Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., (www.intermat.tv)
a television company which executive produces programs and consults
with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc.
is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television
in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the
Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery
Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery
Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted
Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation
Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.
July 12, 2007
Thoughts upon the death of Lady Bird Johnson
In a very New York sort of moment, I found myself post doctors
appointment and pre-dinner meeting time, near Union Square.
I bought myself a soft drink and sat down at a picnic table,
popped open my laptop, plugged into the sphere using my wireless
card and began to write, while in the background a jazz band
played against the cacophony of the city while I attempted
to sort out the riot of media thoughts Ive had this
I have been, in conjunction with a client, working at a hard
pace on a pilot for Discoverys about to be launched
Planet Green while surrendering last Saturday to do Emmy judging
for dramas. In other words, there has been no time off in
about three weeks and I am looking forward to this weekend,
going home and chilling out, watching the creek flow by.
Because Planet Green is all about ecology and because I have
three projects under consideration there, I have been thinking
a whole lot about ecology. It seemed almost appropriate that
after I had delivered the pilot to Planet Green and while
I was waiting in the Acela Club at Union Station in DC, that
I should hear that Lady Bird Johnson had died.
Ms. Johnson, former First Lady, widow of Lyndon Johnson, the
President who presided over the escalation of the Viet Nam
war, was also the first person in my consciousness that spoke
about taking care of the environment. As I recall, she had
a particular anathema, and rightly so, to the trashing of
the landscape we, as a country, had taken to in the heady
post World War II world in which all us Baby Boomers were
blossoming, a time when we felt the land was there to serve
us, to be dominated, to yield its wealth to us uncomplainingly.
We made a mess of the roadside; not just with those Burma
Shave signs that marched down the road, leading us, sign by
sign, through some aphorism. We also littered it with anything
we had in our car that we didnt want there. We had crammed
the sides of roads with an amazing amount of billboards, hawking
everything. Some of it was kitschy wonderful, most of it was
Lady Bird got up on her First Ladys bully pulpit and
began to demand we clean up our act and amazingly,
she had an effect. We started to take better care of the roadsides
and to plant wildflowers, which was another passion of hers.
This was our first real burst of populist concern for the
environment [we all had learned in school about Teddy Roosevelt;
somehow the result was environmentalism felt like an elite
intellectuals concern]. Lady Bird brought it to the
masses and set the stage for Earth Day.
All the while she was doing her good works, B-52s were
pummeling Southeast Asia, Agent Orange defoliated the Vietnamese
countryside, infusing Americans and Vietnamese alike with
carcinogens. There was an American love of the smell
of napalm in the morning. It was hideous.
The breaking news of her death interrupted a report on events
in Iraq. As you can imagine, the story wasnt pretty
or very uplifting. As I sit here now, thinking about these
things, it occurs to me that the first ripple of popular conservation
began to form while far away we were destroying one country
while todays green movement is swelling against the
backdrop of another war, another country and deep devastation.
It has caused me to wonder if we become more aware and caring
of what we have while watching others lose what they have.