Just As I Thought

Kill the Television

An excellent story on eater.com:

Every room, be a bar, restaurant, or lounge needs a point of focus, a central design element that draws the attention of patrons and grounds the space. Every great room has it, some as obvious and eye-catching as the Buddha ice sculpture at Megu or subtler like the curved cantilevered leather wall at Craft. For many restaurants, the bar provides this key element, with its bustling crowd and towering backdrop of shinning bottles. Unfortunately, over the past year or so a new design feature that has long conquered the rest of the country has started to make serious in roads into Manhattan. That evil interloper is the flat paneled television.

… TV’s are distracting. Evolution has tuned our hunter-gather eyes to pick up movement in the periphery. Servers and guests alike are pulled out of their dining experience and jobs by the presence of a TV. It’s an unwanted guest, demanding attention, and drowning out conversation. New Yorkers don’t have much in the way of private space. Unlike most of the country we don’t have long solitary commutes by car or spacious suburban dens to decompress in. We rely on bars and restaurants to be our personal parlors, to entertain and bond with our friends or have a solitary moment with beautiful glass of wine. In this sacred space there is no room for Judge Judy or the PGA Golf Championships. They are not worthy of being in that central focal point.

I’m really getting tired of TV screens everywhere we go — and I mean, everywhere. In men’s rooms, in checkout lines, in every corner of every restaurant, huge plasma displays showing ads in the mall, hanging from the ceiling of every airport gate, and on the sides of freeways in the form of huge LED screen billboards.
The pretty colors and lights draw us away and rivet our eyes to the screen, no matter what else we might be doing — people suddenly become zombies, staring at the screen instead of paying attention to the groceries on the checkout line… blankly staring at CNN Airport Edition instead of keeping their kids from dumping fruit punch on other passengers… gawking at ESPN instead of paying attention to one’s dinner companions.
Hell, they’re even in cars now, a hypnotic mechanism for keeping the kids quiet and alleviating the parental responsibility of talking to kids.
When future archaeologists unearth the remains of our civilization, what will they think? That these glass screens were altars, where we worshipped?

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