The Charlotte News

Monday, June 5, 1939


Site Ed. Note: To show how things radically changed through the decades, how world war, threat of nuclear annihilation, death and destruction, imprinted remarkably upon the pastoral campus in Chapel Hill, we include the following article from The Chapel Hill Weekly, published this date on the editorial page of The News, re grassy pigpaths and parking. For those not in the slightest familiar with what in the wide world is referenced, whether you were alive, or thought so, in the forties, fifties, sixties, early seventies or not, either use your imagination or fret not in the least upon it. It happened anyway.

And as to Senator Bob looking like that man on the radio, as the man, himself, once said: "A thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for." Ah yes.

The Queen was in the pantry having breakfast with the courtier of the King. The King was in the parlor shaving pianos with the potions of the Ring. Phi Wavy, fie.

Burma Shave?

Hog futures?

Better defense without (B)ri(dg)es?

How To Make A Commencement Address

Louis Graves, Chapel Hill Weekly

When the newspapers told who was to be University of North Carolina's commencement speaker, a waggish friend of mine cut out and sent to me the headline, "Graves to Address Commencement Throng at Chapel Hill," and wrote on the clipping, "Hope you'll make 'em a good speech."

Of course the man named in the article was John Temple Graves, the Birmingham editor. But the incident set me to thinking of myself in the role of a commencement speaker--which, I must say, is one of the wildest fancies I ever indulged in. If I did embark upon a speech, with the graduates out in front and the bigwigs grouped around me on the platform, I would immediately begin saying to myself, "You're a hell of a guy to be standin' up here tellin' people what to do and how to behave:" and the idea would so overcome me that I would stammer and start and become so hopelessly confused that at last somebody would mercifully lead me to the rear and outside.

If my alma mater here asked me to address the graduating class, and if by some miracle I did succeed in keeping my composure, President Graham and the faculty would vow, when the affair was over, that they would never invite me again. For instead of asking my hearers to behold the parlous state of the world and imploring them to save civilization from slipping over the abyss, I would find myself saying something like: "You young savages, you have done your best to ruin the looks of the campus by making pigpaths across the lawns, and, since you didn't learn any better here, I pray to heaven that you'll get in the years to come enough adult education to teach your sons and daughters not to be grass-tramplers."

And instead of discourse on lofty themes like the "challenge to the youth of the land," I would urge them to try when they got back to their home towns to discover some way to solve the parking problem. And so on with other topics that everybody would at once recognize as lacking the dignity suitable to a University commencement. And about this matter of speechmaking: "There may be a dozen or so out of the six or seven hundred of you who have a gift for it, and who have something to say that's worth listening to, but I advise you to be over-reluctant rather than over-eager to engage in it. Take a lesson from what you are now hearing, and see what you may come to if you don't resist the temptation."

By The Horns

We've Got Our Fingers Crossed On Texas Jack For All That

John Nance Garner, the Texas Bearcat, has evidently decided that the best way to deal with a bull is to take him by the horns. His action yesterday is plainly designed to put the President on the spot about the third term question--and also about the Bearcat himself. Either Mr. Roosevelt is going to have to sit quietly now while the Garner boys garner (our profuse apologies) in the convention votes and happily peddle around the story--which they have already got afloat--that the President really loves Jack and would like to see him elected. Or he is going to have to join the issue squarely, tell the world he'd just as soon see Herbert Hoover elected as the Bearcat, and maybe confess to third term ambitions.

Well, smoking the President out might be a good thing. But as for the Bearcat's own ambitions, we hope they come to grief, as they probably will. The man is setting up now to be the great champion of business, and of the farthest Right wing of business at that. But back in the Hoover days he fought for just such a scale of spending as this Administration has adopted--such Relief as his following at present most heartily hates. That he is an opportunist is manifest from that, and indeed from his whole record. Moreover, he has no adequate background to deal with the terrific problems the next President will confront, in any manner likely to help the country. And--as everyone knows, one of the chief charges against the New Deal is that it has let its program get much, too much involved with politics. Would it make sense to set a man whose whole career has been devoted to politics of the ward-heel variety to clean up the situation? You answer it, Oscar.

Small Potatoes

Crusade Against Crime Tackles A Runt Adversary

Laws are laws and ought, let us concede, to be enforced. The result of not enforcing them in the case of bootlegging and the butter 'n' eggs is the concentration of money and influence in the wrong hands. And that's bad, because it jeopardizes our institutions.

As for all the little people who buy their pints of liquor and put their nickels on a dream number, we can't, to save us, muster very much condemnation. After all, within a few miles in almost any direction it is perfectly legal to buy liquor, and men simply won't take prohibition seriously. That much is known from long experience. And as for petty gambling, it's a streak that is born in us or acquired at a very early age. Almost everybody gambles a little bit, in one way or another, and thinks nothing much of it.

And so when eight plainclothesmen go out in pairs and arrest the operators of punch boards and baseball pools, as they did Saturday afternoon, it's pretty small potatoes. Sure, they're enforcing the law, and the law ought to be enforced; we've admitted as much. But in the relative order of wickedness--that is, against the big shots, first, and only after that against the petty gaming that does nobody any great harm and isn't organized to influence elections and control office-holders.

In fact, mates, sometimes we feel that the greatest handicap the police have to contend with in enforcing laws is the nature of those laws. They are so much more moral than the people who are supposed to obey them.

Grand Gesture

The Hon. Robert Moves To Assert The Proud Tar Heel Name

The good old Tar Heel name is not going to be lost in the common ruck of states like Kansas and New Jersey and Iowa when that reception is held at the White House in honor of visiting royalty. And for that you may--if you feel like it--thank the Hon. Robert Rice Reynolds. That stout old Quaker, the father of William Penn, would not, they say, take off his hat in the presence of Charles of England, because he thought it was servility for one of God's bipeds to act that way toward another. But the man who kissed Harlowe is, in company with the Hon. Ellender, the Huey-Long-blessed Great Liberal from Louisiana, out to make the old gentleman look like a piker. Out to strike a really telling blow for democracy--not to say for the Hon. Robert Rice and the Hon. Ellender--by going to that reception in whites!

For ourselves, it makes our heart leap up with practically unbearable pride. We can just hear the conversation.

George and Elizabeth in concert: And who is that bozo in the ice cream suit?

Lady Eleanor: Why, to be sure, Sire and Madame, that is the celebrated Robert Rice Reynolds, a Senator in Congress and captain-general of the Vindicators, of whom, forsooth, you must have heard.

G. & E.: Oh, we thought it was that man Fields who talks on the radio. And where may the great man be from?

L. E.: Why, from North Carolina, which is naturally very proud of him.

G. & E.: Why, certainly, and to be sure. And does the man carry a sign on his back advertising something?

Sound And Fury

Der Fritz Spouts Old Sophisms And Assumes Too Much

Mr. Fritz Kuhn, Fuhrer of the German-American Bund is out with a statement. He is sadly grieved and insulted, he says, by the attempt to paint him as un-American. On the contrary, his whole life is devoted to making America "really free." And as for the indictment for embezzling Bund funds, it is only an effort "to blacken my good name."

The first part of that is only the standard formula. Years ago Sinclair Lewis pointed out, in "It Can't Happen Here," that when Fascism came to us it would come under the plea of saving Americanism and under the slogan of making us "really free." According to Eugene Lyons, editor of The American Mercury, there are in this country over 800 organizations ranging from completely Fascist ones like the Bund through semi-Fascist ones like the Vindicators to some which are only subconsciously Fascist. And some of them are openly engaged in preaching hate and brutal oppression in the name of Americanism, and every last one of them proposes to make us "really free" by substituting intolerance for our tradition of tolerance.

As for the second part of Mr. Kuhn's remarks--it seems to us that he assumes much too much. The record shows that he was convicted as a common criminal in Germany before coming to these shores and then he lied about it in order to gain American citizenship as a cloak under which to attempt to destroy all that is decent in America. And in view of that, "good name" smacks very loudly to us of brash over-confidence.


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