The Charlotte News

Sunday, April 30, 1939

FOUR EDITORIALS

 

Site Ed. Note (added July, 2005): This day's editorials having been originally uploaded August 21, 2001 without note, we cannot resist now, four years hence, adding that "Introducing Rad" remains a constant through 66 years vis á vis the O.E.D. As to etymological origins of read, it redd and still redes:

[Comm. Teut.: OE. rǽdan = OFris. rêda, OS. râdan (MLG. raden, MDu. and Du. raden), OHG. râtan (MHG. râten, G. raten, rathen), ON. ráða (Sw. råda, Da. raade), Goth. -rêdan:-OTeut. *rđan, prob. related to OIr. im-rádim to deliberate, consider, OSl. raditi to take thought, attend to, Skr. rQdh- to succeed, accomplish, etc.

The Comm. Teut. verb belonged to the reduplicating ablaut-class, with pa. tense *rerōđ and pa. pple. *garđono-z, whence Goth. -rairôþ, *-rêdans, ON. réð, ráðinn, OHG. riat, girâtan (G. riet, geraten), OS. ried or rêd, *girâdan (Du. ried, geraden). The corresponding forms in OE. are reord and (----e)rǽden, but these are found only in a few instances in Anglian texts, the usual conjugation being rǽdde, ---erǽd(e)d, on the analogy of weak verbs such as lǽdan: cf. MLG. radde, redde, Sw. rådde, and G. rathete (for usual riet), Da. raadede. The typical ME. forms are redde or radde in the pa. tense, and (i)red or (i)rad in the pa. pple.; in the later language (from the 17th c.) all tenses of the verb have the same spelling, read, though in pronunication the vowel of the preterite forms differs from that of the present and infinitive. Individual writers have from time to time denoted this by writing red or redd for the pa. tense and pa. pple., but the practice has never been widely adopted.

The original senses of the Teut. verb are those of taking or giving counsel, taking care or charge of a thing, having or exercising control over something, etc. These are also prominent in OE., and the sense of 'advise' still survives as an archaism, usually distinguished from the prevailing sense of the word by the retention of the older spelling rede. The sense of considering or explaining something obscure or mysterious is also common to the various languages, but the application of this to the interpretation of ordinary writing, and to the expression of this in speech, is confined to English and ON. (in the latter perhaps under Eng. influence).]

(Note: We would be remiss for the strictest of our reders were we not to point out that the combination letter "", in "*rđan" and "*garđono-z", actually has a circumflex, (one of these: ), diacritical mark over its latter half. The meaning of "preterite", incidentally, may be interpolated from: "1854 Lowell Cambridge Thirty Years Ago Prose Wks. 1890 I. 52 'You shall go back with me thirty years, which will bring you among things and persons as thoroughly preterite as Romulus or Numa.'")

And, we had a close friend, closest of friends, who, having passed away three years ago, August 2, used to say, with special emphasis, when asked whether he had read this or that, that, yes, he had "rad" it. This friend of ours knew Cash in 1939. Whether thus was implanted well the idea for the below editorial, we don't know. But it is worthy to note that all of us have an influence on each other, some intrinsically for the good, some otherwise. Our friend, his wife, too, both teachers, one informally, the other formally, had, we can say without reservation, only a good one on us.

Proposition

This Poet Is Wasting His Brass-Bound Talents

Whether his poetry is good or bad we don't know. He didn't send us any samples. But measured by what he proposed to get out of it, it should be pretty good. Anyhow, we're convinced that the young man up in Cleveland County from whom we got a letter yesterday has his talents, though it occurs to us that they may be less for poetry than for selling real estate in Mars.

He would, he said, be glad to give us an exclusive contract for the daily publication of his verse. And in return he would only want two cents for each copy of the paper sold. How much that would add up to we haven't figured out exactly, but it wouldn't be far from a thousand smackers a day. That is why we think the poetry must be pretty good. For, according to our most careful computations, the young man would in a single year earn just four and one-half times as much as all the poets since the early Cro-Magnon bards--all the poets from blooming Homer through the Shakespeares and the Goethes and Shelleys and Keatses and the Tennysons and Brownings and Whitmans and Verlaines and Millets and what-have-you ever got paid en masse.

We hate to turn that proposition down. It intrigues us. We don't like to see poets have to starve in garrets. Candidly, it makes them write too much. And we'd love to see somebody really get it on a Big Business basis. Nevertheless, turn it down we are afraid we'll have to. However, we'll make him a counter proposition. If he'll furnish guarantees to pay us two cents on every copy we don't sell on the strength of his poetry, it's a deal.

Men Of Property

The Extensive Titles Of Two Dictators Are A Bit Tangled

Mr. A. Hitler and Mr. B. Mussolini seem to be headed for a collision in their title-unearthing. When Mr. Mussolini took over Albania, he explained candidly to the world that he was entitled to it by right, since Rome had conquered the Elyrian provinces in 221 B.C. He was a little free with the dates, but that doesn't matter, seeing the title had been extinguished all of fifteen hundred years ago. It is somewhat odd to think of a title holding all that time, but if it really does, then Mr. Mussolini is rightly the owner of most of Europe, including the western bank of the Rhine and Austria.

Yesterday, however, Mr. Hitler came through with the startling news that every inch of the country now included in the Reich had belonged to it by rightful title for many, many centuries. That seems to be a reference to Bohemia and Moravia. And to find any shadow of support for the claim, it is necessary to go back a thousand years to the Holy Roman Empire. That empire, "neither an empire nor holy," was founded quaintly enough by a Frenchman, Charlemagne, and sprawled all over the map. Namely, it was just a loose confederation of independent German states--not much more tidy than the Pan-American Conference. And save for an occasional Frederick II or a Charles V who took it by force, its "emperors" had no more power than an American delegate at the League of Nations. As for Bohemia--its connection with it was always extremely vague and consisted only of belonging to it occasionally as a sort of subsidiary member, and now and then paying a little cash into the common treasury.

Nevertheless, if Mr. Hitler's title holds here--why, the Holy Roman Empire also at one time or another had title to Lombardy (nearly the whole of Northern Italy then), Sicily, and other parts of Italy. That is, Mr. Mussolini seems to hold title to a very large part of Germany, and Mr. Hitler seems to hold title to most of Italy. It will be fun to watch 'em settle that.

Just Like That

The President Passed The Word, And 'Twas Done

Lo, the President told Henry the Morgue and Henry the Morgue told Congress that perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to defer for awhile the increase in the old age insurance tax rates that was scheduled to take effect January 1, 1940. Congress welcomed the suggestion, since business had been crying for tax relief, and promptly acted upon it. That is, the Ways and Means Committee of the House acted upon it without a single dissent. The whole committee, which is a large and influential one, approved the postponement, and that probably will be that.

The funny thing about it is that the increase in the tax on payrolls was only 1/2 of 1%-- in fine, a bagatelle. Whereas, the tax already in effect is 4%, which is to say considerable overhead charge on doing business, a deflationary factor and a deterrent to employment. And if the Ways and Means Committee was so willing to grant this tax relief, slight as it was, who knows but that they would be agreeable to reducing this and other taxes which appear to be holding business back?

Indeed, if the President would only give the word to Henry the Morgue and Henry the Morgue to Congress, the thing would probably be done in a jiffy. And good would probably come of it. But don't hold your breath until it happens.

Introducing Rad

Savant's Chance To Strike A Blow For Sanity

The Oxford editors of the New English Dictionary overlooked a magnificent opportunity it seems to us. Indeed, their failure to grasp it makes us think they were at bottom a lot of old traditionalists. But there is hope, if the Messrs. G. and C. Merriam, Funk and Wagnalls, et al. have a drop of sporting blood in their veins. And if that is so--well, let them look to it that the past tense of read be changed to something else than read. Maybe redd, though there is already a word like that meaning "to clear up, to put in order," etc. etc. But the danged thing is obsolete and Scottish, and few people use it anymore. If that won't do, what's wrong with resurrecting the obsolete past of read which was rad? It was also, we know, the past of ride, but that one was long ago solved by rode.

These gentlemen may expect, of course, to encounter furious opposition to rad, which looks like an abbreviation of radical and sounds foreign. But let them hold their ground, fortifying themselves with knowledge that in promulgating a distinction between the present and past tenses of read, they are performing a highly humane act, a blessing to all the little readers who have identified it as reed and had to back up to say red, or vice versa, and to all newcomers to the marvelous English language who have had to be taught logic to the contrary notwithstanding, that r-e-a-d spells reed and likewise red.

Let it be, then, read and rad rather than read and read. And if this alone does not send the sale of revised dictionaries shooting up by 5, 000 percent, we personally will build a monument to the Messrs. Merriam, G. and C., Funk, Wagnalls, et al., and call their name blessed.

Further Note: Cash had a couple of brothers, too. We had the pleasure of getting to know both of them. They were both, in each, their own right, gentlemen and scholars. One, we know, from direct experience, had a dog, breed unknown, middle-sized dog, nice dog. Its name was Frisky. Frisky, believe it or no, back when he was living there in the 1950's, could say "ride". But whether Frisky ever could read ride, we couldn't tell you. The one passed away in 1994 at age 90. The other lived to be 95. A long time past, about 1957 and thereabouts, he used to chew on our ear upon occasion--wethinks, perhaps to cause us to listen more carefully, at least once and anon, to that which we see. The night he passed away, we were stationed some 2,700 miles away from Charlotte, where he was. Without knowing that he had died or that he was even close to it at the time, that night, March 'twas, whilst we viewed a basketball game, (whence we knew the date by that when awhile later we learned of his death from our friend), we had an idea--an idea for a webbsite, one for readers, as well as, hopefully, for those learning, or even re-learning, the art. You are reeding the results, poesy and all, of that idea.

 


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