The Charlotte News

Sunday, November 15, 1936



A Humorist Reformer.

A. P. Herbert, British M. P. for the Oxford University district, is a very funny man. He is to England what--well, say what a combination of Alexander Woollcott and Dorothy Parker would be to America with a couple of dashes of A. A. Milne thrown in. But he can be serious, this funny fellow. His "Holy Dreadlock," a satire on marriage and divorce in the tight little isle, was as well a baleful attempt to help hold up to ridicule the English custom of stimulating adultery, such as Mr. Simpson's with the accommodating Miss "Buttercup," as a means of wriggling out of marriage bonds. Adultery is the only cause for divorce that English law, with its close connections with the Church of England, recognizes.

Now Mr. Herbert, with great earnestness, has introduced in Parliament a bill to broaden the terms by which divorce would be obtainable. Marriages that had "irreparably collapsed" would be dissolvable, but not under five years from the date of marriage. "I believe," says Mr. Herbert, "that the measure would greatly strengthen the institution of marriage and at the same time increase respect for law."

It would seem so; and while the power of the American press over English public opinion was never, due one thing and another, at a lower ebb, we are glad to endorse the bill. All the same, it will be a funny thing if reform of a fundamental institution in England is to be attributed chiefly to a professional humorist. It would warrant the suspicion that the human race, for all its heroic pretensions, is fundamentally ridiculous after all.

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