The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 30, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Keykeyhiekikihekeykeykickykikiheekickyhookeykeywhokikikeykeykeyhiekickihoo. Boom.

Somewhere out there between a silver plate in Life, the Untouchable peeling an ear to the sons of snitches, coursing through this feline crew of plays in tabby fitches, a drawn turkey being pulled from the ashes with its feathers on in Rich's, the platters of the chandler's wax waxing ever more greatly as the times move on through the loops and swirls of the somewhat out-of-balance golden-age kitsches, tying us altogether more tightly as many, a kind of free for all as we exalt this ball from outside our Bridges to Pliny, as old Diogenes continues yet his grand search from the great beyond's cawl, yet still with Lenny in stitches, we are left to conclude two things, in fete for all you galling, biting midges and finnies: 1) As we have said before, (or, was it later, rising-sun of Apollo, Hon. Happy?)--"Beans!" 2) And, as someone else said before, (or was that, too, only then, the Sirius Dog of the darkly Hare, through the glass barkly, that which bit you?)--"Charley don't surf!"

What it was, was. And what ever it is, is...

Cheap at the Price*

Having expressed a positive distaste for the City Council's refusal to permit the use of the cemetery as an up-town park and the spacious sidewalk in front of the First Presbyterian Church for benches, we are compelled to turn around and compliment the Council on keeping the tax rate at the same figure as last year. It is something of a feat in these days when taxes generally are going up and up, and it is particularly noteworthy in view of the million-dollar bond issue last year for water and sewerage.

 It all shows unmistakable signs of a fiscal house in order, of efficient administration, of business methods and a minimum of politics in City Hall. And all that, of course, is attributable to the City Manager, who really runs the City. The Council, to its credit, has backstood him, and a majority of the Council had the wit to see that a couple of thousand dollars a year in additional salary to such a capable man was a skimption in comparison to the demonstrable value of his services and the amount of money it takes to operate the City Government. This is one laborer who is worthy of his hire. The tax rate shows it.

How the Money Rolls Out!

Governor Hoey may call a special session of the Legislature to enable the State to take advantage of PWA grants that are being handed out from Washington with breath-taking speed and munificence. It would be wise if he did and exceedingly inopportune if he didn't, for we tell you, messires, the money is rolling out. Mr. Ickes, for one, is matching dollar for dollar, almost. It is one time when five will get you ten--win, lose or draw.

In the first 27 days in this fiscal year which began July 1, the Treasury has written checks for--hold your breath! --$700,830,920.49. Seven hundred million dollars plus! Never in the peace-time history of the world before has any such rate of spending been maintained, even for so brief a period. And it isn't over yet. In fact, it has hardly started, for the Government somehow must spend this year ten or twelve times as much as it has managed to spend in these terrific 27 days; unless the State and all its subsidiary governments get their share while the getting is good, they will be left with their part of the bill to pay and nothing much to show for it.

Kiss Me, Hardy

Maybe Mr. Chamberlain has some justification for a policy that requires a British warship, bearing the ironic name of Hero, to stand by with her guns closed while German and Italian planes leisurely bomb and sink a British freighter in a British-named Spanish harbor. It isn't much justification that some of the freighters sunk have really been Turks, Greeks, and squareheads which have sought cover under British registry, for they were regularly admitted to that registry under Britain's own laws, and it has always been the rule that the flag settled the nationality of vessels. Nor does there seem to be much percentage in refusing to "engage in war" when it merely means that you can be warred on with impunity. Still--maybe Mr. Chamberlain can make out a case for himself on the score that he is at least staving off a general European war.

But, ah, masters, it must have been a black day yesterday in Trafalgar Square. That creaking and low moaning--would that not be Horatio Nelson, set upon his column to gaze forever and proudly toward the Gates of Hercules, turning about to face westward and preparing to seek shelter in the cellars of the National Gallery? And that sad and plaintive mewling--would that, to reverse Max Beerbohm's cat who "stalked across the road pretending he was a tiger," not be the great lions at the foot of the column resigning themselves to the idea that they are after all only fat tabbies? Ourselves, we begin to think it entirely plausible that the admiral's daughters did marry the pirates.

Site Ed. Note: Left on the cutting room floor, so as not to reincarnate it too much the more: 1) "Beyond the Suiones is another sea, one very heavy and almost void of agitation; and by it the whole globe is thought to be bounded and environed, for that the reflection of the sun, after his setting, continues till his rising, so bright as to darken the stars. To this, popular opinion has added, that the tumult also of his emerging from the sea is heard, that forms divine are then seen, as likewise the rays about his head. Only thus far extend the limits of nature, if what fame says be true. Upon the right of the Suevian Sea the Æstyan nations reside, who use the same customs and attire with the Suevians; their language more resembles that of Britain. They worship the Mother of the Gods. As the characteristic of their national superstition, they wear the images of wild boars. This alone serves them for arms, this is the safeguard of all, and by this every worshipper of the Goddess is secured even amidst his foes. Rare amongst them is the use of weapons of iron, but frequent that of clubs. In producing of grain and the other fruits of the earth, they labour with more assiduity and patience than is suitable to the usual laziness of Germans. Nay, they even search the deep, and of all the rest are the only people who gather amber. They call it glasing, and find it amongst the shallows and upon the very shore. But, according to the ordinary incuriosity and ignorance of Barbarians, they have neither learnt, nor do they inquire, what is its nature, or from what cause it is produced. In truth it lay long neglected amongst the other gross discharges of the sea; till from our luxury, it gained a name and value. To themselves it is of no use: they gather it rough, they expose it in pieces coarse and unpolished, and for it receive a price with wonder. You would however conceive it to be a liquor issuing from trees, for that in the transparent substance are often seen birds and other animals, such as at first stuck in the soft gum, and by it, as it hardened, became quite enclosed. I am apt to believe that, as in the recesses of the East are found woods and groves dropping frankincense and balms, so in the isles and continent of the West such gums are extracted by the force and proximity of the sun; at first liquid and flowing into the next sea, then thrown by winds and waves upon the opposite shore. If you try the nature of amber by the application of fire, it kindles like a torch; and feeds a thick and unctuous flame very high scented, and presently becomes glutinous like pitch or rosin.

"Upon the Suiones, border the people Sitones; and, agreeing with them in all other things, differ from them in one, that here the sovereignty is exercised by a woman. So notoriously do they degenerate not only from a state of liberty, but even below a state of bondage. Here end the territories of the Suevians."

--Tacitus on Germany

See "Peace Prospect", August 30, 1939 and "Weakness", June 19, 1940.

2) This heya.

Lives, Luck and the Cops

If the percentage of decline in automobile deaths is maintained at the same rate in the last half of the year as in the first, 8,700 lives will have been saved in 1938. That is an absolutely incredible statistic--incredible not in the sense that this country could save and should want to save 8,700 human beings from sudden death, but that a fractional improvement in the automobile mortality rate should work out to a whole town-full of people. Apparently, we were fast on our way to becoming brutally callous to death on the highways.

And, as a matter of fact, the improvement seems to come about not because of any greater care exercised or lessened speed or better enforcement of traffic laws. There was an increase in the number of accidents, and it is accidents that cause fatalities. No, the only explanation we can think of is that automobilists were lucky in the first half of 1938. They had more accidents than ever, but it simply happened that fewer people were killed in them.

And what we were about to say in conclusion, has gone out of mind. A sirening police car just went around the corner outside the editorial sanctum, nicking a fender of a parked car and dashing on, in and out of heavy morning traffic. Two bits says they are on a call to break up a fight somewhere or to arrest a drunk. Or something else much less important than taking the chance of killing innocent bystanders.

Site Ed. Note: Truth be known, dear sir or madam, we're accustomed to a smoother ride...

O, proud Odysseus, transversing the Symplegades, as the vortex on the one side threatens, on the other the 12-headed dog; yet remaining anchored to the mast with ears stopped open, you threaded the currents nonetheless, despite being drawn by the temptress-song, that tempter to all wayward fit for the fight but no longer with a fight to fit, or one they deem worthy for the fighting long. Yet to them who succumbed we say, read on; and stay the hound's bay to the chase for a fitter pursuit.

We Turn Southward

It is kind of funny, when you think about it, that it took the activities in Germany, Italy, and Japan to arouse our government to the value of making up to our Latin-American neighbors to the south. For South and Central America are the only unexploited treasure houses left on earth. And we long ago asserted our proprietary political interest in them through the Monroe Doctrine. Now the cultivation of other interests seems at last to have been begun in earnest.

In addition to new shipping lines, the extension of trade assistance from the Export-Import Bank, and all sorts of new trade agreements, the State Department has inaugurated a "division of cultural relations" which will attempt systematically to draw the spiggies into the orbit of our ideology and away from those of the Nazis, the Fascists, and the Japanese.

Plenty of difficulties lie in our way, certainly. For one there is the heritage of suspicion left from the old Dollar Diplomacy, which ruled our relations with these nations from the Grant Administration right on through that of Herbert Hoover. It was not wicked, surely, to use our North American capital to develop these lands. On the contrary, they have to have more capital, and huge quantities of it, if they are ever going to realize their possibilities. And they cannot get it elsewhere so well as they can get it in the United States. Certainly we wouldn't want them to. But the trouble with Dollar Diplomacy was that it played with loaded dice--took everything it could lay hands on, gave nothing, or nearly nothing, in return. It made its victims like it with the bayonets of the marines.

We have to face the fact that there is a very wide chasm between the Latin ideology and our own. And in addition there are all sorts of practical difficulties. The trade agreement with the Argentine, for instance, has pretty well bogged down for the simple reason that in normal times we have no market for the beef and wheat which are the primary things that country has to sell. And in Mexico we are embarrassed by political measures which interfere with property rights of our citizens. Nor is it at all certain that the newer and bigger ships we are putting on the South American run can be made to pay for a long while to come.

Nevertheless, substantial progress has undoubtedly been made already. The Export-Import Bank has weaned Brazil completely from being an economic outpost of the Nazi regime in Germany. And the President's constant reiteration of good will, plus the concrete evidence of extreme moderation in such cases as those of the Mexican confiscations--this and such other things as the President's trip to the Argentine and great circular flight of the army planes, have gone a long way toward breaking down the old notion that any Yankee scheme was bound to be a shell game.

The thing won't be done in a day. But it can and ought to be done, for the advantages to both sides are very great. For us it means a stable and ever-widening market, plus greater political security; and for the Latins it means a development they otherwise cannot obtain, and safety from intruders from abroad anxious to exploit them in the precise fashion that was ours under Dollar Diplomacy.

Site Ed. Note: Keykeyhiekikihekeykeykickykikiheekickyhookeykeywhokikikeykeykeyhiekickihoo. Boom.

"Oh dear, Scarlett, they've just passed something altogether evil and ratified it all, too. I just got the news through the Observer. It's called the Equal Pro-tection Clause, and they say it makes all those laws of the Yankee subject, that is ap-plicable, to all the states and localities, even so close as right heya. What'd I say? What'd I say? Sherman has come right through heya, marching, marching onward, onward, burning everything, everything in sight that we held so dear and sacred lately, before this conflict so earnestly of which we have endeavoured, only temporarily from which we have suffered setback. What'd I say? Let us, having said that, pause to give momentary obeissance to our dear departed brethren who were mainly in the plain. But: never mind all that, now. Never mind. Look away. Look away. We shall, I say, we shall, m'Lady, look to our Division. Oh, look, Scarlett, look. A sign. A sign, I say: a yellow roller canary in the tree just chirping, chirping, chirping right away."

Over the goal posts, out of the stadium, you just got to wade on in the water, child, wade on...

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