The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 14, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles had flown to Paris this date to help put the finishing touches on Western strategy for the forthcoming Big Four summit conference, set to begin four days hence in Geneva. He would confer this date and the following day with French Foreign Minister Antoine Pinay and British Foreign Secretary Harold Macmillan for the purpose, and they would meet on Saturday with the North Atlantic Council to outline the Western policy to the other NATO foreign ministers. When Secretary Dulles had been informed that Soviet Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev and Defense Minister Georgi Zhukov were accompanying Premier Nikolai Bulganin to Geneva, he said that was normal. He also said at the airport that there were "great hopes" in the air that steps would be taken at the conference for peaceful settlement which would be "rich in human values". He believed that it would be easy to obtain agreement between the Western allies for the coordinated agenda at the conference, and that it would serve as a good beginning for their efforts to reach agreement with the Soviets. He said it was to be hoped that the conference would "implement our unceasing quest for a secure and just peace and breathe a new spirit into the future efforts needed to achieve that result." French Premier Edgar Faure had stated at a press conference the previous day that security, disarmament and German reunification were the three principal problems for the summit meeting to address, that disarmament would promote security and, in turn, facilitate the ending of Germany's division. He proposed, with the endorsement of his Cabinet, that funds which the major powers might save through disarmament be diverted to improvement of living conditions in underdeveloped areas of the world, and that each of the four major powers devote a percentage of the sums which they presently spent on munitions to such a joint four-power fund. It was reported that the Western allies were ready with a plan to limit Germany's armed forces, even after reunification, to half a million men in order to convince Russia that a unified Germany within NATO would not be a menace to the Soviets. The 500,000 maximum was the same as that presently set for West Germany, and the curbs on West German armament would be applied to a reunified Germany under that plan. The Western allies contended that Germany could not be united unless it was free to make any alliance it wanted, whereas Russia believed that Germany could not be unified if it were free afterward to join any military grouping.

The Senate Investigations subcommittee this date blamed 48 errors and Army red tape for the promotion and honorable discharge of the Army dentist, Maj. Irving Peress, who had been the major focus of the Army-McCarthy hearings at their outset the previous year, Senator McCarthy having claimed that the promotion and discharge was the result of Communist subversion within the Army. The subcommittee report indicated that Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens, or perhaps some of his Pentagon bosses, had done "a disservice" to the country by concealing facts about the matter for nearly a year, and it accused the Army Department of some deceptive practices toward Congress. But it made no mention of subversion, saying that the matter showed "individual errors in judgment, lack of proper coordination, ineffective administration procedures, inconsistent application of investigating regulations, and excessive delays." It said that the Army's delay in making the facts public had "served to unduly arouse and increase suspicions of the public as to possible Communist influences and thereby was a disservice, to the Army as a whole, to this subcommittee, to the Congress, and to the general public." One member of the subcommittee, Republican Senator George Bender of Ohio, had refused to sign the report, contending in a dissent that a statement to the effect that "no Communist influence was found in the Army" should have been included in the report, that "not one iota of evidence" had been found to support the charges by Senator McCarthy that some "silent Communist mastermind" in the Pentagon had been involved. The majority report had said that former Army general counsel John G. Adams, who had since resigned, had shown "disrespect for the subcommittee when he chose to disregard" a letter from Senator McCarthy the day before the dentist had been honorably discharged on February 2, 1954. The Senator, then the Investigations subcommittee chairman, had demanded that the dentist be court-martialed, and had written the Army on February 1, urging that the honorable discharge be delayed. Mr. Adams had testified during the preliminary closed-door sessions of the Army-McCarthy hearings in March that he had passed up that "last clear chance" to block the discharge. The report said that the Army had since made "procedural changes" in handling such cases, but should make more such changes. It said that the failure to make the changes prior to the case in question was inexcusable. It said that Maj. General Miller White, then president of the Army Personnel Board, had recommended that the dentist be kicked out of the Army, but in so doing had cited "a nonexistent regulation" and another regulation "under which the action recommended could not be taken." It cited several others guilty of errors in the matter, including Brig. General Ralph Zwicker, who was the commanding officer of the dentist and who had been denounced by Senator McCarthy for his handling of the matter, his treatment before the subcommittee having led to a blanket order from Army Secretary Stevens that officers not cooperate with the subcommittee in the future, that order, though supported by the President, having subsequently been altered by agreement that, according to Secretary Stevens, the subcommittee would not again humiliate or mistreat officers, causing Senator McCarthy to deny that such an agreement was made or that there had been any mistreatment in the first instance. The hearings into the matter began with that stance, ultimately culminating the prior December in the censure by the Senate of Senator McCarthy.

The 11-man Interstate Commerce Commission this date arranged to meet in full to hear arguments about racial segregation on trains and buses, regarding two separate cases involving sharply contradictory findings by hearing examiners. In one, the NAACP was asking the ICC to forbid segregation of interstate travelers, not only aboard trains, but also in train station waiting rooms and depot restaurants, with the hearing examiner having found that segregation on trains and waiting rooms violated the Interstate Commerce Act by subjecting black passengers to "unreasonable disadvantage", per the proscription of the statute. He expressed doubt, however, that the ICC could regulate station restaurants, which were leased and operated by concerns not in the transportation business. He had taken note of the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education in May, 1954, ruling segregation in the public schools per se unconstitutional per the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause, and the decision's finding that segregation of the races denoted inferiority. That case had been filed before the ICC by the NAACP in December, 1953, against 11 railroads operating principally in the South, the Terminal Co. of Richmond, Va., and the Union News Co., which rented the restaurant space in the Richmond station from the Terminal Co. Some of the railroads had filed stipulations that they provided separate coaches for the races, contending that it was in conformity with the laws of the states through which they operated. All contended that the Brown case could not be applied, since public schools involved a Government function while transportation was a private business. Attorney General Herbert Brownell, however, disagreed with that notion in a brief filed with the ICC, indicating, "The time has come for the Commission to declare unequivocally that a Negro passenger is free to travel the length and breadth of this country in the same manner as any other passenger." The second case involved the complaint of a black WAC, Sarah Keys, stationed at Fort Dix, N.J., that she had been mistreated and was humiliated during a 1952 bus trip to her home state of North Carolina, when she refused to move to the rear of the bus and was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct and held in jail overnight. The hearing examiner in that case had recommended dismissal of the complaint, saying in a report the previous September that he found no constitutional or statutory prohibition against "reasonable segregation" of passengers based on race, if separate accommodations were equal.

It would be the following December, incidentally, when Rosa Parks would take her famous stand in refusing to move to the back of a Montgomery, Ala., municipal bus when requested to do so by the driver to make room for white passengers in accordance with a local ordinance, Ms. Parks stating she was motivated by the brutal killing in Money, Miss., the prior August 28 of fourteen-year old Emmett Till, the resulting bus boycott having brought to national attention for the first time the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and hence marked the official beginning of what would come to be known as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950's and 1960's. The difference between the case of Ms. Parks and that of Ms. Keys was that the former did not arise in the context of interstate commerce and thus did not import the Commerce Clause and Federal jurisdiction over the matter unless it could be shown that interstate commerce was somehow unduly burdened by the discrimination on the local buses, as a practical matter not demonstrable because of the intrastate nature of the travel. Thus, the Montgomery case utilized the economic pressure on business exerted by the local black community to effectuate the change in policy of enforcement of the local ordinance, as the conviction of Ms. Parks under the ordinance would stand in the Alabama courts. She lost the battle but won the war. Query, however, why a Constitutional issue in the Parks case was not raised on the basis of the ordinance being discriminatory under the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, its enforcement involving state action, just as in the recent Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recreation facility case out of Baltimore, basing its decision on Brown, subsequently affirmed per curiam by the Supreme Court. While the latter case did not involve criminal statutes or ordinances, enforcement of racial discrimination by punitive action was all the more reason for holding such discriminatory state action unconstitutional. Even sought enforcement of private contractual racially restrictive covenants in housing had been deemed state action violative of the Fourteenth Amendment in Shelley v. Kraemer in 1948. For whatever reason, that theory was never advanced in the case of Ms. Parks and it never went beyond the Alabama appellate court, which found that Ms. Parks had made no assignments of error on appeal and thus dismissed her appeal. In Browder v. Gayle, however, four plaintiffs sued City officials in Montgomery in early 1956 pursuant to 42 USC 1981 and 1983 for violation of their Fourteenth Amendment rights for the racial discrimination of the bus ordinance and won, making the absence of the claim in the Parks case, ostensibly at least, even more puzzling. The thinking at the time was undoubtedly, however, that a national example of the situation needed to be made by bringing an economic boycott with its attendant national publicity, in tandem with the separate legal case, to try to bring an end to the need for repetitive litigation achieving only piecemeal victories in particular localities, just as the murder of Emmett Till had focused national attention in a dramatic, emotional way on the renewed problem of lynching. Thus, those who have argued out of the context of the times that the Rosa Parks matter was, of itself, inconsequential do not understand the times then extant or the entire flow of events which proceeded from her act of civil disobedience.

Near Shreveport, La., the bodies of four men were removed from an Air Force B47 Stratojet bomber which had crashed ten miles south of the city early this date, according to officials at Barksdale Air Force Base, with it being indicated that an Air Force crash crew and civilian authorities had reached the wreckage about three hours after the crash, which had occurred shortly after midnight on the banks of the Red River. The report does not indicate what had caused the crash.

Helen Parks of The News reports from Barium Springs, N.C., at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Presbyterian Synod that campaigns were being considered to raise three million dollars for a proposed college in the southeastern portion of the state and a 1957 campaign for Queens College of Charlotte. The Synod the previous day had called for the consolidation and merger of Peace College in Raleigh, Presbyterian Junior College in Maxton, and Flora Macdonald College at Red Springs.

The prevailing opinion among the delegates at the meeting was that the question of segregation in North Carolina Presbyterian churches would be settled at the local level, the delegates indicating that their understanding of the recommendation adopted the previous night by the Synod was that it was intended to be used only as a guide by local churches, the recommendation having asked the churches to consider dropping racial barriers to membership. The Synod had accepted an interim committee's recommendations which called for study of ways to admit blacks to public worship in the churches and in the Presbyterian colleges, with the vote having been 228 for and 153 against the recommendation. The recommendation concerning segregation was generally that sessions of local churches "earnestly consider" meeting "sincere Negro Christians at services of public worship and study ways of ultimately accepting Negroes into membership", that the local churches, where they had not done so, should establish committees on Christian relations for "continuous study and guidance in ways and means for full expression" of that aforementioned principle. At the 1954 meeting, the First Presbyterian churches of Fayetteville, Goldsboro, Burgaw and Maxton had presented resolutions calling for the Synod to repudiate the Church's 1954 General Assembly action on segregation, and the previous day's recommendations were considered responsive to those resolutions.

Emery Wister of The News indicates that mountain dew, that is moonshine, was now legal in Charlotte, provided it could be bought in an ABC store, that ABC stores all over the state were now stocking hillbilly corn whiskey in an effort to meet the competition of the mountain moonshiners and bootleggers. The state ABC officials said it would be a month or so before they could determine whether the legal corn whiskey was selling.

Chief of police Frank Littlejohn announced this date that a police officer who had been hired recently, after which it had been discovered that he had been convicted of an assault during the recent Southern Bell Telephone Co. strike and was forced to pay a fine of $10 and court costs upon conviction in City Recorder's Court on April 21, would be terminated. The chief said that the man had applied for the position in February, before the strike, and that the required FBI check into his background, along with those of many other applicants, had shown a clean police record at the time.

Dick Young of The News tells of those who would sip a refreshing drink during intermission of an opera concert or a Broadway musical at the city's new Auditorium never knowing what debate had preceded the installation of the soda fountain, with some 90 minutes of discussion by the City Council having transpired over whether there should be a four-spout or a two-spout fountain, with two flavors each, or to accept an offer made by the Coca-Cola Co. for the free installation of a machine with 12 spouts. They had wound up calling for new bids on the fountain for the lounge of the Auditorium. The architect had recommended award of the contract to the original low bidder, at $28,464, which had been reduced to a little over $15,000 through further negotiations. But a representative of another company had protested that the bids had not come up to specifications, as it was for fountain equipment with only two spouts, whereas the specifications required four spouts. The protesting company said that its two-spout fountain could dispense four flavors and called upon the man who manufactured the equipment to verify that statement. One member of the Council wondered how that could occur, how he could press the button for a Coca-Cola, say, and get a glass of beer, which would be bad. The manufacturer explained that it all worked by valves, and the company with that fountain claimed that their bid was low by about $4,000, but that they had been apprised that their bid was irregular because of their two-spout fountain.

In Hollywood, Marion Davies had become a hotel owner, the former actress announcing the previous day that she had bought the Desert Inn in Palm Springs for two million dollars. She said that her plans as sole owner would be to convert it into a miniature Rockefeller Center.

On the editorial page, "Mr. Smith's Embarrassing Insistence" finds that the great expense associated with the new Coliseum and Auditorium complex on Independence Boulevard had appropriately garnered the attention of the community's citizens. As an example, an expensive ring of tile had been placed around the Coliseum after it had been turned down by the City Council, with the tile having already been purchased prior to the matter being presented before the Council for approval.

Council member James Smith had insisted on an explanation, but had difficulty obtaining one. Quite a lot of money could have been saved if the order against installation of the tile had been heeded. It questions whether it was an example of defiance or simple carelessness, finding that the latter was apparently the case. Council member Claude Albea had said, with resignation, that the tile was in place and there was nothing they could do about it.

It indicates that while that was true, it illustrated the need for certain safeguards, to guarantee that such costly mistakes were not repeated.

You need to be wary of the tiles on the roof. Take it from us, in a particular violent windstorm in summer, 1958, which we experienced from 50 miles away, about a third of them will blow away. Perhaps the money which would have been saved by not putting down the fancy tile around the perimeter might have been spent on better glue or whatever attaching medium they were using. Why that particular item sticks with us, incidentally, we cannot tell you, but we distinctly remember the television report that Sunday afternoon, as the black floor fan whirred its accompaniment in the den of our grandparents' home.

"Look Deeper Than the Tax Rate" indicates that when Charlotte had settled on its 1955-56 tax rate the previous day of $1.77 per hundred dollars of property valuation, more than one member of the City Council had listened for cries of discontent, given that it involved a 12-cent increase and that the new municipal budget of more than ten million dollars had broken all previous records. But there was a general feeling in the community that the Council had performed as well as it could, given the fiscal problems at hand.

While the tax rate could have been reduced further, it did not necessarily follow that the municipality which spent the least money or levied the smallest proportional tax was getting the best or even the most in the way of economical government. It provides examples, and indicates that budgeting was extremely important, that the tax rate, of itself, was not everything.

"Charlotte's Economic Future: Airborne" wonders whether Charlotte would find its rightful place in the air age, indicates that after a 75-day survey, Joseph Norwood of Wilmington had developed a master plan for the development of Douglas Municipal Airport, presenting it to the City Council the previous afternoon, which signaled that the city would find its proper place in the new age.

He recommended expansion of air facilities, which would accommodate any new forms of air travel into the future, including the prospect of commercial helicopter service in the city. The plan had been received by the Council for its information, but the piece indicates that it should not be allowed to gather dust, should be studied and translated into effective action as conditions demanded. It concludes that Charlotte had the tools to shape its future in the air age, and that those tools had to be used for the continued economic health of the community and the industrial and commercial growth of the entire area served by the airport.

"Mrs. Hobby Set a Fine Example" indicates that with the resignation of Oveta Culp Hobby as HEW Secretary, another sincere public servant had retired from the Administration. Whether her resignation was at least in part motivated by the botching of the Salk polio vaccine program or only by the continuing illness of her husband, was left to conjecture, which served no real purpose.

When viewed as a whole, it indicates, her career had been one of valuable and unselfish contribution to the country, particularly in her development and leadership of the Women's Army Corps during World War II. As a member of the Cabinet and as a private citizen in Texas prior to that time, as a leader in the Eisenhower election campaign of 1952, she had dramatized the need for an the opportunity for women in politics and government. "She believed in her convictions and worked hard for them."

It finds that the President's choice of her successor, Marion Folsom, currently Undersecretary of the Treasury, was a good one, as he had helped to draft the Social Security Act in 1933, which he would now administer. He was also well acquainted with the overall Federal financing through his experience in the Treasury and as a member of a task force which had drawn up the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

A piece from the Lexington (Ky.) Leader, titled "Ike Flubs the Weather", indicates that the newspaper had strongly supported the President when he was campaigning in 1952, thinking that he and his advisers would do a better job of handling domestic and foreign problems than his predecessor, President Truman, or his opponent, Adlai Stevenson. The newspaper continued to support the President in most of what he was doing, but fears that he had made a "horrible flummox" of the weather.

Under President Truman, the rivers had run dry and the fields and woods had caught fire and burned, with parts of the Midwest turned again into a dust bowl, with the "Fair Deal version of the Okies" loading trucks and heading for other places. President Eisenhower had made an effort the previous year to straighten things out, but had not turned the water on quite enough, and the heat he had left on and forgot to turn off until fall came had caused great problems. Although seeking to profit from the previous year's mistakes, the President had overdone it again, in the opposite direction, forgetting to turn off the water while being late in turning on the heat. It suggests that a shakeup was needed in the Weather Bureau.

It indicates that the Okies (which it twice spells as "Oakies") were not going to California in the current year, that the dust had turned to mud and the trucks had gotten stuck in the barnyards. The streams, which had dried up under the Truman Administration, were now overflowing their banks, and woods, which had caught fire under the previous Administration, were now so damp and green that they could not be fired with a flamethrower.

"One of these days some weatherman is going to get ambitious and run for president on the 'Perfect Weather' platform. But it probably would rain on election day."

Drew Pearson indicates that a Congressional investigation into the manner in which retired military officers used their Army-Navy careers to get into big business and then used big business to influence Government, had been long overdue. Various Senators had talked about such a probe, and one could now be held in connection with the now dead Dixon-Yates utility combine contract with the Government. The question was how much certain high-ranking Army and Navy officers had to do with the killing off of the TVA through Dixon-Yates and how close they had been to the First Boston Corp. and the Mellons, as well as how close they had been to the President. He indicates that the facts went back to the times of Pearl Harbor, when Frank Denton, president of the Mellon Securities Corp., had come to Washington as a colonel working for the late General B. B. Somervell. Col. Denton had brought George Woods, president of First Boston, to the Army as part of General Somervell's entourage, and the latter had pushed the colonel for promotion to brigadier general, and, after the war, General Denton, head of Mellon Securities, in turn had obtained for General Somervell the presidency of Mellon's Koppers Co. Also after the war, Mr. Woods of First Boston, and Mr. Denton, of Mellon, had merged their two companies, such that, after 1946, Richard Mellon and his sister controlled First Boston, which had placed Adolph Wenzell inside the Budget Bureau to concoct the Dixon-Yates project as a means of blocking TVA.

After the war, Admiral Ben Moreell had been picked by the Mellons to become head of their Jones and Laughlin Steel Co. Recently, Admiral Moreell, as a member of the Hoover task force on public utilities, had written a lengthy, highly technical recommendation that TVA be turned over to private companies. While a fine naval officer, the Admiral knew nearly nothing about public utilities, and Mr. Pearson wonders who had written the report for him.

An investigation into the matter also should inquire, he urges, why those connected with the Mellons, from Mr. Wenzell to Admiral Moreell, had been so interested in blocking TVA. He also wonders why another retired Army officer, General Herbert Vogel, had been picked by the President out of nowhere to be chairman of TVA, previously chaired by civilians. Since taking the post, General Vogel had consistently voted against other TVA commissioners and for the Dixon-Yates project. Mr. Pearson wonders who had recommended him to the President and whether he was picked for the special purpose of gradually liquidating TVA, especially given his closeness to First Boston and Mellon interests prior to his appointment.

Mr. Pearson concludes that many retired generals had been appointed to high positions of late and that those appointments ought be scrutinized carefully if the tradition of being a nonmilitary nation was to be preserved.

Walter Lippmann indicates that it was naughty of the House Appropriations subcommittee to publish what Secretary of State Dulles had told them a month earlier about the economic troubles of the Soviet Union, requiring the White House to announce that the Secretary had not meant what his words had said, to avoid misunderstanding by the Soviets, who had already warned, through Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, that they were unwilling to let their concessions toward peace be interpreted as weakness at the forthcoming Big Four summit conference in Geneva. The Secretary had told the subcommittee part of the truth which he thought would most quickly persuade the subcommittee to vote for the appropriation for foreign aid, the kind of truth he thought they wanted to hear.

Mr. Lippmann indicates that it was not the first time that the President and the Secretary had appeared to be saying different things, with the President often expressing optimism when the Secretary would be pessimistic. He regards it as a harmony of two parts, the one addressed to the majority of the people and to the world, the other to the Republican Senators who had predominated during the first half of the Eisenhower Administration. Both voices were devoted, however, to the same end, to neutralize the once powerful right wing of the Republican Party, so that the basic Eisenhower policy of disengagement and conciliation could proceed. During the first two years, the President had never felt that he was experienced enough in politics or politically strong enough to make himself the leader of the Republican Party, and thus had relied on Mr. Dulles to appease and divert the efforts of Senate Republican Leader William Knowland and Senator Styles Bridges and their coterie to take over the conduct of foreign policy, particularly in Asia, and of the McCarthy wing and his followers "to terrorize and dominate" the personnel of the executive branch.

It had thus fallen to Mr. Dulles to hold the President's political enemies at bay, keeping them quiet with negative policies and what would not or could not be done, often with the use of stern words. It had worked because the right-wing Senators were isolationists at their core and wanted to use war-like talk against the Chinese Communists while also balancing the budget and reducing taxes. Secretary Dulles had breathed fire for them whenever the President seemed to talk moderation. When the Republicans had lost power in both houses in the midterm elections of 1954, the right-wing Senators lost their power to interfere with the President's policy of disengagement, retrenchment, conciliation and coexistence.

Mr. Lippmann indicates that the remarks which Secretary Dulles had made in private to the House subcommittee had been intended to make the Congress feel that they should vote the money for foreign aid even though the Soviet Government was discussing peace. Until the current year, foreign aid had been based on the imminent threat of an aggressive expansion of Communist power. With the change of Soviet tactics, Secretary Dulles needed to persuade Congress that Communist power was presently retreating because of the success of the policy founded in part on foreign aid.

He asks whether the President's power at home and the situation abroad had not brought the country to a point where it was possible to stop talking down to the Congress and begin talking publicly as informed and responsible men were talking privately. The great majority of Congress would have preferred to be treated sincerely as adults, especially when the extremists no longer counted for very much.

He concludes that no good could come from teaching the people to believe that the U.S. now had the upper hand and that the country could thus compel the Soviets to make concessions. The Communists were tough and the U.S. was far from having the upper hand in East Asia, could not delude itself into thinking that it had won the armaments race. There was neither any decisive advantage for the U.S. in the economic situation, even though the American free enterprise system and the mixed economy of Western Europe were stronger and richer than the Communist economies in Russia and in Eastern Europe. In the vast underdeveloped areas of the world, the Western way was not regarded as the only way, as free enterprise and democracy were much slower and more difficult than the strong centralized, ruthless way of Communist dictatorships.

Robert C. Ruark, in London, tells of a pipe being a "nauseous nuisance", regardless of where he might light it or of what it might be made. He had been told that a pipe improved with time such that the smoker might come to like it, but he doubted that claim. The only reason he smoked one, or a minimum of three, was that it made him so sick to the stomach that he did not have the heart for the extra pack of cigarettes, which he dearly loved, despite their reputation as "coffin nails".

But smoking a pipe for him amounted to an evening of horror. He believed that looking literary, like Bennett Cerf or Georges Simenon, was barely worth the trouble. And he goes on explaining his dislike for pipes.

He had spent a fortune in London, buying up briars, pigskin tobacco pouches, and the other "impedimenta", and thus supposed that he would have to give pipe-smoking another week. "But in the meantime, I am thinking about snuff, or the advisability of eating tobacco. As I recall my North Carolina boyhood, that Apple chewing tobacco wasn't too bad as a substitute for candy, and at least you didn't have to hire a babysitter to watch over the plug."

A letter writer responds to a letter printed on July 11, which had objected to an advertisement for a motion picture at the Visulite Theater, of which the writer was manager. He finds that there was something peculiar about a sudden burst of outrage against an advertisement which had been prepared by reputable advertising agencies and which had run in the leading newspapers of the nation, finds the outrage nothing new to civilized society, that some turned to censorship of various media as a solution for all of their ills. He finds that Henry V of England had the best answer, over 400 years earlier, when he had founded the noble Knights of the Garter, with their slogan, "Honi soit qui mal y pense", meaning "Evil to him who evil thinks." He says that because Charlotte was a metropolis in mind and spirit, it deserved an art theater, that his theater brought good motion pictures to the city, including "Aida", "Martin Luther" and "Romeo and Juliet". The advertisement for the picture in question, he indicates, was no more offensive than the cover of each of the 49 million pocketbooks which were sold across the nation each year.

He does not positively identify the film in question, but undoubtedly it was "The Game of Love", which, as indicated, had already produced bans in Chicago and Boston, though the upholding of the Chicago ban in Federal District Court and on appeal would be reversed by the Supreme Court in 1957, while upholding the basic principle of the ordinance involved.

The whole issue is a son-of-a-bitch. We do not impose bans in this country, either on people, or on media, because of the exercise of speech. How dumb can people get, while they wonder why we have these idiots running around with guns shooting up the place.

Try correlating directly that violence with repression of free speech, and you might get some answers, finally. Those who say "words matter", need to learn to define what type of words they mean and the context of their expression, that there is distinction between saying words which encourage immediate violence, the classic limit of free speech not to shout fire in a crowded theater, such that there is a "clear and present danger" of violence or physical harm resulting directly from the speech, and matter which falls far short of that standard. That includes "obscenity", which has never been properly defined because one person's "obscenity" is another person's form of expression or even art, such that attempts to codify the standard inevitably wind up void for vagueness or overbroad, as no one can conform their conduct to such laws without chilling clearly protected speech. It is not that "words matter" but rather that the context in which any speech is uttered, the surrounding facts and circumstances, is that which matters.

We are also not governed by the standards of the television networks or news organizations, and their self-imposed censorship to accord FCC guidelines and that of advertisers, a source of great confusion over the past 100 years or so. Such niceties of language were not the basis on which this country was founded and has nothing to do with the First Amendment. To exercise free speech does not necessarily entail cussing like a sailor, or outrageous displays for the sake of it, but, because of those more flamboyant cases earlier in time and the inevitable reaction to them, such that the new counterfeit form of freedom appears under the disguise of expressions contrary to those earlier standards, the most outrageous thing to many people now is merely the calm, rational display of common sense expression, if sometimes phrased in a way which is either ironic or literary, not comporting with the literal, that which rarely does anything except sit there on the page or other medium and lie flat in one dimension, not inducing anyone to any form of constructive action on anything. The literary approach is the one which usually succeeds in changing attitudes through time. Yet, it is that which has become most controversial for being least understood by too much of even the educated populace today, wanting meat and potatoes language only, with meat and potatoes not being symbolic of anything, only the concrete expressions about concrete ideas, with no admixture of gravel or rebar to strengthen the concrete.

That is why no particular word must be taken to be verboten within the English language, at least not in the U.S., for therein lies the road to fascism and authoritarian repression, the dream of every El Presidente, with violence in the society then taking the place of free thought and speech.

The populace generally needs to understand that singular concept, embodied in the First Amendment, that the latter is not just there to protect the endorsed idea, that generally accepted, but rather, primarily, to protect as well the unpopular expression, the expression, not endorsing violence or encouraging mob action or engaging in defamation, which offers some new idea or foreign idea or one which is considered insensitive to the general norm of thinking, controversial, the shakeup, again, which usually comes most forcefully through the literary or ironic expression, calmly made, not shouted, which is the very basis for freedom and democracy in this country, lest we lose it to the crazies with the guns who want to enforce their ideas on everyone else.

A letter writer indicates that he had studied and read a great deal about Russia and the threat of Communism, and had talked to world travelers who had been in and out of Russia many times, who were recognized authorities on Russian Communism, which he believes to be the most dangerous menace to world security and peace. He finds that the Devil would talk about peace, while leading one and all into slavery and servitude "in his pit of hell fire and brimstone." He finds Russia to be the "diabolical, satanic seat and regime of the Devil's organization of imps, demons, wicked angels and dragons." He urges the people of America to "stand guard against Gog, the land of Magog and the chief prince of the Devil—Russia." He urges living the everlasting life in God and Jesus Christ.

A letter writer finds it amusing that Charlotte had received more than an inch of rain recently when the Weather Bureau had reported less than a half-inch, indicates that when the Bureau had been in the Post Office building, residents received accurate weather reports, but since it had moved to the airport, the reports were kind of silly. The move made it convenient for the airlines, but not for residents of the city. He believes it was hotter generally in the city than at the airport, as one day the previous summer, he had noticed a recorded high of 93 degrees at the airport while it had been 98 in the city. He concludes that it was a "real, crazy, mixed-up situation."

We need collectively to sue the weather for being so vicissitudinous, not fulfilling its contract with mankind to be always pleasant and accommodating to our collective survival.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.