The Charlotte News

Monday, December 27, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, the French National Assembly convened this date to render a decision on the confidence vote sought by Premier Pierre Mendes-France on rearming of West Germany and its admission to NATO, as well as its becoming a partner in a seven-nation Western European Union. First in order would be the votes on admission to NATO and endorsement of the Government's position on three amendments to the ratification bill. If successful on those ballots, the Premier was set to ask the Assembly to reverse its refusal the previous Friday to ratify the treaty permitting rearmament of West Germany as a member of the Western European Union, which would also be a question of confidence, but would have to await another 24 hours by Assembly rules. Defeat on any of the three votes would force the Government of Premier Mendes-France to resign. Observers declined to predict in advance the outcome, but at best, it appeared that the Premier could hope only for approval by a small margin on the rearmament question.

In Augusta, Ga., where the President was spending the holiday period through January 3, he conferred this date with Secretary of State Dulles by telephone regarding the situation regarding France's vote on West German rearmament, and the White House reported that Secretary Dulles had told the President that there was very little information on progress of the debate in the French National Assembly. It would have to go through five additional votes in the Assembly, and indications were that it would be late this date before any final decision was reached. If the French rejected the plan, the President might return at once to Washington to attend to the new world situation. If it was approved, he would probably remain in Augusta as scheduled, working on his three January messages to the new Congress and playing golf. Wish him plenty of holes in one.

In Jasper, Tex., two ranchers and five hunters, who accused the rancher brothers of killing their hunting dog, had shot it out in a wild Christmas Day gunfight, according to police, with a sixth hunter, who was the only one who had not fired a shot, having been slain. Both ranchers and another hunter had been wounded in the exchange of 40 gunshots, and six men had been charged with either assault or murder. The grand jury would take up the case on January 3. The ranchers had often warned hunters that they would kill any dogs which they found in their pasture.

In Columbia, S.C., convicted Rock Hill murderer Nathan Corn had escaped, with five other prisoners, from the State Penitentiary during the morning, with two of the six men recaptured within a short time, while Mr. Corn and the others remained at large. It was Mr. Corn's second escape since he had been sentenced in December, 1949, to life imprisonment for the murder of his employer, George Beam. The six prisoners had made their escape through a construction tunnel leading from the boiler room in a new heating plant to an area outside the wall, which was barred with heavy oak timbers, through which the men had managed to saw. There had been a guard on duty at the tunnel, and he had been dismissed for negligence. The men had been missed almost immediately and an alarm sounded, enabling recapture of two of the men within about 20 to 30 minutes after they had been discovered missing. Mr. Corn had escaped initially in February, 1951 and was caught three weeks later in Illinois. Three prisoners implicated in his first escape had lost their good-time credits as a result. His victim, Mr. Beam, had been killed in 1948 and his body placed in a box which was subsequently found in a tributary of the Catawba River. The defendant had originally been sentenced to death but had been granted a new trial, after which, upon conviction the second time, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In Charlotte, members of a volunteer fire department played Santa Claus for a two-year old girl whose home was burned down on Christmas morning, when the parents, distributing the Christmas gifts early in the morning, had turned on the oil circulator in their den and then returned to bed, after which the parents smelled smoke, attempted to extinguish the blaze, but it spread too quickly through their four-room pine-paneled house, with two volunteer fire departments responding and fighting the blaze for three early morning hours, but only being able to prevent it from spreading to neighboring houses, resulting in not much being saved from the home. All of the Christmas gifts had been consumed. The firemen, after finishing their work, went to a general store and purchased new Christmas gifts for the little girl and she was very happy with her two dolls, a cradle, a tricycle and a tea set.

In Salt Lake City, a Greek immigrant took six of his children shopping, attempting to show them the new way of life which he had already learned in America, after the children had arrived the previous day from Greece, a Christmas present for the father from his coworkers at the Clearfield Naval Supply Depot, where he worked as a janitor. It was the first time he had seen the six children in seven years, since he had left Crete. He had brought three children with him at the time, but had to leave behind his wife and seven other sons and daughters, having in the interim prayed and saved, but never having accumulated enough money to bring the rest of his family to the U.S. His fellow workers had raised $2,500, enough to bring his remaining family from Greece, his wife having been detained in Greece for about a month because of a minor illness, and another son, 21 years old, to join the family after he finished his stint in the Greek Army. The father was beginning a week-long vacation, and now had nine of his children with whom to share it.

On the editorial page, "Fill Asia with Wolf Ladejinskys" discusses the Russian-born Mr. Ladejinsky, who had entered the U.S. in 1922 and become an American citizen in 1928, working for the Amtorg Trading Corp., a Soviet corporation, during 1931, and from 1935 to 1950, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, his field being foreign agricultural economics, fitting him for the 1945 task of working on the staff of General MacArthur in occupied Japan after the war, becoming instrumental in instituting Japan's land reform program, which General MacArthur had said had done more than any other occupation measure to cut the ground from under the Japanese Communists. In 1948, the State Department had asked him to go to work on land reform programs in China, India and Formosa, which he then did, working with the Chinese Nationalist leaders to reduce farm rents from 70 to 37.5 percent of the crop on Formosa. In fall, 1950, he had returned to Tokyo as an agricultural attaché. His work had been highly praised by General MacArthur and Representative Walter Judd of Minnesota had said the previous week that he had been "the most effective fellow I have known in the whole Foreign Agricultural Service."

But now, the Agriculture Department had decided that it did not want Mr. Ladejinsky on its payroll because he was too much of a "security risk". The reasons offered were that he had relatives in Russia, with whom he had visited in 1939 but had not corresponded for seven years, and had belonged, according to a spokesman for the Department, to two Communist front organizations, which Mr. Ladejinsky denied. He had also had the brief employment with Amtorg 23 years earlier. The Department conceded that he had left Russia shortly after the 1917 Revolution because of his professed dislike for Communism, and it also conceded that he was speaking out about the danger of Communism long before most Americans, having written pieces critical of Communism as early as 1934 in the Saturday Evening Post, Country Gentleman and the Saturday Review. For years he had been condemned by the Communist press, probably, according to Keyes Beech of the Chicago Daily News, because his name had become synonymous with land reforms and anti-Communism from New Delhi to Tokyo.

State Department officials, irritated by the stance of the Agriculture Department, said that they would keep Mr. Ladejinsky on their payroll, despite his current agency changing from State to Agriculture. He had even met the extreme loyalty standards set by State Department security officer Scott McLeod. Thus, he was acceptable to one department of the Government, but not to another, despite Agriculture not being nearly as sensitive as State.

It finds the most deplorable result of the matter to be that the Administration was finally coming around to the position that economic and technical aid were Asia's major need, with land reform being a key to that problem, and now, suddenly, such an individual who, more than anyone else, had helped Asians obtain their own land or a better rental system for it, who symbolized the most effective U.S. policy in Asia, had been labeled by Agriculture as a "security risk", despite his excellent record. It questions when America would come to its senses and send as many such people as it could find to the villages of Asia, to help win the respect of people who otherwise might turn to Communism.

"Our Motto Is Talk and Let Talk" indicates that since the 17th Century, there had been attempts to create universal languages some 200 times, ranging from Dr. J. L. Zamenhof's Esperanto to Johan Martin Schleyer's Volapuk. It finds all such attempts hopeless, as much so as seeking to devise a magic formula for global peace. People within the boundaries of one community had difficulty understanding one another in a fast-paced age, where slang dominated, causing an older generation to realize that it could not communicate any longer with the younger, unless both resorted to basic English.

A modern youth might ask his companion, "Have you got eyes to cut up to my pad and catch some sides?" to which the companion might say, "Crazy, man, I dig that the most!" That was the new Coolspeak, that which sociologists of the street corner called the "beat generation" of 1954, "the new, new generation's doubtful contribution to common English usage." If it was surrealistic and bizarre, it was probably no more ridiculous, it suggests, than the "gibberish" of other generations, when, for instance, someone might have said: "Oh, you kid! You're the cat's pajamas!" and "So's your old man!" While those phrases might convey important meanings to anyone over about 45 years old, they were likely to be unintelligible to youth.

Unlike regional dialects, Coolspeak was a hybrid, a mixture of the mid-century voices of television, radio, jazz, movies, sports and comic books. The words were appropriately bawdy and emphatic, such that a worthwhile person became either "cassy, cool, cooler than cool, crazy, fine, frantic, George, the greatest, the most, royal, sheer, three-T or it." An undesirable person was either "a cube, banana, deadhead, goop, jizzy, minus George, nerd, oddball, yoot, smearfink, three-D, tighthead, stoop-goop, show up or matzoh ball." Words such as "hip, bug, fracture and barf" were also tossed about frequently, as were "crazy and golden". As with all slang, Coolspeak either employed the usual word in an unusual sense or an unusual word in a usual sense and its origin was traced to a desire for greater vivacity and intimacy in language.

One Charlotte educator regarded it as "a rubber-hosing of the language", while another commented "ain't hardly no way for no suthener to tawk". It indicates, however, that it was at least lively. It says that it did not intend to put it down as a yoot just because it did not dig all the crazy sounds. "Talk and let talk: That's our motto."

It closes by quoting Thomas Mann: "Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact—it is silence that isolates."

A piece from the Greensboro Record, titled "It's Simply Terrific", indicates that some of the things people were doing to the English language were fascinating, such as "terrific", which the dictionary defined as "terrible, appalling, calling forth great fear or dread." It indicates that it showed how far behind the times the dictionary was.

A toothpaste ad appearing in the public prints recently had made the claim that dentists said their product was "terrific", causing it to wonder whether the dentists were calling the toothpaste terrible and appalling. Recently on television, a master of ceremonies had introduced a pretty young woman as "one of the most terrific actresses to come out of Hollywood in years." She smiled, knowing that "terrific" meant overflowing with talent, that the dictionary did not know what it was talking about.

It concludes that the trouble with messing with the meaning of "terrific" was that people who did so sometimes slipped up and lasped it into using the word in the old-fashioned sense, as a woman whom it had heard say: "You should have seen that movie. It was simply terrific. But I could have enjoyed it more if I hadn't had such a terrific headache."

"Yes, what some folks have done to terrific is terrific, and we don't mean wonderful."

Now, most such persons have substituted "iconic" for "terrific", an even worse mangling of the actual definition of the word. Of course, intervening had been "awesome" for a few years, which, at least, appears to have fallen into disuse for the most part, but in favor of the far worse "iconic". Once again, we feel compelled to point out that "iconic" only means a representation of something, not that something is "terrific" or special in some way. You are confusing the typical contextual usage of the term in relation to religious iconography, thinking that a religious icon, which is only a representation of a religious figure or concept, automatically equates to something great and especially significant. Sorry, but that is not the case. If you want to go on sounding stupid as a fence post, continue misusing "iconic" as if it referred to the greatest of the great. It has also, regardless of your intended meaning, become ridiculously banal, as it is used by every semi-educated person to try to sound polysyllabically erudite, in reference to everything from cornflakes to the watusi and the twist. Themses ain't "iconic" in any respect, unless you are trying to convey the concept that the cornflakes represent something else, likewise the dances, the cars, the fins on the cars, what have you.

Drew Pearson indicates that the State Department had received a report suggesting that Soviet doctors or diplomats in New York who had cared for chief Soviet delegate to the U.N. Andrei Vishinsky prior to his recent death might have deliberately let him die. The report was based partly on the assumption that it was better from Moscow's point of view to have Mr. Vishinsky die in the U.S. rather than in Russia, where his death would have produced embarrassing rumors of a purge. He was known to have cardiac trouble, was 70 years old and worn out from his U.N. work. A similar patient, suffering a heart attack, would have been rushed to a hospital, but he had not been, having been kept instead on Soviet premises and without the advantage of modern American medical attention. He had mellowed a bit and was getting along better with American and British delegates than in earlier days.

Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had recently announced that the Agriculture Department would start purchasing concentrated orange juice for the school lunch program, an announcement causing some speculation as to why the children were to receive orange juice for the first time in history. The most obvious conclusion was that it was an effort to support the price of oranges, which had dropped from $3.02 per box in September to $1.32 in November. But they had sold for an even lower price, $1.24, in November, 1953, and the 1947-49 average for November had been $1.23. Thus, some politicians believed there had been another motive, remembering that earlier, before Mr. Benson had become Secretary of Agriculture, he had been secretary of the National Council of Farm Cooperatives, one of the biggest members of which was Sunkist, prompting those politicians to believe that he might be purchasing orange juice to help his old friends in the Council. Actually, however, Sunkist, a California operation, would not benefit much from Government purchase of frozen orange juice, as almost all frozen orange juice was made in Florida. Mr. Benson had also not helped other Council friends, such as the dairy farmers, when they had needed help worse than the orange growers. Mr. Pearson posits, however, that because Senator Spessard Holland of Florida had been one of the strongest Democratic supporters of flexible farm supports in the Senate, a program also supported by Senator George Smathers of Florida and Representative Albert Herlong of Florida, the latter being the only Democratic member of the House Agriculture Committee who supported the flexible price support bill, Mr. Benson, who had pushed the flexible support program, was paying off those political favors. He notes that, meanwhile, poultry men were angry, as eggs were selling at their lowest prices in history, in some cases 6, 8, or 10 cents per dozen, much lower proportionately than oranges.

A New Hampshire businessman had berated the former Governor of New Hampshire, White House chief of staff Sherman Adams, during a recent visit in the office of Republican Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, saying that Mr. Adams burned him up, that ever since he had obtained the White House job, he believed he was too big and important to talk to old friends like the businessman, that he had tried to see the chief of staff several times, but he had acted like he was an insurance salesman. He then proceeded to show what he meant by calling the office of Mr. Adams and asking to speak to him, but then turned bright red when Mr. Adams suddenly came on the line and addressed him by his first name, saying he did not know he was in town and invited him over for lunch.

Joseph Alsop, in Saigon, tells of having gone to a hut village in southern Indo-China, authorized to visit the independent Vietminh-controlled state, becoming only the second Western civilian to penetrate the region in nine years, the first having been Max Clos, a French journalist. He and his guide had come on the belief that his visit was authorized by the Committee of the South, the ruling Vietminh organization in southern Indo-China, but that had proved illusory, though he had managed, through false papers, not to encounter the hard-core Communists, with his visit, however, confined to the palm-hut village, where, nevertheless, he was able to glean from such Vietminh personalities as his guide, his chief guardian, a leader of the "peace-loving" Socialist party and secretary of "The Front of National Union", and a third person who had developed his peculiar exit visa, the chief of the Civil Affairs bureau and secretary-treasurer of the southern Vietminh state, a fair impression of how the Communists had been able to overcome the superior French forces and had managed to hold that province in the South.

He believed that he had found that the answer was in three characteristics his guide, his guardian and the bureaucrat shared in common, his guide having been a leading Saigon professional man and a member of a great landowning family, his guardian having been a teacher and archaeologist, while the other was a successful lawyer, and yet all three had given up those walks of life to live as the poorest of the poor, braving great and constant danger for many long years, with their mood having been that of primitive Christians, positively longing to be tossed to the nearest lion. All three, in different ways, had become efficient instruments of the Vietminh palm-hut state, discharging complex responsibilities with efficiency and puritanical self-dedication. Although none of them was a Communist, the minds of all three had been absolutely molded by the Communists, each constantly repeating as a sort of incantation Ho Chi Minh's three principles: to serve the people, to learn to distinguish between friends and enemies, and to be ready for danger and privations, relying on themselves, in which case victory and glory would be theirs. When they repeated that litany, their voices changed, echoing the chant of innumerable meetings and rallies, whether the topic was international relations or local land reform, always repeating the same phrases in the same order and in the same tone.

Mr. Alsop concludes that if the Communists could transform such men into faithful automatons and if they could construct an entire military and civil administration out of such men, using the purer idealists as instruments, the triumph of the palm-hut state became not so hard to understand. But it still left the question as to how the Communists had established their empire over such men. He found that Asian nationalism was only part of the answer, and appeared as the lesser part, with the larger part being the Western impact upon Asia, whereby the old Asian order of society had crumbled under the impact of French colonialism, which had kept life going in an orderly manner until it was broken in the second war, resulting in disorganization of all values, relationships, beliefs and standards. In such a state of disorganization, the Communist Party had become the only thing which was hard, certain and completely organized. Organization would usually triumph over disorganization, and a hard minority would usually dominate a mushy majority, which he found to be the central point of the gigantic problem of halting the insurgency of Communist imperialism in Asia.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest of the farm organizations, had chosen a Democrat to succeed a Republican as its new president, aiming it sights on the new Democratic Congress and substantial legislative goals for the coming year, its major objective being to expand markets for the farmers, calling for a more liberal foreign trade policy and increased marketing research at home. It was the leading advocate for flexible price supports and was credited with a major lobbying victory during the year when Congress had passed the flexible price supports law. With a peak membership of 1.6 million farm families in all 48 states, the group would have a strong voice in the upcoming debate on trade policy.

The key spokesman for the group was its new president, Charles Shuman, a grain farmer from Illinois, who had taken over from Allan Kline, who had resigned for health reasons after leading the organization for seven years. Mr. Shuman was described as mild-mannered, in contrast to the aggressive Mr. Kline. He supported flexible price supports but had maintained good relations with the Southern wing of the Federation, which tended to favor high, rigid supports. He would be in a good position to put the Federation's case before the Democratically controlled Congress.

The Federation was probably not as powerful as it had been during the 1930's, when the several groups making up the farm bloc had stood more closely together on policy matters, with the Federation having taken a more independent course since that time, on many issues standing somewhere between the National Grange and the National Farmers Union, the latter having been the traditional champion of high price supports. It had some bipartisan opposition because of its stand for flexible supports, including that of outgoing and incoming chairmen of the House Agriculture Committee, Representatives Clifford Hope of Kansas and Harold Cooley of North Carolina, respectively. The group, however, expected no major retreat from the new flexible supports program in the coming year and planned to press for its strengthening.

Other broad goals of the Federation the following year would include "maximum freedom" of operation for farmers, increased economic and political cooperation among the free nations, "wiser" development and use of natural resources, and a dynamic peacetime economy accompanied by effective military preparedness.

In the field of trade policy, the Federation officials would press for a four-year extension of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, expanded private investment abroad, and continuation and improvement of the technical assistance program for underdeveloped nations, Point Four. They contended that those steps would help expand foreign markets for American farm products. They would also develop the "Soil Fertility Bank", to be a government mechanism to encourage farmers to plant unneeded acreage in grass and other soil-building crops, in anticipation of a time when such land would again be needed for food production.

Robert C. Ruark tells of Papa Celestin, a cornet player, having died a few days earlier, that it would take Louis Armstrong to write a good obituary for him. With Mr. Celestin, it was either him or the melody. He was a Creole black with great dignity, who had played nearly up to the time of his death, somewhere in his eighties. He played as a professional performer, not as a virtuoso, meaning that he was on stage in a Bourbon Street gin mill in New Orleans. He was a fine old gentleman who had seen the birth and growth of jazz music from the time he and Jelly Roll Morton and the rest of the early players had played the then-unclassified art form around New Orleans, accompanying the "sportin' life". Now, jazz had lost most of its association with the tenderloin, but remained "sportin'-house" music, with overtones of religion or conscience.

Mr. Celestin had driven hard on his horn when he played the New Orleans theme song, "When the Saints Come Marchin' In", and Mr. Ruark had loved it. They had played soft, slow and sad whenever they went out to bury someone, but on the way home, the music turned into a jam session, without any disrespect intended toward the departed.

He indicates that there was practically no one left out of the "old tribe of tenderloin troubadours", as Mr. Armstrong had been a youngster in the group and some of the contemporaries had inherited some skills from them, while its origins had almost been forgotten and much of the original mood lost.

"Papa Celestin was one of the very last, he blowed loud on that horn, and, although it was 'hock shop' music, what the old man was playing was actually a hymn."

Third Day of Christmas: Trois voix entente de confiance.

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