Veni, Vidi, Visa

I enjoy the musings in Torontoist, but this post slagging the Visa Screening Room at the Toronto International Film Festival takes the proverbial cake.

I will state unashamedly up front that I have a Visa Aerogold, have used it to purchase week long passes to the Elgin Theatre during the Festival, and yes…I have been in the “Special Lounge”. 

There were no flamingoes.

Once, I even lent my credit card out to a friend to whom I had given tickets so that she and and her boyfriend could get into the lounge on what turned out to be rather rainy September night. 

Let them eat cake, right?

Besides that, a few other thoughts came to mind while reading this article.

First, events like TIFF need sponsors.   Visa has been sponsoring the viewings at the Elgin (and the Festival generally) for years, and it’s a promotion that works.  Cardholders feel as though they’re getting a valued perq, Visa gets a good bang for its promotional buck, and the TIFF can continue to function.  Do we want Visa to pull their promotional dollars because a few people think that it’s somehow defiling their “dignity” to be seated after Visa cardholders?

As this woman pointed out in a pithy comment a few weeks ago, some people have skewed ideas on what constitutes an “indignity”.  Standing in a lineup for bread or clean water or toilet paper is an indignity.  Standing in line to see the latest Colin Farrell flick?  Debatable.

Second, in contrast to most TIFF events, at least one knows the price of admission to the Visa Screening Room, and the Super Not-So-Secret Lounge.   Go to one of the galas at Roy Thomson Hall and see how easy it is for some to enter while the public line is still on the street.  There are patrons, friends of patrons, hangers-on…and this is just for the film.  Try getting into one of the parties.

My point is that this is a film festival, not an election.  Not everyone is equal, and not everyone gets to play.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow, I know, but we can’t all be the cool kid.

Visa doesn’t care if you’re pretty or well-connected.  All it cares about is whether you have a Visa card.  If you take the Film Festival that seriously, you know this and you probably already have one.

I could go on and on about how much I would love to be able to take time off work and stand around in lines for movies all day, and about how much I like that the Lounge protects me from listening to some of the pretentious filmie prats who hang about on the city’s streets all day, but instead I’ll finish with one final thought.

What a fucking bourgeois complaint.  If this is the most injustice one experiences in a lifetime, what a charmed life one must lead.


4 Responses to “Veni, Vidi, Visa”

  1. September 18, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    You came. You saw. You charged.

    This does seem like much ado about nothing. I’m wondering how the folks complaining would feel if all the sponsors pulled out and the festival was no more? This is no different than getting really good tix to a sporting event. The more you pay, in this case for an annual fee (if that), the better your seat.

    But some people will always need something to complain about.

    • 2 shoeboxdweller
      September 18, 2009 at 6:58 pm

      If the author of the article had bothered to do a little more homework, he would have found out that the lounge is just a room in the basement of the Elgin Theatre with a cash bar and a few tables. And I don’t recall ever getting reserved seats – those are always for the employees/clients/friends of the corporate sponsors themselves.

  2. September 18, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    I read that article. That reminds me of the welfare lifers that picketed the nice neighborhood in Richmond Hill once, wanting to know where THEIR nice houses and cars were. Apparently they misunderstood the concept of “work and earn it”.

    Is it wrong of me to want to slap these pretentious whiny anti-visa people out? What a bunch of whiners. My job is to make drinking water safe and clean – yet my pay is a teeny percentage of some idiot who plays hockey well. Is the hockey player more important to society? No – do I bitch? Hell no! Who would pay $200 to see me fix a chlorinator? HA! The hockey player has earned his keep.

    Point being, life isn’t fair but so what. Like you said, if this is the only thing these little retards have to worry about, they should consider themselves very blessed.

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