The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 10, 1939


Site Ed. Note: "Cold Shoulder" tells us that RRR's Vindicator was actually cataleptic in issuing forth the moniker for a Charlotte newspaper yet to be; it would become so later when the Observer bought the News, and the Sunday paper sported just that combo header. But not yet, in 1939. Nor is it to suggest anything particularly Vindicator-esque of the combo, or News & Observer--

"Get" was the way it was printed, incidentally...probably even in Raleigh.

As to "Brass Titania", Cash obviously hadn't yet scratched the surface, what with William Tell to provide his Overture for the Masked Man and Bach's Minuet, the classical backdrop for Toys, (two of whom once upon a time born in NC), and Poe Bells for folk and Beatles, yet still and others too numerous to mention. (Cf. Mr. Holland)

Roll over, Bee.

Be Patient, Boys

Bide Your Time, Says American Legion Commander

Good old American Legion Commander Chadwick. Taking notice of agitation for a general pension--that is, so much a month at a certain age for everybody who wore a uniform in the World War--he probably put his foot down.

Here, in effect, is what he said:

Nix, boys. A campaign for general pensions would jeopardize the welfare of the real war sufferers, "our disabled comrades." The Government even now is spending well over a half-billion a year for compensation and veterans' pensions of one kind and another, not to mention a variety of preferences in getting Government jobs and admissions to CCC camps and the like.

And there is some more legislation, fellows, we want to get safely through the Congress before we hit 'em for a general pension. So lay off for a while. Be patient. "I caution that we should not present ourselves before the American public as asking allowances for the able-bodied so long as our disabled comrades are not yet provided for."

Cold Shoulder

Robert Rice Get Strangely Few Letters From Home

The Hon. Robert Rice Reynolds' great campaign to save us from ourselves and to persuade us to be a little warmer to Mr. Hitler, seems to strike eager response in some parts of the nation. But not in his native land of Tar Heeldom. And not even in Dixie as a whole. That is, if we may judge by the letters published under the huge black caption of "THE PEOPLE SPEAK" in his official organ, The American Vindicator.

In the issue before last, we find the letters which are identified as coming from North Carolina. But one of those is listed as being re-published from the columns of the Charlotte News & Observer, whatever that may be. And the other one, carrying a Henderson dateline, is very mild stuff compared to most of the letters Robert prints, say not a word about the wicked aliens.

More--in the current issue we cannot find a single letter from North Carolina, and only one from the South proper, though letters fill up ten solid columns.

That is curious. For the South was the home and primary great stronghold of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920's--an organization which exactly corresponded to the Vindicators in peddling hate and in everything but wearing nightgowns and not snuggling up to any Hitler. But perhaps that very fact explains it. Maybe the bullies have learned by experience. Having been taken for suckers once, all for the end of aggrandizing ambitious men, perhaps they are more wary of being taken a second time for the same purpose, than are those of the country which have had no such experience.

Vain Boast

Mr. Roosevelt Neglects Some Plain Facts Here

Mr. Roosevelt's proud boast that he has really won that Supreme Court fight after all, is gratuitous battling of his enemies. And moreover, it is empty.

It is quite true that the Court is now more liberal than not. But the President lost utterly on the method he proposed to use to achieve that end--which was to enlarge the membership of the court and bring it absolutely under his control by filling all the new places with his hand-picked aids. And if the court is liberal today, it is so because of vacancies that were created by the death or resignation of the justices. What is more, these vacancies would have occurred in any case, and the court would stand as it now stands had Mr. Roosevelt never broached his plan at all.

In point of fact, it is plain now that all Mr. Roosevelt's current troubles began with his attempt to force that plan over. Up to that point, Congress had gone along with him faithfully. But it balked then for the first time, and the anger and the resentment and suspicion bred by that fight has grown ever since. If Mr. Roosevelt had bided his time, it is not impossible that he might still have control of Congress--and certainly he would not have lost control of it so completely as he has.

On the whole, the Supreme Court fight seems to us to be something the President should be anxious to forget.

Site Ed. Note: "Hello," said Martin, twisting his head to look at the newcomer. "You section twenty-four?"

"Yes. . . . Ever read 'Alice in Wonderland'?" asked the wet man, sitting down abruptly at the table.

"Yes, indeed."

"Doesn't this remind you of it?"


"This war business. Why, I keep thinking I'm going to meet the rabbit who put butter in his watch round every corner."

"It was the best butter."

"That's the hell of it."

"When's your section leaving here?" asked Martin, picking up the conversation after a pause during which they'd both stared out into the rain. They could hear almost constantly the grinding roar of camions on the road behind the café and the slither of their wheels through the mud-puddles where the road turned into the village.

"How the devil should I know?"

"Somebody had dope this morning that we'd leave here for Soissons to-morrow." Martin's words tailed off into a convictionless mumble.

"It surely is different than you'd pictured it, isn't it, now?"

They sat looking at each other while the big drops from the leaky roof smacked on the table or splashed cold in their faces.

"What do you think of all this, anyway?" said the wet man suddenly, lowering his voice stealthily.

"I don't know. I never did expect it to be what we were taught to believe. . . . Things aren't."

"But you can't have guessed that it was like this . . . like Alice in Wonderland, like an ill-intentioned Drury Lane pantomime, like all the dusty futility of Barnum and Bailey's Circus."

"No, I thought it would be hair-raising," said Martin.

"Think, man, think of all the oceans of lies through all the ages that must have been necessary to make this possible! Think of this new particular vintage of lies that has been so industriously pumped out of the press and the pulpit. Doesn't it stagger you?"

Martin nodded.

"Why, lies are like a sticky juice overspreading the world, a living, growing flypaper to catch and gum the wings of every human soul. . . . And the little helpless buzzings of honest, liberal, kindly people, aren't they like the thin little noise flies make when they're caught?"

"I agree with you that the little thin noise is very silly," said Martin.

--One Man's Initiation: 1917, Chapter III, by John Dos Passos, 1920

"'Don't usually roost tempest-toost hoosts of ghoosts, myself. You best not neither if'n you know what's good for you--that is unless you've a plan and good cause. A plan and good cause--they're always foremost necessary. Don't have it and you wind up playing in the mirror, the Danse Macabre, men fighting themselves with claymores sharp, just for its own sake. Bad, nasty business that. I still remember the smells of the moist, oily earth in the garage, as the cool breeze blew through my hair in summer as I looked on the old wagon parts, the rusty-rimmed, checked spokes on the oaken tire my grandfather used to keep before he died last summer. You remember that?' Heaysaya, from the coast of Nebraska somewhere, the marksman of our company, speaking from within his usual half-witted parabola, then paused, passed another clip of ammo over to me to hold, taking from the bridge its faced mooring with a sudden pop, centered right in the action. With its accompaniment, through the glade, came a brushing aside, the tinted shade messing a sound from the shadowed floor, rumbling all the earth either of us had the coign to perceive from our mounted perch. With that and a quick brush of his hand, momentarily stirring the air around me, he flicked it away again like nothing had occurred. Went back to snoring, leaving me to the sleepy watch, it being buttered now."

--The 20th Cent., Ltd., Running Out of Time, Anon Y. Mous, 2005, (not available anytime soon, except in noble barns, along the thin borders between here and there).

Serbs Balk

German Croat Play Has Made British Way Easy

The announcement of Yugoslavia's refusal to allow Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy to use her railroads and highways for an attack on Rumania in case of war to hand over control of her resources, may be simply a diplomatic ruse, designed to win the Serbs, the dominant group in the country, better terms from Germany as against the Croats, who have been acting up under the instigation of Hitler's agents, and demanding autonomy from Belgrade.

But if it is authentic and really represents a decision reached in agreement with the British and the French, it probably testifies to two things.

The first is that British diplomacy is recovering something of its old form. In the past, when Dame Britannia sat down to the green table, it was time for everybody to take cover. But she might lose and lose but in the end she always carried off the Lion's share, including the shirts of her opponents and the table itself. But for the last several years she has been fumbling so ineptly that it began to look as though she never again would do anything but lose--that all her old skill was gone.

A month ago, when the Little Axis was formed, it looked as though she had lost Yugoslavia to the Nazis for good. But now her slow dallying seems to have brought results.

However, it is perhaps no great feat at that. What is most likely is that developing circumstances have made the way extremely easy for the British. The Germans, characteristically, have overplayed their hand in backing up the Croats. The Serbs see the same thing already beginning to happen to them that happened to Czechoslovakia. If Croatia is hacked off and made a part of Germany, the gobbling up of the rest of the country will be as inevitable as was the gobbling of the rest of Czechland.

Brass Titania

The Jitterbugs Take Some More Classic Citadels

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, deceased, is probably not a very happy man in whatever quarter of infinity he may now inhabit. Nor is it likely that the late Master Will Shakespeare is, either. For Mr. B. Goodman, swing king, is going to produce a version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," with the words more or less by Mr. Shakespeare, the music of Mr. Mendelssohn turned into jitterbug, and Miss Maxine Sullivan, colored jitterbug chanteuse, signed up for the role of Titania, the golden-locked Queen of Faery!

It is, of course, as though Keats and Shelley were to be rendered into limerick, and the Messrs. Mendelssohn-Bartholody and Shakespeare are hardly to be blamed if, gazing on in sorrow, they are convinced that the world has finally gone nuts for keeps. Probably it has. But Mr. B. Goodman, who plays very well on a clarinet in his sober moments and who ought to know better, has plenty of precedent. All he has done is to carry one step further the Federal Theater Project's business of turning Gilbert and Sullivan into minstrel.

And, as a recent writer in the Baltimore Evening Sun has pointed out, the "classics" of music have become regular residents of Tin Pan Alley. There is a waltz going around over the radio ad nauseam, called "Moon Love," which is simply a theme in the second movement of Tschaikowsky's Fifth Symphony turned to jitterbug. Another recent one, "Our Love" was stolen from Tschaikowsky's Romeo and Juliet. "No Star Is Lost" came out of Tschaikowsky's Pathetique Symphony. "Back Bay Blues" stems from Johann Sebastian Bach's (he of the mighty Mass in B Minor and the Passion According to St. Matthew) organ Fugue in G Minor. The Fugue in C Minor has become "Sea Fugue, Mama." Even Beethoven's great Fifth Symphony has been raided for something the title of which escapes us now. And--the Andante Cantabile of Tschaikowsky has turned into the "Droschsky Drag."

Yes, Mr. B. Goodman is going to have a lot of company when eventually he has to be shot.

Further Note: Come, let us take you on a, Sea Cruise...


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