The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 19, 1939


Site Ed. Note: "An April Lament" suggests a lyric, we think, which goes to rhyme such as "shocking" with "silk stockings". Must have been something akin in style to that which we commonly call flip-flops, the footwear, not the silly and plain annoying chant of the Republicans at the 2004 convention.

Yet, come to think of it, perhaps the shoes of which the editorial speaks and the Republicans at that 2004 convention have much in common. Squish, squish, squish. ...And the muck, in this instance, as with the cows, appears quite of their own making.

They're Off!

The Hornets, That Is, On A Pennant Quest

At Hayman Park this afternoon the umpire will call, "Batter Up," the pitcher will poise a moment on his mound, then send the ball a-streaking toward the plate, and the season will be on.

It's a grand game, baseball. Badly overshadowed as a spectacle by collegiate football, it features day in and out entertainment, which keeps the customers contented. Moreover, it's a game that even the girlfriend can comprehend in a glimmering sort of way. The action is all out in the open, rather than in a series of wrestling matches in the line. There are no inexplicable penalties to cause her to ask, innocently, "What is that man setting our team back for?"

The old college spirit is missing, to be sure, but the Hornets last season exhibited a team spirit that almost made up for the difference. As a result, they commence this season with the confidence of the fans and a considerable carry-over of interest. They have made a name and a place for themselves in the community to the enjoyment and profit of all.

Renwick Wilkes*

Whose Life Began And Ended In Charlotte

Any biography of Renwick Wilkes, who died this morning, would be bound to contain a good measure of local history. A native Charlottean, his parents before him were actively identified with the Charlotte that so few of its residents have known. Good Samaritan Hospital, for example, was wrought into existence principally by the indomitability of his Christian mother, which for those days was a feat of magnitude in more ways than one.

His forebears had been seafaring men. A grandfather, Admiral Charles Wilkes, discovered and gave his name to territory within the South Pole region, Wilkes Land. And succeeding Wilkes have gravitated toward the naval service of their country as though predestined for that career. And Renwick and his brothers succeeded their father in the iron works that made cannon for the Confederate Army and perhaps anchor chain for the Confederate Navy, as fast as the Confederacy could capture a navy.

And himself, Renwick Wilkes was a courtly gentleman, animated in conversation, spirited. It may be that he sometimes was puzzled at the changes taking place so swiftly about him, at the transition of the town from the days when he knew and was known by everybody, to the city peopled at first by newcomers from nearby and later by other strangers. But it must always have been a source of pride to him and his family that he himself had been so long and so actively identified with it.

Defensive Ban

Cyrano Could Not Be Reconciled With The Nazi Spirit

At Prague the booted and spurred German alien who sits as master of Hradcany Castle has banned the showing of the British film, "Gibraltar," and production by the National Theater of Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac." The first, it seems, contains a scene where the Marsellaise is sung--and its showing has been the cause of great demonstrations in the Czech cinemas. As for "Cyrano," it is damned as "the apotheosis of the Gallic spirit."

Well, there is a line in the famous closing speech, while Cyrano looks forth upon the enemies that swarm before his closing sight, which runs, "Je me bat, je me bat, je me bat!" Which is to say, "I shall fight and never cease from fighting until I have dispirited them or they have destroyed me!" The enemies that he saw as universal enemies of men, [indiscernible word] Brutality, Cowardice masquerading as Courage, and so on, and the thing for which he fought? The great romantic dream of Western civilization--the fate that man is more than a hog and a snapping dog--and the effort to live up to a fairer life than ever man in practice has known.

One well understands why the man in Hradcany Castle doesn't care to have the Czechs looking at spirit like that in the light of their intimate knowledge of the Nazi spirit.

Concrete Results

President's Moves Seem To Have Made Mr. Hitler Hesitant

Tucked away in an obscure corner of the news report yesterday was a little item which constituted a striking commentary on the opinion of those people who imagine that we can remove ourselves from the globe, stick our heads deep in the sand, and remain unconcerned with what happens in the rest of the world. It came out of New York--not London, mind you--and had it that shipping circles had admitted that ships which ordinarily are routed through the Mediterranean and Suez are now being sent around the Cape of Good Hope because of the great rise in underwriters' charges for ships moving through waters where battle fleets are concentrated. The very prospect of war, that is, begins already to disrupt our foreign commerce, so important now in view of the unemployment situation.

On the other hand, it is increasingly plain that President Roosevelt's policy has this justification--that it shows signs of working. There is not much doubt that up until the peace plan was launched and the American Navy was ordered back into the Pacific, Adolf Hitler had fully intended to grab Danzig and perhaps the Polish Corridor as a birthday present for himself tomorrow. Maybe he will yet. But all the evidence seems to indicate that he has decided that he had better postpone it and concentrate on trying to detach Rumania and Turkey from the British-French bloc by cajolery and threats.

And though other factors may enter into the case, the President's twin moves undoubtedly deserve most of the credit. If Adolf defies the peace plea, he stands to be finally adjudged as a lawless aggressor by the American people, will certainly reply by giving England and France all the backing with supplies that they need. And the fleet move has gone a long way toward depriving Hitler of active aid from his Japanese ally. The Nipponese tinhats have been openly boasting that as soon as war broke they meant to seize Singapore and the Dutch and British East Indies. But yesterday's dispatches said that they have abruptly stopped that, and now admit that they fear such a move would mean sudden battle with the American Fleet--something they confess candidly they do not want.

The President, that is, has so skillfully played his cards that Adolf Hitler has apparently been brought to pause--to the reflection that, at the moment at least, he perhaps hasn't the real power to challenge the odds against him. It may not mean eventual peace, but it certainly represents the best hope for it now in sight.

An April Lament

Concerning Neither Ships, Cabbages Nor Kings

It is a sad April--the saddest we remember. All because of those shoes.

What maniac cooked them up we don't know. But this fellow is obviously a misogynist. Yes, and a misogamist. Yes, and a misanthropist, too--a hateful and spiteful man.

They flop. Every time the femme who bought 'em takes a step they open and grin devilishly at you, as they direct your eyes resistlessly to a large expanse of female heel. Female toes were bad enough, heaven knows, especially when they were got up to make it look as though the gal had been dabbling them in a paint bucket. But heels--the heel, we think is undoubtedly the unloveliest creature in all God's great zoo. Besides there's the sound--squish, squish, squish. A cow walking through muck makes a sound just like that.

But this is not the worst of it. The worst of it is the effect of the general ensemble, particularly when considered from astern. Manifestly the wearers all labor under a constant and dreadful impression that they are just about to fall off--those shoes--and that therefore it is necessary to somehow progress without lifting the foot more than is absolutely necessary. The result is a wide sweeping waddle--a caricature of a duck--a vast foreshortening of the vertical lines and a vast expansion of the horizontal ones--the dead image of the progress of a penguin, save that a penguin does swing the whole of herself whereas in the femme the swing is most notable--but now maybe we had better haul up, seeing that this is after all a family journal.

In past Aprils it has been our custom to walk in the street and admire. For us it was the happiest season--for ogling? A vicious thought. Of course not. Just for walking and admiring and thinking how lovely Dame Nature had made the world--for reflecting that it was very good to be alive and just look. So we deplore 'em, those shoes. Firmly and militantly. They are, we are convinced, very bad for the race. And as for us, we sit glumly in our office and write little pieces like this instead of walking and looking--dissolving steadily into gloom and, yes, misogyny on our own account. Bah!


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