It’s been well over a week since Jim DeRogatis reviewed the first night of The Pixies’ three-night Doolittle retrospective at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom. DeRogatis caused quite a stir among Pixies fans with statements like:
…it’s hard to consider them anything but a cynical corporation cashing in on blatant nostalgia–a hipper version of Creedence Clearwater Revisited or Journey and whoever is singing with that group these days.
Pixies defending aside, DeRogatis has a right to his opinion. After all, that’s his job. As any critic who has ever encountered the briefest whiff of resistance from diehard fans over the years can tell you, not everyone’s going to agree with what you write. And of course, this came in droves for the eight paragraphs DeRogatis wrote about The Pixies set. There were comments from fans who couldn’t believe DeRogatis would compare their beloved Pixies to Journey of all bands – Journey?!?! There were comments from fans who said DeRogatis was elitist and assuming the worst before setting foot in the Aragon.
And then there was one comment by “em,” which began with this:
Why do you care how much tickets cost? I bet you used your media credential to get in. When’s the last time you paid for a ticket?
Talk about trying to find any loophole to hurt the credibility of a writer.
Still, beyond the blatant attempt at a low-blow by “em,” I find this kind of accusation rather ridiculous. Journalists are hired because of their perceived ability to speak for and communicate to a specific audience: this means being able to highlight the potential concerns of their community when covering their specific beat.
So, in a year when the unemployment rate hit the double digits, when there’s been non-stop talk about the state of the economy and when Illinois happens to have the largest sales tax in the U.S., of course something like the price of a concert ticket must be taken into consideration and even communicated to the audience. When people have to pay for shelter, heat, electricity, food, insurance, transportation and so many other things, where and how to spend one’s leisure money comes under close scrutiny. So, when faced with an underwhelming performance that costs nearly $50 (never mind Ticketmaster fees), there’s no doubt a reason for DeRogatis to toss ticket costs into his bucket lists of complaints.
DeRogatis, like just about every other person today, has to worry about money. Although he more than likely had a press pass to cover his entry to The Pixies’ concert, it doesn’t mean that he was blind to the fact that tickets cost money, and come with a high price tag at that. Remember all the talk about “the death of journalism” and “the decline of the newspaper industry” and all that jazz? Because that’s a burden DeRogatis no doubt has to deal with on a daily basis, what with the Sun-Times Media Group having filed for bankruptcy this past March.
DeRogatis experiences all the ups and downs of the economy like every other person in our society, and is able to notice when he’s getting a raw deal at a concert. And those are the qualities people look for in a good journalist.