The Charlotte News
Saturday, October 21, 1939
Site Ed. Note: In "Aid for Turkey", we have mentions of Iraq as a puppet for Great Britain and serving as their oil supply, and even, for good measure, a reference to the British "homeland". How things change.
And it appears at first questionable, from the tone of the editorial, whether "Descendants" was written by Cash. Compare the comments on Beal to that in "The War in the South", in The American Mercury, published February, 1930. And take a look at "Disconcerting", an editorial of just the previous month, on September 8, 1939, refuting the charge that the ACLU was Communist. And, flash forward to "Beal Case", an editorial of July 14, 1940, in which Cash argues for clemency for the "anti-Communist" Beal. But he probably did write "Descendants". And he probably had not changed his view 180 degrees in the nine intervening years since the 1930 article or the 43 days since "Disconcerting", nor would rearrange his view yet again nine months hence. Instead, "Descendants" is probably one of the more subtle examples of Cash's uses of persona and reverse-psychology, to catch the eye of the hard of hearing. What prompted it, a letter to the editor, a thought struck by the writing of the book, we cannot say. But the editorial gets very exercised about the ACLU and the Underground Railroad of slavery days having flouted the law--but then also, almost incidentally, indicates that the law flouted by the ACLU, or as Cash styles it at one point, "CLU", really doesn't apply in the case of Beal, and the one flouted by the Railroad would have been immoral to apply in the case of slavery. So, perhaps we get it... that, in Cash's view, why these were just "officious" organizations bent on flouting the Southern law. Ah well, it was Saturday and, except for Aaron Copland's "Billy the Kid", he hadn't enjoyed the symphony much the previous evening, having gone out of his way the previous day to recommend it. But then again, maybe it was Dowd's editorial. We haven't a clue. Anyhow…
Follow the Drinking Gourd.
Aid For Turkey
The Nazi Claims Here Are Unusually Nonsensical
The Nazi claim that Britain and France couldn't send aid to Turkey if she were attacked by Russia and Italy, is a remarkable example of the curious Nazi determination to make words serve for facts. The truth is that Britain and France can send aid to Turkey in a dozen ways.
Mussolini's fleet is a good deal smaller than the combined British and French Mediterranean fleets, and hardly dares leave its Adriatic bases lest one or the other of these fleets destroy them in its absence. Hence it is highly improbable that he could prevent the transport of troops directly to Turkey or at least to the coast of French Syria or to Egypt. But if he did, then many other ways remain.
The French, for instance, can dispatch the terrible Moroccans directly across Chad to Egypt, can bring the dreadful Sengalese across the Sudan to the same place and thence overland by Palestine and Syria. (We do not say white troops, because of the rigors of the desert climate, which, however, have been endured before.)
From Egypt, too, the British can dispatch an army, made up not only of the Egyptians but all of the fierce Africans of her possessions.
And then there is the Persian Gulf, the shortest and best route of all. Between it and Turkey lies only Iraq, a British puppet state and a strong friend of Turkey's--a state which, as England's great oil supply, is already guarded by a strong British army, which would be immediately dispatched to Turkey if she were attacked. And through that route she did pour troops, not only from the homeland and France but also from South Africa and all the Eastern possessions and dominions--from India, from Malaya, from French Indo-China, from Australia and New Zealand.
How feasible this route is, is shown by the fact that in 1915-16, when all this territory belonged to Turkey, the British nevertheless succeeded in landing and waging a long campaign (the so-called "Mespot") which failed only because of incredible blundering.
Underground Railway Strain Runs Strong in ACLU
The Underground Railroad, as every little schoolboy knows, was a series of hideouts operated by anti-slavery zealots to enable Uncle Toms who had run away from brutal overseers and cruel masters in the South--they were always so in abolitionists' eyes--to make good their escape to the North or Canada.
Southern slave-owners didn't care for this naturally. Slaves were valuable property to which they had a title that was legal in every respect, if inhuman by present standards. But the abolitionists, among the most radical of whom was William Lloyd Garrison, gave not a fig for legal niceties.
Something of that same lawlessness seems to have been inherited by the American Civil Liberties Union, of which Oswald Garrison Villard, William Lloyd Garrison's grandson, is a moving spirit. When Fred Ervin Beal fled back in the early 1930's from a North Carolina penitentiary sentence for conspiracy to murder the late Chief Aderholdt of Gastonia, Communists and Civil Liberties Union members gave him sanctuary.
It was Roger Baldwin, for example, big shot in the CLU, who put him up for awhile (for the promise, Beal said, that he would surrender). It was Arthur Garfield Hays, counsel to the Union, who gave him money when they met in Berlin; and though we have never heard of her before, Corinna Michaelson, who provided Beal a hideout on her Connecticut farm, sounds like either an active or a potential Civil Liberties Unionite.
North Carolina, it may interest these officious persons to know, has a law on her books specifying up to five years imprisonment for harboring escaped convicts or fugitives from the custody of a peace officer, which Beal was. But, alas, the law was passed only in 1939, and probably is inoperative against persons outside the state, anyhow.
Even so and regardless of the justice of Beal's trial and conviction and the long sentence handed down, the resemblance between the Underground Railway which zealot abolitionists ran in pre-war days and the Civil Liberties Union as it is run now by a few zealot libertarians, is striking. Members of the Union have not changed a whit in showing the greatest disrespect for other people's laws.
Classicism Does Not Get Along Well Over Here
One of the curious things about America is that the classic forms in the art tend universally to break down and disappear. Superficially, that may not appear true. In painting and music we have had and still have plenty of classicists of a sort, and in architecture recent decades have seen a veritable plague of classicism. Government buildings in Washington and elsewhere, courthouses and city halls, even churches, have all gone in for what professes at least to be the Greek style.
But the pictures and music produced by our classicists have been largely negligible. And our classicism in architecture is largely a fraud.
None of these buildings have the gemlike quality of a true classical building, which requires (1) to be comparatively small and (2) to have certain fixed proportions. Our government buildings, city halls, etc. are simply huge warrens with colonnades stuck more or less incongrurously on the front: and the dominant motive in their "style" has undoubtedly been the notion, often mistaken, that this plan affords the greatest possible room in a given wall space.
All of which is inspired by reflecting on the ballet performance at the Armory-Auditorium last night. The first dance, set to Bach's classical Goldberg variations, was pretty hopeless. Marie Jeanne did fairly well, but for the rest, it was all heavy and a little grotesque, suggested nothing but a lot of people bounding about a stage to no apparent purpose. Only the music saved it from being a bore.
The other two dance suites, however, were natively American--one depicting the life and death of Billy the Kid, and the other an evening in a filling station, with the standard American accompaniments of drunks, tourists, bums, and holdups and murder. And both were utterly convincing and engrossing. The performers succeeded throughout in catching the native accent of the action, and making their movements thoroughly significant.
What explains it, we don't know. Maybe the inherent violence of our tradition and the comparatively free flow of our social system. Maybe, as it has been argued, the electric climate of the land. Anyhow there it is: classicism does not flourish on this soil.
The British Have Their Great Sub Heroes, Also
The popular memory is so sure that most people these days are inclined to think of the feat of the German U-boat in penetrating Scapa Flow and sinking a British battleship as an unparalleled performance for daring and skill. But Dr. Douglas Freeman, editor of the Richmond News-Leader, who probably knows more about war, especially the Civil and World Wars, than any other layman in the South, points out that such is not the case. At least twice in the last war, British sub commanders achieved deeds as striking as that of Commander Prien.
In December, 1914, Lt. Commander Norman Holbrook, 26, took the British B-11, a slow tub already eight years old, under five rows of mines in the Dardanelles, rose to the surface, and destroyed "a venerable old battleship, the Messudiyeh," of the Turkish fleet. Then he turned about, returned upon the same course, and came home safely, to receive the first V.C. of the war.
And in 1915, Lt. Commander Nasmith, took the British E-11 through the mines of the Dardanelles into the Sea of Marmora, stayed there a week and sank a dozen merchant ships and returned in safety. But how close was the squeak he found out when he got to the surface and discovered that he had snapped the chains of one of the Turkish mines and that it was hanging over the bow of his ship. While the crew waited with breathless suspense, the chain was untangled and the mine turned loose.
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