The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 8, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Russians had cut use of electricity and gas in Berlin as unemployment grew in the Western sectors of the city. The Western powers were implementing an employment assistance plan to pay 50 to 60 percent of ordinary wages.

Unfavorable weather slowed the airlift during the morning. But for the first time in twenty days of the airlift, the allies had flown in more than a thousand tons in 24 hours, aided by the transport of coal for the first time the previous day. American pilots complained of interference with their instrumentation, which appeared to them to be deliberate. A British transport pilot spotted five Russian Yak fighter planes in close proximity to his transport in the air corridor but they made no attempt to interfere with the flight.

Egyptian forces south of Tel Aviv had reportedly begun an offensive as the four-week truce period entered its last two days. The Arabs had rejected the invitation of count Folke Bernadotte, U.N. mediator, to extend the truce. The Israelis had accepted. The war was expected to resume at full pace the following day. Count Bernadotte intended now to focus on obtaining a ceasefire in Jerusalem and its ultimate demilitarization.

The U.N. observers were being evacuated from Palestine.

DNC chairman J. Howard McGrath stated that he was trying to effect harmony in the party, would talk to James Roosevelt, California state chairman, who had been favoring General Eisenhower and still believed that he would accept a draft. Southerners had postponed their fight against the proposed civil rights plank in the platform until it would go before the platform committee.

More than 20 black organizations demanded a civil rights plank embracing the President's civil rights program articulated February 2. Walter White, executive secretary of the N.A.A.C.P., provided the statement on behalf of the organizations to the platform committee. It included the demand for an end to segregation of the armed services, transportation and education. It also sought amendment of Senate rules to allow invoking cloture of debate by a simple majority vote rather than the two-thirds majority required at the time to stop a filibuster. One black organization, the Civil Rights Congress, asked that no delegation be seated at the convention which had been elected by poll-tax votes or who were members or supporters of the Klan.

Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, a member of the platform committee, said that he believed the civil rights plank would reiterate the general statement against discrimination made in the 1944 plank and would not be so specific as the 1944 and 1948 planks of the Republicans. He said that he did not think it would embrace the President's civil rights program. He also said that he did not think there would be a plank opposing Taft-Hartley but that there might be one proposing some modification to the law, for which he had voted and still favored.

CIO president Philip Murray declined an invitation to speak at the convention, as had already Dan Tobin of the Teamsters and William Green, president of the AFL.

During a House subcommittee hearing into Communist infiltration of labor unions, being held in New York, a local union representative was dismissed from the stand after he protested being questioned on whether he was a Communist, was ushered from the room by U.S. Marshals as he demanded that they take their hands off of him. He had earlier testified that there were disruptive members he regarded as "rats" in his local. Prior to his testimony, the secretary-treasurer of another local of the same union was forcibly ushered from the room. The subcommittee was interested in the union's monetary contributions to the campaign of Henry Wallace.

The NLRB was seeking a court order this date to enjoin the captive coal mine strike, charging that John L. Lewis was violating Taft-Hartley by demanding of the steel industry a union shop clause, prohibited by the Act unless the union voted to approve it.

Actress-singer Judy Canova canceled a scheduled appearance in Charlotte on behalf of the Empty Stocking Fund, collected each Christmas by The News for the needy children of the community. Her entire tour had been canceled. She was scheduled to appear with 40 others in her company at the Griffith Park baseball facility the following Tuesday. All tickets would be refunded, so you'll come out alright and rebound from this major setback in lifestyle. The extra hour she remained for the audience through the blinding rainstorm in Duncan, Iowa, must have done her in.

Emery Wister of The News tells of a crowd of 5,000 attending the sixth show of the Holiday on Ice at Memorial Stadium in Charlotte. He interviews several of the skaters for the piece, one of whom related that the ice was dangerous as a truck had backed over a hose which supplied brine to freeze the ice, resulting in it being only a half-inch thick when it should have been two inches thick, increasing the hazard of injuries.

They were skating on pretty thin ice. Better watch your glide.

On the editorial page, "Another Bataan in Berlin?" wonders what the Western powers should do, faced with the dilemma of abandoning Berlin or going to war. The airlift was very expensive and inevitably only a temporary solution.

Evacuation was not a viable option as it would mean both a serious loss of prestige and loss of a strategic position in Europe. But the military commanders had to decide whether it was important enough to risk a war and whether the West was equipped to go to war over it.

The timing for the West was especially bad with Europe so disorganized. It suggests an analogy with Bataan and its eventual surrender to the Japanese in early 1942, impliedly positing that a retreat and regrouping might be the best course.

"Soviet 'Clean-Up' in Art" indicates that Western observers had noted a growing Communist puritanism in Russia, evident in its art, with clothes being placed on statues representing the female form, the elimination of bedroom scenes from novels and generally no longer finding the aesthete to favor nudes in the presentations. The trend appeared to stem from the belief that Russians would be more productive without the distraction of uncensored literature and art.

Alexander Fedeyev, general secretary of the Soviet Writers' Union, informed that the change did not derive from any regulation from the top, but rather from a state of mind he called "socialist realism", expressing the aesthetic of love in other than physiological terms.

But the piece thinks it akin to prohibition in the U.S.S.R., which permitted unlimited drink until the worker's productivity was compromised, at which point he was sent to prison or Siberia.

It finds that history taught that regimentation did not increase productivity in the long run.

"A Buzz for New York City" tells of great and undying respect for New York but that during the week, it had been shaken by the fact that the combined efforts of the police, fire and park departments could not handle a bee attack which had begun Monday over Yorkville, then spread to Brooklyn by Tuesday, until settling on Flatbush Avenue at the entrance to the Holmes Ambulance & Oxygen Service Co.

The bees remained. No one had a solution. An effort to lure them with chocolate syrup had failed. It was a terrible thing, a threat to modern civilization.

It was probably the case that the police, the fire, and parks departments considered the whole matter not their beeswax, that the Bee Department would need to be called in, if not formed from Scratch, to consider the process of extirpation of the bee population. We recommend seeing the Esso people and using their hose rather than that of the fire department, to get rid finally of the bees haunting New York.

Drew Pearson tells of the President having informed guests aboard his yacht that former OPA head Paul Porter, vice-chairman of Americans for Democratic Action, favoring General Eisenhower, was okay because he was the President's spy in the Eisenhower camp, not the reverse.

Dab Tobin, head of the Teamsters, had recently visited with the President at the latter's invitation, to try to win Teamster support which had been wavering. Mr. Tobin had been a solid supporter of FDR. Dave Beck, the West coast Teamsters leader, was close to Governor Earl Warren and so that branch of the union would likely support the Dewey-Warren ticket. The President assured Mr. Tobin that he would call on him for advice more often than he had during the previous three years. Mr. Tobin was non-committal but agreed that the Congress had been remiss on public housing and other liberal measures.

A move was afoot to nominate Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming as the President's running mate to offset Governor Warren's popularity in the West.

Israel now had a trained air force, tanks and armored cars.

Representative Charles Halleck remained upset at Governor Dewey for not fulfilling the promise of some of Mr. Dewey's lieutenants that Mr Halleck would be named to the second spot on the ticket after he had swung his support as head of the Indiana delegation to Governor Dewey.

Governor Dewey would begin a nationwide tour on September 12, remaining in New York state for the most part until then.

He's a shoo-in. He doesn't need to campaign against that loser in the White House. He should stay above the fray.

Why don't they just shake hands and not bother with the election, and Governor Dewey could go ahead and move in next month.

That nut still thinks he can win though.

Marquis Childs tells of the funeral for the Democratic Party being underway, rent in two by the battle over civil rights, not unlike the rending of 1860 over slavery.

He views it as pathetic that the left and right of the party had clung so long to the hope that General Eisenhower might be persuaded to accept a draft by the party. The Southerners would not accept Justice Douglas as an alternative candidate, and so the outlook was now dismal.

The thing appeared accomplished, the party sunk.

But, he offers, it was much too early to write off the Democrats permanently. The factionalism itself proved that the party had vigorous life in it. In 1924 and again in 1928, the Democrats appeared to be down and out, with 106 ballots in 1924 required to nominate the compromise candidate John W. Davis, whom few in the country knew. In 1928, Al Smith carried only eight states, as his Catholicism and stand against prohibition had split even the solid South. But in 1932, the dynamic leadership of FDR revived the moribund party and carried it to victory for four elections in a row.

Since 1928, progressives in the South had modified the old Southern conservatism. In the North, labor-liberal forces had come to play an increasingly important role, even if using their power somewhat ineptly at times.

While the Democrats now lacked a powerful leader, things could change in the course of the coming four years.

It would take twelve.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, discusses the central recurring problem facing the Democrats, that no one pleasing to the entire party could win a national election. Even FDR had not been favored by all wings of the party.

The party was a kind of "organized convulsion". One wing of the party had embarked on a campaign against civil liberties, oblivious to the ramifications of such action in modern times. Another wing rested on big city bossism, also increasingly anachronistic and hard to sell nationally.

The Democrats did not succeed when they united in choosing a candidate; they succeeded when a major leader, as FDR or Woodrow Wilson, chose the party as a vehicle for effecting social change.

It was not surprising that many Democrats had desired General Eisenhower to be the nominee, given his lack of domestic record. He could fit anyone's preconceived notions. But Mr. Grafton hopes that the Eisenhower movement was, consciously or not, a prelude to a draft of Justice Douglas, whom he believes would make a great candidate. Justice Douglas would not be entirely pleasing to any faction and in that, paradoxically, would lay the greatness of his candidacy.

The Republicans had no such difficulty, having a narrower, more homogeneous base, thus more easily united.

It might be, he concludes, the peculiar task of the Democrats to rise above their factionalism, reflective of the nation's constant need to do likewise.

James Marlow tells of Dr. Frederic Wertham, a senior psychiatrist in New York City's Department of Hospitals, in the May 29 issue of the Saturday Review of Literature, having taken to task comic books for their mass influence on children with "systematic poisoning of the well of childhood spontaneity."

A month later, 14 comic book publishers, responsible for about a fourth of the trade, agreed to refrain from publication of any comics with sexy matter, sadistic torture, glorification of crime or racial or religious prejudice on display.

Norman Cousins, editor of the Review, in its June 26 issue, attacked Mother Goose for its negative influence and stimulation of violent tendencies, such as the one about the bough breaking and the cradle falling. He discovered that the tales hid all forms of sadistic cruelty and dastardly conduct in the guise of sing-song rhymes. The old woman who lived in the shoe whipped her children because she did not know what else to do.

Mr. Marlow suggests that Mr. Cousins also take on the tales of Hans Christian Andersen, such as "The Tinderbox", and the brothers Grimm.

Oh, come now. Read the newspaper sometime. The little ones have to be prepared for the worst so that they do not jump off high buildings when they start reading on their own and discover that the world is not so sugary sweet after all. Or, in a different manifestation of what we call the "scalding cold water realization complex", become hired hitmen or the hirers to try to enforce their view of family values.

Dr. Wertham asks whether comic books were the "marijuana of the nursery", as John Mason Brown had described them, or the "penicillin of a happy childhood". It is entirely probable that they are neither. Shakespeare is rife with violence, as is the Bible. Titus Andronicus has within its pages some of the vilest human conduct ever depicted on the stage. In King Lear, the cruel, greedy daughter of the King, Regan, orders the eyes plucked from the head of Gloucester for sending her father to Dover for his protection from daughters Regan and Goneril. Julius Caesar shows a political assassination performed with impunity by co-conspirators bent on power, rationalizing their ill will toward Caesar to muster the courage for the kill. The list of horrors in Shakespeare, indeed, stretches out to the crack of doom...

Should children and adolescents, therefore, by the possibility that one of their number or a small minority might emulate some of the untoward conduct depicted, be "protected" from such literature or all of literature? Should we burn all reading material and other media save the most innocuous and impotent variety? apt then to drive the sane crazy to protect the insane from exposure to what some "expert" thinks is "poison", thus made subject to censorship by overzealous school boards or parents too eager to follow the advice of the "expert", trumping in the process common sense, extinguishing thereby the anodyne to violence and untoward behavior, logical, critical, analytical thought.

And is it not the case that to suggest comic books or any other media as the source or at least a primary stimulus of untoward behavior is to afford a convenient handy-dandy excuse to the perpetrator that he or she might then say with credulity and approbation that the aberrant conduct was the fault of the comic book or "Natural Born Killers" or what have you, the Confederate flag, rather than their own individual conception and responsibility, merely seeking to shift blame to another, wholly external cause? Is it not the case that the disposition to commit such conduct has long before been formed, by the manner of pre-natal care and tending the crib, that the fact that the child is so peculiarly drawn to violent imagery and is so fascinated by it as to act it out in reality, whether drawn in comic books or more realistically depicted in movies, is merely incidental to these pre-existing tendencies, not the source or stimulus of them?

The question, we suggest, ought rather be: which came first, the chicken or the egg?

If anything, the comic book or other media might serve as an alarum signal to the alert parent of a child who exhibits abnormally obsessive and violent or untoward immitative tendencies that some gentle stress should be applied to enable better appreciation and understanding of the particular art of the medium involved, requiring perhaps some level of self-education regarding the medium by the caring parent, as a means of correcting and redirecting the abnormal reaction of the child or adolescent to it. Certainly, censorship is no answer, would only exacerbate the problem in the end. Nothing makes a subject more appealing to the young than to make it taboo. Nothing encourages rebellion to established norms more quickly than censorship of speech or press. Sensitive mocking of the depicted characters reacting with violence is one way to discharge its impact.

Urging critique of the presentation and understanding that it is not a reality of itself, even if depicting actual events, but a framed, edited conception ultimately of a writer, is a good start. If a film, it is 90 minutes or two hours worth of still images strung together in an array which most usually took thousands of man-hours to produce. Understanding that basic concept, while perhaps killing off some of the vicarious roller-coaster ride experience of the film, in itself destructive even if the ride be ostensibly sugary sweet, also lessens the tendency of emulation of the ride, to the benefit of all.

Incidentally, Dr. Wertham, anent your rhetorical query at page 27, it was Dickens speaking, not the comic book's circulation manager, when Pip was threatened with having his throat cut. We would be more forgiving of your careless oversight, in the modern age of computers and search engines, were it not for the fact that the quote comes from page 1 of the book. A modicum of research prior to gross generalizations is always profitable.

The Editors' Roundtable, edited by James Galloway of Asheville, looks at Berlin, finds editors nearly unanimous in their disapproval of withdrawal, a majority favoring a firm stand with maximum supply through the airlift to break the Soviet blockade bluff. Some editors favored referral of the matter to the U.N. and others believed that negotiations ought be resumed regarding a united Germany, albeit only after the blockade was lifted. Another group favored retaliatory trade embargoes against Russia and its satellites.

Opinions are sampled from the Washington Post, finding no reason to maintain the small Western zone in Berlin and that Western strategy was absent; the Cincinnati Enquirer, finding the Russian move prelude to an attempt to take over Germany and all of Europe, disastrous; the Washington News, finding that the Russians were as a cornered rat and thus dangerous, though working from a position of weakness; the Sacramento Bee, asserting that Russia still did not want war and so would not resort to force to gain control of Berlin; the Kansas City Star, finding that the broken rail service used as an excuse to effect the blockade might suddenly be repaired by the Russians; the Phoenix Gazette, favoring renewed negotiations for a unified Germany, as the airlift could not possibly endure for long to feed the West Germans; the Tulsa Tribune, favoring first going before the U.N. and then issuing an ultimatum to lift the blockade, if need be, going to war to enforce it; and the Bridgeport (Conn.) Post, favoring embargo.

A letter writer asserts that organization in political parties took representative government from the people and placed it in the hands of the politicians. Such organizations did not take into account merit or social interest in determining policy.

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