The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 2, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "The Wrong Villain" presents a thoughtful discussion in brief of the apparent laying to by the Duke law professor against Freud as an instigator of libertinism. We wholeheartedly agree with Cash and hold no brief for the professor's take. Freud, while not a panacea, presented at base a theory applicable to all humans, at his most primary level. It is that we may think of ourselves, purely artistically, poetically, if you will--not in terms of actual physiological structures--, but symbolically as consisting of three things: ego, latin for "I", the identity, the "self"; id, it, the instinctive drives--thirst, hunger, procreation, the predatory instincts otherwise residual of the hunter-gatherer in search of his provender and protective of his Self, cave and co-procreator; superego, "super" not meaning in this instance "big" or as Übermensch or, even conversely, Unterseeboot, yellow, No. 20, or otherwise struck against Lucy, Titania's unter seite, but rather as supra, conscience, be it "God", "god", or any sense of higher spiritual plane than purely thou, thyself, subsconscious or otherwise, guidance as an arbiter immersed in a rational realm of thought, even if the thoughts themselves might be at time and times not entirely coherent, seemingly at first, that which keeps the drives of the id in basic check to establish a healthy, well-functioning ego. A reasoning, functioning, integrated personality. Integrity.

It is a simple analytic framework in which to view the human species and each of us within it, nothing magical or mystical really. But, most importantly, it works, for that which it was intended anyway, simple reference tools, words to label and symbolize aspects of the mind, such that each of us may come to understand it better, our misgivings and misperceptions, vis á vis the common perceptions registered in most others, and otherwise absolute misunderstandings registered in it, and our community within its common perceptions, that we don't become resultantly frightened and run away from ourselves, then needing crutches of conceit to prop up the fragile ego, or replacing it entirely with the id or substituting for a truly well-balanced triangular setting of Superego, some demi-superego qua Hitler or his analogue, should our perceptions seem to us at times and time askew from the herd or from our own most usual ones, as well the hormonal structures on which the brain functions to operate the drivetrain at times of stress and adrenal flow, fight, flight, or Die!, mister, and also that higher thing, the supra super-mind, that which lifts the latch in the darkness, as might a thief, and whispers to you something which wants of light, perhaps, that from the realm of what we who suppose ourselves of the world of the living to be in the plateau or valley of the dead, though not they be for they are there, as real as a memory, if in your mind you may see them and talk to them, you see. Nothing of which to be afraid, as long as they don't make you "do" things against reason, but rather gently provide an understanding of the shadows in the dark places not fully susceptible of conscious understanding in the early instances, before the light got to it, enabling a formed and articulated expression, even proof of the lighted instance.

Nazis allowed their ids collectively to become It, walled off, that is, the ego became the Id, one and the same, one in the same, their identity, for want of one otherwise in a strong and healthy ego. Their eyes saw only the limited field which was before them across which to drive, nothing behind, nothing forward as to a spirit to which to answer and behold. All identity was sublimated in the dictator and his state. Sieg heil! Perhaps in Hitler's particular personal case, his failure as an artist caused him to wall off that side which nourished his artisanship such that it never had opportunity to grow from his rudimentary skills, the drawing of landscapes with some degree of technical accuracy, into something more shaped by his own identity, something with perspective, either from shadow and light, corners, color, subjective impressions, given, with courage, reasonable expression--Art. His "art" became stirring raw emotions in the populace and quest for power, the manly way, the raw id. Seig heil! (Has nothing to do with how hairy or not one is physically either.)

Id had a great argument with Superego, you see, and warred on his throne, destroyed him and ate him up, for he kept bothering Id with all that talk of guilt. Id naturally had to destroy Ego, too, for Ego has a hard time co-existing without Superego to nourish her and keep Id in check. So Ego died. Id took over the throne entirely, since Superego could no longer come to Ego's rescue, you see. Do you see?

Lots of people lost their lives because of Id--throughout human history and even before history got going in the good rolling of pressed times in the recording studios.

Much as with tribes who loose their taboos in an annual cycle in some unhealthy modality, the ancient rites of human sacrifice, eating the hearts out of their young, and such as that, and so on, for instance--vicious stupidity, not coincidentally, id being part of that word, kid. In that case, the ritual sacrifice, the Superego was deemed in the collectivity to be satiated by waxing out completely on the id for awhile, at certain times--an unreasonable and unbalanced top dead center, for want of a proper harmonic balancer, maybe. Engine failure.

Now, if you're ego and it is in good shape, it does not mean you are conceited. Conceit is actually a form of excessive pride, which may be a sense of the ego being hurt, being somewhat overtaken by the id, not enabling the ego and most especially the superego to function properly to keep the id in check again. An unbalanced state, not in smooth working stasis. As with an internal combustion engine which has no manifold and is therefore overly loud and boisterous all the time, lots of pep and horsepower, but no restraint--bam. The id overtook the ego again calling upon the superego to say, "Whoa, Philly." Or, maybe the third cylinder piston blew out for want of proper air cooling flowing through the fan housing shroud, blocked by the oil cooler, as it were, among the folk going to market in their wagons in the heat of summer, to sell their goods at the fair. The ego fell out because the id took over again, killing the superego first to hide it all, that which the id plotted. Engine broke down by the side of the road.

We might become out of whack for a few days now and then, as long as Id doesn't take over Superego, even if Id is warring on Ego. All of that has to be governed, you see, by Superego remaining healthy and vibrant, governing Id to keep him well in check, not repressed though. One has to be aware of Id or he is liable to sneak up on Ego, while Superego is asleep, and do his dirties.

Well, you read up on it. Start with The Interpretation of Dreams, maybe. But remember, it's just a story book, an analytic framework for thinking through it. Once you have it though, it is sort of like riding a bicycle. You tend not to forget, though absent habit of review of it, one can become a little rusty and since rust is always working its way around in the steel and iron, never resting, we have to remain well-oiled to keep away the rust. But, that does not mean to go get lubed up. For then the fossil fuel supply would be depleted and the atmosphere would soon become over-warmed until the greenhouse effect resulting from it causes all the little animals, including all the I.-E.'s, to go away and not to be able to live on the earth anymore. Superego then would be very lonely and would no doubt be shedding great tears upon us all as he watched us slowly decaying, and so his tears would have the unfortunate effect of drowning us, those left behind after all the I-E's went away.

Oh, we cannot go on for now. Our tears are starting to well, and we don't want to unduly alarm Superego.

The Wall, after all, within the Dream, are us.

And don't mind the Frogs when they hippety-hop out of the box into which Aristophanes put them, for they are merely going from whence back they started.

As to "Without Authority", we don't know about that. Maybe the Magistrate was wise, even though Cash is wise in his points as well. Perhaps the Magistrate should have been given a free enough hand to enable his good training and experience to come into play at least to give the boy a choice, mama's hand on his buttocks or jail where other boys might feel likewise inclined.

Jail for boys, you see, is no fit place--and we are certain that the Magistrate understood that well, he being no doubt a good and just and proper Magistrate, O wise and fair and good Magistrate, and so inclined to send the boy home for mama's best disciplinary procedures, which, it would seem, were not, after all, subject probably to check anyway as to the wise Magistrate's full measure of accomplishment, save that perhaps the next time the boy rode the A-Train he might not be inclined to pull the cord for fear he might go back before the good and wiser yet Magistrate, without his red berries on his rumpus, thus to ride the D-Train and thereby be taken to get berries in the jail cell hell.

Well, we have visited boys ourselves in that place late at night, even like this one, a Friday. They were stuck there amid the din of noisy yells of hell in the cell. We, stuck there awhile listening, could readily apprehend that this was no fit place for boys. We listened and tried to help as much as we could, and then were free to walk on home in quietude. We cannot say too much about all of that though, as we believe in our duties to remain lip-zipped about it, and we would not wish inadvertently to slip something out unwittingly.

So, we shall just conclude by suggesting that more of the old light-hand hairy on the rump trick in the easy years prevents a lot harder rump years later on, probably.

Tell the social work agency, should they inquire about neighbors complaining of hearing yelping once in a long while and that they had seen on the tv where they should call the cops in such instances, that simply you were placing your hairy-hand lightly in the position where the moon had not been shining except in the wolf day's nights; and should they not understand, you may show them where that is. Or show them this day's editorials and that you were only doing the suggested course by the good and proper Magistrate--but be easy and not deliberately torturous. Remember to check your Id against your Superego in the process and don't get carried away. A little tap on the old fan is quite enough, thank you very much. It's alright now, mama. Put down that baseball bat, Freddy. And definitely no guns or knives or other torturous instruments, Jack, or was it Grady, or was it Graddy? The boy, in that event, seeing backwards in the Red Rum of which you undoubtedly had a wee too much that evening, at least as Grady, might then wish instead to go to jail for the rest from it all, yes little Alex?

Well, we couldn't depart without at least one bedtime story.

Once there was a raven which came and sat on the statue of Pallas and uttered the phrase, "Livermore".

We wondered and wondered about it.

"Why, oh raven, why do you perch upon this statue of Pallas above the parlor door in midnight pallor and say, in your quavering lore, 'Livermore'?"

Quoth the raven, "Livermore."

The raven looked craven and turned his head inside his wing, caressed his feathers, and said again, for the fourth time yet, "Your haven is so word-laden, that I must blow it all to kingdom come, Livermore."

"Whisper softly in my ear, Raven, for I heard thee not. Did thy say, 'Leonore'?"

Quoth the raven, "Livermore."

Just then your radio started blaring, slowly ensnaring the anvil-hammers on its own: "...brown and yellow basket..."

"Is it real," he asked, "or something out of my memory?"

Quoth the raven, "Livermore".

The bells came squawking, squawking into their chamber door, talking, talking, yet the more, but yet peerless rhythms in the background called out to it so as him not to smore, as the raven said, "Good night and good luck, El Señor."

To be continued, when next the raven comes to the Pallas bust upon the door.

Ah, more, more, ever more...

"Oh how exciting. How did you think of all of that? Do they read that, papa?"

"I don't know. What does it matter? Have you ever seen a movie?"

"Jeepers, you know I have. I always look at them. I like them."

"Well, did you watch it?"

"Oh, I think I see your point, I think."

"But did you read it? I read them and watch them at the same time. I also munch much on lettuce and chicken salad, so to do more chewing, as I do so. And then you don't forget and become confused. Do you?"

"Okay, papa, I'll remember that. This is getting sort of eerie though. You're kind of weird sometimes, papa. So good night and good luck. I hope the Storm Troopers don't come back to the door again tonight. They're stupid."

Laurels for a Statesman

To Robert Rice Reynolds belongs the dubious honor of having led a militant fight in the Congress of the United States to deprive the immigration authorities of any discretion in the deportation of aliens who have come here illegally. The bill has never passed, but the agitation seems to have had considerable effect in making the immigration authorities very reluctant to use the discretion which is theirs.

In the last week two people have killed themselves when they found they had to go back to Germany. Last Thursday Louise Wolf, a Jewess, leaped from a fifth story window in New York. And Tuesday there was Albert Heinz, a poor young sailor, who had committed no real crime. Merely he was afraid of Mr. Hitler and wanted desperately not to go back to the land of the Gestapo and the concentration camps, and to stay with his Mississippi sweetheart. But the immigration authorities said he must go. And then he sat down and wrote a letter... "I have cried so that I have no more tears left... America and its honorable flag... its freedom..." And they fished his body out of the Hudson.

We trust Robert felt duly proud of himself when he read those stories and that letter.

Law for Sale

Mayor Daniel J. Shields, of Johnstown, Pa., says he is glad he has been arrested on charges of cabbaging money turned over to him by a Citizen's Committee to maintain "law and order" during the steel strike last summer, when the Mayor practically burned up the wires to the White House with shouts of "insurrection!" He claims that he did actually use the money for the purpose for which it was paid.

But even if that is so--. The important thing here is less the use of that money than the source of it. Witnesses before the National Labor Relations Board have testified that the Bethlehem Steel Company agreed to pay the Johnstown Citizens' Committee $25,000 for "law and order." And also that the company and its officials actually paid all of the $32,000 which Mayor Shields is alleged to have done away with. And if that is true, it is something which ought to be dealt with ruthlessly. For it strikes at the foundations of organized government.

"Law and order" paid for by a party to an industrial dispute cannot truly be "law and order." It means simply that "law and order" can be had for a price, which "law and order" becomes a synonym for what the paying party wants. And when you carry the system through to its logical end, you get--Harlan, Kentucky.

Smoking Out A Fox

By bluntly making it plain that whoever put hostile foot on the soil of the country would meet gunfire, the Czechs seem to have done more than give Mr. Hitler the first intimation that he and his will is maybe not, after all, quite resistless. They have done that well enough, plainly. You could almost hear the resistless boys gnawing their nails in that speech Dr. Goebbels made Sunday.

But also these Czechs seem to have gone far toward smoking out Mr. Chamberlain. Up until now, he has tried to keep his seat in both camps and has set up to pretend that England has no real stake in Central Europe. But the blunt Czech suggestion to Germany that the little republic wasn't going to surrender its sovereignty over the Sudetens without war left him on a terrific spot. If he went on pretending to be indifferent, the chances were that Germany would resort to force--and if that happened, France might very easily go out of hand and jump in, too. And then the big push would be on, with Britain having no chance at all to stay out. The only rational thing left to him was to make it perfectly plain to Hitler that if he moved on the Czechs, he'd probably find himself dealing with England, too. And that he did something just about like that seems clear enough, not only from the dispatches of the more astute correspondents, but also from the very bitterness of Goebbel's speech against London.

New Relief Pattern

A doleful postscript was written into the relief bill by the Senate this week when $50,000,000 of the $1,425,000,000 set aside for Harry Hopkins was earmarked for direct relief. Direct relief means the dole, whereas WPA means you gotta work for it. WPA policy, while it is a strange and distasteful business in this once thriving America, for all all [sic] that remains typically American in that [it] makes both a virtue and a necessity of honest toil. But work relief costs a lot more than direct relief, $1,000 per man annually, say, as against $400.

The administration is determined, nevertheless, that there shall be projects and that the recipients of Federal wages shall work on them. To do otherwise, they say, would be to accustom the people to idleness, and would be equivalent to an admission that there aren't now and aren't soon going to be enough jobs to go 'round. And the thought has been that once the people are satisfied on the dole, the country will be satisfied to let them stay there and forget about them, as England has done.

Even so, the Senate earmarked $50,000,000 for the dole, and we don't believe that the Senate jeopardized the national character thereby. For a great many of these people on relief are, everybody hopes, only temporarily unemployed. They can make two, three, four times as much at their jobs as they can on WPA, and they are only waiting for those jobs to open up again. On the other hand, there is a great nucleus of persons who are chronic reliefers, who have no trades and will be the last to get jobs. There are, in short, two distinct types of relief clients, and why wouldn't it be exceedingly good sense to give them two types of relief?

The Wrong Villain

Today, he said, is the era of international marauders... Whole nations have run amuck, the so-called Christian nations... There is no philosophy, no policy, no logic, truth is no concern... Honor means nothing... This is the spirit of the times... This trend in the modern world, he said, became apparent at the turn of the century, and he blamed the psychiatrist Freud for it. Freud, he said, advocated release of all inhibitions, told everybody to do just as he pleased...

The report is from Tuesday's News. The speaker was Dr. Malcolm McDermott of the Duke Law Faculty, addressing the young lady graduates at Queens-Chicora College.

But with all due respect to him, that seems a little hard and unfair to Dr. Freud. Freud is a nice old Viennese medical man, who along in the 1890's began systematically to explore certain things that had long been suspected about the human sub-conscious. But he did not and has not since ever once suggested that everybody ought to throw away his inhibitions and do what he pleased. He only said that mere repression was no solution for the human problem, but that our animal purposes must be sublimated into positive channels. Millions of neurotics have been restored to a more or less normal existence through his theories.

And certainly the Nazis--the people who above all fit Dr. McDermott's description--don't recognize Freud for their spiritual papa. For they are this very moment busily engaged in persecuting him personally and attempting to stamp out his work.

Without Authority

Magistrate Overton Harris of New York, is going to be investigated by the bar association of the city by the Hudson. Magistrate Harris is the judge who last week told a mother of a high school boy convicted of pulling the stop cord on a subway train,

"He is either going to jail or is going to be severely thrashed. Put him across your knee and get a paddle and bore holes in the paddle so that it raises welts on him."

The magistrate has it coming to him. It may be, and probably is true that the boy roundly deserved thrashing; we take little stock in the theory that his "human dignity" ought to make him immune to it. And it may be, too, that to have his mother whip him was far kinder to him than sending him to jail would have been. Nevertheless, the fact remains that New York's law has no provision for whipping culprits. On the contrary, the law there specifically proscribes it. And Magistrate Harris was clearly violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the law when he ordered it.

American judges are not Turkish cadis. They may not make new law at will by threatening to enforce the existing law. But they are bound by the existing law as certainly as the man in the prisoner's box.

Site Ed. Note: Well, sixty-five years ago this date, Cash gave his commencement address in front of The Main Building at the University of Texas in Austin. So you might wish to listen to it again or for the first time, in commemoration thereof. And remember, there's more to the Superego than meets the Eye.

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