Sign The Guestbook
View The Guestbook
Archived Guestbook
Submit An Article
Staff List
Privacy Policy


Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( 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 15, 2006

Tombers considers the energy crisis while dodging the rain….

Heat and humidity descended upon New York City with the fetid embrace of the summer gods, pressing breath and water out of the body. Dark storm clouds gathered and thunder rolled across the heavens; the skies opened.

It was hot and smudgy; days that spoke to the theory of global warming. It was almost possible to feel dirt particles in the air.

In search of a respite, I swung into the Acela Club, between meetings and before I could check into my hotel. I slumped into one of the chairs, my eyes wandering to the television, spewing out a flow of bad news from the mid-east.

As the commercial break came I prepared to sally forth into the oppressive steam bath of the city. The commercial caught my eye. A twenty something All American Male type was buying tofu steaks at the supermarket. Following on the belt were ribs and steaks and all things barbeque. The All American Male looked lustfully at the steaks, bolting straight from the supermarket to a HUMMER dealership. With a self-satisfied smile, he accepted keys to his new HUMMER. The tagline came up: Restore Your Manhood.

I blinked. Surely I was dreaming. This struck me as perhaps the single most offensive ad I have ever seen on television.

All we have to do is buy a vehicle that consumes too much metal being made and needs too much gasoline to drive, a vehicle completely unfit for the ordinary needs of any man not in the military and we will HAVE OUR MANHOOD RESTORED!

Do most All American Males feel they need to have their manhood restored?

All day I found myself shaking my head. That night, I went to a screening sponsored by the PGA, a documentary entitled: WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? It’s the saga of the much heralded Electric Vehicle launched in response to a California edict that a certain percentage of vehicles produced by car companies have zero emissions by a certain date.

A flurry of activity followed, which produced the very futuristic, very interesting
EV from GM [which means this vehicle was a cousin of the HUMMER].

It was experiment that ended ingloriously, celebrated by a faux funeral in Hollywood, mourned by an impassioned group of people protesting the cessation of the EV program. People wanted to keep them, love them, let themselves wear themselves out but the car companies said no, promising they would be sent to happy homes, like car museums and training schools only to send them to be crushed to scrap.

The film blamed many for the death of the electric car: the car companies, the California Air Resource Board that decided to repeal the rule demanding zero emission vehicles [after being sued by the car companies] and other various and sundry suspects.

One interesting point made was that EVs qualified for a tax rebate of about $4000.00 while it was possible to get a rebate on a vehicle of the nature of the HUMMER that could be as much as a $100,000.

In the end the electric car, a noble experiment, was killed by all of us, including myself, because we didn’t pay attention. We’ve had an abysmal ability to wean ourselves from the combustion engine and we have an abysmal record of pursuing energy independence, allowing available technology, it almost seems, to slip through our fingers while we quest after the next hottest thing. For autos it is currently hydrogen fuel cells, a technology that might be decades off from successful implementation while better electric batteries have been constantly appearing since the first EV slipped off its small assembly line.

I am not sure I can say who is right or wrong in the matter of the electric car; I can tell you it seems an opportunity wasted.

My personal hero in the film was the scientist who kept inventing better batteries, an aging man with an aging wife who have spent their lives using science to solve problems, an example we had best follow if we are not going to allow opportunities to solve the energy crisis slip away from us.

Anyone need their manhood restored? Or a planet on which to live?