Yesterday I defriended a user for the very first time here on LJ. This in and of itself is no big deal, especially considering the user is much happier now that I won't make any more comments at her public entries that may not agree with what she says. I was not being contrary on purpose, and I did not "stalk" her entries just to be mean. I started following her a short while ago because I thought we shared a love for Supernatural and its actors. I did leave many agreeable comments at her journal in the past, but apparently due to her large following (600+ or so she once claimed), she only remembers me when I disagree. I realized my dissenting voice was upsetting her, I didn't want to give her undue distress, so I told her I would remove myself from her journal. Leaving that I did, however it doesn't mean I concede our debate on the "greediness" of one Jensen Ackles in particular, and main Supernatural cast at large.
It all started with my reply to a comment at her entry that implied it was Jensen's fault his concert with Jason Manns were sold at such a high price. Here is what I said:
I think it's misleading to think Jensen Ackles and Jason Manns charged $1500 for their 45 minutes first time ever performance. In my opinion it's perfectly reasonable that the artists involved here want to perform for only a small audience, especially given Jensen is not a professional singer. With only 30 seats available, it's not outrageous the convention organizer auctioned out these tickets. Nobody held fans hands' and made them bid higher and higher. It's a simple matter of "Supply-and-Demand". One can snicker about Jensen and/or Jason's singing ability, however there're just too many people want and willing to pay to see/hear them sing and play guitar on stage together.
This was counter argued that it was indeed Jensen's fault because he should have known how popular he is, and that the small audience was not the problem, they should have just set a low fee for the tickets and draw lottery at the convention to see who gets to attend. To that logic I answered:
No, I think Jensen's opinion on his own popularity is irrelevant here. He has never done a concert before. There is no market pricing for his first ever concert. The auction is not an unfair way to settle who gets to attend the small event. For all I know, Jensen may even doubt anybody would shell out $100 for his singing performance, after all he's not a singer, hasn't released any songs/singles in his name except singing as a backup.
Lottery drawing maybe a way to go (for that matter, why sell the tickets at a cost at all? why not make it for free completely?), however others may feel it's not exactly fair either. Why someone mildly interested in seeing Jensen sing live gets to attend this due to his/her lucky chance while someone else who wants to see it so dearly and willing to pay a hefty amount has to sit out? At least with the auction, the people gets to attend are those who *really* wants to see this, and they have the financial means to do so.
I know I want to see it very badly and I don't have the financial ability to do so. But I don't ever think it's Jensen or Jason's fault. Nor do I think convention organizer is unfair to determine who gets to see this.
For this I got scoffed at that I, like many others, assumed Jensen and Jared lived in a bubble for not knowing how much people are willing to pay to see them. I was also reminded of an ill fated convention was recently canceled because these main actors asked too much in terms of their fees and special treatments. Again, I counter argued:
You misunderstood me. I'm not saying Jensen (or Jared) doesn't know his self worth. I'm saying his knowledge of his popularity is irrelevant in this discussion.
And I stand by my opinion that there is no known market pricing for Jensen's concert. How could it be? He has never done one before.
And speaking of the canceled convention, ... There can be no money made off the fans if the fans are not willing to pay. And I don't think the stars arbitrarily charge an amount for their fee. For all I know their contractual demand is an industry standard for stars of their caliber. If they overestimate their worth, they don't get paid any. Again, fair and square. I don't see a right vs. wrong here.
Meanwhile someone else commented under my thread there that she felt the auction was distasteful because
The auction is simply a get-as-much-as-possible greedy money grabbing and blatant showing off Jensen's popularity. I had to make sure I understood what she's saying so I verified:
If I understand you correctly, you are saying auction is evil and distasteful unless it's done for charity then. A position I do not agree, but that's just me.
Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprising) I got the reply that
Auction in general isn't. Just talking about this one specifically. (with the emphasize on "this")
Huh?! Did I miss something here? In my opinion, Jensen's talent is a commodity, just as, to a much smaller extent, every single one of ours is too. Don't we get paid everyday for what we can do at our jobs? As a commodity, why is it so awful for Jensen's case specifically? I admit I was curious so I had to ask:
And why should this one be singled out from other auctions?
That was the extent of it because at this point I was clearly upsetting the user, she specifically asked me to stop. She and her guest expressed in no uncertain terms that
a free concert won't kill Jensen and that (to paraphrase) a 45 minute concert cost less than $1500 won't starve Jensen. Their sentiment was Jensen and Jared pretty much owe fans because without us, they wouldn't even get a season 6 nor a TV Guide cover.
To respect the user since it was her journal I was commenting from, I did stop saying anything additional except announcing I was leaving her place. Even though I didn't argue further, I still strongly disagreed with their position. Sure, there are many things Jensen or Jared could have done that won't kill them per se, but that doesn't necessarily mean they should or obliged to do these things. And as to them owing fans, I was one of those who voted fervently for Supernatural on the TV Guide cover until my fingers were sore. But never did I feel I own the boys because of that. I voted for them because I owe them gratitude for their jobs well done. I consider myself rewarded when the boys publicly thanked fans for our support and Jensen vowed to work even harder. In all this, I feel the actors under no obligation to give fans freebies, and when they do, it's their gift to us. I hate to think that just because they did something nice once, all of a sudden, they are expected to do it every time, and when they don't, they become less of a decent human being in some fans eyes.
When this entry is posted, LA Con has drawn to a conclusion. Jensen Ackles and Jason Manns concert is either in progress or it may have been over as well. Even though I regret I'm not able to see it with my own eyes, I still wish everything went well, and everyone involved, from the performing artists to the attending audience had (or are having) a great time. Also I was looking for information regarding the convention earlier. I was surprised to see the LJ user I'm talking about here had gleefully wrote a report about it at an online news magazine to which she is the editor. This in particular left a bad taste in my mouth. I find it's hypocritical of her to fuel fans desire and fascination at seeing these actors. After all, I believe it was our tremendous eagerness at wanting to get up close and personal with these stars that drove up the cost.