The Charlotte News

Monday, August 15, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Reckless Speech", suggesting what might happen to the feckless captain who piloted the civilian super-plane from Berlin to NYC and back again to Berlin for daring to conclude that the credit for the development of the future of air travel belonged not merely with Nazi Germany but internationally, reminds us somehow of our pre-eminent nationalistic spirit being sought today by a certain ever-decreasing minority, over the past 12 years especially, as it was sought with stress in many parts from 1966 through 1974, then, after a brief respite, back again, 1980 through 1991.

What do we mean?

Unser Kampf gegen Terrorismus seems to be the rallying cry of this "silent majority" (small minority protecting corporate interests), (and the likely title of the Memoir to follow)--at least judging by a speech we heard recently.

It's a one-hit redundant wonderling sure enough, which has dragged on now for five and a half bizarre years. No domestic policy except the ad hoc "tax-cut" (for the wealthy) and then, that spoonful of sugar to help the medicine (of record barrel-of-oil prices, as the globe warms up) go down--Unser Kampf gegen Terrorismus.

Meanwhile, our First and Fourth Amendment freedoms are no longer worth the paper on which they are printed for the most part, it would appear, at least not without being severely chilled in the process. They are cute cut-phrases, now, uttered by cutpurses, nothing more. "We must have democracy over there to uphold democracy over here. Democracy, just as you witnessed it in all its glory in November-December, 2000."

But the exercise of what those phrases mean in the Bill of Rights, the foundation of it all, could be dangerous to democracy, especially if you should say things which are opposed to the Administration's Will, little Gunter. Because, then, why, you are supporting Terrorismus, and therefore it naturally follows that you are dangerous to democracy and must be stopped by all lawful means which our democracy affords, including promising folks things to commit perjury, because you are engaged in Terrorismus, and... Ah, we need go no further, for we have achieved the perfect Circle of Truthiness.

Either we have these freedoms freely or we do not have them at all. There is no compromise in that process, as there cannot be, when one carefully thinks it over a bit. Either we have freedom of speech or we haven't freedom to think, freedom to associate, freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances, freedom of religion. Speak out of turn, it seems, now, as during Niyoniana, and while your head may not get busted quite yet these days, certainly your reputation is going to take a hit from a bunch of people claiming to be your pals while they lie like hell about you, just as in the earliest days of Niyoniana, in the late 1940's, early 1950'sm, claiming you to be part of or offering aid and support to some -ism.

Take the recent flack the Comedy Channelism has incurred from people claiming to love the Comedy Channelism. (Oh, they love it to Deathism, these do.) Now, we don't mean to pick on anyone's ism, and a sociological study, not to be confused with socialism, we know from our own experience at it once or twice three decades ago, is a troublesome and time-intensive task. But the task also is one which can either be elucidative from its initial hypotheses or completely flawed and useless from those initial hypotheses, if they are, ab initio, faulty premises. The study to which we refer is the one by some Pirates out of some university, EZU?, which claims tv comedians as a group, and especially the Comedy Channelism, and especially one program on it, are causing "young Americans" to be more cynical about politics and politicians than in the absence of comedy. It is receiving fairly wide play on the "hard" news networksism. (Our solution, believing only in solipsism: Ban comedians and comedy and humor altogether. Get rid of Comedyism! Reinstitute the draft. Daily prayer three times required in school. Flag salutes hourly. Anyone caught lighting a fag within 100 feet of the flag will be flagged permanently as in support of Terrorismus, (the closer to Xmas, the more likely one is aiding and abetting this impending disaster). Recitation of the Pledge every other hour. Mandatory uniform dress, black or brown shirts and shorts only, girls permitted to wear white blouses and plaid skirts, but without excessive accoutrement, as that stimulates impure thoughts in the boys, such as little tags which say, "Go Devils". (Der Hakenkreuz, however, is optional, indeed, even preferred on the arms, little Gunter.) But take no heed of that. That's just our solution to these devilish comedians and their outrageous parodies of Der Liederhausen, der lieder being the one about Tomorrow and to whom it belongs, you know.)

The sample on which this study was based, we found, was heavily skewed toward young white women, median age 19. Nothing wrong with young white women, median age 19, mind you. But, the problem is that, while this group may reflect a statistically valid sampling of some of America's major universities, which probably have similarly constituted student bodies these days, roughly 55-45% female to male, 84-11-5% Caucasian to African-American to other minorities, as does the study, it does not necessarily reflect the broad base of American "young people" which this study purports in its introductory paragraphs to represent.

Indeed, the study, at page six, tells us:

"To examine the effects of exposure to The Daily Show on young adults, we constructed a controlled experiment [controlled probably by Dr. Fremdliebe]. Participants were selected on a voluntary basis [except when we had to trap them with threats of expulsion otherwise and tape their eyelids open] from introductory-level courses in political science [where they were all being otherwise cynically rebellious to the notion that Animal Farm was a cute children's story teaching of why one shouldn't abuse any animals, especially the Pigs] at a medium-sized public university [EZU]. A common criticism of the use of college students [psychos all, at exam times, say many psychological studies] as participants in controlled experiments is that they are unrepresentative of the population as a whole (Sears, 1986) [the rest being pscyhos all the time (Roebuck, August, 1974)], but our concern is with college-aged Americans [not all 'young Americans' as we tricked you into believing in the opening paragraphs so's you'd read this]. Furthermore, the National Annenberg Election Survey (2004) [a well known Republican-leaning organization] of the audience of The Daily Show found that the most likely viewers of the show are of college age [or at least of that ilk's sophomoric, degenerate mentality]. Therefore, our findings are more generalizable [as opposed to Generalissimo Francisco Franco who still lives] to the relevant population. A total of 732 students [all beer-swizzling maniacs] participated in the experiment and were randomly assigned [when they weren't falling down drunk at this notorious party school] to one of three experimental conditions [which we shall, so that you won't lose your lunch, leave to your imagination, but it involved basically repeating one question, in seriatim, interrupting one group with periodic application of oil of cloves, another with photographs of cloven hooves, while the third received chewing gum by the Adams company, the question being then, 'Is it safe?']."

So, what this study seems to be saying at the end of the day is this, we think, uncynically: We started with an hypothesis to tap whether television comedians generally affect adversely the participation of young people in the political process (ignoring in that process that satirical comedy is the meat of everything comedic which might appeal to college-bound and college-present youth, from Aristophanes to Shakespeare to Swift, right on down and in every generation which has read them). We then narrowed our focus to one program in particular, (because it is so doggoned popular among young people), narrowed our focus further, because of that show's median age group of viewers, to the same age group, and since that age group includes people of college age, voila! We'll just use, by simple syllogism, 732 EZU students to tell the country what this show may be doing to the "young Americans" out there.

(Wait a minute. There appears to us to be a glaring flaw in the syllogism thus applied, we think. If you've been to college, or maybe even if you haven't, you can probably spot it. So, favoring, ourselves, the Socratic method, we shan't bother.)

Well, we admit to a streak of cussedness about aging too rapidly and becoming, as some have the tendency, old fuddy-duddies by, say, age 28. We became 28 many years ago, even if it was discovered in October, 1969 that one of the Beatles didn't, and thus we know what that's like, too--to be 28 that is, not the other state of which we were told then the Beatle was and then was not. Yet, and for several years now, we have watched this program, not daily, but whenever we can, and find it both interesting and amusing--and indeed informative, quite as informative in its own right in fact as the Conversationally Neutral Network, the Chanticleers, the Foxies, or the other "hard" news networks, chattering on daily about car chases of the Fallen Angels, kidnappings, killings, gruesome scenes in classrooms, confessed killers who aren't, and other pleasant purely local news stories much in need of exposure internationally to tell us how frightened we ought be even to leave our homes or let our children wander for an instant from our sight such that they grow up to be neurotic fools afraid of their own shadows. (Duct tape that sucker shut and wrap yourself in poly wrap, boy--as we heard it suggested three and a half years ago by one of the "hard" news people on the Conversationally Neutral Network one cold winter's day--brrrrr.)

In point of fact, and for years now, we have found ourselves sometimes laughing ourselves silly over the delivery of the "hard" news, as opposed to the tragedy itself behind the Klieg delivery, which base tragedy is, we suspect, often directly or indirectly an alloy resulting from the combination of humorless presentation, devoid of literary irony or understanding, poetry, but rather drenched in tear-seeking sentiment ad nauseam, with viewers who haven't any ability to provide their own interstitial irony or poetry to the humorless, colorless presentation, by the providers of that "hard" news promoting the names of the otherwise nameless chasees, kidnappers, murderers, accused, etc. (And, by the way, we'll take a few cynical college students as a product of some program any day over someone adduced of humorless news who takes a gun and shoots up a school because they didn't know how to laugh at all, except perhaps in dextral, as opposed to sinistral, brain-mode.) The delivery of that "hard" news we find to be, as the years have dragged onward, far more thusly funny-funny than the deliberately funny program to which the study gives greatest stress, because of its popularity. (But, we ask: Is it yet more popular than Jesus was? And we're not knocking it or putting it down, mind you. We are just saying it because it may be a fact.)

But, at the end of the day, who do they think they are kidding, these EZU people? As we have already suggested without needing to do so really, college students are the greatest cynics in the world, always have been. And who can blame them? In the space of three months between a May-gown in their lives ending one stage and a late August, early September, fresh-start morn beginning another, they have suddenly gone from the relatively uncritical, uniformity-driven mold of institutionalized public schools holding them the previous twelve years to an atmosphere where the whole mold has as its engine a thrust and parry toward criticism, quite as much of a transition as the docile passivity, "I am the Works", afforded by pre-school years is to the structured environs, "I'm just one of the rest now", required by the primary and secondary educational institutions of our society. (It ain't nothing though, compared to China.) A college mind is one which is made to be critical. The critique, however, is meant, when properly applied, to be a sensitive, intelligent one, not one merely for the sake of being critical in order to sound collegiate, which sometimes too many do, college educated and not. To critique a thing, as we once had it explained before college, is not necessarily to criticize it, and vice versa. And to have a critical mind is to be able to critique a thing. Anyone three years old is able to criticize: "This stuff's no good. I'm not eating it!"

In any event, we can only report that when we attended a school about 120 miles from EZU some 30 years and more ago, EZU had a notorious reputation as a Pawty School. Now, we have never attended the place and the school we attended was not without its Pawty Adherents for sure, we admit. So, we make no judgment. But it is one thing to sample young college students among the Pirates of EZU and call it a sample of young college students among the Pirates at EZU. It is quite another to sample a whole bushful of beer-guzzling Animals of Delta House at Faber College and call that the "young people" of America.

But, you never know: perhaps this program of which they speak has made us all into one big Delta House at Faber.

God be praised, if so, let us hope there will be more of it--and soon, lest we become what it appears we are otherwise becoming, the newest version of Nazi-[That word]ing Germany.

Now, where is our blow torch? We need to do some bodywork on that Lincoln, that is, the Cadillac. Ramspeed, men. That is, Ladies.

(By the way, as he says his son told him, it is cool to be called a Duke-bag, (at least we gather that's what the unutterable term was which the host of that program on the Comedy Channelism called to his face the host of one of the Chanticleer programs some time ago, though we missed that one). And that is true even if one's bag is gator hide. Remember what one of the Beatles said in 1969: "Everybody's talkin' 'bout bagism..." And besides, how cool can it be to have gone to a school whose mascot is a Native American? Or, for that, any number of God's creatures on the endangered species list?)

As we cannot make much sense of any of it, we, ourselves, therefore, are always simply content to be cynical heels--black, blue, and white wingedly so, in fact. (No red, or gold, nah-nah, hunh-unh.)

The other reckless, feckless heels of the day are here.

Well Done*

As we said all along, we never had any real doubt that the drive for the Memorial Hospital would go over. It simply wouldn't have made sense for the town to have passed up the opportunity to get the hospital it so urgently needs on terms that will not come again. All the same, we are enormously gratified to see that the thing has been done so quickly and efficiently. And we think that Charlotte has reason to congratulate itself in selecting Word H. Wood to head the campaign. For under his direction it has been carried out with precision and dispatch, and without unnecessary lost motion. And while we are about it we think the town has done well by itself, too, in naming Mr. Hemby to head the new board. It is excellent insurance that the money will be wisely expended.

Broom for the Sea

Three Washington physicians, all prominent specialists, have asked the District of Columbia courts to restrain the Group Health Association, an organization of Federal employees, from its activities. The association furnishes its members with medical and nursing services in return for the payment of monthly fees, and to that end has permanently hired a number of doctors.

The specialists are doing their profession no good with the public, and in fact are very greatly damaging its high reputation for disinterestedness. The doctors do quite right, we think, in opposing State medicine. But to deny that men have a right to come together voluntarily and employ doctors of their own choosing to give them regular service is as nonsensical as to deny that large corporations have a right to employ physicians to look after the health of their employees. And it flies straight into the face of the obvious fact that many people must resort to some such method--or go without adequate medical attention. The fees charged by doctors who, in addition to the expense of a long course of training, must maintain costly offices and staffs, are probably justified. But the fact remains, nevertheless, that a large proportion of the population can't pay them.

Group medicine is here to stay, beyond a doubt, and the attempt to fight it is of a piece with Mrs. Partington's celebrated efforts. Nor, for that matter, do we believe that the great body of the profession desires to fight it. But it is a pity they can't restrain their more obstreperous brethren.

A Stout Defiance

Mr. Jeremiah Cross, Commander of the Department of New York, American Legion, crossed swords with Mayor LaGuardia in the Legion's annual convention at Endicott last Friday and came off second best. Mr. Cross arraigned the Mayor before their fellow Legionnaires for having failed to obey his order as commander and fire one Gerson, an alleged Communist now on the New York City payroll as a tax expert.

Up then stood the Little Flower to stoutly reply that he was Mayor of New York City, that he had taken an oath to uphold the constitutions of New York and the United States, and that, God helping him, he would take no orders from Mr. Cross, the American Legion, or any other imaginable pressure group. Which makes us like the Little Flower better than ever.

He cannot, under the constitutions of New York and the United States, fire Gerson for being a Communist. The fellow has exactly as much right to his political belief as a Democrat or Republican. And the minute the State takes to barring him from a public job merely because of that political belief, it is depriving him of the rights guaranteed him by the Bill of Rights, and laying down the proposition that it can keep a man out of such jobs because he is a Republican, a Democrat, or anything else the regime in power doesn't happen to like. And the Little Flower's determination to hold to that fundamental principle in face of the determined effort of a pressure group to make him disregard it is wholly admirable. For it'll probably get him denounced as a Red on his own account, and though that is clearly nonsense, there will not be lacking people gullible enough to believe it.

Leading the Field

Our proud confidence that Charlotte will this year continue to stay out in front as the most murderous town in the country save only Atlanta, is amply borne out by the latest quarterly report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Indeed, it bids fair to eclipse even Atlanta itself and to return to the place at the head of the class which it held in 1936. The town's average for each of the two elapsed quarters of the year was ten cases of murder and non-negligent homicide. And in the second quarter (April through June) at least, Atlanta had only 21 such cases. Which, seeing that its population is about three times as great as ours, makes its showing about as seven is to ten.

As for the rest of the towns of the country--they are mere pikers. Look at Philadelphia, for instance. With more than 20 times the population of Charlotte it had 17 murders in the second quarter. That is to say, it is only about one-twelfth as murderous as Charlotte. And bad New York, with 70 times the population of Charlotte, had only 61, which is to say that it is less than a tenth as murderous as we are. Pittsburgh, with six times our population, had six murders, though it is infested with those aliens who people so confidently blame for our high national crime rate. Providence, R. I., with three times our population, had one murder--just one. And Boston, with eight times as many people as we have, Boston had just one, too.

And if you think that the presence of the Negro alone explains our eminence, what are you going to do about Memphis? With three times as many people as we have, and a vastly greater proportion of Negroes, it still had only thirteen.


Mr. Reuben Gosnell, U.S. marshal for the western South Carolina District, is indignant. Edgar A. Brown, the Barnwell man who is trying to take over Cotton Ed Smith's toga by promising to bring the whole Federal pork barrel bodily to South Carolina--Mr. Brown, says Mr. Gosnell, has viciously libeled him, and goes on:

I would pay no attention to this hokum, spoken by this rabble rouser from Barnwell, except for the fact that I have a wife and children, whom I love and respect. On their account I can hardly allow the infamous falsehood to go unchallenged.

It sounds serious. And you'd think that Mr. Brown must have low-rated Mr. Gosnell something awful. And maybe, seeing that it was in South Carolina, he did at that. You see, Mr. Brown said that Mr. Gosnell was a Republican...

Reckless Speech

Captain Alfred Henke had better look after himself. He may have flown the giant German plane, the Brandenburg, from Berlin to New York and back to Berlin quite as though it were all a matter of everyday routine. And he may have received Adolf Hitler's telegraphed congratulations. But, all the same, he said something at New York that was very dangerous. He said neither Germany nor any one nation deserved any special credit for the development of aviation, but that it was the work of all the nations, and that there was no place for a narrow national spirit about it.

And that, of course, is almost as though he had pulled Adolf Hitler's moustache. It flies straight into the teeth of the first principle of Nazism--that the German is the Nietzchean Superman, and that all good things have come out of Germany alone. To have been a good Nazi, what Captain Henke ought to have said was that the Wrights are a pair of bums, that Kitty Hawk was a myth, that Lindbergh and Corrigan and Wiley Post and Howard Hughes were all big loud laughs, that the first flight really took place along the shoreline of the Baltic. It would have been brash and rude, certainly, but to be brash and rude is to be a good Nazi.

Captain Henke had better take himself in hand and remember his lines better. Or he'll wake up one of these days to discover, to his astonishment, that he's a Jew.

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