The Charlotte News

Monday, May 1, 1939


Site Ed. Note: (We will start this note for the second time; the first time, it got wiped out when lightning momentarily knocked off our electrical device--no doubt the higher Editor telling us something to note--or reminding us of the price we pay in this anno-post-modern world of ours for not doing things the old-fashioned way on a manual. Anyhow, we'll try again.)

"First Roundup", as with many other such editorials on local prohibition in and around Mecklenburg County as late as 1939 and beyond, reminds us that it is high time we issue an apology to Professor Bruce Clayton for our own lack of diligence in research on this specific point in the piece on Cash's death, written in 1998. While not detracting from the overall thesis therein presented, it should nevertheless be noted that the assumption that Prohibition completely ended in March, 1933 with the passage of the 21st Amendment, ratified December 5, is incorrect. It merely ended as a matter of Federal control, but still left to states and localities the ability to pass their own liquor control laws and ordinances.

We should have known this fact, for there are still some dry counties in western North Carolina, last we heard anyway. But not being particularly given to the stuff ourselves, and never having been, and thus not of the group of scalawags, (many of whom we count as among our dearest friends), who while in college on mountain trips would go on expeditions for miles out of their way to the next county to obtain the hapless spirits, it escaped our memory banks--and not because of the erosion of memory trails by negation from the spirits themselves, for, as we have said, not of our cup.

We would be remiss here if we did not briefly digress to recount the episode, some thirty years ante, where, one June afternoon, aiding and abetting one of our friends in such a journey for spirits for others, we brought our friend to a liquor store, parked perpendicular to the windowless side wall of the alphabetic building in the otherwise empty parking lot while our friend went inside to make the purchase. A few moments later, as we sat daydreaming on something or other, some middle-aged ruffian sort--so immediately fractious in mien and carriage that we knew instantly he was the proprietor of the drammed establishment--came storming around the front corner of the building, apparently able to see with some peering equipment the side lot, and exhorted in not too friendly terms to re-park the [ample cusswords] car correctly within the diagonals marked for parking or else he would call the "poe-lease"--for we were parked straight-in, you see. To which request we simply refused, and said politely that there was no other vehicle in the lot but that when and if the lot filled, we would accommodate accordingly into the diagonals, that we weren't hurting anything so far as our eyne could see and so he should do whatever he wished to do with his cusswords, not to mention his crooked lines. He looked a little stunned at our youthful pluck and quickly retreated in huff, but took no action, at least none that we awaited after our friend came from the store with the booty, wondering in mazement what had taken place, apparently, though we didn't ask, having gotten some admonition from the drammer as to the perils awaiting the hapless recalcitrant in the parking lot if things didn't change fast as to this straight-in parking rebellion. Apparently, the dramsayer wanted to impart plenty of dram to others by ensuring that the young college scruffies obeyed all the lines laid down in his state licensed parking lot while he purveyed his dram to get them well-drammed. Perhaps he was stunned at our intensely undrammed response.

The case to which the editorial below sardonically refers is apparently State Board of Equalization v. Young's Market, 299 US 59 (1936), out of California--or was it Joseph S. Finch & Co. v. McKittrick, 305 US 395 (1939), out of Missouri? Or, yet again, Mahoney v. Joseph Triner Corp., 304 US 401 (1938), out of Minnesota? Or even Indianapolis Brewing Co. v. Liquor Control Commission (of Michigan), 305 US 391 (1939)?


Whatever the case, we left the dramshop, sober and unharmed--not even bothering, as duly forewarned by our source, to look back at the diagonalized lot or its proprietor of salty brine, that is considering his obvious Sorser--though now looking back upon it, in some variety of detail, thirty years plus a month or so hence, it was, shall we say, very interesting--though the Sorser always intends something other than mere interest, you see.

Anyway, we duly apologize for the remarks in the 1998 article, even mockishly therein made, to the effect that Prohibition ended in 1933, "The Real McCoys" and "Thunder Road" notwithstanding. 'Tweren't exactly so in some locales, including Charlotte. So, that said, the article is duly amended by post-reference, though we won't change the original script, as there is much to be learned from minor error of the sort, and as we say, it really doesn't change the overall thesis by even a dram.

In "What Hitler Wants", to be followed in this period by numerous editorials of the sort on the situation with respect to Poland, Cash succinctly sets forth in the last paragraph precisely what Hitler wanted to do and would in fact attempt to do during the ensuing two years.

But you may read it for yourself, for, since we feel our taste buds effervescing after setting forth the text of "The Burgers", we will now rush along fast, pausing only to marvel at the many sorts of burgers that were available in 1939: Nutburger? Wimpyburger? Clamburger? And dig that a cheeseburger was ground up cheese inside, not slapped on top of, the thing, still by far the better way when you can get it, the slow way, that is. (By the sixties, the editorial could have added horseburgers, chips you wouldn't forget had you been there, but that's another story.) While on the topickle, we would be further remiss if we did not point out our relish for Green's Lunch in Charlotte--a quaint spot, wherein one can still get a taste of thirtiesiana to the day, onions, mustard and chili, all. There since before Cash came to Charlotte, though whether he ever partook of lunch or breakfast at the establishment, we can't tell you, it has a sort of magic, old-fashioned politeness plentifully in evidence, and is one of the best culinary spots, if not the bestest, to partake of the Burger or Wiener, anywhere, and at really good prices, though not quite thirties'. Try it if you are in Charlotte. We dub it the Mecklenburger. Much better than those chickenburgers, still in evidence roundabout, even in Philly. Note: Get there early, for they close at 4:00 p.m.

And if you're gaining weight by reading this, watch the recent documentary, "Super Size Me", guaranteed to make you turn green and think about taking up your arches, going to much slower food.

1815 Scott, Guy Mannering Or The Astrologer, Chap. XXXII: "Troth, sir, I am no free to swear--we aye gaed to the Antiburgher meeting--it's very true..."

Ever had a Warrin'burger?


First Roundup

Bootleggers Reminded That We Have Prohibition

Solicitor McCaulay timed his liquor raids with perception. The local purveyors to the thirst of this dry community would, he surmised, be stocked up for the Saturday night rush, hence would be caught with the goods.

Though, to be sure, it was on other grounds than possession for sale that the raid was ordered. Seems there is a Supreme Court decision to the effect that the holder of a Federal retail liquor license is guilty on the face of it of violating the prohibition laws. There are said to be 331 such licensees operating in Mecklenburg County, many of them, however, being retail beer and wine venders of unquestionable respectability.

In any case, the raid produced 30 arrests and very likely struck consternation into local bootlegging circles. They had begun to assume, in spite of all the pronouncements of the victorious drys and that abortive MAFLO organization, that they were invulnerable, and that prohibition had made a secure place for them. After Saturday night they can't be so sure.

What Hitler Wants

His Demands On Poland, Looking Modest Enough, Hide A Purpose To Destroy The Eastern Front

Whatever hopes there may have been that the world might now have a breathing spell before another European crisis began to develop, have been pretty well dashed by the announcement that Hitler has increased his demands on Poland. That, you will recall, was precisely the method he used before Munich. Godesburg far overpassed Nurnberg in the extent of what was asked and Munich made good on Godesburg. What the raising of the ante here seems to mean, therefore, is that Poland is to be terrorized by holding the example of Czecho-Slovakia up dreadfully before it--that every pressure is to be brought to make her decide she had better be quick and yield before she is gobbled up whole.

The ostentatious visit of Von Brauchtisch, German Chief of Staff to Italy and Libya: Hitler's loud boasting to the German children yesterday that Germany is the best-armed nation on earth: and the increasing clamor in German newspapers about "Polish atrocities"--all these plainly point to the creation of another deliberately made crisis, in which the nerve of Poland and the Franco-British bloc will be systematically attacked with the prospect of having to give Hitler what he wants or going to war.

Well, is what he wants worth war? That question is already being raised again in Britain and France, and probably in Poland. And if you regard what he asks for purely in and for itself, the answer is probably not. Danzig territory comes to no more than 500 sq. miles, and its population to less than half a million. The city itself is not much more than twice as large as Charlotte. And the strip across the Corridor would come to only about 400 sq. miles. Altogether, no more than the territory of an American county.

But to suppose that Hitler really wants here what he says he wants would be to make the same mistake that was made about Czecho-Slovakia. The claim that he needs a road and railroads across the Corridor are absurd. There are many and excellent roads and railroads which already run across it. Every day dozens of trains, thousands of vehicles shuttle back and forth across them from Germany proper to East Prussia and vice-versa. Troop trains pass at will between the two. And in case of war, the possession of these roads and railroads would depend in any case on the power to seize and hold them.

What Hitler really wants is to make Poland an economic, political, and military prisoner, as he made Czecho-Slovakia a prisoner at Munich. Danzig controls 50 per cent of Poland's sea trade. Gydnia, the new port which Poland has built at the end of the Corridor, controls the rest. With Danzig in his hands, Hitler will have gone a long way toward attaining his end. But the Corridor strip is necessary to complete success. With extraterritorial rights established across the Corridor, Poland will have no access to its own port of Gydnia save on what terms he chooses to allow--for no one can suppose, of course, that any guarantees he may give up will be worth the paper on which they are written. And also, with the strip in hand, he will be able to seize the whole Corridor when he pleases, since it would be impossible for Poland to defend it with German forces drawn across it.

To make Poland prisoner: that is his objective. And why does he want to make Poland prisoner? For several reasons, one of which is Poland's great industrial district and grain resources. Another is to set a border on Russia. But the main one just now is undoubtedly the fact that to make Poland prisoner will destroy the Franco-British bloc's plans. Poland is powerful. If war came now with Poland free, Hitler would have to make exactly the same condition that destroyed the Germans in the last war--the necessity of fighting on both eastern and western fronts, with the British Navy busily starving them to death with a blockade. What he wants finally is to destroy that Eastern front, to get access to food, and so to make the British Navy worthless for blockade purposes. And so to concentrate his forces entirely on the Western Front--in preparation for facing the British and French with a choice between giving up their possessions and power quietly or of fighting a war in which the dice will be heavily loaded against them.

J. D. McCall*

An Imposing And Entertaining Companion

Lawyers in court cases opposed to Johnson D. McCall, who died yesterday, must have felt that they were under a handicap to begin with. Well over six feet, imposing in countenance and manner, his address was that of a superlative orator of the old school, polished, smooth and convincing. His was an art as surely as Demosthenes was its creator, an art that is dying out with his generation in the South.

With it he combined an abiding devotion to right and a reverence for justice that dominated his whole long career at the bar. To leaven these admirable characteristics, however, and to give him the common touch which, rather than the virtues, endears a man to his fellows, his personality was marked by a keen sense of the witty. An entertaining companion, he enjoyed not only the respect but the affection of his professional brothers. The News itself was privileged on frequent occasions to carry communications from him on topics of the day, to the consideration of which he brought clarity and pungency and always a delightful style.

One of the many farm boys of Union County who have developed this neighboring community of Mecklenburg, he has left, in his descendants and in the record of his 50 years of political and professional service, an imprint that any man might envy. A long and fruitful life was his, vigorous almost to the last.

The Burgers

A Slightly Horrid New Suffix Is Made

Prof. Arnold Williams, of the Missouri School of Mines, is a little bit worried about a new suffix that has come to the language. Writing in American Speech, he calls attention to the rapid multiplication of words ending in burger. The original burger, of course, was the hamburger--a word taken from German immigrants to replace the term of hamburger steak which was once usual. But now there are things called: cheeseburger, a mixture of chopped cheese and burger; clamburger, which is simply the old clam fritter in disguise; lamburger, ground-up lamb; nutburger, a nut and meat sandwich; porkburger, ground-up pork; wimpyburger, an extra large hamburger; and worst of all, chickenburger, which is ground chicken.

It is a curious illustration of how people make words. Hamburger, of course, refers to the name of the German town, where chopped beef first came into vogue. And when burger is detached from that connection, it seems to simply mean "a dweller in a town." But apparently the impression has got around that it means any meat or meat substitute chopped or ground, grilled, and served in a sandwich. Maybe that arose from the fact that ham is sometimes placed in the hamburger. The ham would account for the meat, and so, as naive logic might have it, the beef or other meat must be represented by the burger part of the word.

Professor Williams is not pleased with the thing, and neither are we. But he concludes gloomily that these words or some of them are going to end up by getting into dictionaries as a part of standard speech. For ourselves, however, we draw the line at chickenburger. We'll neither eat nor pronounce it.


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