The Charlotte News

Monday, May 16, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Here's a riddle: What is both a prison and a jar, either one, as you please, but also turns the soil in the potter's ground?

As well keeps the wheel from being overly monotonous, and thus hypnotic?

For more on that perniciously sticking erroneous flaunting of flout, (or was it flouting of flaunt?), see "Acquired Meanings", December 21, 1938. We shan't propose to flaunt it much more, but the judge before whom the lawyer taken ill had been scheduled to appear but for his aching tummy, likely got a bit of a scolding for flouting, though flaunting and flouting likely not.

The judge in question, however, later, we know, had come before him while in another capacity many an individual who both had flaunted and flouted, mainly the latter, though the former, when arms were finally raised and spread wide in a big, big pointy-fingered wave on the East Lawn, as the helicopter awaited to spirit him into history and its terribly unkind webbing, appeared to us, and still does, to have been amply in play as well.

Ah well, perhaps it was the spinners from Greek legend up to their darnedest again, all enemies to those who in point of fact only desire most assiduously to institute order from obvious chaos, or maybe the weird sisters, such as we saw once upon a time in that Akira Kurosawa film, "Throne of Blood".

More likely, though, we would guess, 'twas the Norns, Wyrd and Verthandi, to protect, to the extent possible, the continued spinning of Skuld.

And, to right part of the potential wrong to old decaying transitory newsprint and to those old decaying names of the men and women who labored, some for little pay, to get it down as accurately as their lights of the moment allowed, we offer up that explored below by this fellow, Hayward Brawnn, the old walrus, as Cash would later refer to him, but of whom we have certainly never heard, from today's page as well. Whatever else one might say of this scurrilous and obviously light-headed Mr. Hayward, he understood his history. Much can be learned from studying the dust.

Some Presidents in our history, however, you see, give this devil's-press the sword; and with it they twist that Wilkinsonian piece of carbonized iron with relish. All to undo the prestigious result which would have no doubt, but for which, otherwise ensued in not only the public's mind but that of far kinder historians twenty and fifty years hence. (2024 N.Y.T. Bestseller Non-Fiction: No. 1 (for the thirtieth consecutive week)--The Greatest President Ever There Was, (How Those Liberals in the Press Destroyed The Man Now Beloved By All, And Known by Millions Simply as Uncle Dick), by Liddy Carswell-Haynesworth Gordon III(?))

As we said, it's all merely in the practical jokes of the three sisters and the delectus personæ of all such ladies of their ilk--those, those Ivy League Harvardian elitists, Jew-boys and the sort, you know, Henry, like real thugs!

Verdict of the Future

By Heywood Broun

EVERY now and then somebody says that if President Roosevelt doesn't mend his ways he will "lose his place in history." To me that hardly seems likely. In the first place, the chronicle which he is making still has plainly marked at the end of the present installment "To be continued." Fate alone knows how many more chapters are to come.

I still cling to my impression that the final definitive biography of Mr. Roosevelt will be in three volumes. There are those who insist that the power and prestige of the Chief Executive already are ended and that the commentators of the future will have little to record after the Spring of 1938.

They could be right. It is the privilege of any man to make whatever bets he pleases in the Winter book of posterity. But there is such a thing as form in history as well as in horse racing, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt seems to be an assiduous student of past performances. He has studied the charts more closely than most of his predecessors.


It is my notion that as a close student of American history he has had a concern with what will be said about him when he is done. Indeed, I think he had the research scholars of twenty years or fifty years hence in mind when he prepared for publication of "The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt." It was as if he sent emissaries ahead of him across Jordan.

To be sure, the estimate to be made by the scholars of the future concerning Roosevelt will be based upon a vast amount of source material. Naturally there will be a careful survey of the journalistic judgments written in Mr. Roosevelt's own time. But even the most earnest searcher after facts will not find it physically possible to read all the editorials in the Chicago Tribune or digest the entire bulk of Dorothy Thompson's columnar output and radio broadcasts.

Although they spoke to smaller audiences there were famous journalists in the days of Lincoln, and by the time Woodrow Wilson came to office syndication already was well established. And yet the reader will not find that press comment figures very largely in any biography of either man. Most of it is buried at the back of the book or in footnotes at the bottom of the page.


It is entirely possible that as yet the historians have erred in not making a more searching study of the files. You can find old newspapers on pantry shelves and in the public libraries.

But on the whole it is a virtue rather than a fault that a newspaper piece is written for Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning and not for all time. And if it isn't a virtue it is at least a necessity. And so a vast amount of contemporary criticism will be less than the dust in fifty years. Dorothy Thompson may be a footnote, and in 2035 it is at least possible there will not even be a living soul who ever heard of Walter Lippman.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been assailed beyond truth and reason by the most bitter of his foes, and, I suppose, overpraised by his friends. The fates are ironists who dote on practical jokes, and it may be that they will take a mean advantage of some overdogmatic opponent or fulsome supporter and lug the poor fellow along to vicarious immortality by hitching his forgotten name and lack of fame to an asterisk in the body of the text.


One of my fantastic nightmares, which gives me the creeps, is the fear that some savant of the future might stumble, quite by accident, upon a ringing sentence of my own in which at the moment I took great pride. And there in small type for the exhaustive reader it might run:--"If Franklin Delano Roosevelt is nominated he will be the corkscrew candidate of a crooked convention." With it will be the explanation, "This was written by a scurrilous scribbler named Howard Brown in 1932, and it is offered as an example of the venom with which the petty reactionaries of the day attacked Roosevelt."

And so I offer in evidence to the same research man of the future, hoping that by some blessed miracle he may stumble twice, "I didn't always think so, but I now regard F. D. Roosevelt as one of the truly great Presidents of the United States."

Message to Oakley

Hush, little Oakley; don't you cry;
You'll have a post office by and by.

Among the places selected for the new post offices by the House Appropriations Committee last week are 24 North Carolina towns. For the most part, these towns run to less than 2,000 people, some of them to less than 1,500, and Black Mountain up in Buncombe to 737 souls by the 1930 census, though to be sure in the summertime there are visitors. But the post offices planned for them all run without exception to not less than $55,000 in cost. Black Mountain's $70,000 job figures out to a nearly a hundred dollars for each of its year-round inhabitants; and it would take a lot of trade in stamps, even at 3 cents, to make this post office pay its overhead alone.

But everybody knows, of course, that the prime reason for building all these post offices is not the prospective stamp trade and the postcard business but, in reality, the depression. These are not so much post offices as public works. Wherefore we say to Oakley down in Pitt County, the smallest incorporated place in all Tar Heelia, which had 49 inhabitants in 1920 and only 41 in 1930--wherefore we say to Oakley and to the 41 remaining Oakleyans to be of good cheer. If the depression lasts long enough, they'll get their post office; and if the depression becomes severe enough, it will be a beaut.

A Famous Victory

The Japanese forces in China say they have an army of 40 divisions of Chinamen surrounded in the Lunghai area. And that sounds as though the conquest of central China were practically complete. Indeed, the Japanese spokesmen in Shanghai are now announcing that it is just before coming off.

And yet--and yet--. The Japanese are a very competent and lucky people. There was a time not long ago when it began to look as though they were going to be done into the sea by China. Maybe they would have been pushed into the sea, if only Chinamen could have got arms. But the Chinamen couldn't get arms--not because the United States and other nations were "neutral" but because they couldn't pay for them. And so the Japanese threw in crack troops from Manchuria and the homeland. And now they have the Chinamen safely "surrounded."

But whether they really have central China conquered is still a question. For what the Japanese have the 40 divisions of Chinamen "surrounded" with is about one-third that number of divisions. And to have 40 divisions surrounded with, say, fifteen divisions is to be in very much the same spot as the man who caught a bear by the tail. We hope.

"Y" Stands for Young*

One thing for which full credit must be given the YMCA campaigners is the distinction of the speakers they have brought to their aid. The latest is the former Secretary of the Navy, present Ambassador to Mexico--known to thousands of Tar Heels as Josephus Dan'ls, publisher of the Old Reliable News & Observer in Raleigh. Tonight at six he will address the campaign workers at a dinner in the gymnasium.

One thing more, we believe, for which the Charlotte YMCA must be given credit is the new life that has come into the organization. In that respect, it is something like the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. Both of these organizations have been perennial campaigners after members and funds, generally on the ground that they were "worthy" and that the community cannot afford to let them down. Well, there are degrees of worthiness; and without going into the past, it must be evident to nearly everyone that the Chamber of Commerce is a far more active, representative outfit now than it was a few years ago.

The same appears to be true of the YMCA. It has had an infusion of new blood. It has branched out, undertaken new services, is doing its best to bring its decrepit physical plant up to the standard of its rejuvenation.

When Friends Fall Out

The bitter enmity these days between AFL and CI0 is producing charges and countercharges that bear out the worst outsiders have ever said of organized labor. For instance, C. Lester Adams, who used to be an organizer for the American Federation of Hosiery Workers when it paid dues to AFL and was reverent to William Green, now warns Southern hosiery workers that this union is doing its darndest to aid the Northern branch of the industry at the expense of the Southern, that it will stir up needless trouble in the South to help the North. Furthermore, this former organizer for the hosiery workers admits it always has been so. Even under AFL, this was standard practice.

Well, he ought to be ashamed of himself forever having had anything to do with such double-dealing. And what AFL has done once, it would do again, so that the attack upon CIO is in reality an attack upon all unions and a denial of that single devotion to the laboring man himself which is the only justification for the existence of unionism.

To be sure, we don't quite believe that the hosiery union is now, or otherwise, deliberately as bad as this former organizer paints it. All we concede unreservedly is that his indictment of CIO applies with equal force and effect, by his own admission, to AFL.

Flouting an Error

We see by one of the papers that some of the lawyers down at the Courthouse lay the malaise of their brother in the bond, Thad Adams, who came down with the stomach-ache Friday the 13th, and so did not appear to try a case in Judge Sam Ervin's court, to the fact that he has been "flaunting the fates."

Well, we are not going to wax snooty about it. The blame word sneaks into our columns too. But all the same we are going to let out a squawk about it, for its misuse is becoming unpleasantly common. If Thad Adams or anybody else has been "flaunting" the fates, that means about this: that having caught the three spinning sisters, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, he has been galloping around town making whoopee by grasping them by the hair and waving them triumphantly around his head, their draperies flying. We submit that he is incapable of any such ribald conduct.

And in fact, so much appears from the argument. For what Mr. Adams is charged with is having jeered at the portentous significance of Friday, the 13th. Or, in other words, with flouting the fates.

[Note--In our usual spirit of service, we submit the following definitions from Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition:

FLAUNT--To wave or flutter slowly... to be boastfully gaudy... to display ostentatiously... to make an impudent show.

FLOUT--To mock or insult, to treat with contempt, openly to sneer or jeer at.]

Any Old Bogey

Dictators imperatively require a supply of healthy foreign bogeys with which to keep the sheep at home occupied lest they take to wondering why it is that they make four dollars a week where they used to make eight and have to pay a dollar a pound for beefsteak and 30 cents a pound for butter where they used to pay 25 cents and 15 cents.

And that is probably the main explanation of the fact that Mussolini yesterday slapped the face of the French, who are supposed to be making up with him, and thundered toward the United States about the anti-fascist speeches of Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Woodring, Mr. Ickes and company. Having inveigled Britain, up to now one of his best bogeys, into a shell-game, he cannot very well afford to continue to inveigh against her until he has collected his winnings. And if he were to snuggle up to France, why that would leave him none of his old bogeys save the stale one of the Reds at Moscow. Things were getting entirely too sweet and too tame for the safety of the connection between a dictator's head and his shoulders, and not even slapping France would really do. What he needed was another first-class bogey to take the place of Britain like--like the United States, of course.

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