A concerned reader writes in regarding Philebrity alum Jonathan Valania‘s modest proposal that the Made In America concert this weekend be made free of charge:
I know Philebs usually has its guns set on “ignore” where Valania is concerned, but this is… I mean… Jesus Fucking Christ. If real life is not like Fugazi, then a concert sponsored by Budweiser featuring Jay-Z, Pearl Jam, and Skrillex is sure as fuck not.
Well, hold up a second, buddy. While we will concur with you on most of this, let us also take a wider view: Valania’s argument that Made In America should be set free, maaaaaaan, does have a compelling point in that this is all happening in some of the City’s most public space, which we should all have the right to tread upon whenever we wish. That much is certainly true. He’s also right when he says the whole deal is kind of insulting to Philadelphia’s poor. Hard to get around that.
What is ignored here, though, and what we cannot believe anyone has brought up in this entire debate thus far is this: To presume that a high-ticket, high-profile concert such as this can go off without a hitch is to ignore Philadelphia’s recent history and the purchase with which our own poor youth have us, as a populace, pretty much over a barrel. The degree to which everyone has been talking about Made In America while ignoring how truly Generation Flash Mob holds the City at ransom is kind of baffling to us. And it is for this pragmatic reason alone that Made In America should not be a $95 ticket: To have Jay-Z perform on the Parkway — again, that most public of spaces here — and to do it in such a way that the haves are literally walled off from the have-nots is to basically ask for a riot. It also harks back to something we voiced during the whole flash mob crisis a while back, only to have everyone look at us like we were crazy — the notion that the City says to our young and poor at every chance we get, Center City isn’t for you. Made In America is going one further by saying Center City isn’t for you, even when it is.