Tuesday, February 16, 1943

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 16, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, most crucially, an 11:00 p.m. curfew for girls 16 and under, because of an increase in venereal disease among "glamour girls in their early teens who chase uniforms because of misguided patriotism."

We feel compelled to inquire: What relationship would there be between the contraction of venereal disease and chasing uniforms? The chasing of uniforms would seem more likely the result of the latter stage of insanity which putatively besets those infected with the venereal disease, at least those who never got their penicillin. And, moreover, what type of uniform is at issue here? Are they referring to Easter bunny costumes? Or cowboy outfits? Santa Clause suits? Nurses' habits? Doctors' raiment? The list is endless. These reports need to be more specific and less imposing of an overbroad dragnet which only serves to punish the innocent together with the guilty.

It seems the better remedy would be to protect these girls from consuming Harvey Wallbangers, and probably regardless of age.

We, ourselves, intend to stay out on the streets as late as we please, at least until this order is clarified as to reason.

Say, you couldn’t spare an extra pair of lavender pumps or two, could ye? Ours got all worn out last week on the hoof down around Hollywood and Vine. It's rugged down there. There are some capital people, though. We stay out until midnight, at least. After midnight is even better. That is when Baby Lon goes on the prowl down around London.

Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham told a press conference that less than two percent of Allied shipping had been sunk in convoying over 6.5 million tons of ships to bear on the Mediterranean, in an effort to prevent any reinforcement or evacuation by the Axis of troops in Tunisia. The Axis had lost one-third of its ships in the Mediterranean theater since January, but had improved their capabilities after the seizure at Toulon when the Nazis apparently managed, according to the British admiral, the seizure of one hundred ships, that despite the reported scuttling of the entire fleet November 27. He also indicated that the Axis had enough shipping to muster an attempt at rescue of Rommel's Tunisian forces. But he added that he would not wish to say what would happen to them in the effort.

Rommel, having been reported the previous week as wounded in action, was now reported seriously ill in Berlin.

If matters extant were to remain unchanged in Tunisia, he might soon be reported dead.

More mixed news came from the Tunisian front as Americans and French suffered another setback by losing the base at Gafsa, but continued the fight to regain Sidi Bouzid, a more important strategic point. Meanwhile the British Eighth Army took Ben Gardane.

Apparently recovered from his illness in Berlin, Rommel, "cornered like a tiger", directed his tanks in a furious offensive against green American troops attempting to retake Faid Pass, taken by Rommel January 29. He "tried conclusions" with General Eisenhower on the plateaus where chariots once raced in the days of Carthage and Hannibal, carnage producing the silence of the lambs, as the running of the bulls--as with Ilse, the She-Wolf.

From Russia came news of the entry to the outskirts of Kharkov by the Soviet Army.

A delayed report indicated that fifteen Japanese ships, including twelve destroyers, had been sunk in fighting off Guadalcanal; two American ships, including the transport Chicago, had been lost in the fighting during the first week of February, preventing either evacuation or reinforcement of the Japanese contingent remaining on the island.

Congressmen Lyndon Johnson of Texas and Carl Vinson of Georgia, both members of the Naval Affairs Committee, the latter its Chairman, co-sponsored a rider to a bill to mandate the reporting to draft boards by Naval yards the names of any civilian workers absent without proper leave, the implication, as explained by Representative Johnson, being "work or fight", the object, to cut down on unnecessary absenteeism in this critical part of war production. A separate bill was being prepared to include all private employers producing under Navy contracts.

--Don't neglect to punch that clock, boy, before taking off for other shores, lest you be taking off for other shores.

Justice Frank Murphy of the Supreme Court, who had, himself, been on Army maneuvers during the summer months, had to be hospitalized for air sickness in Dallas on his way to San Francisco to visit his brother who had suffered a broken back and heel when his plane was downed earlier in the month. We trust that, with all the loving care attendant visitors to the fair city of Dallas traditionally, he managed his cure of air sickness successfully and was sent on his journey to San Francisco, Trans-Love Airways.

Speaking of which, the December 24, 1963 episode of our favorite 1960's tv series was set in San Francisco, even if they only used three establishing shots and, no doubt, shot the rest on home turf. As we have pointed out previously, Highway 101, which used to terminate at Fisherman's Wharf after environmentalists stopped its plowing through the area in 1959, no longer, thanks to the earth-moving benefits of the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, runs through and by the city. Pamela Tiffin, Madame Ruth in this episode, obviously kin to the school teacher in "The Witch", bearing the same last name, Norton, maybe her sister, accidentally runs the good doctor down on the side of the road with her 1958 Ford. We seem to remember that scene but not the remainder of the episode; maybe we had to go to bed, it being Christmas Eve. (We once, in September, 1957, had a whole backyard full of 1958 Fords with which to play for a whole week. Remind us to tell you about it sometime.) All the cars in this episode are 1961 models or older, leading us initially to wonder whether this one might have been the pilot, made much earlier, perhaps in 1960, postponed to Christmas Eve for reason of its subject--flashbacks to the doctor having a fight with his wife over adopting a child when she was rendered unable to reproduce when their son was stillborn, after which argument, he becomes addled and hurtles off, helter-skelter, in his 1960 Mercury Monterey, an obviously unstable ride for its bouncy suspension, a low-high, high-low ride, proceeds to drive aimlessly, stops, contemplates from a hill overlooking a fishing pond, a boy in his boat fishing, waiting until dark, returning--on approach to the house seeing suddenly, making his first appearance after two years on the run in three months of the series, still nameless one-armed Johnson, caught in the headlights just as a deer, the doctor rushing into the house to find Helen on the floor, dead, dead as a doornail, no CPR worth attempting apparently as he doesn’t. Maybe she was still alive. It was Christmas Eve though and there was no need to have a scene with too much intensity. He continues to drift in and out of consciousness, having flashbacks aplenty each time, to the trial, to happier times, sadder times, all while Ruth stands by the bedside, having been already cleared by the good doctor from charges by telling the police that he inadvertently stepped into the roadway without looking, an untrue statement, but one which the officer does not question. When the doctor awakens from his delirium, Ruth tells him of his rambles, but assures that she believes him as most people don't lie, she opines, in such a state of semi-consciousness, as she knows obviously from her stint as an airline stewardess meeting all sorts of delirious people, airsick, and so on. Since she owes him one, she takes him to her apartment, where things begin to happen, as you might expect, alone in her apartment, in the days of wine and roses, when, suddenly her boyfriend, who hails from Peyton Place, and had just arrived from "The Twilight Zone" in January, walking also through the valley of death, shows up at her door and the good doctor, first ducking into the bedroom, seeing her kissing her boyfriend, decides to be intrusive for some reason, apologetically pretending to have accidentally interrupted the young lovebirds, enters, introduces himself as her brother, suggestive as it might be of some sort of arrangement more fitting an Erskine Caldwell novel, but one set in San Francisco, Mr. Place accepting the ingratiating doctor's cover story, however incredible it might have appeared since he bore no earthly resemblance, nor even to Efrem Zimbalist, to his claimed sister, causing Peyton to leave quickly, her sad heart breaking as he does, her having recently discovered his secret, that he was married with children, the loving brother now taking her under his manipulative wing, slowly coiling his supposedly protective cloak around his sister's vulnerable heart and mind, of which he would possess in plenty, now arranges somehow to take her to a party at the boyfriend's house, unknown to her as their destination, rubs her naïve little nose and sadly earnest eyes in the boyfriend's plush life and plush wife and handsome children, lets her know the folly of her wishes and ways, wayward as they are, that she was just a string-along bauble, a stewardess on the airplane, a jived-mama, not going to be the star of the film except where the rabbits run free, now though coming to her senses, coming off the altitude in for the descent into San Francisco International, maybe, if fogged, rerouted to San Jose, flying over Coit Tower, erected in honor of Mrs. Coit's long-standing admiration for the San Francisco fire brigade, the doctor, meanwhile, being discovered by the boyfriend as not her brother at all, after his friend the detective, Dick's friend next door, of the Helper couple, also recently in the previous year walking the lonesome valley of death, upon his request, finds out his real name, George Browning, maybe a poet, and turns the information over to Mr. Winner, who, having previously discovered the broken headlight on the '58 Ford, became suspicious, sews together the facts well with the doctor's limping leg which he lamely attributes to a golfing accident, hence seeking the true identity of the doctor as Browning the poet who never was, finally gets drunk at the party and seeks to slug George, Jerry intervening as the good-cop Helper he always was, stopping the carnage before it could start with Mr. Show collapsed in the flower bed, as the happy couple stroll away from the party arm in arm, brother and sister, into something good.

Suddenly, the flashbacks to Helen have all stopped.

Will the doctor stay in San Francisco? Was he innocent, or was he playing o'possum just to fool the easily fooled stewardess just so he could go to her apartment and pretend to be her brother and care for her tenderly, protecting her from Peyton, the wild man on a rampage? Was he delusional within his delirium, trying to fool all who could peer into his inner landscape? Was the episode made in 1963 or was Ruth only about 18 when it was commended to some medium for preservation, maybe in 1960?

Only the Chinese restaurateur, whose establishment begins the program, knows for sure.

Fortune cookie for the doctor read: "From now on, make all cars in series more or less of recent vintage, mostly new Fords and Mercurys, not these old heaps, in order to attract big audience; expand budget."

Hers said, curiously: "Why was lug wrench in window of service station bypassed or overlooked by doctor during flashback to original escape from train, in favor only of bastard file, with which to escape last vestiges of clutches of Lt. Gerard, steel bracelets still affixed to wrists, flashing big spark of half-caduceus, bound up in bracelet, as he fall in crippled river going way downstream to elude hounds of Hecate, and why did doctor wait to employ bastard file to remove cuffs until, falling down embankment onto road where roadblock had been set up only few yards away, he had hopped into back of open truck, in plain view of all but blindest police officers, making as much noise in truck as possibly could to file away bracelets with bastard file? Did he wish to be caught? Very bad luck. Guilty conscience? Next time, doctor should hop truck further away from roadblock, sing song, "Bowling Green, sewing machine", starts, "When I was young, the so much younger than today..." maybe at stop sign or stoplight, after filing away bracelets in Evelyn's woods."

Ruth, incidentally, went on to become a chemist who developed a cure for philandering husbands, as the program had to have a salubrious ending on Christmas Eve. She called her cure "Our Sin IC". The doctor, unable to lend much more to humanity in San Francisco, caught a bus for Arizona, again. What was going on in Arizona?

Responding to the series of articles a year earlier by Tom Jimison, the Legislature passed a bill to place the state's mental facilities under one administrative board. The lawmakers also asked that O.P.A. adjust prices of milk fairly. They also invited Madame Chiang Kai-shek to address them at an undisclosed time.

Plans to have Mrs. Stalin come in and address them were not yet discussed. A resolution, however, was passed complimenting Mrs. Churchill on her nice attire. No mention was made of Mrs. Roosevelt. One of the senators was reported as undertaking experiments with the government in drug-related research, code-named Mad-Kow Ultra. Their newest drug: "Pep R's Pray".

On the editorial page, Dorothy Thompson writes eloquently, prophetically, and with lasting import on the necessity of a comprehensive United Nations organization after the war, with mandatory membership of the Axis nations, without which they would be deemed outlaw nations--not dissimilar to the conceptualization by the Founders of the United States, confounded by the Confederacy in 1860-61, confounded for four years until the lesson was learned palpably, only to be quickly unlearned once the hot breath of cannon fire and the prickly cords of minié balls ceased tearing flesh and bone apart, moments before being composite of a human being.

She believes that the currency afoot for a standing army, a superior air force and navy, to enable the United States unilaterally to police the world, would be an invitation to the growth of fascism in the country, an invitation to worldwide detestation of anything American, leaving the United States in much the same role occupied by Nazi Germany vis à vis perceptions by other nations, even if to be tempered by the country's democratic foundations and traditions. It would, in short, lead to a military state, she believed, certainly a growing prospect, brought on of necessity to defeat the Axis though it was, at this time in 1943. But a state which could not long endure after the war was won, lest it become what it had defeated.

Humanity and its foibles, she points out, its inherent tendency to sin by its instinct for survival, mandating an inherent instinct to kill, curtailed and inhibited only by civilization, once loosed from those bonds, in threads of instinctive self-preservation, given to react on those instincts, are tendencies not limited by time or national boundaries or nationalities, but universal within the human race, often at war with itself, individually as well as corporately. It is an immutable characteristic which could not be weeded out by control, by eugenics, by genetic engineering; it is a fixed star in the universe of humanity; it is one which must be conquered individually through creative endeavor; it is the only way to insure art, love, goodness in the world. There is no means, in other words, once and for all, to conquer evil by some force which we collectively label "good" from without. Goodness generates from within only by conquering that which is deemed evil, or counterproductive to society and the individual. Failing to understand that basic principle leads to dictatorship, individual or corporate. We accept neither in this country, in this world. We rail against it; we rebel against it. We always have. Try to tamp it down and you invite revolution in the streets, a revolution which cannot be put down by Star Wars, by tank wars, by an airplane equipped with hydrogen bombs to drop, or any other foolhardy machination meant to maintain peace while instilling only fear in humanity to live, ultimately destroying love with any meaning.

For that instinct to be free is also bigger than you, bombs, fascist, corporate ways. It is also universal within all of humanity. Any attempt to exert control en masse of it will not last. The attempt will instead be brought to its knees as surely as was the Third Reich.

We urge reading Ms. Thompson's piece, carefully, thoughtfully, with an eye to the future from 1943 and another eye from 2010 back to 1943, to determine both its prescience and validity.

Raymond Clapper continues his criticism of President Roosevelt for not stepping forward with enunciation of a clear post-war policy for cohering both the Allies and the Axis nations once the war ended. Sumner Welles, Undersecretary of State, who had coined the phrase "new frontier" in his Memorial Day Speech at Arlington the previous May, advocated a strong United Nations organization after the war, to provide cohesive economic planning for the world to eliminate basic material want and starvation, to establish decent housing and decent health care, comprising together one of the central Four Freedoms, sine qua non for realization of the other three, as well as to insure the peace, a peace made easier to insure in a world assuring freedom from want.

He criticizes again the voices of isolation, Clare Boothe Luce in particular, for her recent speech demanding control of the post-war air by the United States, indicating the policy to be one inviting disaster, the sharing of air power not being subject to the voiced criticism that other nations would enjoy unrestrained use of the country's air space while the United States could not enjoy reciprocal rights in the air space of foreign lands. He says that such is not the purpose of the notion of "freedom of the air" post-war, but that, without voiced leadership from the top to clarify this issue, tacit permission was being granted to the naysayers, the nattering nabobs of negativism, operating without air in a vacuum, breathlessly supplying in chorus the meaning of proposals being flown as test balloons by various Administration spokespersons, while the President was busy fighting the war.

"The Serpent to Strike Again" warns against over-confidence in the defeat soon of the Nazi and Japanese forces, down but not out, and determined to make stands to the end, their only desperate hope left to avoid war crimes trials for the leaders. It issues the caveat that the forces in retreat were being organized dutifully at strategically chosen geographical points of retreat, the Nazis along the Mareth Line in Tunisia and on the west side of the Dneiper River in Russia, and the Japanese at Buin on Bougainville, and at Munda and Kolombangara on New Georgia in the Solomons. It would take likely more than the coming year and the loss of many lives, the editorial foresees, to achieve the result of unconditional surrender. It would be so, and far worse than the editorial column appeared of late to recognize.

Sam Grafton takes up cudgels against General De Gaulle, finding him quite a detestable reactionary fellow who refuses, with gall indeed, to acquiesce and toady to the new order established in North Africa, that which had imprisoned since late December some 15,000 enemies of Vichy. General Giraud had proposed review of each one with all deliberate speed; General De Gaulle, in his unruly brusqueness and unacceptably boorish sarcasm, devoid of politesse, devoid of diplomacy, had suggested that his mode of review would consist of fire--meaning obviously that he would burn the prisoners. This General De Gaulle, Mr. Grafton warns readers, was simply an untrustworthy lout, which is why America had refused to recognize his so-called "Free French", probably costing something, had criticized his taking St. Pierre and Miquelon in December, 1941 without first seeking U.S. permission, and had neutralized his autocratic tendencies by placing in charge of Algeria first Admiral Darlan, and, after his Christmas Eve assassination, installing Marcel Peyrouton, former Vichy Ambassador to Argentina and Marshal Petain's former Minister of Interior, to be Governor of Algiers.

De Gaulle was simply a man of principle, not malleable, not a proper manipulandum, and not only was impolite but therefore completely untrustworthy in a position of authority during a war against Fascists and Nazis.

Well, everyone already knew that. What’s Mr. Grafton's gripe?

"Landon Whispers Wolf" obviously refers to Little Joe's pre-Ponderosa days, when he warned allegorically, in his period of teenaged angst, anent Fascists acceding to the reigns of power in the military-industrial complex, of which President Eisenhower duly warned in his last days in office in 1961, a complex born of war's necessity, never intended to be permanent, but which persisted, on the wings of messages permeating the subconscious mind offered up by Henry Luce in words and primarily in pictures, in which any four-year old could find interest and thus fly down the well to see Alice, after the war into the 1950's, refusing to surrender the notion of Perfidious Reds, born of suspicions before the war, despite Russia having been an indispensable part of the defeat of Nazism in Germany, saving in the process probably millions of American and British lives, deflecting also the possibility of Germany linking with Japan in the Red Sea and swallowing thereby the Mediterranean and all the oil of the Middle East, enslaving economically that which it could not have conquered directly with facility, except as measured by decades, America.

Or, the title could be a misprint. It may be "London Whispers Wolf", conerning the Cliveden Set deciding after all, after conferring further on Mrs. Luce's loose remarks before Congress, that she was actually in agreement with their ends and therefore Mrs. Astor spoke too precipitously, and corrected perfection must perforce cause their joinder to her cause. Or, maybe they were in concurrence ab initio, and Mrs. Astor's remarks were merely a front, disingenuously yelling "Wolf!" merely to draw the hastily distracted attention, in chains of irony, of their fellow travelers to Mrs. Luce's stateside remarks.

Or, it could have been about Alfalfa who was shot fatally in the groin in January, 1959, as he sought to obtain $50 restitution for his fronting a reward to a hound dog’s finder which he, himself, was responsible for losing during a hunt, a dog belonging to the man who shot Alfalfa. There was a "Rashomon" of versions to the story which ensued; but the one which counts is that Alfalfa was shot in the groin and died, while trying to collect $50 in restitution for a reward posted himself on another man's hound dog which he had lost.

Regarding "Hail to the Chief", we have to question why The News would be in favor of the Acting Chief, succeeding Chief Lineberry of the County Police, Severing his chosen successor. That seems cruel and terribly unusual without at least a proper trial.

And from Coronet, Generalissimo Francisco Franco draws an unlikely laugh for his encounter with the young retarded fellow, probably the Insurgents' water boy. Whether there was anything more to the joke, we don't know. The last line may have been its author's name. It may have been, however, an hilarious lively retort by Generalissimo Francisco Franco. We simply cannot tell. You will have to supply your own conclusion.

Our last lines which we here duly substitute run, instead:

The retarded fellow says, "You're the new idiot, same as the old idiot," whereupon the Generalissimo says, "No, I'm Franco," at which point the retarded lad responds, "O to be frank is a lost art indeed, among generalissimos, especially, such Hoes have I yet 'em seed."

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