The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 4, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, in response to the Soviet-backed coup in Hungary, recommended that the U.S. take a decisive stand against the Soviet Union, even if it meant ejection of the Russians from the U.N. He recommended not ratifying the treaty with Italy as it gave Yugoslavia 90 percent of Italy's hard coal.

Senator Tom Connally of Texas stated that ratification of the four treaties, including that with Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary, was a foregone conclusion.

The United States refused permission of the Russian-Hungarian Transport Company to fly over the American occupation zones in Germany and Austria because American planes could not fly over Hungary.

President Truman announced the resignation of Spruille Braden as Assistant Secretary of State. He had been Ambassador to Argentina. Mr. Braden wanted to return to private life.

Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson stated that the country was coming closer to removal of all sugar rationing. The president of Pepsi-Cola Co., Walter Mack, told the Senate Banking Subcommittee that Mr. Anderson was attempting to dump sugar on the housewives of the country so as to reduce stocks and make it appear that rationing was still necessary. He favored immediate end to control.

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved the merger of the Army and Navy.

John L. Lewis and the UMW rejected an offer by the Southern coal operators, negotiating separately with UMW, for a wage of $12.70 per day with no portal-to-portal pay. The rejection brought to a halt all negotiations in an attempt to avert a strike on June 30, when the mines would revert to private ownership after a year under Government operation.

In Rutland, Vt., 500 persons were left homeless when a bursting power dam caused a flash flood, resulting in two million dollars worth of damage. One 12-year old boy was missing.

In Johnstown, Pa., a 27-year old World War II veteran, worker for Bethlehem Steel, fell to his death into a 100-foot slag pile at the company. Company officials stated that they had never heard of such an accident occurring before.

In Windsor, Ontario, twelve persons died and twenty-one were rescued when an ore-laden freighter struck a boulder in Lake Superior and sank.

In London, Scotland Yard reported that several Britons had received from Italy letters filled with explosives, designed to detonate when opened. A major, an admitted anti-Zionist, was one recipient. The spokesman would neither confirm nor deny that Field Marshal Lord Bernard Montgomery and Sir Stafford Cripps, president of the Board of Trade, were also recipients. The Stern Gang of Palestine was active in Italy, taking recent credit for an explosion in the British Embassy there. But there was no proof, yet, of who sent the letters.

In Britain, thunderstorms broke a record heat wave of five days, with the previous day having reached 92, a record high in England for June.

In Jersey City, N.J., Mayor Frank ("I Am the Works") Hague, 71, announced his retirment from office after 30 years in the post, from which he had become one of the nation's most powerful political bosses. He would be succeeded by his nephew, Frank Hague Eggers. Former Governor Charles Edison, a longtime political opponent of Mr. Hague, praised the move and wished he would also remove himself from the Democratic Party.

Whether the new phrase applicable to the Mayor's office would likely be "Ham 'n' Egger" was not stated.

In Pasadena, a sign of normalcy not seen since before the war was recorded, when police noted that soap samples were being given away. After a brief investigation, it was discovered that the provider had a city license and no laws were being broken.

On the editorial page, "Half-Baked Maybe, But Not Lazy" begins by misquoting the President regarding his view of modern art. He had called it "ham and eggs art", but not, as the piece states, "scrambled eggs" art. There is a difference, which only the cognoscenti and connoisseurs of the craft fully appreciate, and then only after a thorough tour of the Guggenheim Museum in New York—which we recommend, unless you become dizzy in spiraling buildings.

As Drew Pearson had elucidated on Monday, the President had objected to the State Department modern art exhibit touring the European nations as a good will gesture to impart American culture. The President told Assistant Secretary of State William Benton that "modern art" was not art at all. Mr. Benton tried to convince the President of the worth of the exhibit, but to no avail.

Foreign observers and critics of art were impressed by the exhibit. But that, too, did not change the mind of the President or Congress, which pulled the plug on funding for the tour.

It says that as a longtime admirer of the Anheuser-Busch rendition of "Custer's Last Stand", it might have sympathized with the President had he stopped with mere disapproval of modern art. But he had gone on to condemn the artists as "half-baked, lazy people". It asserts that while many conventional artists might agree with the "half-baked" description, no one would accuse them of being lazy. It states that the modern art paintings were in fact the result of painstaking effort, even if sometimes not displaying that effort on the canvas. Such artists could turn out ordinary pictures, but their effort was to break through traditional form, sacrificing financial reward along the way.

It also reminds that Adolf Hitler had become enraged at modern art in the late Thirties and purged it from the Reich. He had his henchmen loot Europe as it was being conquered, and stored the art in caves and various other places. That traditional art would meet with the President's approval.

It suggests that nuclear fission was likely not comprehensible to the President either, but it did not stop it from having its place in the world.

As Herblock points out, conceptions of art had changed in the age of photography, such that it was no longer necessary by the mid to late nineteenth century to render sketches and paintings as perfect mirrors of reality, allowing impressionism and abstraction to warrant the imagination to wander and explore more fully human perception, enmeshed as it became, with the coming of the cubists, led by Picasso, and the surrealists, led by Dali, in the realm of Freud and Jung and the advent of the study of human psychology, representing on canvas the inner landscape, as well as subjective consideration of the outer landscape.

It is, of course, entirely conceivable to brand that which the President regarded as "art" with the pejorative "ham and eggs", that is to say, standard operating procedure, thinking within the box. Yet, the President, no doubt, understood that and was, in his way, being ironic in his choice of metaphor, to turn the tables in the looking glass back from the metaphysical to the physic's apothecary, by way of curing what he saw as an ill-begotten notion, divined from out the draughtsman's spigot, behind which hung the aspirant to art.

Nevertheless, in our estimate, Jackson Pollock, for instance, was not a producer of wallpaper but rather making an interesting comment on the state of modern culture as viewed through the lens of an artist. One can, of course, quibble all day as to whether that which he produced is "art", but in prompting that dialogue, one sees the art of the artist in a perpetual dynamo through the latter half of the Twentieth Century and into the present.

The difference between art and craft, in our eyne, is that art suggests, if softly, symbolic representation, no matter how imperfectly or inarticulately executed, while craft is an exertion of effort toward perfecting realization of an articulated plan, sometimes of baroque intricacy, without symbolic interjection beyond the plan itself. Craft, of course, is also necessary to perfect art, and may reside in the same person, the creator and executive.

Marlon Brando and Truman Capote were both correct in asserting that acting, for instance, is craft, not art, just as set design and wardrobe design are crafts. Only if the actor sits down and writes his or her scripting, a rare thing, does it conceivably begin to reach the level of art, and then, only if the lines written are something other than ordinary conversation, but which are designed to elevate the meaning of the play, and not offered merely to convey a way with words in vain presentation. William Shakespeare is thought to have been not only a playwright, even if adopting most of his plays from previously rendered histories and plays written in pedestrian language, probably in the quays of fishmongers' sons, but also an actor within his plays. The actor in that event is a craftsman, while the playwright is an artist. Nor could one say that Shakespeare plagiarized, simply by lifting story lines into his own words. Verbatim representation without crediting the source, explicitly or implicitly, is plagiarism.

Yet, "art" is one of the most carelessly hurtled words in our language, often used synonymously with "crafty" or "artful", the careful distinctions, and discernment thereby, being lost. What is described as "art" is most usually craft, and often very low craft at that. And, in that sense, we wholly agree with President Truman. No matter what anyone says, representing a Campbell soup can on canvas, or a colorized photograph of Marilyn Monroe, is no more than craft, not art, no matter how much pretentious rhetoric foreruns it to make it seem something other than what it actually is in naked perception. Ditto for orange and yellow bars on a canvas. That is not art, but color-craft.

The photograph did to painting that which the moving picture did to plays and still photographs, not rendering the predecessor media obsolete, but affording them the new opportunity of achieving necessitous nuance, not immediately in the realm of meted sate, to escape from the viewer's typical momentary grasp, whether maintained in refrain or lost in the morass, into the realm of imagination and contemplative hunt and gather, melded inevitably, given the task, with the perceiver's rapt attention, that the subject fain would seek a further reference in the concrete by which to glean subjective meaning from another's view, leaning hither and then to, to escheat that which in the perceiver's last quill is not, to the State of Being by virtue of the perception received rather than, necessarily, the transmitter's conception as blocked. That which, for expedience, had been simply a form of dissemination of information, principally for illiterates, was transformed onto a higher plane to enable thought beyond the frame, with the concomitant danger, in seeking the desideratum, that the assumption of meaning by the recipient would consume in flames any semblance, consciously or unconsciously held, of that intended by the contents of the shaping crate, when left to a cretin, a plebeian feigning catholic taste, to unpack and conflate.

"Toward International Understanding" applauds the fact that a teacher from Central High School in Charlotte was spending a year teaching in England while a teacher from England was spending a year teaching at Harding High School in Charlotte. The exchange would help to alleviate misconceptions about each country, created by movies and literature, which sought the ring of cash registers more than the ring of truth.

The London Daily Express had carried on its front page the story of the Oklahoma State legislator who shot another legislator on the floor of the State Senate, stating that Oklahoma was a land where both cowboys and oil millionaires carried guns. With such reportage, it was no wonder that misconceptions reigned.

"North Carolina's Fourth President?" tells of a Georgetown University professor, Dr. Charles C. Tansill, asserting that President Lincoln had, by re-supplying Fort Sumter, lured the South into bombarding the Federal fortress in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861, to make the South appear as the aggressor and provide an excuse for putting down Southern secession, begun by South Carolina the previous December in the wake of the election.

Southern Confederate groups, such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, had denounced the claim, finding it spurious and a reckless attack on the former President. The June 16 issue of Time would report than even such a reactionary as Representative John Rankin of Mississippi had walked out of the presentation of Professor Tansill, saying that it was time "to draw the mantle of charity over all that."

The controversy revived discussion of whether President Lincoln had been an illegitimate child, a debate which historians hoped would be resolved by the unsealing of documents in the possession of the Library of Congress, maintained in a sealed condition at the insistence of Robert Todd Lincoln until 21 years after his death in July, 1926.

One version of the story had it that Mr. Lincoln was the illegitimate son of John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, as Nancy Hanks had lived briefly in Seneca near the Calhoun plantation. But Professor A. G. Holmes of Clemson College had proved the chronology necessary for that theory to obtain to have been impossible of accomplishment.

Another version, contained in a book, The Genesis of Abraham Lincoln, published at the fin de siecle by James Cathey, had Mr. Lincoln conceived in North Carolina while Nancy Hanks served as hired girl in the family of Abraham Enloe in Rutherford County. Abraham Lincoln resembled Mr. Enloe and so gossip had begun at the time of the birth, prompting Mr. Enloe to send Nancy Hanks and the two-year old Abraham to Kentucky in the company of some relatives of the Enloes.

The piece notes that the claims were not presented in a scandalous manner and there was no attempt in it to discredit President Lincoln. If anything, the debate was being presented anew so that North Carolina could claim Mr. Lincoln as its native son.

A photograph not appearing in Mr. Cathey's work, which, by comparison, tends to refute the case of illicit paternity, is that of Jacob Lincoln, first cousin of Abraham Lincoln through his recognized father, Thomas. There is certainly greater resemblance, especially in the eyes and ears, between Jacob and Abraham Lincoln than the latter with the supposed half-brother, Wesley Enloe.

The photograph below of Thomas Lincoln, however, does little to dispel the mystery either way. Indeed, Andrew Johnson favors Mr. Lincoln more than did Abraham, at least judging by the photograph. Abraham Lincoln had only two siblings, one of whom, Thomas, Jr., having died after two or three days, and the other, Sarah, dying at age 20 in 1828, before the age of photography.

Bastard or not, at least they did not try to make President Lincoln, even in the midst of a bitter Civil War, produce his birth certificate to authenticate himself as a bona fide life in being....

Drew Pearson tells of a secret meeting held at the Pentagon, called by Secretary of War Robert Patterson to discuss with leaders of industry the need for a reserve corps of employers and employees to undergo voluntary training for preparedness for quick conversion to wartime production. General Eisenhower informed them that, whereas the country had 12 to 18 months to prepare for World War II, it would not have any time for preparation in the nuclear age, as the enemy could strike without notice.

He next tells of Congressman Graham Barden of North Carolina having inquired of the Senate-House confreres on the Taft-Hartley bill as to who leaked the play-by-play account of the meeting to Mr. Pearson. Senator Robert Taft told him that he should not worry too much about the leaked information as some of it was not accurate.

He next tells of proposed legislation to allow FBI agents to retire at age 50 after 20 years of service, as a means of attracting and keeping qualified personnel. Congressman George Miller of California suggested that, while he favored the bill, the Border Patrol, Secret Service, Treasury Department agents, and Fish and Wildlife agents in Florida and Louisiana swamps also faced danger of varying sorts. The Committee was informed by a Civil Service Commission representative that postal employees applied more often than any other Government employees for retirement benefits.

The Committee approved the pension liberalization for FBI agents and was expected to extend early retirement to other Government employees.

Marquis Childs tells of Undersecretary of State Will Clayton, assigned the difficult task of trying to revive world trade on a free enterprise basis. Before other nations would agree to the American plan for an international trade organization, they wanted to see the United States reduce its tariffs and show in other ways a willingness to accept imports from abroad. Mr. Clayton had gone to Geneva in April to promote the idea of the international trade organization, but had to return home to argue the case before a skeptical Congress.

To appease the wool producers, who produced only a fraction of the wool consumed in the country, the House passed a bill to authorize increase in the wool tariff by up to 50 percent, thereby communicating the opposite of what the other nations were seeking. The move had prompted New Zealand and Australia to walk out of the Geneva Conference, causing its halt. The Senate bill on tariffs did not contain the wool provision and so it might not be in the final version. In any event, the President would likely veto the bill with such a provision. Nevertheless, the damage had been done to perceptions in the wool-producing nations, harming the chances of approval of the international trade organization and hindering the efforts of Mr. Clayton.

During the war, the Government had bought 500 million pounds of wool at a support price and could not legally sell it at current prices, about half of the support price.

Should the trade organization fail, then the Government would again be forced into paying subsidies, purchasing excess stock and trying to unload it then on the world market to avoid upsetting the subsidy price. The result would place pressure on the American system to put trade under complete Government control, as in the Soviet Union and Argentina.

He concludes with the advice that the wool tariff and similar efforts to control trade had to be blocked.

Samuel Grafton tells of the President's liberal Advisory Commission on Universal Training having delivered a dreary report, recommending that without universal training and other steps to maintain the strength of the defenses of the country, it would face extermination in the future. It was only in a disintegrating pattern that such moves would be needed to preserve the peace, and so the report was an epitaph on hope for peace. He suggests that the country ought have a day of national mourning if such was the best which could come out of such a hard fought war. The report's recommendations implicitly branded the war as a failure, in which all of the Big Five nations shared equally.

That the country could strengthen the U.N. by being strong was to undermine the original purpose of the U.N., to avoid military expense to a great degree through collective action.

A letter from the brother of actor Randolph Scott of Charlotte describes himself as a former G.I. who had also been an alcoholic, wishing therefore to weigh in on the upcoming liquor control referendum. He tells of his drunken years and attempts to recover, unsuccessful until he joined Alcoholics Anonymous in 1945.

He says that if a drunk wanted liquor, he would obtain it, whether it was legal or not.

There were only two ways to stop a drunk from drinking: confinement or to convince the person to want to stop, the better way. Likewise, prohibition was not the way to cure society of its alcohol problem. He suggests before voting that each citizen of Mecklenburg ask whether the current situation in the county regarding liquor was desirable.

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