Tombers is the President of Intermat,
Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection
of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced
the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for
the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the
Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat
recently sold METEORS TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael
ORourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television
movie. Visit his
web site at http://www.intermat.tv
July 1, 2002
To stay or not to stay? Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to
suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take
up arms against a sea of sorrows? [Forgive me, Mr. Shakespeare,
for slaughtering your words.]
USA Today had a small article in it last week that raised
the issue of whether tourists would go to Washington, D.C.
and New York this 4th of July weekend or if they would stay
away? Some interviewed stated they were declining the opportunity
to see the cradle of democracy or spend any time on the Great
White Way. Others are flocking to stand in Times Square and
to visit the Smithsonian. For New Yorkers, the issue is: do
I stay or do I get out of Dodge?
We're getting out of Dodge.
Of course, we have the country house and we get there as often
as we can and it's the 4th of July and we're having a barbeque
on the deck with friends. But Tripp does not want to be in
New York on the 4th of July.
He sees no sense in tempting the universe when we have a place
to go. He's not alone. Many friends are leaving town. In fact,
I know of several people who are getting out of town and preparing
their own special kits, taking with them their passports,
bankbooks and all important documents.
A friend called from the west coast to ask us if we'd be here
for the 4th? When I said no, she asked why? I told her we
didn't intend to be there because we had the country house
and, with that, had a perfect excuse to be out of the city
but if we hadn't had that I suspect that we would have gone
Tripp has not flown and he doesn't want to be in the city
on the 4th of July. My California friend was not happy: she
and her family were coming to New Jersey and New York for
the 4th and were feeling a little nervous. Our decision to
be absent did not do anything to make her feel better. But
she is still coming.
Personally, I don't really think there is going to be a terrorist
attack on New York over the 4th nor do I think there will
be one on Washington, D.C. But I am also not unhappy to have
our upstate retreat so that we can retreat from the possibility.
What I am afraid of is that we will have another attack, sooner
than later. Out there in the world are men and women who have
every intention of doing more evil things to our "evil empire."
It is this thought that keeps me feeling fragile and desirous
to have plans in place that will help us ride out whatever
storm erupts on our heads. Here I am cynical and I wish I
were not. I am afraid that we are not doing the right things
to address the issues that are causing the terrorism against
us - and, whether we like to admit it or not, there ARE issues
that need to be dealt with. I don't believe America is the
evil Satan that some fundamentalist Muslims think we are.
But in the vast and complex miasma that is this mess, out
of which erupts acts of terror large and small, are issues
that are vast and complex and not, I'm fearful, being addressed.
Not since I was a little boy doing "duck and cover" exercises
in Catholic school have I felt so globally fragile and so
It troubles me that I am relieved that I will not be in New
York on the 4th of July for the reasons I am relieved. I should
be relieved that I am going to be out of the heat and the
clutter and in the quiet countryside by my own babbling brook.
But truth be told, I am glad I'm not going to be there because
I am just a bit afraid of being blown up.
This is not good. This is not fun. This is awful. And the
question I ask myself, beyond whether I should stay or go,
is what can I do to sooth this sea of troubles and stop the
slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? What can I do? What
can you do? And, more importantly, what will we do?