The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 4, 1939


Site Ed. Note: We maintain "Headline Hunters" of this date, previously added, separately.

As to "Candidate for Isolation", there appear to be two editorials proceeding at once, one on the actual 15-year old "boy" arrested for mutilating cows, the second, "for the man, whoever he is" who ought to be placed in isolation. Apparently, Cash distinguished the two in his mind as not being one in the same.

Whatever the case, of course, such things can be taken a little too seriously by the farmers, perhaps. It is one thing to mutilate cows--or to sunburn and get drunk a pig, for that matter. Perhaps, in the former the culprit didn't cotton too much to milk, or at least buttermilk, it being so sour. (The latter, perhaps, as we have suggested before, didn't care for hoggy hams.) Perhaps, even, the mutilator was distraught that the cows didn't deliver, fresh from the udders, chocolate milk, and wished therefore to destroy all of those udders delivering that casein white stuff.


In any event, it is one thing, as we are reminded by the piece on spaghetti,--referring back to "Settling An Argument", December 8, 1938, (we knew we included that one for some reason)--to mutilate cows, and quite another to mutilate them and then sit back and enjoy the beef over a roasting spit, while enriching the palate with some red Chianti and flava beans.

On the other hand, if you were to do so at the Biltmore, not the dairy, but rather the Vanderbilt summer mansion up there in Asheville, North Carolina, why who could stop you? You'd be rich enough to get away with just about anything. (Incidentally, sometime, check out their preferred deconvoluted decorament for their wash basins and, as we recall, even the doorknobs, both in Asheville and in the Hudson Valley. He wasn't a Commodore for nothing.)

Especially if your neighbor on the Hudson was the President.

Well, our imagination gets carried away. And we read sometime back about a supposed dream written up by someone regarding dancing disembodied heads of cows and all that stuff, probably some repressed sadistic urge-dirge of the Demiurge by some sick person. Who knows to what end that kind of thing might lead? Like speculating on the holes in spaghetti and macaroni, or even in Blackburn Lancashire.

We therefore vote for Isolation for all such sick minds.

And since isolation is of no use to anyone, well you might as well kill 'em. So, by natural consequence of logic, we vote for the death penalty, to avoid the worst results, sure to occur down the road somewhere, for all such miscreants. Don't you?

In fact, "What Goes On Here?", commenting upon Joseph S. Finch & Co. v. McKittrick, 305 US 395 (1939), leads us to be in favor of reinvigorating prohibition across the land. We think it might suit the fancies of the currently engaged obvious majority constituency of the country just fine. For, indeed, any group of people who can't count, and for over five years now, must indeed be drunk as sailors and in need of a little, at least a little, prohibition, don't you think?

We vote, therefore, perfectly legal under the 21st Amendment, to start a national state by state, county by county, movement to Bring Back Prohibition, the BBP's.

That way, we insure perfection in all our little places of steadfast Christian worship and devotion, as they surely appear, and always have, to be.

And the F.B.I. will then have plenty of Terrorists after whom to go, after that; and plenty of domestic spying to do to whet the appetites of all of those who think it perfectly okay to do that, at least a little. Little? Given these malcontents, we say, let's instead have at it. Let's spy, spy, spy, with a vengeance. Why not? It appears quite legal. And, as they say, Texas is Big because it does things always in a Big Way--at least something like that.

Ach, ach, ach--we said, absolute temperance. No exceptions, Anheuser.

And Clyde, leave the horse alone.

No more trips to the moon, Richie, either.

Why, if you haven't anything to hide, as we heard someone just this morning say right there on the tv, what fear ye the peeper or eavesdropper?

We agree.

We favor neighbor on neighbor spying to insure domestic tranquility, and, most definitely, to insure absolute temperance in every way, in every single solitary person. If caught the least little wee bit by your neighbor doing any little thing your neighbor finds to be intemperant, then off to Isolation with you. (And anyone who looks intemperant, that is to say, who looks in anywise different from the person judging them, will be automatically adjudged so, with or without neighbor complaint. (Cf. E. P. of the 14th A.; skip D. P., as it is obviously neither any longer fashionable nor tolerable)) Then, as isolation camps will undoubtedly get full, well...

In fact, if you are not in favor of this movement, you must have something to hide; and therefore deserve to be locked up in your own home, prevented from leaving it, except during the hours of 5:00 to 6:00 a.m., for the purpose, to wit, of going out once per week to buy milk.

First, however, we must go attend to our flava beans; they are burning.

Candidate For Isolation

We have no intention of passing judgment on the 15-year-old Negro boy who has been arrested in connection with the mutilation of fifteen cows in the city. The question of his guilt or innocence is strictly one for a jury. And there is a possibility that the whole matter is purely one of spite--perhaps the spite of a still childish mind, perhaps that of some older person. But the number of animals involved seems virtually to preclude that possibility. And--

There are in the books of the psychiatrists many case histories which are quite probably applicable to this case. The case histories, in particular, of sodomists and sadists. A sodomist, broadly speaking, is anyone in whom the sexual impulse has been diverted to unnatural objects; more often to the lower animals. And the sadist, of course, is one in which the love impulse takes the form of desire to inflict pain or death, especially upon the loved (usually secretly) object. The perpetrator of these mutilations of the animals may quite possibly be afflicted with both psychoses.

In any case, a thorough investigation had better be instituted. For the man, whoever he is, ought to be permanently isolated. These aberrations can change their forms easily. And it is entirely possible that what is now breaking out in inflicting injury upon animals may presently be turned upon human beings.

Lobby on the Job

We saw a story in the paper the other day under a Washington dateline headed, "Pension Lobby Gets In Action." It referred, as one would suppose, to the Townsend Planners, the "$30-Every Thursday" galoots and the General Welfare Federation of America, an outfit whose pet nostrum (as well as its price) is unknown to us. But no matter. The lunatic fringe is mobilizing coincidentally with Congress, and there is no telling what will happen.

There is one pension lobby, however, which never ceases its firing at Congress, in session or not. And telling what will happen as a result of its button-holing is comparatively easy. It will obtain recognition for claims of purely presumptive validity, perhaps an increase in pension scales, and make a little progress toward the day when everybody in this class of beneficiaries receives a handout.

The lunatic fringe, with its absurd schemes and its grandiose ideas, obscures the very practical and successful pension lobby maintained in Washington by the veterans of this country's wars. But the taxpayers get the bill for this lobby, just the same, to the tune of about $400,000,000 a year--a bill which, strangely enough, is likely to increase as the last of our wars recedes into the dimming past.

What Goes On Here?

Argument with Justice Brandeis, and the whole Supreme Court besides, would not ordinarily be our chosen dish. But if our understanding of the decision rendered yesterday upholding the Michigan and Missouri statutes, which bar beer made in a number of the states, including North Carolina, is correct, we are bound to wonder, "how come?"

Nobody questions, of course, that the 21st amendment did mean to make it plain that "the substantive power of the state to prevent the sale of liquor is undoubted." But, surely, that means simply the right to decide to be wholly or partly dry or wet, as the people of the given state choose. And not that the amendment was intended to suspend the commerce clause and the due process clause.

So far as we know, there is no discrimination in North Carolina's law, and there doesn't have to be under this ruling. Given the suspension of the commerce clause and due process, and granted the absolute right to prescribe all conditions whatever under which liquor from other states may be imported, wholly without regard to whether they have anything to do with wetness or dryness, then the legislators of any state can make a mere word or a comma in the law of another state an excuse--or simply bar its products because, forsooth, they don't like the faces of its denizens. And the natural reaction is going to be retaliation in kind, of course.

Carry that through to its logical conclusion, and we would end, not as a nation at all but a mere aggregation of 48 separate republics militantly ensconced behind 48 tariff walls.

Brash Predictions

In keeping with the constitutional requirement that "he shall from time to time give the Congress information of the state of the Union," the President this afternoon will address a joint session of the Senate and House. It is slightly foolhardy to guess at what the great man is going to say, with the saying itself so imminent, but just for fun, and not minding very much if we are wrong, we make these predictions:

That his address will be general in theme and reassuring in tone, a far cry from the staccato, piecemeal messages, one to a topic, of the first "100 Days" Congress.

That he will bear down hard on the international situation, castigating the dictatorships and their humanity and extolling the virtues of democracy in contrast.

That he will deftly turn this contrast into a persuasive argument that now is the time for all Americans to come to the aid of the New Deal--and make it work.

That he will recommend extensive defense measures and make eyes at South America.

That he will feint with only a few vague passes in the direction of economy and a balanced budget, leaving the bad news for his budget message tomorrow.

That he will state the case again for reorganization, and remind the Republicans that he is asking no more than all recent Republican Presidents have asked.

That ourselves, in spite of six years' disillusioning experience with what the New Deal has hoped to accomplish and what it has utterly failed to accomplish, will be impressed once more with its proprietor's sincerity and swayed by a sublime confidence in himself and his mission.

The Hole In Spaghetti

We thought we knew about spaghetti and macaroni when we picked up Billy Arthur's little squib about the bet he was called on to settle as to what the difference between them may be. At least we thought that the combination of ourselves and the Messrs. G&C. Merriam's New International Dictionary knew. Webster had it that spaghetti was a solid strand of dough and that macaroni was a bigger strand rolled into a tube. Besides that, spaghetti was something the Italians washed down in prodigious quantities with good red Chianti. And macaroni was something which in the South is mixed with cheese and served as a normal part of Sunday dinner. And that was about all there was to know about spaghetti and macaroni.

But it turns out that we were incredibly ignorant. Mr. M. J. Donna, of the National Macaroni Manufacturers, addresses us politely but still with definite reproach. Spaghetti, it turns out, can have a hole in it just as well as macaroni. Spaghetti, it turns out, does have a tiny hole right down its length. Which seems to leave a great hole in our own cock-sureness. Ah, well, we were right about two things, anyhow. The common species of macaroni is larger than spaghetti. And the Italians do seem to eat a lot of spaghetti. So much of it, in fact, that the stuff is put up in 157 shapes and varieties, whereas the American market only affords room for about twelve!

Site Ed. Note: And, for reasons best left only to ourselves, for now, we include the following three little squibs, as well, as long as we are on the subject of squibs, from today's prints:

For Horses And Women

(Olin Miller, Atlanta Journal)

Rev. Zed Speer, of Edenton, tells of a doctor who believed in alcohol as a cure for ills. The doctor specialized in the treatment of horses, and always carried a supply of liquor for the purpose. He drank the liquor during his excitement over the horse's troubles, and then rubbed the empty bottle over the place where the horse was hurting.--Eugene Anderson in The Macon Telegraph.

This reminds us of an "old line" which some of our readers may not have heard: A woman fainted on a train, and a number of passengers gathered around and were trying to revive her. A distinguished elderly man joined the group and, in an authoritative voice, said, "Get me a half a pint of liquor." One of the men gave him a half-pint of whisky. He uncorked the bottle, drank the entire contents and handed the empty bottle to the amazed donor. "I always get nervous when a woman faints," he explained as he walked away.

John O'Groat's House

(Mrs. Renn Drum, Shelby Star)

One day shortly before Christmas a well-to-do farmer in the county came into a local department store and asked the manager to order eight fine clocks for him. It was a store which didn't customarily stock clocks at all, so a call for even one extra good one was somewhat unusual.

It developed that the man ordering the clocks was the father of eight sons and daughters, all of whom had married and had established homes of their own. But the father explained, not a one of them had a clock in his (or her) house that was worth a darn. According to his ideas every house needs a good clock possessed of a strong voice, with which to tell the minutes, so he took it upon himself this Christmas to supply the eight homes of his children with dignified timepieces.

What entertained me most about the incident was the fact (which it illustrates) that the father of eight such children is, apparently, in exactly the same boat as the mother of two such ones--whatever he buys for one he must buy for all.

A Politico Reads

(Thurman Arnold, New Republic)

"I do not read good books. I am chiefly interested in editorials, judicial decisions, The Saturday Evening Post, the movies, speeches by university professors, The New Republic, The Nation, in fact, that stream of current literature which I am trying to analyze to get attitudes of the times. Of the tomes you mention, I have read only 'The Education of Henry Adams' and 'The Economic Interpretation of the Constitution.'"

And, this column, too, of General Johnson on the controversial Westbrook Pegler:

On Preserving A Columnist

By Hugh S. Johnson

TULSA, Okla.--Westbrook Pegler's column says that he intends to avoid the error of William Shakespeare, whose manuscripts have vanished, leaving a question as to whether Bacon wasn't the real author of his works. Peg has decided to bequeath all his papers to posterity. They tried to find and open the poet Spenser's coffin the other day because his friend Shakespeare may have left a poetic tribute there. The handwriting would have attended to the Bacon myth. Mr. Pegler thinks his forethought in this matter may preserve my tomb from a similar violation in search of his true identity.

Peg's gentle, railing boosting did so much to make this column that one of my friends told him that I thought he had made me. His answer was: "Not yet, but I am arching my neck at him." He didn't need to do that. It is therefore true that the identity clue might be found in either coffin, and I doubt whether Peg's idea of giving his files to posterity will avoid the necessity of looking for it there.


The trouble with his idea is that he makes no provision for housing and caring for these treasured comments so revealing of the history of our times. He has a nice house in New Canaan, Connecticut. He could devise that also--after he gets through with it. But that would not provide for its perpetual preservation. Maybe he could get some friend to pass the hat around.

Even with all that, I see another great flaw in this plan of Peg's to "do something rather handsome for posterity." I'll bet he wouldn't leave all his papers in the vault. If he just picked out those that hint that he was one of the great satirical writers of his time and left out those, if any there be, that seem to show that even he sometimes wrote with his elbow, wouldn't that be slipping a fast one over on posterity when it was busy tying its shoe or something?

Also, it is barely possible that, at some careless moment in his interesting and important career, Mr. Pegler may have pulled some terrible boner--some thing that might even tend to throw the tummy of posterity and cause it to close the book in shocked amaze. Would he leave it in the archives or would he sneak it out and stick it in the incinerator? Mr. Pegler is one of the most candid men I have ever known about his own peccadilloes but I can imagine in any man--even in him--cases in which he wouldn't like to have either posterity or the present know exactly where the corpse was buried.


And another thing, before I begin to head a movement to preserve Pegleriana I want to know whether they are going to be edited or be preserved in the original form with all their faults and blemishes. It is so easy to doctor up a prophecy after the event to make it seem miraculous. It is not difficult to pare and perfect one side of the controversy after the arguments are all in to make the other guy go down in history as a bum and the preserved writer appear as a Daniel come to judgment. All this is not to mention editing for literary style and unity--especially if the benefactor of posterity had ghost writers which, of course, Peg never had.

After all, aren't Peg's writings preserved in the official files of a thousand newspapers, where nobody can jimmy them? Whoever saw a writing of Socrates? And of Whom is it not recorded that He ever wrote one single word--except with His finger in the dust. Truly great sayings need no archives.

To which we might add, that wethinks that Ironpants Johnson doth protest a bit too much. We only hail our hero, from whom we got our name. We're not sure what he did; but he's our hero just the same. For, as we hear, all those old yellowed prints, and some of the microfilm, too, to which they have been committed for posterity, are crumbling steadily away in the libraries. So, herewith, we preserve some stuff, however semi-permanent it may be, here, in the Baum Smirch Society.


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