The Charlotte News



Site Ed. Note: "Russ Prize" is of contemporary interest for obvious reasons. And it again shows, with the exception of two or three names, notably Persia for Iran, that while all things change, everything at last stays pretty much the same.

What may be to you and you a little spooky, if only a little--provided you credit it--is that we were busily dictating away and preparing for upload the editorials for just the weekly Sundays through August, 1939 and had planned to go into September and October, having reached in sequence August 20, 1939, when September 11, 2001 occurred. At that point, we stopped for four months, before ever getting to these entries for October 8, not much feeling like continuing to read editorials on this past war for the present. Anyway, sometimes we think that the first title sums it all up best of all.

Want to re-visit Barber's Point?

If Rod Serling were still around, he might wish to quiz us as to whether we remember what occurred by accident in the spring of 2001.

Ignorance Is Bliss

We Had Not Realized The Menace Of Barbers' Hours

The City's brand-newest ordinance, that regulating the opening and closing hours of barber shops, leads off with this preamble:

"WHEREAS, in the opinion of the Council of the City of Charlotte, it is in the best interests of public health, safety and welfare that the hours and days of work of barber shops be regulated: now, therefore..."

That word "public" is interesting. It takes in a lot of territory, including you and you, little readers, and us. And while we cannot speak for you and you, as for us we had not realized that it was inimical to our health, safety and welfare for barber shops to remain open beyond a certain hour or for a customer's hair to be cut before a certain hour or for our whiskers to be shaved off on a holiday.

There may be both wisdom and great necessity in this ordinance. Certainly it was drawn up and passed by grown men who are not in the habit of playing childish tricks. It may be advisable as one more piece of regulation to go with all the other regulations by which we now live and have our being. But to save us we cannot see where it is against the public interest for this barber shop to operate at night or for that one to open up, if it wants to, in time for the early-morning trade.

*Togas And Weeds

Membership In Congress No Bequeathable Possession

There is no law on the books to keep a Congressman's widow from taking her late husband's seat. Matter of fact, Senator Mrs. Hattie Caraway, who was appointed for sentimental reasons to complete the term of her spouse, has since been elected and re-elected by the people of Arkansas, who she seems to satisfy. But Mrs. Caraway is the exception to such rule as that established by Mrs. Senator Rose Long, Huey's widow, and "Miss Dixie" Graves, Governor Bibb's wife. These two ladies graced the Senate for a brief while and did their states' legislating, after a fashion, till the regular legislators came.

The candidacy of Mrs. Thomas S. McMillan of Charleston, widow of the honored First District Representative, seems to be on the Caraway order. That is, she is going to run for the place rather than inherit it for awhile by appointment. And while the qualifications of the lady are unknown to us, as probably they are to the voters, and while we bear her the greatest good will, it remains unarguable that membership in the Congress of the United States should be bestowed on merit, not out of sympathy.

Russ Prize

Something About A Land Which Is In The War News

The bones of Rudyard Kipling must have stirred restlessly in his grave yesterday when the dispatches reported that Russia was turning her thoughts to getting control of Afghanistan, with a view to using it as a base for attacking India. For it revived a fear which obsessed Kipling all his days.

Afghanistan lies to the west and north of the Kashmir province of India, is bounded on the north by Russian Turkestan, and on the west by Persia. To this day it remains a poorly known region. It has no railroads, and no roads that are anything more than passes. Its area is not exactly known, but it is somewhere between 245,000 and 270,000 miles. Its population is about 11,000,000.

Its people call themselves Beni-Israel (Children of Israel) and their chronicles claim that the country was settled by Solomon himself. Or according to another story, they are the descendants of the Copts of ancient Egypt. In reality, they are a conglomerate of Turk, Arab, and Persian elements. Their religion, of course, is Mohammedan. However, in the mountains in the north there are small groups of pagans still in existence.

The men are said to be handsome, the women often beautiful, with a Jewish cast of countenance. Bold and hardy, they are described as showing an engaging frankness and independence, but, trained to warfare from childhood, they are cruel and treacherous.

The country is divided into four provinces, according to the predominance of racial strains, language, and customs. Kabul, in the province of Afghanistan proper is the capital. But the other provinces have little loyalty to the central government, a monarchy. Herat is Persian in sympathy and the Turkestan province tends to identify itself with Russian Turkestan--a fact upon which the Russians are of course counting in their present plans, if plans they are.

Along the Russian border, the boundary is mainly an artificial one marked by stones. Hence the Russians would have little trouble in penetrating the country. However, there is a great mountain chain stretching across the center of the land, with peaks from 11,000 to 17,000 feet high and it would be no easy task to carry a military expedition through its passes, particularly in view of the fact that supplies would have to come across the Turkestan desert.

A Hangover

The Silly Season Ignores The Dog Star's Passing

The heat was gone--or most of it. And golden October had come again. But the silly season hung on. Maybe it was the harvest moon. Anyhow--.

In Germany an Admiral named Raeder solemnly warned the American Government that somebody (presumably Mr. Winston Churchill) had cooked up a plot to sink a westbound American ship, carrying 500 Americans, and lay the blame on Germany. He neglected to say how he came by that interesting information. In Washington the President solemnly ordered the warships to steam to sea to protect her.

In Warsaw the German army said that the Poles had fought magnificently, and particularly at Warsaw. But Mr. A. Hitler in a speech corrected that. It was not, he said, Polish bravery which enabled Warsaw to hold out so long but his own chivalrous will not to kill women and children.

In Rome Benito the Warlock came out of his deep study long enough to rattle the sword faintly and send his son-in-law off to see Mr. A. Hitler. Son-in-law came back. Mr. A. Hitler made a speech. In Rome the great silence continued to be broken only by very faint rattlings.

In Washington William Edgar Borah earnestly argued that to stop aiding Germany by refusing to sell Britain arms would set the Germans to blowing up all arms factories. Seeing that the products of most of our other factories were on the German contraband list in full equality with arms, the corollary seemed to be that we had better shut 'em all down at once. William Edgar, however, did not mention that.

From Berlin to London and from London to Berlin a conversation passed back and forth on the radio like this: "Our bombing planes destroyed the Ark Royal and smacked down a British battleship..." "Nonsense, never touched a hair..." "We did, too..." "You didn't, either..." Etc., etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum.

In Moscow Mr. Joe Stalin continued to eat up the little Baltic sardines and play Old Man of the Mountain to Mr. A. Hitler's Sinbad, all in the name of sweet peace and order. He neglected to say anything about coming to the aid of Mr. Hitler with guns if the Allies wanted to go on fighting. In a speech Mr. A. Hitler neglected to suppose that Joe was coming to his aid with guns.

In Washington the President and Congress prepared to give up many of our rights on the sea. In Panama, 21 Americans nations at the instance of the U.S. State Department, went whole hog on claiming new rights by setting out a strip of "territorial waters" extending up to 700 miles and including England's island and American continental possessions and demanding that the combatants keep their fight out of it. The general purpose seemed to be at once and the same time to keep us out of war with Germany and to get us into war with everybody, including not only Germany but England as well.

In Berlin Mr. A. Hitler danced on a tightrope, stood on his head, swallowed his left leg, spun around on his thumb, and writhed again on the double double cross in the holy name of peace, promising for the four thousand, five hundred and thirty-third time that this was the last territorial demand he had to make in Europe. There seemed to be no takers save only Lloyd George, long an advocate of smacking Hitler down.

In Berlin Mr. A. Hitler let it be known that he would be very glad for the President of the United States to take the lead in arranging a deal to give him Poland in time to digest it in the name of peace. The President, remembering some unanswered notes, did not even smile.

And so far, the world had not burst out laughing. Perhaps it was as well, for if it had ever started it would undoubtedly have laughed itself to death.

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