Thursday, March 11, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 11, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Fighting French Forces of General Philippe Le Clerc had joined south of the Mareth Line with the forces of General Henri Giraud to combine with the British Eighth Army and the British-American First Army to form a circle around 250,000 of Rommelís troops, now left with nowhere to go but to fight to the death or surrender in the northern and southern sectors of Tunisia.

In Russia, the Red Army had completely encircled Vyazma.

In London, Sir Archibald Sinclair of the Air Ministry told Commons that a million Germans had been left homeless and two thousand factories destroyed under the weight of 10,000 tons of bombs in February, heaviest concentration yet of the war, including three thousand tons dropped in three nights, supplemented by the raid on Essen March 5-6 which he described as the heaviest strike on a German factory district yet of the war. Thus far in March, the RAF had dropped 4,000 tons of bombs.

Good news arrived on the home front for coffee drinkers as imports rose 20% in February, permitting a 16% increase in the rationing allotment, from a pound per person every six weeks to a pound every five weeks.

If you were keen on caffeine, you had better lean on those grounds, for about a tablespoon of rich java each day was all there was with which to re-animate you vertically from the Pegasus lay, a position on the job down.

On the editorial page, "Open Secret" weighs in again on the controversy surrounding Admiral Standley's remarks as Ambassador to the Soviet Union, suggesting that the Russian people were not being told the truth by Stalin about American Lend-Lease aid. The editorial defends the Admiral's remarks as justified, finding them encouraging of a lasting peace rather than, as the criticism had it, potentially provoking of Russia's ire.

The unstated implication was that the criticism would ultimately lead to the Russian people learning the truth. In a state, however, where the press was strictly controlled, such a presumption betrayed cogitation without realization.

"Count Me Out" criticizes Kay Kyser for seeking exemption from the draft based on his claimed delivery of essential services for morale as a bandleader, a regular fay geyser of fanned folderol, inferential nervousness, the Drum Major's minor beater.

Mr. Kyser was, however, 37 at the time, and so, as we suggested when the matter first arose October 23, 1942, he was not so deserving of condemnation, even if the reason given, transformertaining America, was more than a little flimsy, flaming in its representation. Nevertheless, he was by no means the only entertainer seeking such an exemption, and we are not so sure that the Army really wanted him on the front lines anyway, a ghostly post exchange of a skimption's redemption.

The editorial's reference to Shostakovich echoes that of Dorothy Thompson on January 22. But, is the editorial thus suggesting that America ought be more as Russia, hard-boiled, fearless, Red and brave, with a kinder, gentler machine-gun hand?

And, we must point out something which any true Southern Graduate will recognize instanter, that Mr. Kyser did not in the least "drawl". Rather, he spoke in soft accentuation. Lester, for instance, was flat. But a drawl, properly, has an extended syllabication, a slow, sonorously bass sorghum drip to its consistency, which, when one encounters it, one certainly understands, regardless of which side of the Fence one finds one's self in respect to its speaker, in the Great Society among, or not, the Silent Majority, on the New Frontier, challenged by the burgeoning Industrial-Military Complex hex. The editorialist clearly had not been educated at the Kollege of Musical Knowledge, but rather, in this piece, appeared more at a Duke Royalist without, in the Trade Mart's store of Commerce, Measure for Measure.

A tree grows in Brooklyn; a tree falls on Franklin. And, somewhere, down the road a ways, another tree is planted and springs from a new limb.

Ourselves, when in the first grade, back in ancient tymes, of mornings with nothing much to do but to while away the hours during the fall, awaiting school to start at noon, used to find supervenient nourishment from playing beneath an oak tree near enough our place of habitation along the same street, frankly, as our grandfather, from a short distance away, kept a mindful eye upon us, albeit without looking, as we collected acorns fallen from the tree. We seem to recall once, having brought the acorns back to our castle, with which we formed a small collection, placing some of them into a glass of water, in hope that they might eventuate, from their seedlings, into our own shady tree beneath which to play. We suppose that, in some manner of speaking, they eventually did.

They were, the acorns, that is, we also seem to recall, rather tasting of bitters. We much preferred, therefore, for stimulus of the gustatory sense, another sort of nut.

"Gentle Wiles" gives praise to Prentiss Brown, former Senator from Michigan, in performance of his first two months as the new OPA chief. Even if less stringent in his application of rationing and perhaps therefore providing less benefit to the war effort in the abstract than his predecessor, Leon Henderson, the editorial believes that his softer approach had placed him in a better light with the American people and that the resulting increase in morale would likely offset any deficiency in efficiency.

Raymond Clapper and Samuel Grafton both indicate that the Republicans had come to face reality, appearing ready to end for the duration any attempts to undermine renewal of the reciprocal foreign trade agreements, on which action was required by June 30, to enable efficient prosecution of the war. Mr. Grafton adds that the Grand Ole Party had also appeared to bury any determination to try to withdraw overtime pay. Even objections to FDR seeking a fourth term had barely risen above a whimper thus far, inspiring fewer howls of indignation than even the prospect of a third term had in 1939. Moreover, the moderate Wendell Willkie, a few months earlier appearing to be in no manís land among his party stalwarts, was now once again in the spotlight as a likely frontrunner for the 1944 Republican presidential nomination.

The quote of the day, from Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard", suggests the note associated with June 8, 1942 and the park bench observations of Cash on a snowy day, January 26, 1940.

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