When did we decide as a society to start putting television *everywhere*. I mean, I grew up with a television in the family room and the living room. The family room television was always on. Grandma and Grandpa City had a small black and white in the kitchen to supplement the color set in the living room. The black and white television was used for the news during the supper hour. Farmers Sam and Irma had a television in their kitchen mounted in a special cabinet above the refrigerator. Grandma and Grandpa Country had a Zenith in the living room and a smaller Zenith in the bedroom. Both had antennas with a rotor on it. Face it northwest to pull in Canada.
But when did we decide that we needed a television in every convenience store, on every fuel pump, in cash register displays, and in every inch of an airport terminal?
My husband and I stopped at a convenience store for varying needs during a ride over the weekend. I was instantly thrown into a foul mood because the television was blaring weird conspiracy theories about the recent Domestic Terrorist attacks on the Capitol Building. I looked around and no one was watching but wow, was that television loud. I then filled the tank in our Jeep Cherokee as the gas pump screamed entertainment news from a service called Cheddar. The fact that we now have 7-inch full color display screens on a gas pump to scream television at someone with access to highly flammable liquid just seems weird to me.
I think this moved happened right after 9/11. Before then, one of our favorite haunts was a decent restaurant with good food. After 9/11 it still was a decent restaurant with good food, but televisions were installed all over the place and they were tuned to CNN. Ever since then I’ve noticed diners now have TVs installed in the corners of the dining rooms, supermarkets have televisions talking at your while you’re at the checkouts, and the aforementioned gas pumps no longer let you put a tiger in your tank in peace.
A while back I included in a Yelp review of a Chicagoland diner the fact that their televisions were tuned to Fox News and I found it annoying. When Sean Hannity is interrupting my dinerlicious French Onion Soup, we have a problem. I wouldn’t even put up with Rachel Maddow interrupting a culinary experience. It’s completely unnecessary.
Televisions all over the place may have made sense in the days after 9/11 but before the proliferation of smartphones. They were probably put up there to keep people informed in the event of something happening after but in the spirit of 9/11. But with everyone having a smartphone in their pocket, we are instantly notified of way too much information today. Tweets, EAS notifications, Facebook, and all the news service apps that blast out “breaking news” every 10 minutes notify everyone all the time. If something big happens again, and believe me, there’s a shoe waiting to drop on that, we’ll all know about it when everyone’s phone starts reacting at once and we all notice the commotion. The thing is, we’ll get that information but the avenue we have chosen, instead of the news channel that’s being force fed to us through installed televisions in every nook and cranny of our existence.
What’s next? News updates over the new electronic road signs popping up on our expressways? Wow I hope not.