The Charlotte News



Site Ed. Note: "And who ate all the Oysters?" she asked.

"Why, 'twas he, I mean, wasn't it?"

Curious, we smiled, grinning as the Cheshire.

For, you see, once upon a day, such 'twas about the month of October, somewhere along there, in 1999, we added the little photo pre-load page to this site, the conclusion of which reads...well, you read it, but read fast, Evelyn Woods or no, if you've a fast connection, for it disappears, like birds, quickly behind the arras. (For those still on the slow track, you've the advantage here.)

Not so remarkable that.

But that was before, you see, two and a half years before, we ever clapped eyes on this day's editorials in March, 2002. And that is somewhat Curious, we thought. Like a March hare.

For we knew that the reason we added that little bit to the photo pre-load page grew from some thoughts we had way back in fall, 1992, stemming from when we first looked closely at an article on beetles in National Geographic, October, 1940, while doing some research on W.J. Cash--of all people--wherein appeared the phrase "little policemen" in reference to beetles, Japanese beetles, to be precise. How odd, we thought, given that this article appeared in the month and year of birth of a song writer and singer who later became interested in regression therapy, a rather well known singer and song writer who in 1967 penned a lyric, also well known, though not always well heard. But not so, really.

Then there is in Virginia Woolf's (of whom no one should be afraid) Between the Acts, (we can't give you the page for we haven't the book in front of us, but it's there), published posthumously in 1941, a set of phrases which we came upon in 1991, also while doing research on W. J. Cash, and which later appear, more or less, in a song on an album with a plain white cover, save the little embossment, that album first published in October, 1968, the song before the long one--the controversial one, the fifth, not the ninth--on side four. How incomprehensibly odd, we thought. But not really.

For that is not to mention that the lyric refrain published in November, 1967, which some poor listeners misinterpreted, that being, "Stick it up your jumper", is more or less paraphrased on a page in Delilah, published January, 1941, and which, if you have paid attention up until now, is or may be somewhat important to the full understanding of W.J. Cash and the way he died. But that is not so odd either.

Because, I mean, ah yes, we, that is, you, he, she, think it will be alright. For the mind, the subconscious mind, will latch onto things which we read and hear and see and, quoth we, alas, give them back to us later as artistic representations of something different--and hopefully pleasing to the eye, ear and mind, and perhaps even more so when origins are fathomed, at least a little. For ah, the lonely people and the bells. Perhaps, all is derivative and all, too, is original. (Shall we copyright that?)

And just maybe, for anyone daring enough to think it, he, that is, the writer who wrote in his own writ, may have read a page--or many of them--in The Mind of the South once anon--especially given that in 1967, he, that is, W. J. Cash, was suggested to the world of letters as a "Southern Prophet"--perhaps, to better figure out us, that is, we, who live or have lived in the region wherein the records of the band of which he, that is the singer, song writer, was a member were banned and burned--quite wrongly, we think--because of something he said in August, 1966 regarding his band's popularity being greater than that of someone who lived long ago, someone to whom ardent reverence is given by many, especially in the South--which is quite alright, we think, and probably so too did he. For it is the fact that, indeed, they did kick Edgar Allen Poe, too. And that is duly chronicled in the line, published February, 1941, "And Poe, for all his zeal for slavery, it despised in life as an inconsequential nobody; left him, and with him the Southern Literary Messenger, to starve, and claimed him at last only when his bones were whitening in Westminster churchyard."

Well, all very interesting. A purloined letter, coincidence, or reverence?

Some will say, no doubt, "Rubbish". "You say?"

Yes, true enough, but why and how did we come upon these things in such a far flung and interesting way if so? Ah well, that answer resides only among the poets, ye all.

And upon the death of Oswald, steward to Goneril: "O, untimely death!"

Edgar, dressed as a peasant: "I know thee well, a serviceable villain;

As duteous to the vices of thy mistress

As badness would desire."

Edmund, Earl of Gloucester: "What, is he dead?"

Edgar: "Sit you down, father; rest you.

Let's see these pockets, the letters that he speaks of.

May be my friends. He's dead; I am only sorry

He had no other death's-man. Let us see:

Leave, gentle wax; and, manners, blame us not:

To know our enemies' minds, we 'ld rip their hearts;

Their papers, is more lawful."

Turn me on, dead-man. Kuku, Cu-shew.


Lewis Carroll's Creations Pop Up In Strange Places

Herr Ribbentrop is obviously a reincarnation of the Carpenter.

"Why, no, my little Balkans," says Mr. Ribbentrop, as he meditatively inserts his knife into little Balkans' shell, you may be sure that we Nazis and the nice Red Rooshians have no designs on you. On the contrary, my littles, we are doing our very best to create an order in the Balkans where you need never fear again that anybody will ever have designs on you. What we want is an order where there will always be peace. Is that plain enough, littles?"

And, "Why, yessir," say the Balkans, but not precisely with conviction.

And the very next day as the little Balkans get together to talk it over, the little Balkan called Rumania explains precisely how it is that the Nazis and nice Rooshians plan a new order. Rumania and afterward the rest of them are to hand over themselves to German direction and "become virtually a part of Field Marshall Herman Wilhelm Goering's four year plan for (German) self-sufficiency."

Oh, Oysters, said the Carpenter,

You've had a pleasant run,

Shall we be trotting home? he said.

But answer came there none,

And that was scarcely odd because

They'd eaten every one.


President, Not Congress, Is Foreign Policy-maker

Dorothy Thompson today turns her attention to a fact which The News has repeatedly pointed out in its editorials: that the present attempt of Congress to take charge of the direction of our foreign policy constitutes a rank usurpation of the Constitutional authority of the President.

The House of Representatives has no Constitutional authority at all in the field save that of passing on a declaration of war, its actions there being subject to veto by the Senate. And the Senate has only the authority to pass on a declaration plus the right to confirm or reject treaties and appointments of ambassadors and ministers.

The actual war-making power is vested in the President as commander-in-chief of the army and navy. And Presidents have repeatedly made real war before Congress got down to the question of declaring it. The Mexican War was in full blast before the declaration. So was the Civil War. A dozen times we have made essential war on smaller nations without ever consulting Congress at all. And when Mr. Wilson addressed Congress with a request for a declaration in April, 1917, things had already progressed to the point where a retreat was wholly incompatible with the national interest.

It simply must be that way. Not only for the reasons that Miss Thompson recites, but also for the conclusive reason that in international affairs great speed and decision of action is sometimes necessary if the national interest is not fatally to be imperiled. And such speed and decision is wholly incompatible with the nature of legislatures.

Site Ed. Note: The case to which Cash refers below is The Times-Mirror Co. v. Superior Court, 15 Cal. 2d 99. Perhaps if Cash (assuming it was he who wrote this piece) had the benefit then of the internet such that he could read the opinion rather than relying on scant wire reports, he might have come to a somewhat different conclusion. The Court, in a 4-2 decision, relied primarily on the fact that in all the cases joined before it, the allegedly contemnacious editorials were printed shortly after the verdicts but before sentencing and with new trial motions either pending or still available to the defendants, and therefore at a time when the trial judge enjoyed wide discretion on sentencing, including the possibility of either granting probation, sending the defendants to county jail on misdemeanor charges or even state prison on felony charges, or of course throwing out the verdicts altogether on the motions. With that broad discretion at stake, the inflammatory and biased editorials praising the verdicts and castigating the defendants, as printed in a newspaper with broad influence and readership in the community, were deemed by the court to have a "reasonable tendency" to influence the judge. Though, as noted below, later reversed by the United States Supreme Court, in support of this notion, as distinct from the jury sitting strictly as fact-finder in a matter, the California Supreme Court cited language from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Patterson v. Colorado, (1907) 205 U.S. 454:

"[In the next place, the rule applied to criminal libels applies yet more clearly to contempts. A publication likely to reach the eyes of a jury, declaring a witness in a pending cause a perjurer, would be none the less a contempt that it was true. It would tend to obstruct the administration of justice, because even a correct conclusion is not to be reached or helped in that way, if our system of trials is to be maintained. The theory of our system is that the conclusions to be reached in a case will be induced only by evidence and argument in open court, and not by any outside influence, whether of private talk or public print.]

What is true with reference to a jury is true also with reference to a court. Cases like the present are more likely to arise, no doubt, when there is a jury and the publication may affect their judgment. Judges generally, perhaps, are less apprehensive that publications impugning their own reasoning or motives will interfere with their administration of the law. But if a court regards, as it may, a publication concerning a matter of law pending before it, as tending toward such an interference, it may punish it as in the instance put. When a case is finished, courts are subject to the same criticism as other people, but the propriety and necessity of preventing interference with the course of justice by premature statement, argument or intimidation hardly can be denied."

(While Patterson refused to reach the constitutional issue and left the contempt below undisturbed because it concerned strictly state law of contempt, see also the dissent by Justice Harlan in this case which presages the rule, as the high Court would later hold, that the 14th Amendment operates to cause the First to be applicable to the constitutions, laws and court decisions of the several states as well as to "Congress". That, by the way, because of something called charters which we will cover another day, also includes the governance of local school boards who insinuate a certain Pledge on its students and thereby chill their individual recognizance. Anyone viewing 9-11, or for that matter Gettysburg, ought recognize what happens eventually to the citizens of a state as a result of that state not maintaining strictly the separation called for by our Founders. Intense emotions do not settle with intense analysis. Separation. (Incidentally, dis-Junk-tif Silligism, Separation and Establishment are corollary: without either, you get the other.) In other words, if thou wishest to go to the Church of the Pledge, by all means be our guest and do so, as often and as much as you like in this country we call the United States, every morning, noon, and night, if thou so desirest. But don't drag it into the public schoolroom. That is for learning about readin', writin', 'rithmetic; remember? But, constructively, maybe if it were simply a pledge to the Constitution of the United States and to the democratic republic for which it stands and leave out all that Sunday school stuff, no one really could or should object to it, right? Then we could actually teach them what that document rudimentarily says. Wouldn't that be a day? Alice: "Jerry, don't say that!" Jerr: "Alice, it's absolutely my First Amendment right to say as I please as long as I don't cause Butch to punch me in the face for it, assuming he were to do so reasonably, that is, and well, fighting isn't very reasonable, Alice--and as long as I'm telling the truth, of course, but with some bit of modesty about not being a tattle tale, that is, because, after all, Alice, tattling causes fighting." Alice: "Okay. But don't forget time, place, and manner. I'm going home now, Jerry. I've an appointment with the mirror. Byeee.")

Holmes' statement thus confirms what is written below in the editorial insofar as the standard for interference goes; the editorial merely assumes that the case was completed when the editorials appeared in the Times because the verdict had been rendered. So much for the wire reports, at least on court cases.

Often it is, we find, still today, that newspapers and television gloss over the detailed facts of cases and their holdings--and therefore often get it wrong in their analysis and grossly mislead the public. That lack of skilled analysis has improved dramatically, however, in recent years as more and more formerly practicing lawyers have been hired by networks as legal analysts. Newspapers, however, often still lag way behind. And the hapless local television stations, of course, are lucky if they can brief you on an automobile accident without trespassing on the rights of both the accused and the victims, just to get a salacious story before us, a story that rarely we care a hoot about anyway. In law, more than perhaps most other fields, the devil is in the details. We counsel the media to try harder on that and less on how glossy it looks.

For an excellent discussion of the limitations of a free press when it comes to comment on the actions of public officials generally, see New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, (1964) 376 U.S. 254. The case deals with a suit for libel brought by the Montgomery, Alabama police commissioner against the New York Times for allegedly accepting libelous advertising in 1960 from civil rights advocate A. Phillip Randolph attacking the State of Alabama, its Governor Patterson, Montgomery school officials and police for interfering with peaceful civil rights demonstrations and trumping up charges on which to arrest Dr. Martin Luther King. The Court overturned the Alabama Supreme Court's upholding the finding of libel on the basis that the Times was within its First Amendment rights in printing the advertising, though it contained certain inaccuracies, inaccuracies which did not impugn the police commissioner even though some individual police conduct was questioned and criticized.

And, incidentally, even though Cash had obtained incomplete facts from the wire reports, in a 5-4 decision issued December 8, 1941, with Justice Hugo Black authoring the majority opinion, the United States Supreme Court confirmed Cash's editorial opinion on the matter by overturning the Los Angeles Times convictions in Bridges v. State of California, 314 U.S. 25, stating: "From the indications in the record of the position taken by the Los Angeles Times on labor controversies in the past, there could have been little doubt of its attitude toward the probation of Shannon and Holmes. In view of the paper's long continued militancy in this field, it is inconceivable that any judge in Los Angeles would expect anything but adverse criticism from it in the event probation were granted. Yet such criticism after final disposition of the proceedings would clearly have been privileged. Hence, this editorial, given the most intimidating construction it will bear, did no more than threaten future adverse criticism which was reasonably to be expected anyway in the event of a lenient disposition of the pending case. To regard it, therefore, as in itself of substantial influence upon the course of justice would be to impute to judges a lack of firmness, wisdom, or honor, which we cannot accept as a major premise. The other two editorials publication of which was fined below are set out in the lower margin. With respect to these two editorials, there is no divergence of conclusions among the members of this Court. We are all of the opinion that, upon any fair construction, their possible influence on the course of justice can be dismissed as negligible, and that the Constitution compels us to set aside the convictions as unpermissible exercises of the state's power. In view of the foregoing discussion of 'Probation for Gorillas?', analysis of these editorials and their setting is deemed unnecessary."

(For an excellent discussion of the contra points, however, see Justice Felix Frankfurter's dissent, wherein was stated the following: "If the citizens of California have other desires, if they want to permit the free play of modern publicity in connection with pending litigation, it is within their easy power to say so and to have their way. They have ready means of amending their constitution and they have frequently made use of them. We are, after all, sitting over three thousand miles away from a great state without intimate knowledge of its habits and its needs in a matter which does not cut across the affirmative powers of the national government. Some play of policy must be left to the states in the task of accommodating individual rights and the overriding public well-being which makes those rights possible. How are we to know whether an easy-going or stiffer view of what affects the actual administration of justice is appropriate to local circumstances? How are we to say that California has no right to model its judiciary upon the qualities and standards attained by the English administration of justice, and to use means deemed appropriate to that end by English courts. It is surely an arbitrary judgment to say that the Due Process Clause denies California that right. For respect for 'the liberty of the subject' though not explicitly written into a constitution, is so deeply embedded in the very texture of English feeling and conscience that it survives, as the pages of Hansard abundantly prove, the exigencies of the life and death struggle of the British people.")

(See also "New Role" on this case as it related to the joined though separate contempt conviction of labor organizer Harry Bridges, editorial of October 19, 1940.)

Maybe the wire reports in this case, at least as read through the devil discerning eyes of W. J. Cash, weren't that bad, after all...


Courts Can Easily Abuse Their Rights In This

The Supreme Court of California has affirmed the conviction of the Los Angeles Times for contempt of court in publishing editorials in 1937 and 1938 dealing with two labor cases and the conviction of one politician. The Times plans an appeal to Federal courts on the ground that the conviction is a violation of the right of free speech guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

What happened in the labor cases we don't know certainly. The Times is probably the most rabid opponent of union labor in the country, and may have lost its head in these cases. But, from the wording of the Associated Press story about the woman politician, we gather that the editorial was written after her conviction.

In which case, we should be absolutely on the side of The Times in the argument.

There is but one reasonable limitation on spoken free speech--that it not be obviously calculated to incite to imminent violence. Even that provision is subject to great abuse and should be invoked only upon the most convincing evidence.

Similarly, we can think of only one reasonable limitation upon the free press as regards its comment on the courts. It must not actually interfere with the administration of justice. But that rule is also subject to abuse, and should be rigidly confined only to actually influencing the jury or exciting the populace to the point of attempting to influence the jury by intimidation or otherwise.

Certainly, it would not reasonably extend to criticism of the court's decision after it has been made and published. For that would simply be to say that courts, alone among American institutions, are immune to criticism. And to open the door wide open to judicial tyranny, which has often been quite as terrible as executive tyranny.

Site Ed. Note: For a take on the South's several languages similar to "Ca'lina, Indeed!", see also Babel in the South, a book-page editorial from December 12, 1937. And as the man said, not Cash, but one who lived and died long before him, Willie something or other, "Look with thine ears..." For when thou dost, it doest thou well. Look ye at number "3".

Explanation, anyone? We haven't the slightest, but we'll begin the matter by offering that maybe it could have gone as mysteriously and serendipitously as something like this: Mrs. L. knew someone who lived or was visiting in or around Charlotte, North Car'lina, (we just car', we don't ro), in 1940 and that person had just learned that Mrs. L., an English lass, was pregnant. So, a toy was bought, 'ey all, possibly an animal toy which would be suitable for a boy or a girl newborn some eight months hence. Needing something with which to wrap the toy so it could venture across the stormy, war-swept seas of the Atlantic unbroken and arrive safely in the ever-threatened seaport of Liverpool, the person wrapped the toy in the handiest wrapping paper--which we sometimes still do today to avoid use of all those styrofoam things which get everywhere and serve nothing except to further pollute our dumps with indestructibles. And, well, the toy and the paper wrap was preserved perhaps by Mrs. L. who sought to preserve precious memories, knowing as she no doubt did, that so doing nurtures the creative and the artistic, the understanding of different perceptions, to avoid raising despots and dictators. And so, it might have been, that later on the son tenderly serendipitously opened the paper wrap surrounding the toy and read the thing and felt a tear because it struck a coincidental chord somewhere in his memories--and wrote about it later, but in an artistic way to supply an added little object to the tour of the mind upon which his musical group was at the time embarking in their recording studio.

And that not unlike the journey we have partially chronicled above to come upon this day's editorials ourselves.

Or, maybe it was transcendental. Or maybe, both.

And we think that one is simple about the Dungeness off Dover. We figured out that one with the mere expedient of a 1967 Hammond Atlas after only 25 years of listening to it, after all. At least, we think...

But what on earth is "semolina pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower"? We've wondered about that one since November, 1967. Now, we think we might just have some good, confirmed insight into it.

Ca'lina, Indeed!

Some Editors Commit A Nearly Capital Crime

Time is in for it. Our guess is that the letters of protest from patriotic Tar Heels will run into the thousands. And what is more, the brisk, clipped, adjective-heaping magazine roundly deserves it.

For it begins a story of Jim Farley's recent visit to Winston-Salem to heave his hat into the Presidential ring, with these honeyed words: "Down in No'th Ca'lina..." Which is as though it had made us use the Southern family-plural "you-all," as a singular.

And of course there never was a proper Tar Heel from first (not fust, Time) to last who ever said it that way. North Car'lina--yes. With the first "a" in Carolina definitely flat, with the "r's" less harshly rolled out than in Yankeedom but still unmistakably there, and the "o" in Car'lina not quite altogether missing--present as a sort of pause in the breath. Lately, indeed, the school ma'ams have so insisted on the full pronunciation of the said "o" that it is becoming general now for it to be very clearly heard, even for it to be emphasized.

Trouble with Time's editors is that they are provincial. They ought to get around and look at the United States sometime. To which the South belongs, however much it may itself at times seem to doubt it. If they did that--oh well, they might by dint of diligence comb out somebody in Tar Heeldom who did actually say No'th Ca'lina. But that wouldn't prove anything save that the fellow or his more recent forebearers came from South Carolina.

There you have it. If Time's editors came South and looked at the country with their ears sometimes, they'd find out in short order that there is no such thing as a Southern speech, but many Southern speeches, that every state has one and sometimes two or three, each different from all the rest. And that the only thing they have in common is that they are all a little softer than most Yankee speech, though they drop no more consonants than New England's, and that as we have pointed out before, all of them are sung.

Miniscule Note: "Forebearers" is as it was printed originally, not "forebears". .'nisselb, 'nisselb, won daed si llap

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