The Charlotte News
Wednesday, December 6, 1939
Site Ed. Note: "Carping" leads us to muse on the various invasions which set off World War II, the September 1 invasion of Poland, after the piecemeal grabs of Austria, in that case in March, 1938 accomplished by rigged plebiscite, and of Czechoslovakia by March, 1939, both by plebiscite and military force, the taking of France in spring, 1940, the invasion of Russia in June, 1941 and, of course, finally, Pearl Harbor. All the while, as we are reminded in "Teacher Reverses", the training ground had been provided to Italy in Ethiopia, for both Italy and Germany in the case of Spain. And all of this against the backdrop, first, of the Russo-Nazi mutual non-aggression pact signed just days in advance of the invasion of Poland, irritating Japan, fearing Russia at the back of China interfering with Japan's Greater Asia plan for domination of the Pacific, the same pact which then nerved Stalin to invade Finland; then, with the western Continent within his grip by mid-1940 and England flung back across the Channel to be steadily held at bay by the bombing raids which followed in fall, 1940 through spring, 1941, Hitler's bold and fatefully backfiring putsch then against his old mutually non-aggressive partner, Russia, in June.
Was, in the latter, Hitler in part acquiescing to Japan's militarists in order to show loyalty to the mutual protection pact, albeit one aimed only at neutrals, i.e. the United States, should they become involved in the conflict, and thereby to obtain in a return show of loyalty, the attack on Pearl, all for the precious materiel needed to maintain the vast and far flung war machines of the Axis, as well in the hope, from both Hitler's and Tojo's point of view, to take the United States quickly from the equation, a fata morgana that such would lead it to stand down and act as arbiter in a quick global peace, leaving Japan with its pan-Asia and Germany with Germania, including Great Britain and France and their vast empire resources globally?
But, of course, even had it been, speaking of the Kilkenny cats, it would not have likely been long until Hitler had made his move on Japan's newly won resources. Instead of the Cold War, we might have had a very hot one eventually, after von Braun perfected his rocket ship and the Nazi scientists instead split the atom first, a Hot War which would have indeed destroyed the planet in nuclear holocaust, with Hitler on one end of the button and Tojo on the other. There would have likely been more than the mere banging of the shoe on the desk of the General Assembly; indeed, there would have never been a General Assembly desk, shortcomings or no, on which to bang a shoe at all--or in which a man with a usually holy shoe could state his preparation to wait until hell itself might freeze for an answer to the pressing question of the moment.
But, it seems, we ask a few of our Republican friends about all that even today, sometimes, some of them, and they seem to have to stop and wonder whether which would have been the better or worse fate.
Some traditions never seem to end.
The question, it seems to us, should be not who it is with whom we next need engage in a fight to the death for the supposed sanctity of all that is good and righteous, but rather with whom are we going next to try to understand better and with whom mutually to plan for the future of the entire planet's well-being against that most cruel of marauders, one hell of an angry Mother, Nature, not merely Britannia this battle out, but Nature itself.
On another point, if you are a dedicated reader of our notes, you might not credit that when, in mid-October, 2006, as we signed off the summer of 1938 and took our leave for a bit to tend to some things relating to some not-seers, we had not ever read "Judge" below. But, nevertheless, the fact remains that we had not.
In this instance, it is true that we had procured the copy, along with numerous other days' editorials in the bargain, from the microfilm some time ago, maybe in 2001 or 2002; we don't recall. And so, then you might posit that with all that whizzing print, even though from a few years ago, you would attribute to us the nearly divine capacity of osmotically imbuing to our mind somehow, in our subconscious reserve anyway, just by letting our eyes leisurely become dizzified with all that passing melange of zoom-zoom, all the whirring memories emblazoned upon those whizzing celluloid imprints. Maybe. Probably not, but who knows? (Somehow, we admit, though we know not how, we once managed to "see" the print on the side of the truck as it whizzed past the north by northwest crossroads in that film with the duster flying overhead--or was it just that something else, maybe the south wind, which told us to freeze-frame it there, something whimsically to which we then merely listened, for insight?) So we speculate as to how these things come to be and come to be understood. Must be something physical, normative, entirely within the realm of the explicable manifest realm before our fingertips. Must be. Cannot be otherwise.
Yet, the sticking point in this whole exercise, minor as this one is, is that there was other inspiration from the print of the whole page for our little appendage to August 31, 1938, you see, lending itself quite consciously in our mind to that little aperitif which we laid down that day not too long ago, of the type of which we are so fond, a kind of aging-musical-literary-crossover-to-fact thingamabob, a tiny exemplar of lopointu. And, of course, other things, which didn't come to be for another 30 years after that print appeared in 1938 also lent to the inspiration for the sentence, too, in 2006. All of that is the other part which is not so clear, not merely susceptible of being derived from the individual subconscious, when juxtaposed to the little incidental in "Judge" which crosses over to our note of some two months ago. But, one could ask, did the same inspiration for the note produce also the identical inspiration of "Judge"? That's it, that explains rationally the whole thing. The discerning reader will quickly dispel the notion, however; that is, unless one also assumes the magistrate in New York City read copiously The Charlotte News editorial page, of course, or just the same stories and cartoons which appeared there, perhaps, over a year earlier? 'Ey? But then, there are still those other things 30 years on also to explain.
In any event, regardless of how it all came to be in the universe of things interesting and incidental, here ultimately by the mere intrusion of a construction derrick, (no doubt a number ten), we would feel a little more humored though, we must say, by "Judge" were it so that the couple receiving the magnanimity of the jurist had been a poor to middlin' couple of the Bronx, Brooklyn, or Harlem, rather than a wealthy couple of Yorkville. What need had they for a storied night on the town with caviar and rich burgundy at the expense of the company or the city or the judge? Let them eat cake! It appears to us easy enough to be magnanimous when tacitly there might be expectation politically of return, perhaps. But, humor is humor, and we agree that many of our dry courts today could stand a little more creativity and enlivening, as opposed to the yawning unflavorful grist greeting us usually from the news daily. Next time, though, Judge, give the dashing chivalrous gesture at least also to the poor and middlin', not just to those already without need of want. Then, we might see it as being more true to equanimity and without expectation of any return except the singularly fruitful knowledge of having done the magnanimous gesture of chivalry, even if the boys and girls downtown aren't so appreciative. Yet, who knows? Maybe, in another episode of incidentals he did just that. We can hope.
Speaking of things thirty years after summer, 1938, we had occasion last evening to attend the new film, "Bobby". We urge you to see this one. It is a nice piece, as much about a stop of the train in time, as it is about one man's political candidacy and honorable life being cut short on a fateful early summer day in Los Angeles, just at the height of hope and promise, after a dim-fated year of turmoil both at home and abroad preceding it. The film revolves around the day, telling a broader story of the intertwining ordinary lives of that time, and from our memory of it, one faithfully captured and not at all anachronistically, as are so often such period pieces, even so recent as to be within living memories, too often it seems dimmed by some of the excesses of that time which the film portrays.
We are not wont to find ourselves often moved to the point of involuntary tears by the end of a film, as we have seen so many in our years to have long ago ceased easily to be so moved; but in this one we could not help it. It gave us, by its subtle and seamless blending of actual newsreel footage with the theatrically reproduced characterizations of the daily lives of those otherwise anonymous individuals passing through the Ambassador Hotel of that day, to relive our own memories of that day, and especially those of that following torturous day spent waiting, though spent thousands of miles away. In our case, it was the last full day of our middle schooling, one we shall not ever forget for its having been so blackened. But the train moved on.
So, see it if you can. Whether Republican or Democrat, if you are human, you ought be moved deeply by this piece, we think, and regardless of your age. It probably helps to have been alive at the time and to be able to remember the hope and the promise, and how it was to have that hope and promise then suddenly again cut short by a cruel act of obscenity to humanity itself. Yet, it is the tragedy of life on which sometimes we build hope also for the future, and from which we draw inspiration, hopefully not fear, to act and to act boldly and with civility, when times call for it, for the betterment of all humanity.
Would it were instead only the triumph from which we draw such inspiration, but we, maybe especially we as a society, given our past manifold streams trying, ever seeking, to join as one river, yet winding up so often only as the many individuals, have some stubborn resistance to that singular triumph as a font for inspiration. Perhaps, as the very basis for coming to these shores so often was tragedy and sadness, rejection, rather than pure adventure or optimism, we are hopelessly and pessimistically embraced as a country to tragedy as a font for wisdom and hope, the need to feel not alone in tragedy, and thus to have all feel accordingly at times. The hope and promise and smiling inspiration of F.D.R., for instance, ended not in living triumph with ticker tape in Times Square for the victorious President, but rather in the sadness and near solitude of a Warm Springs afternoon just as the war stood close to an end, with a tearful accordionist providing his dirge. And the train moved on.
For, from every singular triumph, especially in politics, there are equal and opposite forces which see the triumph as resounding defeat, even among one's closest circle of friends and acquaintances, and thus the triumph is always one tempered by this recognition. Such is perhaps a universal law of human behavior, at least where competing ideals or things of material matter are held tenaciously and without remission, without sufficient understanding of the perceptions and consciousness of others. It is always a difficult complex. Reaching out to each side along the given divide is the surest path to surmounting that complex. But, oddly, that same reaching out often leads to tragedy, as some will not accept the outstretched hand and are embittered by its very extension, which they regard as some cruel jest to their opposing interests and existence, to be recoiled against as the spiteful child bent on parricide.
Somehow, however, even in the ancient realm of bitter political struggle, with the passage of time after death occasions something close to universal honor in some cases, and we believe so it should be in the case we reference, as it has come to be, and from both sides of the political spectrum. What happened, never should have, but once done, the train had to move on.
Those too young or not yet then born may have trouble understanding this story, may feel uneasy at the portrayal of ideals which seem to us now somehow perhaps absurdly naive or even of questionable sincerity, though so recently embraced in time as 1968. For since that time, the political realm has seen few idealists not besmirched by scandal of one sort or another, actual or yellow press chimera offered to the bored and subjectivist among us. But there was such a time, and there were ideals and there was a sincerity which joined them and one which was not considered emasculatedly frail or Pollyannish, but strong and bold and alive, and breathing optimistic air amid what some sought to portray as virtual chaos, viewing it, instead of as a call to renewal of ideals, for militancy toward positive change without violence, rather as a demand for "law and order" of the billyclub variety to displace and diffuse any semblance of hope for a better and different society than the one of the preceding day--resulting in finally that dull death-gaze of society, malaise. And the train had to move on.
The damage which was done to hope in those years gave pause and even subconscious fear to the voicing of any form of idealism, without the concomitant of levelling laughter to dispel it as quickly as raised, emblematic of which perhaps came then what years before would have been unthinkable, the spontaneous laughter at the President ducking on the tarmac as a mere flashbulb exploded nearby,--and that complex of course was not only the embittered design of these acts, to chill, to corrode from within, to forestall any voice seeking change, to humiliate it aborning, but the improvident and most tragic consequence of all, for in that succumbing to the intended purpose, it gave with it the suggestion in some of perverse rectitude to these, the very basest of acts to all humanity.
Perhaps in understanding this time and its tragedy in hindsight, with the quick passage of time since taken away to reveal it starkly again, with the clarity and perspective of years in tow to aid the recollection and re-examination, it is a way at last to catharsis for all who were alive then and were and still are, understood or not, affected by it, as well those born since, impacted indirectly but inevitably by their parents' sense of loss and chaos from that time, in that moment, in that kitchen pantry. For just as a family is shattered by the loss of a father, an uncle, what have you, so too was a substantial part of a nation, in this story. And so, too, just as with the individual family, may it then falter and stumble and have trouble recovering at times.
But the train moves on. And more and more hands reach out and wave to it as it passes on a summer's day where all hope and optimism blossom freely and without fear of thoughtless repetition of the tragedy of the past.
Football De Luxe
By Heywood Broun
After watching the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins at the Polo Grounds yesterday it seems to me that the professionals have pretty much taken football away from the colleges.
Not only do the pros play a faster and better game, but they are eminently successful in giving every run and tackle the old university try. Not even the Army and the Navy put on a better roughhouse. When a man is slapped down, not only do his teeth rattle, but several players who weren't really in the operation at all jump on the prostrate body just for luck.
There is nothing lackadaisical about the efforts of the men who are actuated by nothing more than the profit motive when they step out upon the gridiron. Possibly I do them wrong, and some of the venom which they put into it may be actuated by fear that old Tim Mara may be beaten again by the students in the employ of Mr. Marshall. Indeed, the spirit of competition ran so high yesterday that one of the Redskins followed the referee off the field in the hope of being able to take a poke at him.
TENTH AVENUE MAKES YALE A MERE COW COLLEGE
Again the crowds come up to their assignments with all the enthusiasm of old grads. The man to my left confided that he was himself limited to a short career in Tenth Avenue Prep, but he rooted with the fury of one who is sending Bull Karcis through Mara Seminary on an athletic scholarship.
After the final whistle blew a group of the educationally underprivileged tore down the goal posts with all the eclat of Princeton men who had just trampled down the Crimson. And even in the Yale Bowl I have seen no greater number of hip flasks or freer usage of second-half stimulants.
IT ALL HAS THE AUTHENTIC COLLITCH ATMOSPHERE
Yes, the pro games have all the usual features of a college contest and many more to boot. After the second quarter any lady fan may well have imagined that she was a visitor in Harvard's archaic stadium, because no one can possibly get into the powder room unless she is proposed at birth and brings a letter from her pastor.
As far as the technical aspects of the pro games go the rooter notices chiefly the vast increase of skillful forward passing which comes with maturity and a living wage. There may be a few college quarterbacks who can sling them almost as well as Danowski, but the colleges simply do not produce the same sort of receivers. A professional end apparently needs do no more than get a finger on the ball in order to snare it. Moreover, the professionals kick much better, particularly in the matter of field goals.
SOPHOMORES ARE TOO FRAGILE FOR THIS
There is more precision and greater speed in running off plays, and when a man is hurt he comes out without tears or argument and the game goes on. I am more than ever convinced that football is not a young man's game. Boys are too brittle at nineteen to be exposed to such hard contact. At Yale there are still lads who still have that slightly open space at the top of the skull. Such fledglings should not be spun around on the head.
And in addition to everything else, professional football is a great democratizing influence. The self-made man does not need to wait to get a vicarious thrill by sending a son through one of the cloistered colleges. He can go out and root for Mara or Marshall, and come home just as tight and tired as if he were a Colgate man himself.
The pro game has everything the college sports affords with the exception of the ivy and the privilege of walking two and one-half miles from the parking space to portal 10-L in the Yale Bowl.
Republicans Play Both Ends Against Middle In This
The Republican criticism of the President's foreign policy scarcely adds up to sense.
What they demand now is that he break off relations with Russia immediately, and they cry triumphantly that present events prove that the Soviet Government never should have been recognized.
But the only reasons for not recognizing the Soviet Government in the twenties were that it was bloody and tyrannical, and had refused to pay debts owed to Americans.
However, the Nazi Government is bloody and tyrannical, also; and it has refused to honor any of the debts of the nations it has hogged up, in addition to Germany's own. Nevertheless, when the President last Spring recalled Ambassador Wilson from Berlin--without breaking off relations--as a gesture of protest against the final grab of Czechland, the same Republican high command stood on its head and frothed at the mouth in protest--alleging that it was virtually an act of war.
There is not much doubt that the President himself would like summarily to end relations with Russia, regardless of the discredit such a move might cast on the wisdom of recognizing her in the first place. And if he doesn't, it is for the practical reasons that it would probably (1) impel the Reds into full alliance with the Nazis, (2) deprive us of valuable resources of information, and (3) leave us with no way of bringing pressure to bear in behalf of Finland and the Scandinavian countries, save that of open force.
That the President intends to use every ounce of diplomatic power at his command to impress Russia with the idea that she had better haul up, is plain. His idea of giving Finland credits for her payments on her war debts shows as much. But that also will probably be denounced by the Republican high command as war mongering.
A Fine Man*
Belmont's R. L. Stowe Learns What Friends Think Of Him
That grand old gentleman of Belmont in Gaston County, Robert Lee Stowe, had a unique experience last night. For an hour or more he sat--one might say he had to sit--and listened to whole-hearted tributes to himself, paid by some few of his legion of friends and admirers.
He was extolled, as he should have been, as a citizen and churchman, as a textile manufacturer, as a builder of schools and roads, as a County Commissioner (since 1914 without interruption, even through the Republican times without interruption). His eulogists knew their subject and knew that they would be put to it to do him justice while making some concession to the man's abiding modesty.
And in the end it had to be admitted by everybody that what seemed to sum up the life and character of Mr. Stowe--that he was a fine man. And after all, who wants more than that said about him?
Mr. Hull Needs A Break If This Is To Work
The latest program of the AAA for the salvation of cotton--No. 17,231, according to our best computation--places increasing emphasis upon the recapture of the export market.
A determined effort is being made on a long-time basis to restore foreign cotton trade through the reciprocal trade-agreements program, which recognizes the basic fact that the nation must buy if it expects to sell.
In addition... an extensive export program was inaugurated July 27, 1939...
What the result of the latter may be to date does not appear. But Mr. Hull has been working on the reciprocal trade agreements ever since he became Secretary of State in 1933.
In 1927, we exported 10,927 bales of cotton, despite the depressing effect of the Hawley-Smoot tariff on our export trade in general. In 1935, two years after the inauguration of the Roosevelt agricultural policies, the figure fell to 4,799,000 bales. Next year it went up to 5,973,000 bales. But in 1938, with a record crop of 18,945 bales, it was still only 5,598,000 bales.
The depression obviously played its part in that result, by reducing demand and consumption everywhere in the world. But there seems to be no doubt that the production-limitation and subsidy schemes of the Administration also played their part, by making Southern cotton too costly for foreign buyers--that all along these policies have consistently canceled out Mr. Hull's efforts.
These policies remain in the new program, the only difference being in the addition of the export subsidy. Whether that will fix up the case remains to be seen, though it seems somewhat dubious.
What cotton needs--if it can be saved at all--we don't certainly know. But the case does seem to need some clarification. Trying to recapture foreign trade with one hand, and destroying it with the other scarcely adds up to sense.
But Still Has Her Fun With Old Tricky Albion
One of the funniest things on exhibition in this Alice-in-Wonderland world is the spectacle of huge throngs of Italians demonstrating in front of the Soviet and Finnish legations in Rome, crying out against Red aggression and calling on the Finns to "fight, fight!"
If you don't recall, it was only the other day, as the years go, that Italy herself was undertaking a little expedition of her own against a state which was strictly minding its own business--Abyssinia, or, as it is now again generally called, Ethiopia. Her reason given was exactly the same Russia gives for invading Finland: that it was necessary as a measure of defense to keep the ferocious Ethiopians from eating Italy up alive.
Moreover, she stoutly maintained, just as Russia is now maintaining in the Finnish case, that she was not at war with Ethiopia at all--grew angry, just as Russia grows angry, when there were feeble demonstrations in London, and Paris and Geneva, cried bitterly, just as Russia cries, that it was an insult to say that Italy was at war or to call her an aggressor.
That was the very first instance of the use of the bugaboo technique in modern times--and it is therefore fair to suppose that Russia began to learn her present tricks just at that time.
But in this also there may be a sort of method. Mussolini tolerates these demonstrations, and his stooge newspapers have leaped merrily to take advantage of the chance to remind that England and France applied "economic sanctions" to Italy for her adventure, and to suggest that they are now in order for Russia. Il Duce, in short, seems to be sardonically engaged in putting Mother Britannia on a spot on his own account.
He Remains Philosophical In Front Of A Notable Bill
He may lack the austere dignity becoming to the bench but Magistrate Henry H. Curran, of New York, is somehow a bright spot in a gloomy world. The Judge is nothing if not a pleasant fellow, and he has the courage of his tastes.
Magistrate Curran is the man who, when Mr. and Mrs. James C. Lewis, wealthy residents of Yorkville, complained that they couldn't sleep because of a construction company's derrick operating on the street outside their windows at night, told them to go to a show, have dinner at a swank restaurant and sleep at the Waldorf, and charge the bill up to the contractor or City Hall.
So they did, and yesterday they appeared with the bill. The magistrate mused on its "infinitesimal, Lilliputian" proportions of $65.32, and observed that it was a little beyond his expectations. Then, apropos the construction company's refusal to see the fun of it, he remarked that he would pay if the company or City Hall didn't. And went back to reflecting on pressed duck at $5.50 for two, $7 for caviar, as much for the waiter, $25 for parlor and bedroom, and $6.50 for Clos de Vouget Burgundy, which he had specifically recommended they drink. "How was the Burgundy last night?" he asked, contemplatively. "Perfect," they chorused. "It was the best," quoth the Judge. "I am reminded of one of Horace's odes:
"What tongue hangs fire when quickened by the bowl,
What wretch so poor but wine expands his soul?"
A Solomon come to judgment, obviously.
Site Ed. Note: Also from the day's page comes this piece. What it did not take into account was the stream of oil from Mexico, despite the British blockade to Europe in the North Sea and by the Rock in the Mediterranean, being re-routed via Japanese merchant ships to Vladivostok and then over the Trans-Siberian railway into the hands of the mutually non-aggressive squirrel cages. Though a more complicated and costly route obviously, still it remained enough effective for awhile at least to hold the tenuous partners together, until at last that no longer proved a viable enough means to acquire the most precious of the needed raw materials for the making of war on the world.
Then...the feint and the tack, and the grab, by the Walrus and the Carpenter, you know.
Baltimore Evening Sun
A few days after the outbreak of the war we published on this page a survey from the London Economist on the commerce that might be expected to result from the trade agreement between Soviet Russia and the Reich. The Economist survey, which was prepared before the war began, called attention to four practical obstacles to the realization of the expected commerce. They were Germany's lack of cash, her difficulty in supplying manufactured goods for barter, inadequacy of transportation and Russia's lack of exportable surpluses. The findings were from a British source and, consequently, open to question.
In the matter of Russia's lack of surpluses there now appears supporting data from a German source, Wochenblatt's Statistics, which is quoted at considerable length in a Berlin dispatch to the New York Times. According to Statistics, the only raw materials Russia is in a position to export are coal and iron ore, of which Germany already has access to sufficient supplies. Possibilities of obtaining from Russia copper, zinc, lead, nickel, antimony, tin, tungsten, manganese and oil are limited or ruled out entirely. All of these metals are needed in the manufacture of munitions, and the sources of supply are now cut off by the British blockade.
Coincidentally, the Economist's estimate of the poor condition of Russia's railroads finds verification from the Department of Commerce of the United States, which has made a study of them in reference to the Russo-German trade agreement. Verification from Germany and from a neutral source adds considerable authority to the London Economist's views.
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