Maria Shriver (sans family) dines in the TL to reinforce family values

While Arnie stays home preparing to veto Mark Leno’s annual gay couple’s rights bill, California First Lady Maria Shriver comes to the TL, to reinforce family values…and wisely leaves the rest of her family at home.

Her appearance in the generally downright dangerous part of town on Turk St occurs to promote something dreamed up in Sacramento called ” It’s About WE &#153, ” which seems to be some sort of feel good concept idea that encourages poor people to stay off the street and for families with kids to spend more time together.

Perhaps this BAND-AID&#153 type solution to societal ills explains the presence of Johnson & Johnson as a sponsor of the dinner at the Tenderloin Community School tonight at 5:30pm. Indeed it appears free BAND-AID® brand bandages will be available to satiate any aching or wounded attendees.

It’s doubtful if the menu will include the type of fare Maria and Arnold have served in their Santa Monica restaurant “Schatzi On Main” which featured Austrian dishes like bratwurst, knackwurst, wienershnitzel, zwiebel rost braten, or an apple strudel (made from Arnold’s mother’s recipe). The press release issued promises “healthy” food from “The Network for Healthy California”, a public health effort empowering Californians to blah blah blah… something about Brita® filtered water and Splenda® No Calorie Sweetener…

It’s a fine state government sponsored collaboration involving 3 tax payer funded agencies : The Office of The First Lady, The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, as well as a state agency that manages programs to increase volunteerism, named of all things “CaliforniaVolunteers”. Corporations riding the PR train for this media dog & pony show include Clorox, Johnson & Johnson, and Safeway.

The corporate press release announces Shriver’s endorsement of “Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children”, whose promoters claim “the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.”

Or as Sacramento blogger Jeff Vaca notes:

For some reason, this one strikes me as a bit odd. What if the family drinks, smokes, or heaven forbid, takes drugs during dinner? For instance, I have a glass of wine with dinner. By doing so, am I dooming my children to a life of squalor?

What it doesn’t strike me as is a comment that was based on any type of scientific study. But, I could be wrong.

4 Comments so far

  1. Chester (unregistered) on September 25th, 2007 @ 2:57 am

    I’m having a hard time figuring out if Jeff Vaca’s comment makes any sort of actual point.

    Insofar as what seems to be the point of your post…I can’t imagine that “Family Day” or the promotion thereof has ever been billed as a “solution to societal ills”. Your cynicism is well-founded but cynicism has little merit on its own…except, perhaps, as a preachy form of entertainment to be enjoyed by the choir.

    Is encouragement of families eating dinner together the solution to societal ills? Certainly not, but encouraging more involvement by parents in the lives of their children is certainly not going to exacerbate societal ills…except, perhaps, for the case of Jeff Vaca’s hypothetically alcoholic, chain-smoking, and crack-addled clan.

  2. cd (unregistered) on September 26th, 2007 @ 9:57 am

    Mike – how come you’re so angry all the time? Sometimes the ire makes sense – sometimes it just seems keen to get . . . uh, someone for being something.

    Eating dinner together is a great thing. The Jeff Vaca comment doesn’t make a bit of sense either.

    If a boo-evil! corporation does something like sponsor an event and gets good press out of it, does it make the contribution any less worthwhile for those it benefits? Only non-corporate entities are supposed to try to do-good?

    This sounds like the same perverse argument used by charities to refuse money raised by North Beach strip clubs at Christmas. For the love of god who CARES where the funding or attention comes from, so long as it comes. Crap. Ditch the anger.

  3. Lil Mike (unregistered) on September 26th, 2007 @ 5:38 pm


    Who said I was angry…

    if anything I was “bemused”.

    The fact that we have to have such blatantly b.s filled media events to restate the obvious, is merely a sad commentary on the era in which we live in. It provides an opportunity for private sector PR firms to ride some sappy sentiment while government aides pat themselves on the back for having such a charitably wise way to spend their tax payer funded resources.

    I find it somewhat ridiculous that several mega corporations felt obliged to namedrop their product placements, using the pathetic pretext of helping out low income children as a backdrop to promote their boring billion dollar brands.

    Shriver of course, anorexically pranced around the poor for the cameras, generating good PR, talked up the values of eating with family, yet had no family with her, and actually ate nothing.

    It wouldn’t make a difference to me if it was Laura Bush, Paris Hilton or Queen Elizabeth…

    It’s hardly anything I would muster up anger about…

    snide laughter…maybe…

    And I wouldn’t put too much weight into the Jeff Vaca quote either gang, it was just a guy randomly quoted from another blog commenting about this staged media event where Shriver and entourage showed up to big hoo haw for much ado about nothing but their egos.

  4. cd (unregistered) on September 28th, 2007 @ 9:11 am

    Like I said . . .

    You’re right. I’m not sure how I confused angry with snide. Snide pretty
    much covers it. I just can’t figure out why. Who cares what corp stamps
    what logo on what product. If some kids are helped out, why poo all over

    And though the notion of family together-time may be obvious to you, it
    isn’t to many, many families, the children from which frequent perform
    more poorly in school and achieve less in life than those of us from
    families who cared about sitting down to dinner every night. If Johnson &
    Johnson branded whatevers can help one kid make it through school till the
    end, then I say go ahead and take that tax deduction, evil megacorp –
    you’ve earned it.

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