have never had it so easy.

The paradox is that while we enjoy this standard of living, never before in our society has there been such widespread diagnosed depression, general pessimism, feelings of deprivation and/or isolation. This is partly due to our increasing demands for more and more comfort – a family forty years ago with a four bedroom house and two cars would have been deemed well off. Now that same family with the same material assets is probably deemed struggling.  My own children can hardly believe that I never had a room to myself until I left home – I always shared with my brother growing up; they've had their own rooms since birth.

On the news tonight a teenager was in tears because they had missed out on tickets. The Mum was sitting looking stoicly at the camera, quoted as saying "I will get her tickets somehow". The next item on the news is about how unaffordable housing is in Auckland. I'm not judging that family, I don't know their full story, but it does give me pause to think – what is the Christian response to this consumer culture? Not specifically Katy Perry – it's not personal, Katy – but how do we as Christians guard against this in our own lives? How do we avoid falling into the Progress Paradox, where all of a sudden we can rationalise $1000 for a concert ticket, or believe we are entitled to such things?

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    Comments: 4

    1. Teresina June 12, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      I remember when I was a teenager seeing a pink lamp in a shop window – it was fairly expensive and so it was a few paydays before I could purchase it.  I went to the shop window a number of times with great anticipation of the day I could purchase it.  Finally that day came.  I bought it.  Took it home and hardly looked at it again and eventually it rusted away. The enjoyment and satisfaction I thought I would get from that lamp didn't happen.   I think it was my first  lesson in life that material things – no matter how beautiful they look in the window – eventually crumble away and actually once we have them don't mean a lot – as they say anticipation is half the enjoyment and in many cases the whole of the enjoyment.  I remember my mother saying to me "Don't wish for things because everything can be swept away tomorrow".  And how right she was.  Close to home we have seen with the Christchurch earthquakes, family treasures and entire homes broken and lost – the real treasure found to be the life and love of the family that remains.  The lasting things are the important things to foster.  As you say Boanerges, the more materialistic we become the more unhappy.  \

      Teaching children needs to start in the home at a very young so that young children aren't given every thing they ask for.  It is hard to resist a young child I know but, for the sake of the child, the parents need to resist that temptation to give their little bundle of joy everything they can afford.  It is too late to start saying something in the teenage years because they will become resentful but perhaps even then parents could show their children that instead of a bottle of wine they are putting that money in the St Vincent de Paul box and encourage them to do the same.  Small things lead to bigger things.  

    2. Rubyshine June 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      My husband and I have recently moved into a tiny home. It's a rental property we've owned for a few years, and we sold our other home. It means we're both much closer to work and where our girls will go to school. It means that, health permitting, any future children will have to share rooms. But it also means that we'll easily be able to afford for me to take two years off work to be at home, something I value much more than single bedrooms and ensuites.

      I have friends who are shocked that we plan to be here for a few years, in our 3 bedroom, single bathroom simple home. They are also shocked that until two weeks ago my husband and I shared one car that is just about at 300,000kms.

      But I grew up with parents who never valued "stuff" They were always frugal and valued spending money on experinces and education rather than fancy curtains to match their fancy rugs. So that's how I learnt to value money too.

      I agree with Teresina that it is about resisting giving your kids everything they ask for. I also think you model your thoughts and feelings about stuff. If the kids see you constantly buying new clothes, or sighing over how small your house is and how you wish you could afford a house like the Jones' then it breeds discontent.

      I recently picked up a book that talked about, "The luxury of enough" I was really struck by that phrase. The idea that most of us have enough food, clothes and blankets and that that in itself is a luxury, but that also it's a mindset. We can always be envying what others have, or we can appreciate all we have, and revel in the luxury of that.

      As a catholic, I think the modern approach to luxury and expectations for home life raises questions about what it means to be able to "afford a child." The church teaches that we need to embrace life but also that we need to be responsible with having children and that not being able to afford a child is valid reason for using NFP. But what does that mean? Who decides what it means to be able to afford your child? Do you need to be able to; feed them, clothe them, pay for medicine? what about school books and fees? sports teams or school trips? Buy them a car? Pay for university?

      I also think it's about creating a lifestyle that builds emotional depth and fullness rather than shallowness and voids. Maybe you garden or bake with your children, or sew something together, or craft something in the shed. Anything that is about appreciating the wonder that is our hands and our brains, anything that allows you to spend time with your child, anything that values the persistence required to follow a project through to the end and enjoy the end result, anything that grows lifelong skills and creativity. Anything that values the longevity of building, growing and crafting rather than the disposability of throwing money at it.

      There is a culture of buying things to fill an emotional need, and much like Teresina's example shows stuff doesn't make us happy, I think more and more people have no alternatives to fall back on.

    3. bamac June 12, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Reading the above comments I am reminded of a saying that someone once put into an autograph book I once kept when I was growing up :-

      "Success is getting what you want ….. happiness is wanting what you've got!"

      Shalom,

      Mrs  Mac

    4. Abenader June 12, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Boan

      There still are some good news stories out there to inspire our kids such as this http://www.ncregister.com/blog/pat-archbold/beautiful-model-gives-up-flourishing-career-to-become-nun