The Charlotte News

Friday, October 14, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Hmmm. Well we are the sailormen, we are the sailormen. Hmmm. Toot-toot. Woh, better be quiet. There comes Olive. Hmmm-hmmm. Oh, Olive. Olive.

Help! Help!

Oh no, not again. Time for some of this. We'll show that galoot. Why you. Take that and that and that, ye mangy Brute, ye dark deliverer to the dankened dungeon. You smelter of the fires of Hades. You cracked creature of the night-swelter. You mettle melter of the copper smelter. Mess with my Olive, will ye? Take that some more, ye loutish lubber of the lazy looters, you good for nothin' home-wrecker of the catter-welter dram shelter.

But, Popeye, it was only a half milligram per centimeter of me blood mehad before me came down to the docks today. Ye can't fault a galoot for just a wee smidgen, just a tiny dram over one milligram, now can ye? It's as if you be tryin' to say ye can't even have 1.5 milligrams per centimeter. Now 2.0, 2.0, why o' course, well that's gettin' on toward bein' a little wobbly on me shoes. But ye know I'd never be hurtin' your Olive. Why me loves her like she was me own sister.

Alright, alright, you never had a sister, you drafty liar you. Get on with ye then and leaves me and me Olive alone. Goes ye and takes some cinquefoil root and be done with ye. They need some good garbage scabs to fill in downtown. Ye goes on down there and stand in line, ye crass critter of Crab Alley. Ye loutish Brute, ye. Oooweeeyo, oooooowwwweeee, yowa, dog critter, spine jabbing, mangy fracto-Verlangen ridden filibeg-wearing musquash fanfrelucher.

Oh, Popeye, what big muscles you have...


He Played Comedy Straight

It can't be said that Popeye's creator is dead, for that would cast doubt upon either the existence or the paternity of Poopdeck Pappy, and both are too strongly attested to in the flesh of that roistering individual to permit any such speculation. But the creator of the whole cast of Thimble Theater: Seegar--the boisterous, wholesome, original artist who manipulated the strings of his puppet show--Seegar is dead.

His career, like his creation, was typically American. He met only with rejections and refusals until he produced what was probably the masterpiece of comic strips, and thereafter he met with such fabulous success as could have come to him in no place else in the world. Popeye became a household word. "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today," was a stock remark for all kinds of occasions. "Wimpy's" became a standard name for hamburger stands, and the country was set to laughing as it had laughed over no comic since the Katzenjammer Kids or Sambo.

It was characteristic of Segar, unlike the other artists of successful so-called comic strips which we could name and, some day, if they do not moderate their viciousness and their gruesomeness, are going to have to name, that his fancy always took the form of burlesque. His constant play upon the powers of spinach was a satire, to be sure, but wholesome satire. He was vigilant, while appealing more strongly to adults, to remember that his was in large part an immature audience, and he never resorted to an unsuitable situation. For that, as well as for making the world laugh, he ought to have a very fine monument indeed.

A Word Misused

We had been blithely about to conclude that the South hadn't had a lynching for a year. The last case in 1937 occurred on October 3. In July the Tuskegee Institute had reported that there were no lynchings in Dixie during the first six months of 1938. And though we keep an eye out for such cases, we hadn't seen a news report of one since.

But now comes the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to knock our assurance into a heap by telling us that there have been four, and maybe six Southern lynchings this year and that one of the certain lynchings occurred on June 10, well within the period of the Tuskegee report.

What are we to think? Have the newspapers slept? Has Tuskegee erred? Or the NAACP? We don't know, but it occurs that it may be partly at least a matter of definition. The NAACP reports the case of June 10 in this manner:

"Wash Adams was beaten to death... by three young white men at Columbus, Miss..."

On the face of it, that sounds like simple murder and not a lynching at all. If the Columbus authorities have done nothing to bring the criminals to justice, you might say that the lynching spirit reigns there, certainly; but it would still be far-fetched to call the deed itself a lynching.

Another entry in the NAACP list runs like this:

Claude Banks was shot to death by a "posse" at Canton, Miss., July 21.

As the Associated Press reported that case, the Negro, wanted for a killing, barricaded himself in a house and opened fire on the sheriff's party, and was slain in the ensuing fight. Afterward a man in the party dragged the body in the streets, which certainly shows the lynching spirit. But if this account of the case is correct, and the AP is noted for accuracy, the killing itself was surely not a lynching.

But hold! Here, since this has been put in type, comes the report of a lynching which cannot be called anything but lynching. Even so, the term needs defining, for on that depends whether there have been seven, five or one in this year 1938.

Addition To A Bill

The price paid at Munich continues to assume greater and greater proportion as the days go by. And not only in the outrageous demands of Hungary, obviously backed up and sicked on by that man of "good-will," Mr. Hitler. For the Japanese have at length taken their courage in hand and launched an offensive on Canton for the taking over of South China. They had many times before made tentative moves in that direction, but have always hitherto backed off under threats from the British and French. But Munich seems to convince them that the British and French threats are entirely empty and may be as safely defied in the East as in the West.

It is ominous news for England. For, it means the end of Hong Kong's domination of the Canton strait, which has been Britain's single richest stake in China. If the Japanese are successful, in truth, Hong Kong will no longer be worth holding--and it could not be held if the Japanese chose to seize it. Nor is this all. The move brings Japan within easy striking distance of the rich prizes of French Indo-China and Siam (which is already partly under her influence), and the possession of these would render the British naval base at Singapore practically worthless. Furthermore, this move also brings the Japanese within striking distance of that naval base itself.

A Lost Strike

The garbage collectors of Philadelphia didn't like their pay and hours, so they struck. And not only struck but set militantly about keeping "scabs" from taking their jobs. There was a near-riot as a result of that determination, in which 30 people were injured. But the garbage workers lost just the same.

About the merits of the controversy, here we know nothing. It is quite possible that the garbage men in Philadelphia ought to have better pay and hours. Nevertheless they did not and cannot have the right to strike which belongs to the generality of workmen. For the health of all of Philadelphia's two million people is intimately bound up with the collection of garbage. Let it go uncollected for a few days, and epidemics will certainly begin to sweep the city. Nor can it be said that, in all cases, the proper thing for the city authorities to do is to yield to the demands of the workers and so insure the continued collection of the garbage; for that would simply be to give them a club for exacting whatever they like, regardless of the merits of their claim.

Soldiers, sailors (on the high seas), policemen, firemen--all these, by the very terms of their employment, are barred from the right to strike. For a strike on their parts is not simply economic loss to the community, but the loss of the basic safety of the people. Against the right of the people to that basic safety, all other rights are subordinate.

Bad News for Evanston

The bone-dry organizations have made heroic efforts to have it that the current scientific tests are conclusively establishing their ancient thesis: that any man who has had one drink of whisky or one bottle of beer is drunk, whatever he himself thinks about it.

But there is sad news for them in the report of three famous Yale doctors to the New England Medical Journal on recent experiments in the New Haven grove. This report sets forth that the experiments show: (1)--the concentration of alcohol in the blood of 0.5 milligram per centimeter is the point "below which all men are reasonably sober," and (2) the concentration of 1.5 milligrams is the point "at which the majority are just on the verge of serious intoxication." And further, that a concentration of 0.5 milligram is equal to (1)--one whisky highball or Martini cocktail on an empty stomach, and two after dinner, or (2) a quart to a quart and a half (two and one-half to four bottles) of beer on an empty stomach, or twice as much after a meal. And further still, that beer, because of its great dilution produces a much smaller proportionate concentration of alcohol in the blood than whisky, and that its effect passes off with far greater rapidity. Wine apparently isn't mentioned. But by the standard used here, the amount of the stuff which would produce a concentration of 0.5 milligram would be from somewhat less than half a pint of port or sherry to a pint of claret on an empty stomach with twice as much allowed after a meal.

It all adds up to a flat repudiation of the dry dogma. And also constitutes an excellent argument for what the experience of such countries as France has long ago established: that the real road to temperance lies through the encouragement of the use of beer and wine as substitutes for strong liquor, and not through the manifestly impossible attempt to prohibit the sale of all alcoholic drinks.

Site Ed. Note: We'll add this one by the General, from this date. To it, all we can say is, Hooray for Harry. It seems the General was ill-disposed to WPA building "boondoggles" but well-disposed to the use of the otherwise unemployed to be put to good use as ferrets of "subterranean Communists", we'll have you understand, (though at least he didn't brand them "homesick", too). (Don't be fooled about the "Fascists" and "Nazis" part, as the Dies Committee did precious little of that sort of ferreting itself, so little that Cash accused Dies of being in possible sympathy with them. And as to "Communists" on these shores of the variety found in Europe in those days, well, about all we can say for sure is: Goodnight, Irene, goodnight, Irene, goodnight, Irene, goodnight, Irene, we'll see you in our...)

But as the General also points out the many efforts of WPA, it's at least a good primer on what the agency was about. Chances are, wherever you live today in the United States, outside Alaska, anyway, there is likely an aging building, a promenade, or some strange, but interesting looking monument or pictograph on an inner wall of some government or public building there which was built or painted, if put in place in the period of the New Deal, by WPA labor, labor which would otherwise have gone starving and probably died, had the Harding-Coolidge-Hoover form of laissez-faire, give big business free reign to make all the money it can on trickle down notions, economy been maintained much longer in the country. So, it's always worth a moment to stop and examine those old projects when you happen by one, and contemplate it all as to who laid that brick, set that stone, laid brushes on that plaster, rather than as the General would have us wonder as to what their political leanings or ideas, purely ideas for the most part, might or mightn't have been. And that goes particularly for a couple of concrete hyperbolic pergolas extending themselves along a parpane, out in east Texas, built as part of WPA, mirroring one another across a vast expanse of pasture trisected by a triad of almost converging roadways, though never the three shall meet save in threne, flowing from the several to almost one, intersected by a gantlet, nearby the Trinity River.

A Queer Refusal

By Hugh S. Johnson

Cleveland, Ohio--Paul Mallon published the text of Harry Hopkins' letter to the President declining to grant a request of Congress to let WPA workers help the Dies Committee's investigation of subterranean Communist, Fascist and Nazi activities. The Dies Committee was not given the full appropriation for expenses which it believed and now proved to be necessary. It was cut down on the theory that WPA and other Government departments could be used to do the legwork. Mr. Hopkins is quoted as saying: "I would not be justified legally or otherwise should I do this."

That's a hot one. One of WPA's principal activities is finding public work on which it can spend Federal money to employ people. In this it has helped in an almost infinite variety of departments of Federal, state, city, county, town and village governments. The extent to which it has shifted the expense of normal functions of these governments to the Federal Government will probably never be known.

The spending runs into billions. It has cataloged libraries, conducted investigations of all sorts and descriptions--some for other Federal committees. It has financed projects for adagio dancers, puppeteers and piccolo players, chased butterflies, untented the gypsy moth, killed mosquitoes and pried into the love life of the bullfrog.


It has painted pictures, written books and produced plays, some of which are little short of outright Communist propaganda. If there is a department of government or any form of activity to which it has denied its aid, I do not know what it is--except the Federal Dies Committee and the specific request of the Congress of the United States. When the Dies Committee is hounding the Fascists or the LaFollette Civil Liberties Committee is harassing business, Mr. Hopkins and his inner circle of White House chore boys chortle. But they have no sympathy with any probing into Communist cells--of which there are plenty in WPA itself.

This is pretty high-handed. Mr. Hopkins started out to do his WPA job and that alone. By that concentration on his own business, he turned in one of the greatest administrative accomplishments in history--no matter what you think of its policy, and even discounting the fact that it is easy to be a good Santa Claus if you have more than all the money there is to spend. But since the 1936 elections, Mr. Hopkins has hopped higher and higher and stuck his fingers into more and more political pies. He is credited with having devised the late and unlamented purge and with being the guiding spirit in the Corcoran-Cohen coterie. He is impatient with Congressmen--except the ditto boys.


As this action shows, Congress hasn't much influence with him. He has become chief splitter-upper of the Democratic Party. He leans to a new farmer-labor gathering of the grime groups to be constructed on its ruins and held together with Federal handouts. His slogan is: "Spend and spend and spend and tax and tax and tax." Of course this isn't Mr. Hopkins' money. He was appointed--not anointed--not even elected. He was appointed to carry out the will of Congress. It is no part of his job to discriminate against a Congressional "work-project" because he doesn't like a Congressional policy. It is silly to say that he "would not be justified" in complying with a request in Congress but is justified in any cocked eyed boondoggling, with a Communistic taint which happens to strike his political fancy.

Congress is coming back, its tummy sore from the Hopkins purge. There are signs of revolt in the purely party organization against having Jim Farley and itself shoved aside by the Hopkins-Cohen-Corcoran crew. As Max Schmeling said about Joe Louis' boxing, "I sink I see somesings."


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