Every time I hear about the current ticket problems with Hannah Montana concerts, I can’t help thinking about David Cassidy. Why? Because when I was growing up, (Oh God! Not that again!) Mr. Cassidy caused the same kind of hysteria wherever he went, especially when he was giving concerts. Legions of devoted fans crammed themselves into concert halls or stadiums just to catch a glimpse of David in the flesh. Though during the so-called concerts, there was so much screaming, yelling and crying, that it was impossible to even hear him. And if you were in the nosebleed section of one of these venues, you probably had a hard time seeing him as well. (Luckily, there were plenty of plastic binoculars for sale to help you get up close and personal.)
I have the feeling that a similar amount of frenzy will surround much of the upcoming Hannah Montana tour. Devoted parents, who think they are giving their children a rare opportunity to see their idol in concert, will no doubt be disappointed at the actual event. Not that their children will care, as their motivation for going is probably more of a status thing rather than an actual need to hear Miley Cyrus singing LIVE. They want to be a part of history, and tell their friends, neighbors and future grandchildren that they were there when Hannah performed her bubble gum songs in places like Savannah, Atlanta or Indiana.
In psychological terms, the ability to actually snag one of these coveted tickets is equivalent to going through a right of passage. It proves that you have the resources and financial freedom to get whatever you want, and are immediately elevated to a higher status among your peers. You become a Hannah Montana Top Banana. Or even more importantly, a member of the infamous Miley-High Club.
(What the heck kind of name is Miley anyway? The first time I heard of Miley Cyrus, I thought it was some new kind of infectious disease. And now that I’ve heard all the controversy surrounding the hard-to-get concert tickets, I don’t think I was really that far off.)
So why all the frenzy over Hannah Montana tickets? Is it really that important that your child sees this concert? Will it dramatically alter her life if she doesn’t? (Or his life, if he happens to be among the male fan base, which is statistically ten percent of the population.) And why do parents feel it necessary to shell out hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars to make sure their child isn’t left behind? Why not just shell out ten dollars and get them a nice CD or DVD? It will undoubtedly be more fulfilling, and certainly less dangerous than going to the actual concert.
And what kind of message are parents sending to their children if they allow them to idolize such a duplicitous teen, anyway? The whole premise of Hannah Montana is that the character leads a double life. Like the Clark Kent/Superman character before her, Hannah simply dons a blond wig and is immediately perceived as someone completely different. Is this the kind of role model we want our children to emulate? By taking them to a Hannah Montana concert, are we really telling them that lying about who you are is acceptable? As long as you wear synthetic flaxen extensions to do it?
The one time I actually watched a Hannah Montana episode, I got very tired. The actors were expending so much time and energy trying to maintain Hannah’s secret identity that I felt much the same way I do after eating a large Thanksgiving dinner. I suffered from Hannah Montana Tryptophan-a.
But I am not the target audience for this cross-country tour. And I seriously doubt whether the little girls (and boys) who want to go to the concert are either. The real demographic this money-making machine is after are the parents of Hannah fans. They are the ones who will shell out boatloads of money for the concert tickets, and then pay even more at the actual event to secure their offspring a treasure trove of Hannah t-shirts, buttons, glowsticks and fake hair. They are the real losers in this scenario. Because in five years when they are still paying off the second mortgage they had to take out in order to attain the popular tickets, their offspring will have moved on to something completely different. Hannah will have faded into the background, much like David Cassidy did after “The Partridge Family” ended.
And let’s not forget that David’s reign as a concert King had a very tragic ending, when one of his devoted fans was crushed to death at a London concert. That pretty much put a kibosh on any future tours. Let’s hope the Hannah Fan-ahs don’t suffer the same fate.