Heading into 2021 this January 9th is the start of a big sports football weekend. The country remains hooked to its digital dripline of social media and breaking TV news feeds. The pandemic meanwhile runs wild across the states as the calvary associated with Operation Warp Speed is still loading up the vaccine pack horses.
For nearly 12 months every cable and TV broadcast network employed a full spectrum of expert talking heads, moderators and guests on political science subjects using a checkboard display across our flat screens. Soon these political experts would need to share broadcast time audiences with public health and medical personnel undergoing an evolving health crisis for which they and the country were under prepared to handle or address.
When broadcasts of pro and college sports resumed in late August restaurant outdoor seating, strategically organized its footprint for a hesitant patron public to return to. Colder temps and a rising positivity rate would soon return to impact all restaurant services.
For sports, flat screens could only communicate the obvious venue emptiness. Corrugated plastic cutout fan images positioned in top dollar viewing season ticket holder seats tried to give context to the game being played. That application was and still is a valiant visual of comfort for the reality that the pandemic has on sports.
Now, juxtaposition those images against cable and broadcast TV split screens and Zoom meetings during the 2020 political campaigns from studios, homes, socially distanced parking lots and airport runway gatherings.
It is a static view versus live worldly view.
Add to that imagery a dusting of digital distractions from social media platforms and time on our hands to finger our commentary and what do we get. A longing to belong.
We want to participate. We need to cheer a home run, or high five our partners after a game changing play. Belly up to the bar.
Though we may no longer physically play the game we desire that fan part of the game. Like eating out at a restaurant – it’s ok to order carry out off the online menu but what we really miss is the clank and clamor of dishes, the reverberated patron conversations, the shriek of drinks spilling and the glaring flat screen broadcasts of hometown games.
So, it is no wonder that for many the 2020 Elections season was a substitute for live sports. Add in the social response of Black Lives Matter protests, or runup to November 3rd and its aftermath and we made a participative choice. Be it to go out and vote, march or just watch.
155 million people voted, how’s that for participation.
Like our favorite sporting venues, we know their sight lines, the best seats in the house, how to get to the game, where and what we like to eat while in the seats at the game.
So, during this pandemic era, we watched cable and TV broadcasts. A familiarity was garnered with the moderators, and their cadre of guest experts. We also learned something else, their home screen venues.
Instead of going out to restaurants we began to map out through the omnipresent Zoom broadcasts the homes and working spaces of these personalities during calendar 2020.
Like the mapping of favorite sports venues, we also made choices as to who were the best home decorators or perhaps subconsciously projected ourselves in sharing carry out diners in similar national Zoom living spaces.
Home Depot, Lowes and Ace Hardware will probably report in FY2020 financials that the Zoom effect on home interior repair saved their financial bacon in 2020.
For me it was Claire McCaskill’s kitchen. McCaskill, the former Missouri politician became (is) a favorite talking head on NBC broadcasts. Her passport to the broadcast venues was her valued commentary. All based on contacts in the US Senate and an insight on Capitol Hill activities. But it is in her grandmotherly demeanor as beamed live from her kitchen table that made that venue a hit.
Like sitting in Camden Yards in Baltimore, Cole Field House in College Park, Petco Park in San Diego, MSG in NYC, or Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham NC, it’s time to add Claire’s Kitchen for the remainder of this pandemic broadcast era as the must see TV backdrop.
I can smell her coffee pot brewing.
The MatchLID Project.