The Charlotte News
SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 1938
The little brown man's lust to recover the"face" he lost in the Panay case seems to have run smack into conflict with rationality Thursday--and to have lost.
It looks more than probable that his ultimatum to the British in Shanghai to hand over certain Chinese before 3 P. M. in that day, under penalty of having them taken away by force, was based on the calculation that the British would yield and so give a great boost to his "face.'' But if so, he must have been taken aback when he heard that the order had come through to the 850 Lancashire Fusiliers to fight back, though it caused their annihilation. For it meant that he either had to go through with what he had started, or lose a great deal more "face." And since "face" is so important to him, his first impulse must have been to go on.
But then--somebody seems suddenly to have remembered that, while annihilating 850 Lancashire Fusiliers would be supremely easy, it was more than likely that, even in view of the curious British record in the last three years, the price of that annihilation would be that the British navy would ultimately come pounding into the Whangpoo--and that there was a good chance that when it steamed out again the Japanese navy, and with it the Japanese empire, would be on the bottom of the river.
And so--the whole business was set down as just another one of those innumerable "mistakes," and another consignment of apologies was delivered.
Study in Contradictions
How curious a thing the human mind may be was strikingly illustrated at Columbia yesterday when the convict William B. Woods insisted that it was he, and he alone, who stabbed Captain Olin Sanders to death in the attempted prison break in December.
This Woods is obviously about as tough as they come. He had it in him to stick an ice pick into Captain Sander's body two or three times while the latter lay helpless in the grasp of other convicts, and while he pleaded that he might be allowed to live. He had it in him to do that when he knew very well that it could gain him nothing--that on the contrary, it meant almost certainly that he himself would die in the electric chair before many weeks. It does not even appear that he had any personal grudge against Sanders. He killed simply out of hatred for authority and out of wanton brutality.
Yet, Friday this sinister fellow, knowing very well that his words sealed his own doom, apparently did his best to shield another man who the testimony of the rest indicates undoubtedly stabbed Sanders, too. Perhaps the swaggering will of the criminal to appear even tougher , than he is entered into that--as well as Woods' generalized hatred of authority and his desire to defeat the law of its prey. But it seems likely, too, that in that twisted brain, side by side with wanton brutality, is a curious kind of loyalty, and a sort of generosity.
No, we have no intention of sentimentalizing about him. He roundly deserves, we think, what he is going to get. But it is, nevertheless, a most curious glimpse into the complexity of the human creature that he affords.
Rendezvous With Spring
No spoiled lady of the ensemble, losing her pearls in baths of champagne (at the direction of press agents), has ever excited such rapt national attention as, in the past few months, the Southeastern regions of the United States have excited through books, plays, magazine articles, and Congressional filibustering. Regard Collier's, the national weekly, which affronted us with Walter Davenport, then asked Senator Pat Harrison to erase hard feelings with a little take-it-back piece. Regard the Saturday Evening Post's Stanley High, uttering kind and unctious words over a people he made no pains to conceal he looked upon as a mite curious. Regard the fact that "Tobacco Road" is still running; that Erskine Caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White took pictures and wrote pieces for a book about us called "We Have Seen Their Faces;" that Paul Green's latest is about us, and is named "The Wasted Land"; that the Southern Policy Association is talking and writing about us; that the anti-lynch bill rides the front pages.
It seems that many things we do are wrong. So be it. We observe that all is not entirely happy elsewhere, and we sigh for a better world. We promise to arise and do mighty things about many evils. But in the meantime ..... in the meantime, we note that the little peach tree in our back yard is putting forth a trusting virgin tendril or so, and that the cowpeas in our neighbor's yard have given way to a coat of grass that looks like a splash of new green paint. The snows may yet be on us, but they will be short, and before we know it the red loam will be turned up for cotton, and corn will sprout, and the azaleas in Charleston will flame, and warm Spring evenings will be soft with mist, and the mountains will be welcome blue.
And the South will yawn into Springtime again.
And no matter how hard we think, it will be even more troublesome than it is now to apply ourselves to economics, for the countryside is pleasant and there are many important matters, such as turnip greens and the new roastnin' ears, to concern anyone who wants to apply himself seriously to the South. Ho, as the fellow said, hum. Anything in the magazines about us this week?
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