The Charlotte News

Friday, November 4, 1938


Site Ed. Note: We include below Hugh Johnson's take on "The War of the Worlds". We also include the strange little "Rowe Weaver" piece, which began making occasional appearances on The News editorial page, virtually everyday, presumably syndicated from afar away. We have read some of these Weaverings, almost got shot in the head by one once, and this is the first one we include. Because, to our little taxed Finns, quite narrowly fixed in space and time, they are a little daunting and can swallow your thinking whole if rowing in the dream down or up river too far, to get too much of it without patient and dedicated scholarship to go with it, to dispel those errors in judgment when they might raise their heads, as a result of the too far rowing without a buoy upon which to rest and mark your presence. Climbing the ladder faster than the lights allow, missing a few of the rungs along the way and thus not knowing how to get down in the dark--from which eventually one must always be able to do or the sun will burn your head with those death rays.

But we include this too fast rower about the Dog, the Cat, and the Canary, for your consideration. It may require some further thought, which requires a little further research for you--be it the Birdman of Alcatraz, the Nazi spy network of the time, out of the Abwehr in Hamburg, or, as always, Aristophanes. Try Plato and Aristotle and Berkeley, too, not Alben of Ky., though also pronounced and spelt Barkley. (The other pronunciation and place of same name, both in the Square and in California, are just fine, too, though. No Martians, unless...banish the thought.) Canaris was his name, if we recall correctly, but we will let you look that up for yourself, if you like.

You could also just go out in the park, of course, and listen to the birds sing and the doggies bark their barks and realize each has its purpose, regardless of one being a cheep and the other a growl, occasionally. For the growl turns to a whimper in the dream-dream streams where we don't know where they go, not exactly, not even Freud, sometimes, and the cheep, when congregated, can become pretty fiercely hitched to the post of direction to the south for winter new haven in one big howl past you. Once, we even saw a whole flock of canaries enshroud a bridge. It was something. The bridge bulged and flattened in the middle--big orange bridge named golden for some reason. The engineers next day said the bridge had too many people per square inch for its tensile strength, crowding upon its 50 year old cross members and weaving anaconda, bo-ing, bo-ing, flattening that bow, and thus had only a few more people gone on the bridge, crash, boom, ram alama, bam, ding dong. That being so for traffic whooshes by at the crossroads in a whoosh, whoosh, whoosh--concentrated weight on the packed inches being the factor, four catpaws distributing weight to points along an axis. We saw all of that from our window once, across a sky blue bay, while floating on the deck of our boat, tied in harbor, awaiting another sail.

We row ourselves sometimes, but we row with diligent scholarship, not welfed though, just fed and state and state and state...together side by side, and watchful lights in play, we go, never to be fried, when the sails are down on eventides, and the lights ripple in the quiet water's black sides. Not just rowing up rover aimlessly to the fer de lance of tides, not just for the sake of rowing, but to think through the tried, then down back and along the pass, through many cautious days, we sit, and lo up on the tree we saw many branches split and there were workers once across the street, plumbing up a storm, poked us, right in the back once, on a day-split morn, and we said, nothing, breathing being out of us gone, so sewer said you're warned; we sat wondering why the plumbing cat at the 60 pipe would say that, he being chubby welfed and parlored too, but we thought no more of it, just moved through the blue. Then we crossed the street once more that sunny fall day to the beach of ruin, and saw some places much like we had seen before, but the siege was truant, tailshate having sent the mission to die. We swam and swam and swam by the salt in our veins, we slept on the waters wide, it was a turbid shame, then came the predating fish surround, in circle dance soft down; we stared into the yes of death, for time said no more no ground. Then every beach and sandy isle was all over gone; we were trapped in vast wilderness, shamed in someone's song; we knew then what to do at once; we swam and swam and swam, for the salt in us blends with tides and swims us ever on. Passing, passing by the bar, no place to roam; so we looked from bank to shore and found ourselves this home. Then there was this youden-drift, it sang to us once more, as we see no hat but thine, we saw no frosty shore. Shoulders moving quietly now, the pain was so intense, we moved by yokindale and then we got our pense. We saw and swam and swam some more, and there was no one home. The field spread full and on, it was a mighty shore. There was no way to get there, banish that thought at once, it became the glory's field and the tried and true, the yokoshihogatame, which was never in the sound, when they said, bomb that place we know not where, it was just long entry way, and we sought its dark, lording, fulsome string, but it told us to go another way; we had no compass or a true, but the shore was floating by, Acapulco bay we sail; we must now open our eyes and try. So then there was this burning warmth and it did provide us strength. We went on walking now, the shoes no longer sting. Then folding up our chair and gown, and then we warned them to be now true, and then we forged on our head and then silver laid endue; the dew claws were setting wild, the trail was in their books; we could not see what was in their head, but we knew where they set their sites with tread. It was this warning caper trying fast to hide her face and lo, we saw him in the cap and chains, and we said this the arc of coups and show; they were lording fast, they were making us aghast in lieu, of their mystery made no wise, and we saw not a one of you; it was almoign, almoiner, too, frankly poised with the sand; we had been swimming now for the time of our hand, pacifically we bewilled their curse upon their will of thine's moist shrew; there was no more to be heard now, the case was almost through, but to which we returned at times and times and times again, tomorrow burning feet do smile, and a beginning has no end until we lose our time, our time around; and lose our wholesome new, the shark's eye has disappeared in the ocean blue. Island men, and cocoa milk it was friendly to be then seen by all the children of the solemn good, their smiles were all thus birds which flew, and returned to them softly now and the angel was construed. The duke's laws did not get us there, nor will it at the shearman's thor's day cue; there was a shot on a field of green, boots amiss, and the men did follow down, recovered keke so keen it was up and again tied down; then there was sierra brown which went to stands of psalms, and then I say it wrong, for there was no one but a prayer beheld amid the throng, and then I heard the happy tong along and all was smiling there; it was true and far begone, we were swimming thoughtfully, perhaps to the bar be song.

But. We row only so far as our lights will allow for now. And the wind is getting very dark along our bow, foreboding, but just for now. So we will pause and rest our penwit.

To quell a little bit the darkness though, we thought we would provide a picture of the Editor and Staff of The Boiling Springs Rural Reformer, from 1895, below. If you examine the faces, not the haircuts so much, as those were temporal, mutable by the barber and hair dressers, shorn at will, changing with the fashion of the time, as always the case, but the eyes, the faces, the hands, the forms say something, as all photographs do, perhaps only of the moment, perhaps well and true. Each may interpret something differently from the looks, from a picture posed in pew. A captured frame is merely spent, for none to learn but the rue. In our opinion, each and every individual form in that picture is exemplary of Nature's beauty-shoe.

A small rural town, spirited by Gardner-Webb College, which, we believe, foresaw trouble and tried to stop it, knew injustice and tried to reverse it, and understood the pastoral beauty of a garden, but also understood the harsh toil taking years in the fields, the simple understanding of a time fast falling from their midst, brought on by war and depression and hunger and want, too much want in some places, for too little plenty in others, a time for beginning anew, understanding that time has its yearly cycle, of good and plenty and harvest and fallow and sloth and home-bound evenings and sunny mornings and chilly afternoons and rainy nights. A town which probably understood of itself that it was not unlike that which Abraham Lincoln had left in Illinois never to return, to go to Washington in 1861. A rail depot, a post office, a mercantile store, a few simple and necessary businesses. That from the Brady works, they could see a not dissimilar small town in Pennsylvania, home to a seminary, out of which just 32 years before there had come mass carnage, but whose spirit remained, much of the loss of life there having come from homes just miles away. That on a November day in 1863, Abraham Lincoln would go to that small town and provide a short speech to consecrate the ground of a cemetery, as they too had, to afford the lasting memory of those dark dimmed days, not to celebrate it, not to inspire bitterness over its results, but to find in that consecration, some understanding of why such a battle was and how such could have come to be, and how the siren's roar at noon could be abeyed once more, so fight, for wa' she ma.

The year was 1895, 43 years before this fateful year of 1938, 110 years ago. Yet, if we think of it, and if you were to visit Boiling Springs today, with a little imagination, you might, with only a small brush of your shadow a little to the left or right or center of yourself, see the time as it was just 110 years ago, just 43 years before 1938, why only yesterday, maybe yet again tomorrow. Yet, yesterday had its troubles, too, and so too will tomorrow and the next, and we should always try therefore, in each little town and village and each little town and village within each larger community, say as in Brookline or Cambridge, or Buckhead or Piedmont, or Kalorama Heights or Bloomingdale, or thousands of other such neighborhoods and villages around the country, around the globe, simply to understand it all better, and, by so doing, to improve each place we inhabit with our presences, with guidance by our lights, with a mutual sharing of the day.

Nature itself is probably scary enough.

So, a few hours ago, we took a walk, a long walk through time, from 12:30 to dawn, the nightwatch walk, now a path of school's once fresh beginnings, to see again some young places, steps, trees, shadowplaces, crossroads, coordinates, creeks, subterranean pipes once dug before our eyes in morning's light, with surveyors and engineers, all plotting ground, hurling pipes to our back, cracked dishes on this uphill lady's head, with his son on a biked continental plane, no guilt found on him, though, but exchanged for acton, arcturus on the field, maintenance man in village green truck, ford, there's your clue, 60 through 62, disappeared, 63, somewhere to the myst, down the rugged dell to hell, row weavers and plumbers and pipe diggers, link-belt on the starry plain, somewhere in the shrub, and half-seen in the archer's split tree frame.

Oh, we could never resist being a canary, you see. Tweetie, tweetie-bird once passed from us on top of the frozen glass. But then came back to us that night to sing a song, tweet, tweet, tweedly, deet, deet, deet. We listened then to the sounds of the men plotting downs. And we flew then like birds to Springfield and Hannibal towns, after the 68's, where no more ha, ha, ha may abound, that is, unless you let it, you wonder sound.

All in the music, passing somewhere up there, and how you hear it, black white green red or brown, or blending of all, all, all, around.

Whew. What a walk that was.

Remind us to speak of the barbers one day, but for now our lips are winterized, walled and sealed, till Santa's cap is no more repealed.

Oh, hark the bells. We missed the game, but we hear 'twas a good one, exciting, fun. And, no doubt, when dug eagles Dare, they'll get us some next year, but this year, we canaries won.


Welcome to the A.C.


Behind That Hoax Scare

By Hugh S. Johnson

Washington. --One of the most remarkable demonstrations of modern times was the startling effect of the absurd radio scenario Mr. Orson Welles, based on an old Jules Verne type of novel by Mr. H. G. Wells--"The War of the Worlds."

Simulated broadcast flashes of a pretended attack, with mysterious new aerial weapons on New Jersey from the planet Mars, put many people into such panic that the witch-burning Mr. McNinch, chair chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has a no excuse to extend the creeping hand of government restriction of free speech by way of radio censorship.


But the incident is highly significant. It reveals dramatically a state of public mind. Too many people have been led by outright propaganda to believe in some new and magic power of air attack and other developments in the weapons of war.

It is true that they are far more powerful than they formally were. But it is also true that the defensive weapons against them are also far more powerful. Thus it has always been since the days of the Macedonian phalanx. Always the dope is that some magic new armament is going to change the face of war. Always events prove that an invention for defense keeps abreast of invention for attack. Always it turns out that the outcome is decided by the shocking masses of man breast to breast--and no other way.

This does not for a moment that the country can neglect any development of its weapons for defense. It has done that in the past. If this hysterical happening means anything, it is that there is a vague reckless suspicion among the people of the truth that there has been such neglect.


Many things have happened and--let us hope--in time to wake us up to those defensive defaults. There was the Munich sell-out and the sudden disclosure of Hitler and Mussolini as masters of Europe, through the neglect of their defenses by both England and France. There are the slow leaks of some of the shocking things that Hitler suggested as his price for peace among them, among them German air and naval bases in the Caribbean--direct threats against us. Finally, there comes this dramatic proof of the jitters of our own people on the subject of her own defenses.

On the face of it, a similar thing will not be permitted to happen again by any of our great broadcasting systems. But when the smoke all drifts away, their innocence will be clear and the value of this incident may be credited to them as unintended assistance to the President's great defense program.

The crumbling of British and French power in Europe, Africa, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, plus German aggressiveness and insistence on air and naval bases far too close to us for comfort, put an entirely new face on our defense program. If this nutty, panicky development serves no other purpose than to make that clearer, it will have served its unintended purpose and have proved its unpredictable value.

These Words We Use



This bright and optimistic addition to a household has for years been up in arms against the cat family. And a rather strange fact adds further fuel to the flames here, for a "canary" is really a "dog's first cousin!" This apparently illogical relationship comes about thus: the "canary" is so named because it was first found in the "Canary Islands" which are really the "Dog Islands," due to a number of large dogs or "cani" running wild there. So you can imagine your feathered friend's disappointment when he has to manage with a small cheep instead of the full-throated growl he ought to possess to stop Thou Cat on the prowl.


This morning Jackson Harvey, Negro, was too die in the gas chamber. He will not die. Governor Hoey yesterday commuted his sentence to life imprisonment. Ground was that Henrietta Williams, Negro woman of Forsyth County for whose rape Harvey was sentenced to die, has made "conflicting affidavits," and there had been a medical examination of the woman of which neither solicitor nor defense counsel knew anything.

Said the Governor:

"It is entirely within the range of reason that this medical testimony might have resulted in the conviction for assault with intent to commit rape. I do not say that the prisoner is not guilty of rape, but I do say that the attitude of the prosecutrix, coupled with the medical testimony now discovered, does cast grave doubt upon the guilt of the capital felony."

Very well. But if that is so, what justification remains for life imprisonment? The law says that no man may be made to suffer a penalty for a given crime if he is not guilty beyond "a reasonable doubt." Life imprisonment is not the appointed penalty for assault with intent to rape. This disposition of the case is undoubtedly intended as a compromise, but such compromises are dangerous to the whole structure of law and justice.

O, Consistency...

There is that paradox again--that grotesque contrast between the High Idealism the New Deal professes and the sordid politics that it plays.

The Senate Campaign Expenditures Committee, a bi-partisan body, announced this week that it had found evidence of contemplated "wholesale frauds" in Mayor Hague's New Jersey bailiwick, where an intense Senatorial campaign is underway. Nobody will be surprised at the disclosure, least of all the Democratic National Committee, whose vice-chairman is that same Hague. Common practice in New Jersey is to hold back the tallying of Hudson County's (Jersey City) vote until it can be established how many votes the Democrats need, and then to report them. Sometimes this calls for more votes than there are registered voters of both parties, but New Jersey's government and courts are under Hague's thumb, and considerations of niceties do not deter him.

You would think that the New Deal would scorn to make a trade with so corrupt an outfit. Not so. It will buy New Dealers whenever it can on almost any terms. Thus it was that Secretary of War Woodring went to a Jersey City last week to deliver publicly the President's endorsement of Hague's stooge Senatorial candidate, name of Ely, and to receive in return effulgent promises that Ely would be nothing less than 100 per cent New Dealer.

Four Years Or Nothing

When the dutiful citizen goes to the polls next Tuesday he will be handed a ticket on which to indicate if he is for or against a State constitutional amendment to extend the terms of sheriffs (and coroners) from two years to four. This will take him by surprise, since he had heard nothing about any move to change the crossing of a T in the sacred charter of our liberties, and being so instinctively opposed to change in any form, he may either toss the ticket away or mark it in the negative.

Well, the commonwealth will still endure. But as long as the sheriff is a constitutional officer with which every county must be provided, a four-year term would give him a little more freedom from a re-election campaign to devote to his duties. He is the only two-year constitutional officer except the coroner. Almost everybody connected with the State Government and the courts is for it, and nobody against it. It deserves, we think to be approved.

But as to the requirements in the constitution that there must be sheriffs in all the 100 counties of the state, the office obviously has been outmoded in the more urban counties. Law enforcement and tax collection, the principal time-honored duties of sheriffs, have been handed over to other agents, and about all there is left for big-town sheriffs to do is to call jurymen, serve papers, conduct executions and maintain political organizations. Some of these days there should be submitted an amendment to take sheriffs out of the constitution and leave them up to county boards.

This For Gargantua

The most vicious living creature on earth. That is what Mr. Buck tells you about Gargantua the Great. In the scale of life he stands next to man, this great gorilla from the mountains of the Belgian Congo. His hands are like man's hands. His teeth are only slightly modified from man's. And his brain is made precisely like man's save for the lesser development of the frontal lobes. Long memory he has, and a kind of shrewd biological intelligence which is sometimes uncannily like man's reason.

Next to man, he stands. And he is called the most vicious creature on earth. More vicious than the lion or the Bengal tiger. For the lion and the tiger learn to know the hand that feeds them, and after a while no longer yearn to chew it off. But Gargantua will have none of that. Gargantua, who certainly learns to know the hand that feeds him far more rapidly--Gargantua, they say, continually plots to kill the man who owns the hand that feeds him. And looking at Gargantua's fierce little red eyes, his brow, his torso, you can easily believe it.

Perhaps they exaggerate Gargantua's viciousness. There are authorities, such as Yerkes of Chicago University, who say that the great apes are not really very vicious. But in any case whatever, there is one thing that can be said for Gargantua. In his jungle, he might sometimes kill another gorilla for the chieftainship of his tribe. But, he would never take that tribe and wantonly attack another, to kill not only its females and its baby apes, too. You have to go all the way up the scale, to shapely, reasonable man himself, to find anything like that.

The De-Watering Continues

That "burial which is now merely a matter of the proper amenities of [railroad] finance," as indicated by the President's fact-finding board; seems to have been performed last week in the Interstate Commerce Commission's reorganization of Western Pacific Railroad Co. Capitalization was reduced from 150 millions to 93. Fixed charges, bane of the railroads in hard times, came down to $511,000 annually.

This wholesale de-watering was done at the expense of the common stockholders, who saw prospects of realizing any fragment of their equities go glimmering. At par, this common stock was worth multi-millions. On the board, it was quoted at 62 1/2 cents a share. In the ICC set-up it disappeared entirely.

And a $511,000 fixed charge on a capital investment of $93,000,000 is at the rate of 55-100 of 1 %. Which means that all but a fraction of the new capitalists receive return only when the railroad has earned it and can spare it. Which means in turn that the railroad problem as it related to this company and others so far reorganized was solved primarily by freezing out common stockholders and putting secondary lien-holders in their place.

A Sealed Friendship

Wednesday the House of Commons voted 345 to 138 to back up Mr. Bumble in his effort to purchase "peace in our time" by giving Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler a free hand in Spain. Mr. Bumble, indeed insured the House (1) Benito has withdrawn "half" his troops in Spain, and (2) that Benito and Adolf assure him at Munich that they have no territorial or political ambitions in Spain. But if Mr. Bumble believes that, if the House of Commons believes it, then they must be the most gullible people ever heard of in our time.

According to our American correspondents, there have been from 40,000 to 80,000 Italian troops in Italy, of which 10,000 is not "half." And as for the assurance of Adolf and Benito--maybe they don't want territory, in the political sense, for the nonce, anyhow. But with the example of Czechoslovakia, Manchukuo, and China before us, we know as well as we can know anything that Spain is to be a puppet state of Italy's and Germany's.

Well, and will it nevertheless still secure "peace for our time"? No one can know. But there is evidence. First, the fact that there is no record of the dictator state ever pausing in a victorious course save when stopped by force. Second, Hitler's demands have gone steadily up since Munich--that, in addition to Czechoslovakia, he is now demanding all the old German colonies and the dominant air strength in Europe. And finally--, even as Commons acted, a "Spanish Insurgent" motor ship, almost certainly armed by Italy or Germany, steamed right up to the edge of British territorial waters on the eastern coast of England, and while Britishers on a hotel porch watched the flashes of the guns, sank a British-chartered Spanish Government-owned freighter, which had just pulled out of Cromer, bound in ballast for Russia. It is the first time that sort of contemptuous act has been deliberately visited upon England, by a "friendly" power, since Trafalgar.


Cash Greens Hambricke Cash. Zimmy-zoom. A diller, a pillar, a dollar, see ya'll tomorrow.



By the way, we kicked a little dust, when we saw the--Cat. Why take her, der Taker, she's thine. Songs of the steps, curves of the mind, darts of the mouth, crosswalk guards, û ML front, arrow of the Tudor side, on woodbine, audio visual signs. The dew half-seen comes clearer by the walk by the tines, or, amid the van hexed pines, in the blue-green meadows of 79 to 88 TR Yellowstone late spring rhymes. Learn from it, der taker, swirl it in your morning coffee grinds, maybe with a wee mite of cream, just don't steel it, for its our olde, old memories, some from you, dear one, not just a dream. And by them, we remain forever young, not just an act upon the scene. But remember, don't look to us for answers, just a pattern, not an end or means, thine own roots be true in plenty; find them, be he or she of whatever shoe; for frets burn our fingers, solitude burns our mind, but in the high valleys and low mountains of the highlands and lowlands and midlands, there somewhere wandering around, we shall the treasures find in shakes and sighs. For broken wisdom comes in early involuntary displacement, as most at some time or other undergo, but on serve and behold new walks will be kind when origins preserved by walks through the music of the mind.

Bing. But nothing is all white or pure. 'Twould be rather boring, 'twouldn't it? Just a monolith on ze moon.

Ding, ding, ding, ding a ling.


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