The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 31, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Since we have been running up our storage limits a bit by supplying whole pages of The News of late, we shall have to back off a bit for a bit on that practice, and return to being selective on what we present. It is all, however, we must admit, very interesting.

We present therefore the following from the page of this date, more selectively, first a comment from The London Times of 1863 on the bizarre mess going on over there within the former colonies; then Dorothy Thompson's piece on distinguishing the dictators via cows and guanacoes and puma and grouses (though the walrus must have been in there somewhere, too); finally a misinformed letter by a former sportswriter for The News who got his wires tangled through his glasses a little in trying to read Cash too much literally, failing to accord the old mixed blessing of irony in reviewing "Defining A Red", from May 9--not really that ironic actually in this case, merely failing to note the marks of quote, though he seems to have anyway, at least in his re-quote though capitalized it wasn't. (Maybe that is why the sportswriter moved on from The News after his short apprenticeship there during college.)

Such "irony", we are struck, sometimes may backfire on a person if read in an isolationist sort of way, both, perhaps as to reader and writer of it. It can become unduly twisted in the mind until it becomes a gun pointed to one's own head--again perhaps for writer and reader alike, reader and writer alike, too. Ride, ride, ride.

Perhaps that is what the old Hebrew proverb, to which reference is made in the May 28 Ripley's, ultimately is all about--that iron shortens the days of man and thus shall not be raised against that which lengthens his days, such as wood.

Perhaps, the nails utilized in the Roman practice of crucifixion, both of actual criminal and heretic alike, those deemed to be transgressing the Roman law, subverting the hypnotic mental hold over them of the No. 9 boot-kicker, the one inducing fear by occasional or regular willy-nilly action to set the example, the progenitor to the Storm Trooper, to the Boss Hague renegade Legionnaire, the cop in Chicago in 1968, the bad prison guard, the bad cop in any little or large community, the Nazi, all themselves in similarly diseased condition, that of getting along with the Boss to stay alive, as far as their perceptions would permit them to follow at any rate, after acquiring that familiar disease in perfect circular spots--fear--fear to understand something more than themselves, perhaps--, these particular nails are rather the symbolic reference of the proverb.

In any event, we think it a good one to have and hold, though we do not suggest in the process going about therefore and pulling out all of the nails from your own house as it presently stands. That could be a rather foolhardy exercise, we think. All carpenters know that nails today are either galvanized steel, plain steel, or coated sinkers, (the green ones, being those we recommend for ordinary building, (forget those expensive deck screws, sucker), as they are cheap and reliable as long as you have sufficient hand-to-eye that you don't hammer your thumb or get it into so much of a hurry that you do likewise), anyhow, not, strictly speaking, iron, though as we know, steel is carbonized iron melded and tempered by the fiery furnace. So, takes your chances, makes your own choices, and live with the results until you may figure out a better way through better perception of the errors transpiring before you used the nails in the first place.

Irony, though, we think is the best of material with which to build houses, as long as properly tempered with understanding and appreciation of the structure of the ironic principle, that it is essentially a rabbinical kind of formation, a teaching method, for better oir woise, but hopefully better.

Oy. What are you gonna do?

Probably this Scribner's guy was some Red, anyhow, gone Yanque on us. Maybe, he was, instead, just a little green. Yet, had he been a Red on Green Street in San Francisco, we would've been thoroughly confused. And, yet again, had we encountered him out in the vicinity of Yellowstone, well we might have jingled some pans for fear he might've been a b'ar. Colors, you may see, sometimes confuse our senses some. We, ourselves, in fact, after seeing some movie on some toreador when we were just a little tyke were for some short while mortally afeared of wearing red for we thought it might attract the bull.

But, save in some of the movies anyway, since life is not in black and white, hey, what are you gonna do? Maybe encounter each of the beasties, individually, as you encounter them, not worrying about the herd?


May 31, 1863

Both sides in this extremity look to us and nurse a quarrel with us. They do this while each draws from us the means of carrying on the war. The North draws from us men and all the materials of war--yet it assures us that as soon as three months of decided measures have put an end to this rebellion, it will immediately hurl its armament against England, against our hold upon Ireland, against our dominion in America, against our commerce all over the world.

Whether we interfere or not, this is the fate in store for us and yet we are expected to express the warmest hopes for the success of Federal arms. From the South there comes, in somewhat milder accents, a scarcely less unreasonable complaint. France and England, we are told, have only to recognize the independence of the South and the war will be over at once. Would indeed that were so and that we could persuade the North to save the wreck of its fortunes. But no recognition or mediation would have the slightest weight unless it were backed up by the probability of more forcible arguments.

--London Times

The Four Corn Cures

By Dorothy Thompson

"ALEXANDER WOOLCOTT once asked me why I didn't write a column on the difference between Socialism, Communism and Fascism."

"That," said the Grouse, "is the easiest thing in the world; you can dispose of the question once and for all."

And with that he returned to his scrambled eggs.

"If you think it's so simple perhaps you'll explain."

"Gladly," said the Grouse. "If you will promise me hereafter to leave these questions alone."

"I'll promise not even to think of them for three months. I'm going on a vacation."

"And it's high time you did," said the Grouse tartly. "I wish you would devote your powers to something really important. Like thinking up new things to eat for breakfast. Why this eternal repetition of eggs? And scrambled eggs, at that. And why is American bacon either greasy or as dry as a chip? Why is the Irish hog so superior to the American, when it reaches the breakfast table? I understand the secret of the Irish hog is plain living."...

"But to get back to the question."

"Oh, yes," said the Grouse, finishing the scrambled eggs.


"Let us presume you have two cows," he began. "The Socialist comes to you and says, 'You can keep one cow. That's enough to furnish milk, butter and cheese for your own family.'"

 "But it isn't--not the way this family eats butter."

"For the purpose of this argument it is," said the Grouse. "The Socialist says, 'Keep one cow. It's yours. And the other belongs to the state.'"

"And the Communists?"

"The Communist says, 'You have no right to any cows. Why should some people have a cow and others have not? Both your cows belong to the state. They will be collectivized, and you will get a proper percentage of interest in the totality of all cows.'"

"And the Fascists?"

"The Fascist comes to you and says: 'We are out to protect property rights against these dreadful people, the Socialists and the Communists. They want to take away part or all of your cows. Now we intend to guarantee your legal and perpetual right to both cows. Not only are they your very own cows but we are going to see that nobody shall be allowed to inveigle you into selling them. Of course, you must take good care of them. You must see that they are properly stabled and fed, washed and inoculated. But they are your very own cows. Only--all the milk belongs to the state.'"


There was a pause. "Where does the New Deal belong in this picture?"

"Oh, the New Deal," said the Grouse, "tells you that you should shoot one of the cows and pour the milk down the sink."

"What do you think is the right solution?"

"For what?" asked the Grouse.

"For--you know--everything."

The Grouse glared. "There is no solution," he said flatly. "The lot of man is tragic. Hardly does he begin to get a little sense when his glands begin to go back on him. When he is young, beautiful and vigorous he is inexperienced and dumb. When he has gotten a little wisdom, he has lumbago and corns and is cranky. Every time he 'solves' one problem he creates another that he never foresaw. Consider the Guanaco."...

"What in the world is the Guanaco?"

"The Guanaco," said the Grouse, "is a beast of Patagonia."

"What do you know about Patagonia?"


"I was reading about it," said the Grouse, "just to get my mind off Spain and China and Czechoslovakia and the rest of the so-call civilized world. Well, in Patagonia they grow sheep, and it seems the Puma came down from the mountains and killed the sheep. So they made a great campaign against the Puma. They said the Puma were forces of greed and privilege who preyed upon the helpless."...

"As they did."

"Right," said the Grouse. "So by and by they killed off all the Puma. And then there appeared upon the plains the Guanaco."

"A kind of Llama?"

"The Guanaco," explained the Grouse, "is a wild Llama of the Andes, somewhat resembling a camel. It is, indeed, a kind of super-sheep."

"Not dangerous?"

"Not a beast of prey, like the Puma," said the Grouse. "It is not carnivorous. It does not indulge in raids. In fact, while the Puma lived they kept the Guanaco down. But now that the Puma were gone, the Guanaco ranged the fertile pastures. And being much bigger than the sheep and possessed of enormous appetites, they ate all the grass off the plains, so the sheep starved and died."

"And the moral of that?"

"Oh, I wasn't pointing a moral," said the Grouse, finishing the last bit of toast. "An interesting place, Patagonia."

In Which A Bull We Made Is Corrected

Dear Sir:

Possibly you will remember that I worked for you a couple of years while at Davidson. That was back in the 1920's. I was writing sports and neither of us was concerned about Boss Hague and the Reds. But here, in 1938, I happen to see an editorial in The News. Sticking out of it, like a sore thumb, is an error of the type which normally causes one to smile and let pass. The only reason I'm not letting it pass is that I know you and know you want your editorials factually correct. The editorial, published May 9, says "And as for the 'Reds' in their entourage, they include such people as John Chamberlain, the editor of Scribner's Magazine..." Chamberlain isn't the editor. He isn't even on our staff. He is one of the editors of Fortune and his only connection with Scribner's is that he writes a monthly book column for us. Harlan Logan is the editor and publisher of Scribner's and no more a "Red" than you or I or Eddie Brietz.


Executive Editor, Scribner's Magazine.

New York.

[Note: We seem to have been in error about Mr. Chamberlain's connection. He has been editor of Fortune since 1936. But, of course, we didn't, in the editorial referred to, seriously mean to suggest that Mr. Chamberlain or anybody else named was really a Red. What we were doing was satirizing Boss Hague's policy of making out everybody who objects to his methods to be Reds.--Editors, The News.]

There now, it's toasted. On rye wheat, in fact, holding the tuna and mayonnaise.

Getting Schuschnigg

The Nazi secret police have carried off Dr. Kurt Von Schuschnigg from Vienna's Belvedere Castle to some unknown point in Germany. In itself the removal is scarcely ground for anybody to be indignant. Dr. Schuschnigg is a badly busted politician right now, but the Austrian people are unmistakably beginning to rise under the harsh new rule, and it is not inconceivable that they might presently make a revolution in his favor. That the Nazis should want to remove and confine him is therefore natural enough--and justifiable under the rules which obtain in such cases. Dr. Schuschnigg, when in power, did not hesitate to confine his enemies.

What is obnoxious about the case is the snide falsehoods which are offered as an excuse, that (1) it was necessary to "protect" the ex-Chancellor from the Austrians, and that (2) the Doctor is guilty of treason to Germany in trying to protect the Austrian sovereignty he was sworn to protect. That and the atmosphere of sadism and low spite which surround the whole proceedings. There is no positive proof of outright man-handling, but it is all too plain that Schuschnigg is not only being kept in custody for the safety of the Nazi regime but also is being persecuted.

Site Ed. Note: We have commented once, twice, or three times before, on our belief that perhaps Skokie in 1977 took the point of the A.C.L.U. a little too far, and so we won't go into it again. But in this one, we don't know. Whoever wrote the editorial made their point, as did the A.C.L.U. Only the carpenter, 'twould seem, was using the wrong nails. But you would need to re-consult the walrus to get it all into proper order down the rabbit-hole probably and so you may do so for yourself if you've a mind for it. We, ourselves, are tired and confused, as all that boggles us.

We think we shall take a vacation for an hour or two now and go running and biking back to hobbledehoydom-diddy-diddy-dum.

We may grouse a little though to ourselves or even deliver hosannahs some or laugh at seemingly nothing out of thin air, along the way; so should you see us there, make no mind of it.

Just sing to yourself a little, like: "You got to wade in the water, wade in the water, children, wade in the water..." Everything will be alright then.

Makes for a longer life. We assure you. No iron nails used this time.

Thank you. Good evening.

Drawing a Distinction*

The American Civil Liberties Union has often been accused of being interested only in the defense of Reds whose program calls for the abolition of civil liberties. But perhaps that is unfair. It has some Communists in its make-up, undoubtedly, and many of its clients have been Reds. But Reds are, after all, the people most likely to be denied civil liberties. And the organization has often come to the defense of others. Just now, for instance, it is up in arms in behalf of one Henry Lage, a carpenter at a San Francisco hospital, who was fired for his activities as head of the San Francisco German-American Bund, the Nazi organization which the Reds hate.

Unfortunately, the Civil Liberties Union seems to be on somewhat dubious ground in this case when it says that the hospital was "just as un-American in firing him as Lage may be in belonging to the bund." That all depends. A Nazi is obviously entitled to free opinion and free speech, both as against interference from the police and from such groups as the American Legion. More than that, it seems to us that, provided the fellow was doing his work satisfactorily and his activities as a Nazi are not a source of embarrassment and trouble for his employer, good Americanism might require that the employer lean over backward in letting him hold his private opinions. But good Americanism surely does not require that the boss put up with embarrassment and trouble. No employee who makes a nuisance of himself can expect the favor of the boss, whatever the constitution and the statutes may say on the point.

It's a Standoff*

It's a standoff, this campaign incident of Mercer Blankenship and the Chadwick-Hoskins fish fry telegram, and the wholly unnecessary attack made on him by a field agent of the State Unemployment Commission. It's such a complete deadlock in how not to try to be elected and how not to try to keep a candidate from being elected that we shall just jolly well wash our hands of the whole business after reviewing it one more time.

Mr. Blankenship, hopeful candidate for election to the State Senate, wasn't at the fish fry. He was in Raleigh, and the impression everybody who was at the fish fry got from a telegram from Mr. Blankenship read aloud at the fish fry was that he was in Raleigh pleading with the Unemployment Commission to do the right thing and send Chadwick-Hoskins out-of-workers their insurance checks. Now, there is no need for a lawyer for a politician to cajole the Unemployment Commission into doing the right thing. In fact, the more lawyers who call at the commission's offices, taking a business man's time, the later the checks will be.

Mr. Blankenship must have known that. But Field Agent Bower of the Unemployment Commission must have known fully as well that the commission cannot afford to give individual lawyers the devil for busying themselves on behalf of--er--constituents. It just isn't done, not five days before primaries, anyhow, and never by field agents. Routine announcements from the commission's head offices that no claimant needs a lawyer, or even positive statements that lawyers only delay matters, are quite in order. But for a subordinate to take out, with charges of interference, bungling, witnessed statements and the like, after a lawyer candidate for State office, is inexcusable. So inexcusable, we believe, that the Unemployment Commission's political offense cancels out the candidates.

Speaking of Differentials

We see by the stack of newspapers that come to the office that the South, confronted by a wage-and-hour bill without a differential, is beginning to wake up to the whopping differential Messer Harry Hopkins has been putting into practice ever since he took charge of work relief. The Cotton Manufacturers Association of South Carolina has finally got on it and is broadsiding the trade and the newspapers with tabulations of WPA wages showing average hourly pay in South Carolina of 28.3 cents as against 74.8 cents in New York City. (North Carolina: 29.4 cents.) The Birmingham Age-Herald has figured out that in Pennsylvania, during a given period, WPA put out more money than eleven Southern states, and the plain intimation is that the administration is not above freezing political machines where it will do the most good for the administration.

In fact, Senator Bailey has come right out flatly and said as much. He told the Senate Saturday,

"There is a definite impression abroad in this country that this pump-priming, this relief money, is being used for politics."

When, in the beginning, WPA wages were being fixed, there was a real fear in the South that to set them too high would utterly demoralize the Negro population. To have paid 50 and 60 cents an hour for 25 hours work, say, a week, would have drawn nine-tenths of the Negroes out of private employment into the relief fold, and nobody who knows anything about Negro wages could have blamed them for it. It was essential for the South's two-toned economy that relief wages be fixed at a level not inconsistent with prevailing wages for the same class of work. It was done, and in that respect the South as a whole has again been held down to the lowest standard of living. It was too bad, but it had to be done unless, as we say, the Negro population was to have been totally demoralized and the whole section to have gone on relief shouting hosannahs.

But that does not excuse the fancy wages that Messer Hopkins has been paying in the industrial states of the East, the states that happen to be doubtful, and terribly important, politically. If the South had to be held to a low-wage system to prevent the disruption of its sectional economy, it would seem to follow that the East should have been held to a proximate scale to prevent the disruption of the national economy, or at least the perpetration of a rank discrimination. And while it may be argued that the wage-and-hour bill without a differential is a logical attempt to floor up wages in the South to the Eastern level, the same factor which governed the fixing of WPA wages--that is, realistic consideration of the effect upon Negro workers--should also be given long and hard thought. For if the first result of a minimum wage of $11 for a 44-hour week is to throw Negroes out of unemployment and on relief where they are paid only $7.25 a week, not only will the Negroes themselves have been rendered a notable disservice, but the national Treasury will have taken on a liability which it may not be able to discharge.

Site Ed. Note: One last little thing for this latter piece--when one turns a corner, especially if one is routed into an obtuse turn, so that one can make the next turn onto the freeway to the mart, for there being a median strip blocking the way down the center road and the right side road being one-way in the other direction, the differential comes into play, to slow the inner wheel down on the short inside arc of the turn such that the outer wheel independently makes a broad, long arc, providing the slow turn safely.

It is unfortunate that some could not understand the principle, especially after having had a hundred years to study it, but only saw instead the direction signs on the road ahead.

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