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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew 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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie. Visit his web site at

July 15, 2002
The 4th of July has come and gone. 
All day that day I was aware that up in the country we had the radio on
but no television - not the usual for our household.  We generally have
the television on, the electronic fireplace humming with news or movies
or something.  But not this 4th of July.
It was the radio.  Music played in the background.  And we knew that if
something awful happened the music would be interrupted by reality but
we felt no need on the 4th to have the visuals playing in the
I can't tell you how abnormal this is.
But it was the way it was on the 4th of July.  And that's because, like
everyone I think, we were celebrating while holding our breath.  The
closest things like it that I remember was the turn of the millennium
celebration in which we stayed home and were grateful when midnight
passed and there had been no explosions anywhere.
That's the way this 4th was; like that New Year's night.  We celebrated
but we held our breath and were grateful that the worst that happened
was that someone killed a couple of people at LAX before he was killed.
That's not how I remember the 4th of July when I was kid; it was not the
way I thought about New Year's and it's now the way it is.  We are
grateful that only three people died.
We had a wonderful time on the 4th.  We had friends over.  We did
barbeque.  We ate corn.  We watched the creek flow by. 
We held our breath.
And because so little bad happened the market went up on July 5th with
irrational exuberance - and since then we have watched it fall, down and
down and down.
The news everyday is now filled with the ramifications of September 11th
and the everyday scandals that fill our world.  Listening to the news on
Channel One was to hear about the aftershocks that are coming from
September 11th -- the potential lawsuits, the confusion, the pain, the
slow march toward rebuilding. 
But it is also hearing about the feuding over Ted Williams' body and the
settlement that Rudy has made with Donna with money he'd never have had
before 9/11.  The market is falling because the corporate world is
filled scandals of a degree not thought of since the Teapot Scandal.
Does anyone remember that?
The phrase heard on CNN is "Executives Behaving Badly".
The ramifications of the business scandals are taking the headlines away
from anything else.  We're hurting. 
The market is below 9,000. That's scaring people almost as much as 9/11.
Those 401k's are not looking so good.  It was front page news in the
Wall Street Journal on July 11th.  It's about to affect everything.
The wealth effect.  It's going away.
Both the President and Vice President are under scrutiny over business
dealings that seem to have that Enron/Worldcom/Global Crossing sort of
So we're faced with a couple of things.  We are facing insecurity about
a sense of physical security and about security in our financial lives.

It is a strange time in the history of America.  May be, may be not the
strangest time in America's history.