The Charlotte News
Thursday, August 18, 1938
Site Ed. Note: Largely a dull day in print, of much repetition, save for the Egyptian cat acquired by the St. Louis Art Museum to catcalls by the hungry for its $14,400 purchase price, as considered in "Nice Kitty".
Nevertheless, the rest of the catcalls are here.
We don't know, incidentally, what "moompixures" are in "Well, Maybe". Perhaps, it is actually "moompigures" or rather that the second "m" is supposed to be an "n", in either of which cases there is still less than enough to enlighten the figure intended, at least such that we can understand it. But, we shall leave it to yours to discern more finely than our faint curiosity of the moment warrants. For all we care, you may write a song about it. Call it: The Day Moompixures Bred Love in a Chapeau Bras at Medicine Hat (or something like that).
In any event, we shall use the references to Mexican Hat and the Navajo as excuse to jump you forward to these two, by Ernie Pyle, included from the passages of August 7 and 8, 1939.
Meanwhile, note that we resist any pun work on cat and hat, or even landscapes. Except that we shall remind again that the cat on the balcony wearing a sombrero and long chaps, within the eternal trio, can get lost.
In Chicago the City Council repealed an ordinance which required that women's bathing suits must have full bloomers extending below the knee.
In Charlotte, N. C., yeggs made off with three quarts of pennies.
In Mexican Hat, Utah, the braves of the Navajo nation, having seen the moompixures, set aside a week for "romance."
In Hemp, N. C., a man with a broken neck decided it might be advisable to see a doctor.
In Columbia, S. C., Mr. James P. Hunter, Jr., who says he's a tee-totaler, found a snake in his bed.
In Charlotte, N. C., and a lot of other places, it rained cats and dogs and thundered dreadfully. And the weathermen told a credulous world that the heat wave was broken.
But, burning on his enigmatic way, Sirius, the dog star, who was the cause of it all, went right on behaving as though he thought it was still hot as blue blazes.
Wishing the Colonel Success*
If Colonel Kirkpatrick succeeds in building his uptown auditorium against the combined apathy of the townspeople and the caution of the County Commissioners, it is open to considerable question that the County will have turned a deal advantageous to its Treasury. It will be giving up at once a certain revenue of $8,000 or more a year, and it will be giving up the prospect, remote at present, of selling this valuable site and applying the payment to its indebtedness on that costly Courthouse down East Trade way.
But if Colonel Kirkpatrick succeeds in building his uptown auditorium, he will have provided the city with a facility which it very much needs. Furthermore, self-liquidating as the architects say it is or not, this auditorium, once built, will stay built, and in any hands will remain a useful asset and factor in the city's standing among cities.
In another phase, the Colonel's project is desirable. It will give employment in the building trades at a time when there is most unemployment there. And it will help the town's appearance immensely, too, which has remained more or less drab in the South Tryon section for some years.
Altogether, we hope the Colonel can assure the Commissioners that the major project would be safe from the standpoint of the money and the property involved. For from a civic standpoint, the auditorium would be desirable indeed.
A Rash Attack
John D. M. Hamilton, the bouncing chairman of the Republican National Committee, has a singular gift for rashly getting himself into untenable positions. As when he broke the news to an unsuspecting and entirely skeptical world that it was really old Tom Jefferson who founded the GOP. But he has rarely looked more foolish than in picking out Cordell Hull and his reciprocal trade pacts as a new target.
For all we can prove to the contrary, it may be quite possible that the trade pacts haven't done quite as much as their more enthusiastic proponents claim for them. But Dr. Hull has at least done his level best to get down trade barriers, and Mr. Hamilton closes his argument by conceding that "excessive trade barriers do promote world unrest," and by adding "the only way to lower them is through multilateral agreement."
That is sheer dogmatism--the last. But let it go. The doctrine that really lies inherent in Mr. Hamilton's criticism is the doctrine that inheres in all he has to say: that the Republicans could do it better. And when it comes to that, it is common knowledge that, in all the years from 1920 to 1932, the Republican Party never once did anything serious about trying to reduce trade barriers by multilateral or any other kind of agreement, that on the contrary, it steadily raised tariff levels, and that the trade barriers which exist abroad were mainly set up in retaliation to that tariff policy. Which somehow seems to leave Mr. Hamilton hanging ridiculously between heaven and earth, with nothing solid under him.
Whatever else is true about Senator Tydings of Maryland, he is certainly one of the champion abstainers from voting in Washington. Out of the 50 most important roll calls in the 1937-38 sessions of the 75th Congress, 13 times he did not vote at all. The bills on which he refrained from registering a yea or a nay were such things as increased surtaxes on personal incomes, civil service for all post masters, the $40-a-month wage for relief workers, and the barring of jobholders from sitting as delegates in political conventions.
Curiously enough, however, when he does vote, he is not as much given to nay-saying as you might suspect. Thus in the two sessions, he chalked up 22 yeas as against eleven nays. But there's a catch in that, for thirteen of his yeas were for restrictions on the New Deal not approved by the administration--or for recommittal of New Deal measures to committee. And only six of them were for measures which in part or in whole carried out Presidential recommendations. And of these, again, only three were cast for important Presidential measures: the Bituminous Coal Act, the naval bill, and taxation of tax-exempt securities. And, with four exceptions, his nays were all delivered against administration measures. He voted against the Supreme Court scheme, the Wagner Housing Act, the confirmation of Hugo Black, and the farm, reorganization, and wage-and-hour bills.
One odd thing about his record is that he voted against the proposed blanket 30 per cent cut in Federal expenditures. An odder thing still is that he voted not to bar relief officials from participating in politics. And oddest of all is that, though he voted against the wage-and-hour bill which is now law, he voted for the more stringent law which was killed last Fall.
That Signor Mussolini is still working hand in glove with his ally, Hitler, is plain enough from the announcement yesterday that General Franco has virtually declined to consider the withdrawal of Italian and German troops from his Spanish Insurgent armies. What nerves the Signor to take such a step, which amounts to the abrogation of his "agreement" with the astonishing Mr. Chamberlain, is the fact that Europe is absorbed in its jitters about the menace of Hitler's mobilized armies. The thing that nerves the Signor, we say. Since it must be manifest even to the most naive that Franco couldn't possibly keep Mussolini from taking home his armies if he chose. The decision is not Franco's at all but the Duce's own.
But it has one use. It blows into a cocked hat the contention, of which Mr. Chamberlain has been a great exponent, that the Spanish fight is primarily a fight among factions of the Spanish people, that the Insurgents have the support of the major part of the Spanish nation, and that they can and will win, even without Italian and German troops. Clearly, Mussolini himself doesn't think so, else he'd never have taken this step, which is calculated to get his friend, Mr. Chamberlain, on an exceedingly hot spot at home. To save his face, Mr. Chamberlain will probably go on trying to pretend the war isn't one of foreign conquest by Italy and Germany. But hereafter even his best supporters in Parliament are going to be hard put to it to keep their faces straight when he says it.
It's a matter of utter unimportance, this of St. Locey's $14,400 cat and yet we dunno but that it is full of large portents and grave omens. You read about it, of course: how the tax-supported Art Museum of St. Louis paid a thumping $14,400 for a dull gray metal sculpture, believed to date back to Egypt in the fifth century B.C., of a cat; and how the people of the city, especially striking workmen and the unemployed, protested vehemently, some of them carrying signs which read: "$14,400 for a useless bronze cat--nothing for labor!"
Directors of the Museum defended their purchase as "the most important art object of its kind in America--a sculptural triumph." As to that we wouldn't know, except that antiquity does frequently command a price ridiculously out of proportion to the esthetic or utilitarian value of the piece in which it resides. But as to the desirability of collecting art treasures in museums where the public may see them, even at the cost of raising up outraged cries of "millions for art and nothing for our hungry babes," we are irrevocably convinced, and it is not because we are lacking in sympathy for hungry babes.
For the real truth of it is that if there were no cultural pretensions, if we abandoned art entirely and concentrated on the business of providing everybody with three squares a day, there would still be hungry babes and there would still be, as the signs in St. Louis read, "nothing for labor." Russia went all the way in that direction, selling the Imperial treasures to satisfy the good little Communists' appetite for brown bread--and they are still starving. The two, art and appetite, are not interdependent. On the contrary, they are not related at all, and if you destroy one you have not sated the other.
Still, $14,400 for a cat is pretty steep. The directors of St. Locey's museum may have put one over on the art world, but we imagine that the people of St. Louis, whom they represent, would have got more enjoyment out of a couple of hundred nifty landscapes and nudes.
Site Ed. Note: Let's see, how did the cat get to the museum?
Do ye suppose?
Well, maybe. Could it be that it walked there by four yeggs?
If so, it's a bet the safe they'd crack.
And, while on the subject re art, we could not depart, nor ye forsake, without some glimpse at glib heart, as rendered here by Billy Blake:
When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing "Ha, ha, he!"
When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of "Ha, ha, he!"
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