The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 2, 1938


Site Ed. Note: From "Sic 'em, Tige!" we obtain another lesson in the method by which unconscious prophecy, fed by the fueled fires of history in the conscious store, works later to fulfillment on those who become, perhaps, overly conscious of it from times past, then seeking to sell their knicks and wares to the unconscious--whether the snake oil is sold all in the same set of synapses, as first it usually is, or only outside, via the vox et præterea nihil, among the many separated but by a common a language: "In about twenty years, maybe, a new generation may want to fight at the slap of a face, but not now."

Had twenty-six been the number, you might have provided, sure enough, Mr. Cash with the assumption of the blessed curse of Cassandra, that to which no one pays heed until it's too late--the cursed human dilemma, 'twould seem.

Come and see.

We almost forgot to remind you, dear Scarlett, that while we were First at Bethel, Farthest at Gettysburg, and all that, we were also, most definitely, m'Lady, First in Flight as well.

And thereupon, in the year of 1903, as the Dayton Flyers will attest, we kilt the Devil and turned the whole of the Kitty into a Bird.

Just what kind of a Bird 'twere and is, however, we have yet precisely to discern.

Just why, incidentally, Scarlett, they had to come all the way down here to take care of this business, we can only gather from local lore. We have heard it, however, said that it went something in verisimilitude to this:

"Fly? Off a bicycle? Huh. Well, you boys 'd better do this first: attach to it an engine that'll rev up real good. Fellow come through here the other day with one of them new Flivvers and take as not we thought it would like to wing as it set there a-vibratin' off its chassis--that's French. So get you one of them Injuns, maybe. Second, get you some real good skids instead of tars because that sand is not snow. You'd have to go up 'ere to the mountains for that,--except that we did have us a real good blizzard come through the middle of the state back 'bout, oh, 15 years ago, but it's been less since over 'ere. And should you go up 'ere and not make it, the landing would be fairly tough. And while about it out dare, if you see any of de people on de wind from de landing of de settlement as you fly away, if you would, let us know. We've been looking for 'em here for awhile. And, also, watch out for the sun. Even though, this time of the year, he is slowly going on, being eaten up in the ritual. Okay, be good, and here's your map free of charge. Good luck, now."

So you say you're headed to Maui?

"...Pretty scary."

We Hated Him

He is an old man now, sitting in Holland waiting for the end. And all of us think of him kindly these days, as simply a rather pleasant old fellow who once upon a time sat upon the throne that Adolf Hitler occupies now. But we have not always thought of him kindly. Back in 1917, we hated him as cordially as we have ever hated a man, and pictured him as a sort of understudy to Satan. But we have found out since that, while he was far from guiltless in the making of the World War, he was no worse than many others, and that his main fault was not brutality but stupidity. And his successor, Hitler, has pretty well convinced us that a Hohenzollern wasn't necessarily the worst sort of ruler on earth.

Maybe we had better keep his case in mind, too, while we are about the judging of the current scene in the world. If we hated too easily and not quite altogether justly once, we could do it again.

The Harlan Jury

The Harlan jury has been discharged as "hopelessly deadlocked," and Judge Ford has indicated that he'll probably grant the Government's motion for a new trial of the labor conspiracy case. But that isn't really the kind of trial Harlan needs.

No one really supposes that the jury in this case was hopelessly deadlocked because of any honest difference of opinion as to the guilt of those accused. It was all too plain that the coal operators, former Sherriff Middleton, and his deputies were as guilty as sin. And the jury disagreed, not because it didn't think so and not because it wasn't made up of honest men, but simply because it had plainly been intimidated. One of the witnesses in the case was murdered while the case was in progress. And henchmen of Middleton and the coal operators were ordered out of London--the scene of the trial--by Judge Ford for marching back and forth in front of the house of a juryman, with clear intent to frighten him.

No, Harlan doesn't need another labor conspiracy trial. It needs a trial for murder and half a dozen other high crimes, with a hanging at the end of the road for coal operators, sheriffs, and deputies.

Swell for Mr. Hitler

The little brown man seems to be so completely down with megalomania as to be bound to take on more trouble than he can ever hope to finish. Told by Russia that force would be answered by force, he didn't believe it. And now he has started something which will probably mean war--though, after the fashion of modern wars, it quite likely will be undeclared.

And when it comes to winning a war with Russia--nobody believes that save the brass hats who boss Japan. Already in China the Japanese are pretty thoroughly bogged down. They win their campaigns, yes, but all they have at the end of those campaigns is mastery of the roads and railroads. And scattered through the 750,000 square miles they have "conquered" is a guerrilla army of 500,000 Chinese, long experienced in making woe for the ostensible masters of their land. The lines of communications grow longer and longer with each new "victory," and more subject to being disastrously broken. And at home in Japan, each day sees the available supply of iron and money with which to buy iron grow dreadfully smaller.

But if the little brown man seems bound to come out of his adventures a fifth-rate power, he is certainly playing kindly the games of his allies in Europe. One of the great things which has deterred Mr. Hitler from trying too precipitately to take over Czechoslovakia has been the fact that the Russians were bound by treaty to come to the defense of the little republic. But if these Russians are occupied by a war in the east, defying them will be far safer.

Business As Usual

Just when we thought the derned thing had been settled, along comes Norma Shearer and throws the whole Scarlett O'Hara situation just where it has been since shortly after the Civil War.

In declining the role of Margaret Mitchell's heroine, Miss Shearer is quoted as saying that her fan mail showed much displeasure with her casting in the feminine lead of "Gone With the Wind." Coincidentally the Selznick studio issued the following statement:

"We will immediately begin a new search for an unknown to play the role of Scarlett O'Hara. We may not find her but we will send our talent scouts once more."


Now that the affair is wide open again, we may anticipate the same old stuff. Every salesgirl will be quite confident that the guy who pretends to be interested in socks, is in reality one of Mr. Selznick's hawkeyes, giving her the well known once-over. The sub-debs will swap howdedoes with any male, on the off-chance that it might be Mr. Selznick in person. Even the staid dowagers, with enough surplus upholstery to play a couple, or maybe three, Scarlett O'Hara's, will simper on demand and prepare to sign on the dotted line.

We sure wish Miss Shearer hadn't got her fan mail.

The Unmarvelous

Nobody even knew that Captain Hans Bertram, of Germany, was flying around the world until he blew into San Francisco yesterday, with only 5,500 miles left to go. He left Berlin July 14, and is out to prove that the journey can be made in less than 20 days without hurrying. That's just one-fourth of the time Jules Verne assigned to his hero--a time that 50 years ago everybody thought to belong purely to the realm of fantastic fiction.

The same sort of indifference showed up in the case of the pick-a-back flight of the Mercury. Its westward flight made the front page headlines, indeed. But the huge German ship that came in immediately afterward got buried on the inside pages. And when the Mercury flew eastward and landed in England, it got no more than a couple of sticks of type far down inside the papers.

The marvelous, that is, is no longer marvelous. We still love a Corrigan who goes winging over the sea in a crate which has a cruising range of 300 miles. We pay casual heed to a Howard Hughes who divides Jules Verne's time by 20.

But the fact that a plane can successfully fly the Atlantic or around the globe has itself got to be more commonplace to us than the fact that the Queen Mary can go steaming out of the East River into Southampton water in less than four days.

Sic 'em, Tige!

Wimpy's appeal to Pop-Eye, "Let's you and him fight," is applicable to the American view of war now. America doesn't want war; the last one is too vivid in the minds of the people and the debts and taxes it brought too heavy on their backs to permit them joyously to go to war. In about twenty years, maybe, a new generation may want to fight at the slap of a face, but not now.

Yet Americans do want somebody to beat somebody else. There is Hitler, for example. How pleased we are when Czechoslovakia gets a little backing from France and Hitler has to back down. If England had gone to the aid of Ethiopia the hosannas would have risen all over the United States. How pleased we would be if some power would chase Italian and German troops from France! And now, with Russians and Japs fighting on their border, we wonder why Russia doesn't go in there and whale the daylights out of Japan, chase the Japs out of China.

Very pleasant it is to urge some righteous nation on to war against one of the mad dogs of the world, but for the present the United States is acutely conscious it doesn't want to go to war.

Site Ed. Note: The other flights scheduled for today...

Incidentally, the editorial from August 2, 1937 regarding the Rust brothers' invention, since it was also mentioned similarly in The Mind of the South, is likely by Cash; again, however, this editorial was not included in the list, as provided by The News to Professor Morrison in 1964, of those pieces for which Cash was paid prior to becoming a regular member of the staff in late October, 1937.

The Mind of the South entry went thusly:

Nor must I leave the theme without noting that there has long been a prospect of the surplus of labor being expanded to truly overwhelming proportions. As early as 1934 the Rust brothers of Memphis announced that they had built a completely successful cotton-picking machine. The announcement proved premature, and, moreover, the Rusts proved to have a social conscience and seem deliberately to have withheld the machine from mass manufacture until they could see some hope that it would not play havoc with the common whites of the South. But as I write this, they have just announced that they plan to put it into mass production before the end of 1940.

It may be that they are over-optimistic still. But the general history of such machines suggests that the cotton-picker will eventually be perfected, for use in relatively flat country at least--and the greater part of the richer cotton lands of the South are located in just such country. The Rust brothers announce the establishment of a foundation which will turn back a large portion of the profits from the invention for the purpose of retraining and rehabilitating the people dispossessed by it.

But, for all that, it is an ominous machine. For it promises to eliminate most or all of the sharecroppers and a great many of the tenants within a short period, since it overcomes the last and principal barrier to the mechanization of Southern cotton farming. Estimates of the number of people who will thus be deprived of a means of making almost any sort of livelihood range up to two million, far more than any foundation could ever hope to rehabilitate. And in fact the estimates may be too low for the ultimate effect of the picker machine. It seems to me that in the end it is likely to mean the mechanization of Southern cotton farming as a whole and the absorption of most of the good cotton lands of the South into vast mass-production plantations. It is to be remembered that the cultivation of the staple has always naturally tended to the large unit, since it is a bulky cash crop which requires to be processed before it is ready for market, and so can best and most profitably be handled in great quantities. Furthermore, huge mechanized land units are plainly indicated as the easiest way to recovering, so far as it is possible, the foreign market, lost precisely because of the high production costs of the present methods of growing cotton.

And if this analysis is correct, then the Rust machine eventually means the elimination, not only of the sharecroppers and most of the tenants but also of a big part of the Southern yeoman farmers. Considerable numbers of all these classes would of course be reabsorbed by the new mass-production plantations as laborers and machine-operators. But the total number of those fully deprived of a means of earning a living might well reach five million or more.

(The Mind of the South, Book III, Chapter III, "Of the Great Blight--and New Quandaries", section 18, pp. 411-412)

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