Friday, July 09, 2010


I generally do not take to this blog to rant, but I am becoming increasingly annoyed at the perceived need for televisions in almost every restaurant in my town. What is the problem with dinner being a place for food and conversation? We do not watch television as we eat at home and I do not care to do so in a restaurant. 

It has been a real pet peeve of mine for the last couple of years. Some of our favorite non-tv spots (the last of a dying breed) have recently added them or renovated to make their existing screens more visible. I get that some restaurants are sports bars, but a burrito joint, a sushi place, a thai restaurant, a steakhouse? Really?

These televisions have introduced all sorts of conversations with my VERY limited television-watching children--especially because they are often planted on news stations which use shocking videos and photos to reel viewers in. Although the sound is generally muted, my curious children can read the ticker on the bottom and are very confused about this 'world' out there being reported.

"Why are those people fighting?"
"Mommy, there is blood."
"Who did they kill?"
"What happened to that little boy? Why can't his parents find him?"
"Do they only show BAD news on television?"

The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for me today was the coverage of the whole Lebron James deal.

All we wanted was salad (for me) and sandwiches (for them), instead we got an eyeful of ESPN's coverage of the fallout from Lebron James' announcement. Because there was no sound, all the children could do was watch the video of people crying, punching posters of him, burning replicas of his Cavs jersey and being arrested spliced between shots of Lebron playing basketball. My sheltered offspring were very concerned by the violence.
"What is happening?"
I gave them the condensed version: He is leaving one basketball team to go to another and people are angry about it.
They did not believe me. How could all of that be over something so seemingly trivial?
"But, why is that making them cry, yell and do bad things, mama? It's just a game, right?"
From the mouths of babes.

I know there is more to the story regarding why people in Cleveland took it so emotionally--but the fact of the matter is people sinning in their anger has been the lead story all day long. The trio and I talked about it and they moved on...but I am still annoyed. Primarily because being IN the world but not OF the world is hard. At six, they are starting to see countless examples of the way our values don't match up with the way many people live their lives.

Secondarily, because I am realizing that I really need to just start cooking at home more. ;-)


Love Being a Nonny said...

I wrote a post today on this too. Your thoughts were expressed so much better than mine...but we both had the same thoughts. God bless you for trying to *keep your littles little.* In a world where there is a push to grow up too fast, I love that you are helping them keep their innocent childhood as long as possible.

Bailey's Leaf said...

Okay, I'm from NE Ohio and while I don't defend the actions of the people that you saw (we could care less about it in my house), I could clue you in on reasoning.

LeBron James was born in Akron. Akron has been a struggling town for some time. LBJ has been generous and a roll model to the children here. The Cavs sponsored reading and fitness programs at my 6 year old's school this year. It was nice to see them so involved.

The problem was with the way that he did it. Instead of just handling the situation quietly and tactfully, there was a giant media frenzy.

All over the towns across NE Ohio
were signs and cars and people begging him to stay. Perfectly fine not to stay. Certainly his thing, but to drag it out, raise his arms and take in all of the 'love on LeBron' people were giving, he should have just handled it quietly and declined the program on ESPN.

Sadly, it goes both ways. As I told my husband last night, it shouldn't be up to a 25 year old kid to sustain the economy for 1/4 of a state. We will survive, but people can't see that right now past the claps of chalk dust that he left behind.

I don't know if you cared to have a 'from here' perspective, but there you go.

My husband has digestive issues, so we don't generally dine out. I'm not sad that we miss restaurants filled with TVs.

HW said...

I agree with Bailey's Leaf; there seemed to be a huge amount of arrogance in the way LeBron James handled the situaion. And because our society admires entertainers and athletes much more than they do teachers, doctors, social workers....the media took the story and ran with it.

As far as restaurants with televisions, I agree with you. I am so tired of tv when we dine out. And do you notice the televisions are always set on news or sports events - clearly set to draw in the men? Maybe our husbands should be the ones to complain to the restaurants owners.
Why are none of the televisions set on HGTV??

I also hate loud music in a restaurant but that's another post.

nen said...

TVs in restaurants, sigh. Isn't it such a clue about where our society is headed. Reminds me of that future world in WALL-E.

It's like an ugly monster trying to seduce our brains into being passive muscles rather than buzzing with electricity from creative conversation.

Growing up, I treasured our family dinners. I think we ate at home mostly to save money, but those experiences were actually memorable pastimes for all of us.

Ally said...

I'm disappointed with the number of doctors' offices I've visited that have televisions in the lobby--often set on CNN, soap operas, etc. As a non-parent, the noise/distraction is very annoying, but I can only imagine how difficult it is for parents when you can't even visit a physician without having to deal with this issue. Sometimes I ask if I can turn it off; I guess we all need to start letting our displeasure be known and/or boycotting.

Ali said...

I too have been frustrated by the fact that EVERY little dive and all the favorite kid fast food joints, pizza parlors, steak places, etc now have HUGE TV's on cable shows that are not appropriate for a family audience let alone kids! Our family does not watch tv during meals at home either. I'm not sure when our country got to the point that the majority don't feel they can dine out without a tv. I know its a reflection of our country and sure is sad.

~ Ali

Laura said...

This is one Ohioan that is not the least bit resentful toward Lebron for leaving. It's a shame that the news only covers those who are disgustingly angry.

I agree with your final conclusion, Jen. Cook at home. :) It's really quite enjoyable and frankly where your kids would like to be.

All the best to you.

Sara said...

JMom, just be glad you don't live here in Cleveland. (for multiple reasons, ha!) I don't have children but I have thought a lot about the messages that they are receiving through all this coverage over the last few days. It's nothing short of idol worship which the Bible warns us about; and I don't think Mr. James should be held up as a role model to anyone. (He refuses the marry the mother of his children, for example.) We don't have a TV in our home, and I am always shocked when I see news coverage when dining out - reminds me why we don't have TV. And I agree, they are just a distraction in a restaurant and I dislike them too...

MamaBear said...

At first I thought it was to benefit our CHILDREN that we chose to keep regular television out of our home (we watch movies after fast forwarding the previews) but I've learned over the past year that it's just as much for US that we don't.

Some may say we live in a bubble but honestly I prefer seek out the information at my own pace rather than have the secular media shove it down my throat at every opportunity.

Nobody will pick us to be on their team for trivial pursuit or any other game that involves pop culture/current events but that's a small price to pay imo. :)