The Charlotte News

Monday, March 13, 1939


Site Ed. Note: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses... the homeless--then let us turn some of them over, now and again, to the likes of the silver-tongued Bobs in Congress to be attacked, slandered, raked, and deported yet poor, sometimes poorer, to be slaughtered as political enemies once deported. Then, yet now.

As to that cabbalistic cross known by any other name--Hakenkreuz, fylfot, cramponnee, cross of Thor (the Germanic thundering war-god, with his hammer strikes of fire across the field), gammadion, (that is, four repetitions of gamma poised at right angles around a circle (KKK? CCC?)), the sun in Japan--, though true enough as merely lines arranged in a pattern per se, it, of itself, is not to blame, it nevertheless was imbued with, and thus acquired, its perceived overlayer of associated degenerate dogma and thus forever in time, to the extent that time bears any memory of it, must remain indelibly engraved as only a representation of that thing in black for which it became notoriously symbolic during its twelve-year reign, id, societal degeneracy, solisequious solipsism.

A cross, a circle 'round a cross, albeit one lacking, in this instance of it, four of its complementary arcs at each end point on the compass, extended each across the plane to the next adjoining point, nevertheless never conjoining.

And in Nazi lore, it was formed counter-clockwise--a reversal which, in brief, suggests well its entire usurpation. Where north aimed west, south became east...but such a compass affords no direction home.

For contrast, we include the piece below on 1939 life along Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, somewhat changed today, but only somewhat, not as markedly as one would expect with the passage of 67 years--the Carolina Theater still being in evidence, though the pigeons no longer appear to populate so freely as they did even thirty years ago. And whether there is any Rubinoff still around to brave the traffic to and fro, we couldn't say. But probably.

As with many traditional college campus towns or islandic districts of larger surrounding urbian confusion, whether Harvard Square or Telegraph Avenue, Franklin Street maintains, despite the inevitability of modernity's intrusive slivers, that unmistakable village picture palpably reminiscent of an earlier time, while not quite that of a Brueghel painting or even so far back as that to which the campus backdrop stretches for two centuries, still enough that one might escape the pong and ping of the period of the moment, dropping away from solecism, supplementing the mere experiential with that search for the exponible which might then lead to discovery of the tantalizingly aloof universality, that which makes it all, in its ineluctable diffusion, its transitory inimicality, yet into one.

Two Reasons Chapel Hill Still Stays Charming

Louis Graves, Chapel Hill Weekly

With all its modern appearance and modern stir--pavements, garish shop-fronts, signs, noisy automobiles--Chapel Hill's main street now and then takes on something of the flavor of the horse-and-buggy era. I do not know anything that does more to recall the tranquility of bygone days than the sight of Rubinoff, the big shaggy black and white dog, ambling slowly across the street. He doesn't stay on one sidewalk long before he finds something on the opposite sidewalk requires his presence, and the consequence is that he spends a large part of his time between the curbs. Maybe he knows that automobiles are whizzing up and down the street, but from his slow pace and self-composure you would think he was totally unaware of them. He seems to have a charmed life, so far. I found no trace of any public demand for an effort to keep him from walking back and forth across the main street. It would wreck his happiness, and Chapel Hill would much prefer that Rubinoff be happy. He'll have to take his chances, and hundreds of us who know him and like him pray that he will continue to make his crossings in safety.

Then there are the pigeons. They make the Carolina Theater their headquarters because Jeff Thomas, who has a shop in the theater building, gives them popcorn--the grains that fail to pop--regularly. Sometimes you see them snapping up a meal on the street in front of his place, with Mr. Thomas looking on. They have become his pets.

One day this week, when I was about to go into the telegraph office, I heard a sudden screeching and grinding of brakes, and when I turned around I saw a fair-haired boy of my acquaintance, young Pat Winston, bring his Ford to a stop. He shouted: "Get out of my way!" And the flock, their wings iridescent in the brilliant sunlight, fluttered up from around the front wheels. Many times a day, in the same manner, they give the appearance of making the barest possible escape from death. I've never heard of one of the pigeons being hurt by a car, and I suppose there is an instinct that protects them. People who have been driving along the main street a long time have become accustomed to getting close to the pigeons and do not slow down for them. That is, most people do not. But Pat was taking no chances. He was determined not to hurt any of those pigeons.

None In This Woodpile

Bob Reynolds has already been kidded out of countenance before his choice of anti-alienism as a welkin-ringer. Coming from a state whose people are 99 and 44-100% native born, Bob--his unfriends have sneered--might well have selected a more burning domestic issue to battle for.

Might have explained, too, when he was going about the country laying on aliens the blame for unemployment and the inadequacy of relief, that his estimate of the number of aliens on relief--one out of every eight, and therefore 375,000 out of 3,000,000--didn't apply to his home state.

This Congress took up Bob on his insistence about ferreting the aliens out and dismissing them. Several weeks ago the order came down to WPA offices, which duly began to check up and cut off. And how many aliens do you suppose were discovered crowding the relief rolls in the seven counties which comprise the Charlotte area? Not ary one. Not a single alien.

Furthermore, reports from other parts of the country show that there is not a ghost of a chance of 375,000 aliens or anything like that many being detached from relief, thus making room for that many genuine Americans. Bob owes somebody an apology, though whether it is the aliens whose number he misrepresented or the jobless whom he deluded, Bob himself will have to decide.


Of Adolf Hitler's last speech, observers immediately noted that, though it was full of invective against Communism, it said not a word about Russia or its dictator, Josef Stalin. On the contrary the "Communism" he was talking about seemed to be the parliamentarism of the democracies, and not that of the Soviet Union at all. The omission and shift of emphasis was so remarkable that it immediately set off speculation as to whether Adolf and Stalin were not playing with the idea of making up to each other and reaching an agreement for common action.

That speculation received new impetus Saturday when Stalin made a speech on his own account and wholly left off invective against the Nazis--himself denounced the democracies as attempting to make war between Germany and Russia in the hope that the two would destroy each other.

There are many difficulties in the way of such an alliance. And chief of them is Hitler's ambition to detach the Ukraine from Russia--a thing which Stalin is not likely to agree to. But the two countries are traditional allies, and if they could compose their differences, Hitler would be placed in a position to get both the food and the unlimited manpower he needs to destroy the British Empire, which is what he must do if he is ever to realize his goal of making Germany the dominant power in the Western World.

And Russia, on the other hand, would be relieved of the haunting fear of being attacked simultaneously from the East and West--would be released to confront Japan with all her power. So it is not so impossible as it first sounds that the two dictators are really feeling each other out, with a view to such an alliance.

Report on Dyess

As a testimonial to Rural Resettlement, it was a pretty lame lead with which Mr. Howard W. Blakeslee, Associated Press Science Editor, started off his story the other day on Dyess Colony, the Arkansas project which is one of the earliest and the largest of them all. Mr. Blakeslee began his article like this:

"World Resettlement, after five years, is doing much for children."

Of the 649 families that since 1935 have taken up residence in Dyess Colony, with its model community facilities, its hospital, its bank, its free agricultural advice and co-operatives, only 389 have stuck it out. The percentage is not so bad when one considers that these were sharecropper families--"just that kind of people"--given to moving for moving's sake, ignorant and almost wholly lacking in any ambition beyond the day's meals. But in the light of what, for the first time, was being done for them, much of that at Government expense, the statistic is bad enough. It shows that a substantial portion of these born share croppers are due to die share croppers, and to cause themselves and society no inconsolable grief in the process.

Main hope for the Dyess experiment lies in the children. Their "spirit and ambition" have changed noticeably. Those who dropped out of school went back. The book circulation of the community library was "amazing." And many families who would have given in to the temptation to hitch up the horse, whistle to the dog and move on, stayed where they were because the children wanted so much to stay.

Well, that's very touching, and we admit to being touched by it. But Dyess and the whole Resettlement undertaking have reached only a sub-fraction of all of the share cropper children in this country, and the expense of that paltry administration has been great. It still remains very much to be seen if the experiment, in a practical sense, is worthwhile.

Petition For Relief

Criminal court dockets in Mecklenburg County, as is generally known, usually stay in lamentable condition. Untried cases pile up and are nol-prossed, which is to say wiped off the slate, by the score. Drunken driving cases especially have a way of coming up from lower courts with a verdict of guilty tagged onto them, only to be excused from trial in Superior Court. At one time, there were some 700 cases on the docket, many of them years old. Half of these were nol-prossed and the docket cut down to a minimum. Even so, it was only by engaging an assistant solicitor that Superior Court in Mecklenburg has managed to keep anywhere near current in its work.

And lest it appear that this condition is peculiar to Mecklenburg, due, perhaps, to exceptionally violent tendencies in our people, pray take note that in Gastonia it is not a bit better. The term of court is beginning there today, and the docket bulges with 235 cases, 135 of them old cases. Gaston County is the other half of the fourteenth judicial district, sharing the same public prosecutor with Mecklenburg, and the crowded dockets in both courts may be only a coincidence not at all attributable to the fact that they are run by Solicitor John Carpenter, a most accommodating man. But coincidence or not, the two dockets are plainly too much for this one Solicitor. The Legislature owes him and Gaston and Mecklenburg some relief.

Driving Out The Devils

The Harvard Epilepsy Commission, after twenty years of research in collaboration with other agencies all over the world, has at length begun to cast light upon what has remained throughout the history of man a dark and awesome mystery. The disease, it has been discovered, is due to disturbances in the electric rhythm of the brain cells, itself resulting from disturbances in the body chemistry. And with that before it, the commission is now hopeful of discovering why the changes take place and of before long working out a cure for it.

Among savages and barbarians the disease has universally commanded enormous respect. The victim was supposed to be possessed by supernatural powers, and so was usually honored with some position of great power--usually that of witch-doctor, medicine man, or shaman. In Middle Age Europe, however, the case was reversed: the victim was held to be possessed with "devils," and resort was had to brutal whipping in order to drive them out of him. In modern times, too, something of the same attitude has persisted. At least, the poor victim has usually been regarded with horror, and has generally been set down as a "degenerate." But in point of fact, many of the greatest men of the world have suffered from it--Caesar, Mohammed, Napoleon, Byron, Flaubert, Dostoivesky, Isaac Newton, to mention only a few.

For all that, however, the horror is perhaps natural in view of the form that the convulsions take--in grand mal cases at least. And if science can find a way to relieve the victims--numbering 500,000 in the United States--, it will deserve quite as great plaudits as though it had found a way to cure cancer itself.

The Swastika

College students at Los Angeles noticed the swastika in the design of the stained-glass window in the office-residence of Dr. Wolf Adler, and threatened to picket the place if he didn't take it out. The doctor promised to oblige, saying that he had never noticed it before. And that being a Jew he didn't like the Nazis either. Not a bit.

But, of course, the swastika in the window probably had nothing to do with the Nazis. The symbol is as old as the Bronze Age and has been found all over the earth. It appears on the bronze and gold trappings which Schliemann dug out of Hassarklik--the site of the ancient Troy. It appears on the robes of figures on the walls of the Egyptian tombs, and in the mural decorations and vases of Babylon and Assyria. It was common in ancient Persia, China, India, and Japan. And in India today it is used as a religious symbol both by the Buddhists and the Jains. The Greeks, too, used it widely--their common meander or fret pattern of decoration used throughout the modern world is directly derived from it. And most curious of all, it was widespread among the Indians of North, South, and Central America. The Incas, the Aztecs, the Mayas, the Navahos all had it, and perhaps fetched it with them when they migrated from Asia--a supposition that would make it even earlier than the Bronze Age.

The thing is really a Greek cross, modified by bending each of the arms at right angles all in the same direction, usually clockwise. And the meaning which seems to have been universally attached to it is that of good luck and benediction.

So don't blame the swastika.


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