The Charlotte News

Tuesday, November 1, 1938


Site Ed. Note: We had hoped to find something here today about the horse race the day before, the one between Seabiscuit, the sand dollar, and War Admiral, but instead, Cash chose, as far as horse races, the 6th District Congressional race in North Carolina, though he sprinkled his column with a few interesting horsey metaphors, just to rub it in apparently. So, sorry about that. Perhaps another day, we may run across a little something about the little horse that could. It is a nice story.

On the other hand, maybe on the other side, you may find even greater chills and spills from imbibing carefully the print regarding that one about placing, in contradistinction to the one about the firing squad on John Deering in Salt Lake.

Now with all of these collisions on the highway of seeming coincidence occurring, crashing at once, a person could conclude just that it was after all bizarre coincidence. Yet, circumstantial evidence, being based largely on coincidence, a rational person might just conclude something on the order that someone, maybe some Committee somewhere, who had discovered by the grapevine that Joseph L. Morrison around about 1962 was beginning research on a book, emanating from Chapel Hill, about W. J. Cash, and seeing as how there were folks, at various forks in the road, around in those days who didn't much cotton to the notion of having their traditions messed about, either at home or abroad, those traditions being basically founded, for as far back as memory would allow them anyway, on the enslavement of the masses to their economic will-- And being of such a mind--shall we call it the Robin Hood mind?--maybe they decided to cook up a little something, just a little dirty trick, you might say, you know, like on Halloween.

So, they decided to do the oldest trick in the world: Kill two Birds with one stone. That is to say, having killed one physically, seeing its Bird's memory being potentially rejuvenated in the Old South, they decided to do a little hobocuchkoofunkytnoctudubuilatingfourinhandmendaciclatencrumplestiltskoodiesdeesmoochitabosstemmonsyurfreidoms--or something like that. Now whether that was at Wallace Wade or elsewhere, maybe even in their underaware, or in their filter tips, we couldn't precisely say, or maybe we could, if tamped down enough. E'en from the grave, we might say. Thus, best beware the Shadow.

Anyhow, you read that for yourself, all about the O. J. Coffin and Mr. Durham and Mr. Deering and the firing squad, the Fuehrer, Der Funk, and the persecutions and persecution complexes, and the syphilis problems and the apparent problem of the Fuhrer, and transfer all of that forward 25 years to another time and place which we knew all too well, and still sometimes know, and think about it some, and roll it around as best you can on the basis of strained perceptions to the other side, that is the Pickett side of the Lines of the Charge, and well you may see the truest Horror of all which we have been seeing sometimes ourselves during that period since.

Reminds us of that horrible skit one night in 1960, we believe it was, when Master Karloff presented his "Thriller" episode, with the fellow who looked into the mirror with some special glasses and saw his own brain. Whew! That was enough to scare you thoughtless for awhile, whether adult or childe. Some may have decided that wasn't real enough. So substitute the Square Deal, New Deal, Fair Deal with the Hare Deal Where Few Deal, and all the cards turn up Jokers to the right.

So, while we really had not planned to write too much today, we wound up, as only too usual, running on at the ink. The ribbon being about in need now of a change, as the print has at times grown dimmer, as you may have noted, we shall proceed on down to the local office supply and buy us some new ribbon, whole spools in large cartons, marked for the purpose. We'll try not to smudge the pages though when we install it. That always leaves behind too many fingerprints, you know.

On the other hand, some folks don't seem to comprend that actions also leave behind mental prints of a sort, which are undoubtedly and definitely unmistakable, especially over time. In the detective prints and film noire, they call it the m.o., the Moe, the motilis operandivius eternalis--at least we think we read that somewhere, maybe Black's Law Dictionary, somewhere back there.

Actus reus and mens rea, maintained separately in the surgical operation, perfectly coded, to afford the actus separation from even knowledge of the mens, thus it looks less than faintly foreboded. Echoes, patterns, sounds and action, and railroad cars banging their connections, in a hollow valley where There, the damp dirty prison, in the Hartz Mountains, riding in dreams of Walpurgis Night scenes unreal, but made real to those who could not see the simple complex of poetic drift of lee--and so, these Kukaburas laughing, ha, ha ha, to reality brought the place, to pilfer the Purse, where the executioner's face was always well-hidden, where the books were stored for the children, generation of taunts to the delay fecunditioners.

But, that being said, still no sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden...

New Friends

The new found friendliness between the Administration and the utilities is sweet to behold. Chairman Groesbeck of Electric Bond & Share, one of the power empires, came forth from a conference with the President yesterday exhibiting good will and delivering homilies on the virtues of cooperation. "Mutual understanding," he told reporters, "has advanced beyond the theoretical stage."

SEC and the New York Stock Exchange under young President Martin have grown to be tombstone buddies. This week the exchange cheerfully and voluntarily put in a new system of handling customers' money and securities. In announcing it, SEC Chairman Douglas said, "This report indicates that the new management of the New York Stock Exchange and the Securities Commission are going to town."

Representatives of railroad management, after a conference with the President yesterday, were in the best of humor when they told reporters that in spite of the recommendation against the wage cut a strike was so far, far away that there was no use to get worried about it. They grinned.

Between Business and the New Deal, in short, everything seems to be hotsy-totsy. We don't know, probably nobody does, whether it is because the Administration has eased over to the right or because Business has pocketed its prejudices and decided to play ball. We don't know, certainly, how long this amiable accord will last or how extensive it will become. But it is something to see, and we are watching it wide-eyed.

A Man Dies

In Salt Lake City John W. Deering walked out calm to face the firing squad. That is to say, his tread was firm. His face was white but otherwise betrayed no emotion. His hands did not tremble. He smiled. He talked quietly. He said until the end that he wanted to die.

But the autonomic nervous system of Deering did not want him to die--the old primitive system deep within the body which controls the involuntary muscular system. And it was busily doing its best to see that he didn't die. Over Deering's kidneys sat two tiny bodies called the suprarenal bodies, and the moment his autonomic system heard from his brain that danger was coming close, the red tissue which makes up their core began to pour out a strange stuff called adrenaline. To pour it into his bloodstream and send crashing through his veins and nerves the terrible sensation we know as fear and anger. To draw the muscular coats of the blood vessels rigidly tense, set the heart to mighty contractions, and send his blood pressure soaring up from 72 to 180. To adjust the focus of his eyes so that they would fix themselves wholly and with terrible directness upon the approaching danger. To halt the motions of the stomach, his intestines, all organs not imperatively needed at the moment, and send the blood from them, as from his face, to the great muscles of the arms and legs and back. To make the man passionately alert, to bathe his brain with the insistent message--run or fight--run or fight. To prepare him to use every last ounce of energy within him either in flight or conflict, to the end of saving life within the organism.

That precisely, is what lay behind the electro-cardiograph record of yesterday. Walter B. Cannon, of Yale University, described it all long ago in his fascinating book, "Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage." But it is a curious tribute to the great power of man's conscious mind and will that Deering yesterday walked out calm and died calm--a sort of rigid shell over an explosive volcano of emotion.

No Prize for Placing

The will of the people certainly received a rebuff in the Sixth Congressional District. Judge Teague of High Point was nominated in the Democratic runoff primary only to die last week. Logical choice by any manner of reckoning was the second man in the race, Oscar Barker of Durham, who had failed of nomination by only 800 votes. But did the committee assembled to choose its successor to Judge Teague agree speedily on Mr. Barker and adjourn? It did not. Its members introduced other favorite sons of their own and hopelessly deadlocked over which of them should have the place, which the Republicans, never foreseeing any such eventuality, had let go by default.

All day Monday the committee got nowhere. Most of Tuesday it made the same net progress. Late Tuesday afternoon somebody, in all probability 0. J. Coffin of Chapel Hill, a gentleman of fixed convictions and obduracy of purpose, ran in a dark horse a Mr. Carl Thomas Durham, Chapel Hill pharmacist and Orange County commissioner. And being unable to reach a compromise acceptable to the voters, the committee finally agreed on Mr. Durham.

With no offense to the nominee, the principal reason for his getting the place seems to have been that he was the favorite of no faction on the committee. By the same token he was not the second, third or any choice of the people. The people indicated, indeed, that they had a second choice, but apparently second money isn't paid off in Sixth District races.

Selling Argument

Germany's aggressive new economics minister, Walther Funk, came back from his swing through the Balkans two weeks ago impressed by the fact Rumania is the richest nation of Southeast Europe.

On his sales trip Funk did not visit Bucharest, apparently in the belief it was worth a separate visit.... He hopes to sell Germany as a customer to Rumania as he did Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Turkey..." --Associated Press.

He hopes, you observe. And that comes very near to being tops in understatement. Rumania, of course, is the chief prize at which Germany has been aiming in Central Europe. It has both wheat and oil in abundance. And in addition it is the key to the Russian Ukraine. Hitler long ago said that if he can gain control of it, "every German would swim in wealth."

Rumania, indeed, is very reluctant to sell more of her foreign oil in a week to Germany, for she now sells two-thirds of it to nations which have currencies acceptable in world markets, so that she can buy what she pleases with her goods. And under the German barrier system, she will be able only to acquire German open "quota" goods--all of them hopelessly shoddy and some of them like the "quota" guns, apparently deliberately made to be useless.

All the same, as Mr. Walther Funk very well knows, he'll have no difficulty whatever in "selling" Rumania on the idea that Germany ought to be almost her sole customer. For Rumania has just seen, in the case of Czechoslovakia, what happens to small nations which refuse to be "sold" into the German orbit. And you do not long haggle with a trader who holds a gun at your head as he makes his terms.

A Bid for Ridicule

The reputed scheme of Republicans and a few reactionary Democrats in the House to bring impeachment proceedings against Madam Perkins sounds as snide as the oft-repeated falsehood that Madam sneered at the South as being too poor to wear shoes.

That Madam has been a howling success as Secretary of Labor few people will contend. The lady is both persnickety and wrong-horsey. But that she has done anything to deserve impeachment proceedings not even these enemies of her can claim. All they can allege against her is (1) that she looks kindly on the CIO, (2) that she approved the sit-down strikes, and (3) that she hasn't deported Harry Bridges, Australian born radical labor agitator on the West Coast.

But looking kindly on the CIO is no more crime than looking kindly on the AFL, the National Manufacturers' Association, or the Elks. It is a perfectly legal organization. As for the sit-down strikes, Madam never actually said that she approved them. She merely indicated that values were so much in flux, she hardly knew what was right and what was wrong in the premises. Millions of other good Americans felt exactly the same way at the time. And as for Bridges, Madam has simply refused to take high-handed action until the Supreme Court has decided what the law in the case really is. Madam is exactly right.

The whole case is nonsensical in its weakness, and clearly emanates from nothing but cheapest spite. If the attempt is made to carry this game through, we hope and believe that its single result will be to ridicule those who cooked it up.

Site Ed. Note: Whew! All that's enough to raise your blood pressure to 190, if you read it in a certain way. To get it down, we thought we would favor you with another installment written a way back there in 1991, after working feverishly the last two days with this crusty old author--they say he's 172 but that seems a bit far-fetched, and that he lives somewhere in the Caribbean, though, truth be told, no one knows his true whereabouts or even from whence he comes--to negotiate the rights to publish this short segment, a little story. Its author drives a mighty hard bargain. But, without the use of a gun to his head, we did manage to get him finally to allow us, at great expenditure of time and money in so doing, to bring to you the below.

Now, some would tend to want to say that the below was written only after coursing through the last two months or so of News editorials, but then there's the part about the python and the crocodile, and, well, that happened in the Everglades just last month, and we know for a fact we read this thing ourselves a few months before that at least. Gives us shivers just thinking of it.

And besides, we have it on good and sound medical and scientific evidence that the author has a little known condition called cellulosiosis mendis ruckus-nortonis or "Library Allergy", which is defined in the literature in vast tomes of research as a genuine allergy caused by the presence of large amounts of breathing fumes emitted by large quantities of paper most often accumulated in old musty libraries, and so he prefers to work alone at home, rather than at the library, and therefore we know he never had the time or opportunity to obtain these editorials and read them before 1991, as we have it on vast reams of affidavits from reliable persons in and around the Caribbean that he lives in a little shack by the sea there and never leaves it for any purpose. So, draw your own conclusions, but candidly, it gives us the heebie-jeepies.

Again, do drive careful, now.

No sooner than the ink plopped the page, he had another bandied ballflower of episodes in Venus's looking-glass turned from life.

In one scene, he had been climbing on some high mesa out West somewhere, some place he had never visited except in the imagination and in reading National Geographic and attending a few western movies, a genre he particularly loathed. He was carefully meandering through some coarse rocks. Suddenly, there was espied a lazing anaconda or python snake. He was not at all startled by its appearance as he would have been in reality. He took it for granted that it could not harm him now that he was to be a published author. He nevertheless steered clear of it but then found himself in a menagerie of snakes and lizards all over the rock face. Trying to dodge them, he stepped on a small crocodile which opened its mouth and sought to chomp. It caught only air.

The ground shifted without logical transition to a lonely stretch of paved road, devoid of vehicles or people. It stretched through barren hills of the type he had seen in pictures of Mexico or California. He saw a city of twinkling lights to the west and star lit night skies to the east. In the dream, he thought himself to be in the Holy Land, tracing steps through Gethsemene. It was a beautiful, transcendent place.

He then saw some men on horseback, silhouetted against the night sky. He heard their murmuring voices but could gather meaning from only a wavering word directed hither and thither and bouncing off in the distance and rebounding to him in monosyllables. He heard the hisses of "s"'s from the toothy tongues pronouncing perhaps the name of one of the horses, "Shadow...Shadow". He could also interpret, "Cigarettes...cigarettes".

The horses' hooves hit the ground and it seemed nice to his dreaming ears. He had always liked equine clippety-clop drops. He was at once in the midst of the riders and they paraded around him, laughing and staring derisively. One had on sunglasses and peered from beneath their frames as if trying to act sedately curious.

Wilbur felt himself becoming angry at these men and called them "dirty bastards". One then lassoed him from behind and the rope caught his neck. "You a dead man, boy."

He struggled to disentangle himself from the noose but it twisted taut as he attempted to release its grip. An Army Jeep drove by and a general-type deboarded and declaimed in interrogative, "What's the problem, men?"

One of the horsemen stepped up. His boots were turned grotesquely backwards with his feet apparently obeying the deformity, like those of a riderless horse commemorating the death of a great ruler. The man wore a floppy hat like the old Confederate but instead bore facial resemblance to that gloomy doomed stranger in the bar--yeah, Gus was his name.

The man saluted the general and hissed his proclamation in a voice with propinquity to a Dixonite, "Sir, I slyly sallied up here to this soldier boy and caught him rustlin' our cattle. What's you want me to do wid him?"

Wilbur had previously seen no cattle in his dream but looked about now and saw several head. They were all lined up, perfectly staring the scene down as if choreographed by some New York Martha Graham sort. There was no music.

The cows were then instantly disembodied, leaving only mounted heads. "Care to calypso in your capote?" One of the horsemen drew Wilbur's attention. His head was mounted alongside one of the cow's. Strange, indeed...

The general said nothing but merely extended his hand upward in a Nazi salute. He then turned to his driver and asked what they should do. Wilbur thought it odd that his fate seemingly lay in the hands of an adjutant. He strained to see but his vision was blocked by the general.

The reverse-booted horseman and an identical twin then stepped between Wilbur and the general and said, in algebraic unison, "You get back there, rustler. You can't see him."

"Yeah, get the hell back there, calypso lover."

Wilbur wished for the coup de theatre to occur. He replied that he really must see whose hands were juicing him. The general then intervened, saying, "Well lookie here, then."

Wilbur looked hard and saw the image of Adolf Hitler slowly forming behind the driver's wheel of the Jeep. He felt the rope tug as the driver looked straight ahead and disappeared in a fiery ball. Then there was a tremendous explosion, the likes of which Wilbur had never seen. It appeared in mushroom shape, like that described in the Scientific American as the expected nature of the conflagration of the new atomic weaponry which the governments of Germany and the United States were hard at work trying to develop. It was supposed to end all warfare. It sounded otherwise. The concept of mutual deterrence had been tried and failed prior to the coming of World War I.

Suddenly, rockets rose from the fields all about and the lights in the city beyond were now gone. Ear piercing, loud housebee-buzzing, as if from the constant noise of several small airplane engines, hid behind a curtain of fog. Great screams and cries went up. Denuded skeletal forms walked about in daze, wringing their hands as if burned. A man baring a gleaming, crazed grin, stepped to the fore with bluster and pronounced, "Babylon, the Harlot has arrived and we shall burn in our destiny revealed. Come join our caliginous callithump from Benning to Bragg."

Wilbur saw a sign on the field. "When Brother Samuel's Tilled end be nixed to a Rougher ford be-hazed, the ward of park land's spirit's fault will be untended but named in stolen voting college kook days. Wildcats spit on the Lookout, Tenn. Peace Groves which will one day incinerate the railing mass in droves. And it shall then seal the vault of eyes nixed and knifed until by shakingsphere, the foul fleet o' foot be freed. And there could be then still; not strife. But when unleashed by Nature, if no bold restraint, Omega then could come to faint and return all to cosmos seed."

These latter phrases were so clear in the dream, they seemed sent from a spiritual realm. He wrote the sentences down verbatim as soon as he awakened, believing firmly that they were the result of some subconscious prescience. Of what, he knew not. But he wrote it down anyway. That was all of the dream which Wilbur could recount in his journal. He laid it down and went back to rest some more.


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