The Charlotte News
Thursday, February 20, 1941
Site Ed. Note: For more cuckoo words of Major Akiyama, as set forth in "Act of War", see "Wrong Bird", February 23.
And speaking of "Comedians", this just in to our desk:
They've struck again.
There is a sadness and deep, deep still in the air today, a palpable current of stillness, around the nation and parts of every state and town in it too. We mourn the lost souls; we don't know who is causing the terror, though we think we have an idea, but we are going to get whoever it is. On that you can rest assured as the nation moves to Red-Red-Real Red alert. We haven't been this Red since the 1950's, in fact.
For today it has been reported that 456,867 people in various cities and towns across the country have been victimized by terrorists since February 12, 2003, Lincoln's birthday, having been found wrapped head to toe in duct tape and plastic. Fortunately none of them died, but they could have. They were saved at the last minute because they had scissors on hand to extricate themselves from their predicament. We are thankful to the network news broadcasters for that latter breath-saving advice.
The terrorists though have such a vast network that they have been able successfully to penetrate this many homes in this short a time. And the look of utter horror on the victims' faces at their near-end before they were saved by the heroic measures of the clear-water thinking advance thought of the programmers at the networks, we cannot describe to you. We will show you pictures later, but be aware that these may be unsuitable for children and the squeamish.
This is why we had the Orange Alert, to prepare you for the Red-Red-Real Red Alert. See? Now, sadly, we have to declare martial law. And all those people said you were safe, that this was chicken little tactics, to get your minds off your ailing pocketbooks. No, not at all. Next time you will listen. So now, maybe this time you will listen when somebody tells you to go out and do something for yourself. The current Red-Red-Real Red Alert means that--and only do this during the non-curfew hours of 5:00-6:00 a.m.--every American should go out and buy 353 gallons of gasoline and 72,457 books of matches--which will get the economy going again after all, since we have no other plan for getting it going--take it all home, spread liberal--don't let the word fool you, it's conservative--amounts of the gasoline all over your house and wait. Just wait for those terrorist cellulites to enter your circle of protection. And then as soon as you hear one of them at your door--and they are wily suckers who may knock first or ring your doorbell even, but don't be fooled as they doubtless carry weapons of mass destruction, as we have just seen with what has quickly become known as the Plasticine-Ducter Massacre--then all you will have to do is strike a match. (Make sure your televisions are tuned to the Emergency Broadcast Saving-Grace Alert Segues Between Ultra Titillating Talkback Commercials at the time, too, for further instructions.)
So much for the Ducters. There now, follow that advice and your worries will be over for good! We go in an instant from being Ducted to playing the Match Game better than anyone.
(Who was host of that?)
Happy St. Valentine's Day…
Bailey Climbs Down To Talk Like a Confederate
Senator Josiah William Bailey has been accused of being a first-class fence-straddler. And there is no doubt that he is in general a cautious and canny man who does not easily lose sight of his political fortunes.
But yesterday he climbed down and talked out in public with a vengeance. In answer to a question from an isolationist Senator, he said that he hoped aid to Britain would not end in war, but that if it did he was prepared to face it. The only alternative was another Munich, and the first one had been too many. Rather than face that he was prepared to face the necessity of fighting Hitler now.
In saying that he was, of course, merely speaking the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of his constituency in North Carolina. But it was pleasant to hear him speaking out with sober forthrightness.
It was in such admirable contrast to the publication of North Carolina's other Senator when it came time for him to say in committee where he stood on the Lease-Lend Bill. Washington Merry-Go-Round reported yesterday:
When Senator George called the roll, Reynolds responded:
"For the bill--with reservations."
"Are you voting yes or no?" asked Chairman George.
"Yes--with reservations," replied Reynolds.
"Yes or no?" insisted the Senator from Georgia.
"Yes," replied the Senator from North Carolina.
Atlantic Can't Be Emptied By Using a Spoon
It is now three weeks since the City set up a committee to advise on the improvement of traffic conditions in Charlotte. And what has come from that committee? Precisely nothing.
It is a telling commentary on the policy of attempting to deal with this problem by half-measures. The job is mainly a full-time job for somebody thoroughly trained in traffic problems and their control--backed with the most active collaboration of the police.
To think that a body of amateurs who give the matter only occasional thought can solve the traffic case in Charlotte is to suppose that they can bring order into Bedlam.
The population is habituated to virtually no control. Yesterday we stood at the corner of South Tryon and Stonewall Streets and watched three cars deliberately run through the red light at high speed, though other cars were waiting for the change. Nor is this any isolated instance. That sort of thing goes on all over town, and we have even seen it happen at intersections where a policeman was on duty--at Independence Square, for that matter.
To end this anarchy only a rational and comprehensive plan, plus the most vigorous punishment of violators of the traffic laws can hope to bring about improvement.
Act Of War
Japanese Spokesman Explains What He Means by That
Adolf Hitler at his brassiest had nothing on the official Japanese spokesman, Major Kunio Akiyama, at Shanghai yesterday. Said he:
"The landing of Australian troops in Singapore is a belligerent action, aimed at bringing pressure on Thailand, which is cooperating with Japan in bringing a new order into East Asia."
Singapore, you understand, is a British possession. And British troops are landed, not in Thailand but on this British possession. Moreover, it is common knowledge that the reason they have been landed there is that Japan is "concentrating a battle fleet at Saigon--in French Indo-China, which she has calmly occupied--for the purpose of attacking Singapore and the Dutch East Indies. And at the same time sending an army to attack Singapore from the rear by way of Thailand and the Malay Peninsula.
That is the "new order in East Asia" the Major refers to--an order which contemplates Japan seizing British and Dutch possessions.
What it all adds up to is the proposition that it is the business of the British to submit quietly, and that any attempt to resist is to be set down as a "belligerent act." Five years ago that kind of logic was still wonderful, but the Axis gangs have made it so familiar that it has actually taken in the Burton Wheelers in this country.
A Possible Outcome of This War Begins To Appear
As we have suggested before, this war, despite its terror, may yet end in the world laughing itself to death. And mankind may escape from the incredible evil that is Adolf Hitler by eventually setting him down as a comic character like Captain Fracasse--a sort of Major Hoople out of the old Italian folk-comedy.
In the annals of history there is nothing to match the Japanese offer to "mediate" between Great Britain and the Axis. Japan is herself a member of the Axis. And we have just seen how she "mediates" in the case of Indo-China and Thailand--a "mediation" which ended with Japan taking all.
The little brown fox proposes to the lion that he would be pleased to sit in on the division of the lion between the wolf, the jackal and the little brown fox himself.
But if that is incredibly funny, how much more downright telling is the action of Adolf Hitler? That Japan made this move without his knowledge is impossible. Indeed, it is highly probable that he may have instigated it. But in Berlin he loudly announces that he will have nothing to do with it.
Adolf's a card!
But there is something even more incredible and funny about it all. Japan may very well have been talking partly for the benefit of the folk at home--perhaps in preparation for a move against Singapore, perhaps to divert attention away from the necessity of backing down about Singapore. But also she unquestionably was talking for the benefit of the isolationist-appeasers in the United States who are so bemused as to believe that a decent negotiated peace with the Axis is possible. She may get a rise, too.
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