Friday, July 09, 2004

Good music, rude fans

I attended a concert at the Garden State Arts Center (a.k.a. The PNC Bank Arts Center) this week with my wife and some friends. The music was very good; both Annie Lennox and Sting were each in good form. Annie Lennox's voice is still remarkable after all these years. Sting can still breath new magic into old songs such as "Roxanne".

The most noteworthy thing about the concert, however, was not the music, but the four people who sat directly in front of us. They stood up and danced as if they were at a rave or a Dead concert for almost the entire show. The only times they sat down were when other patrons complained that they were blocking the view of the stage. When other patrons (including our group) did complain, however, we received no more than grudging compliance from them and on occasion we were met with outright hostility.

Now, people go to concerts to have a good time. Music that one enjoys can be an irrestible inspiration to move one's body. This is human nature. That said, concert venues such as the Arts Center are not designed for audience members to dance during the performance. There is no way to do that without disturbing one's fellow audience members. The seats we were sitting in cost eighty dollars apiece, which is expensive no matter who one is.

One expects to be able to see and hear the performers at a concert. Some concerts obviously lend themselves to bacchanalian festivities, but a few thousand forty-something upper middle class white people from New Jersey attending an Annie Lennox and Sting concert are not the crowd for that type of behavior. If one wants to dance to Annie and Sting, one should watch videos at home and dance in front of the television, or if one wants to attend a concert where dancing is acceptable, there is no shortage of acts and venues to choose from.

The sense of entitlement in our benighted society grows with each passing year. The attitude of "I paid my money and I'm going to do whatever I please" gets more and more pervasive. The point of life in society and life in general is not to do whatever one feels like doing. Remember what Hillel and Jesus both said (I am paraphrasing them): Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you don't want to put up with the selfish, arrogant behavior of others, then don't be selfish and arrogant yourself.

As I have become fond of saying:

  • Examine your behavior
  • Admit it when you are wrong
  • Apologize to those whom you have wronged
  • Vow not to do this wrong again

Isn't that better than being a selfish ass?

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