The Charlotte News

Sunday, August 7, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "After Chosen--?" tells of the first wisps which ultimately through the collapse of dominoes would lead to the Korean War of 1950 to 1953. Japan's annexation of the country would end obviously in 1945 as the North was given to the Soviet Union as an occupied zone, the South to the United States, divided by the 38th Parallel. The occupation troops from both sides were removed in 1949, leaving the North as a Communist society and the South as a Western-style democracy. Struggle over economic issues, the South having the bulk of the country's agricultural resources, the North its manufacturing base, quickly erupted into civil war when the North invaded.

It should have been a rather predictable model, especially to the United States, for a country unused to self-rule for a half century and torn by internal strife and separation of its peoples. But, the model of course which was used was one which was being used in Germany, as well as the virtual cession of the Eastern Bloc countries, Poland, Yugoslavia, Hungary, the Balkans, and Czechoslovakia to the U.S.S.R. To the victors go the spoils, and little could be done to avert the result save then and there have a confrontation with Stalin. It was a matter for which no one save the most hawkish had any stomach after the war had ended and there was dancing in Times Square; especially as it would have presented to the world an obviously untenable appearance of back-stabbing, after embracing Stalin, depending on the Russian Army to trap Hitler from the east, then to turn around and slap him down for overly aggressive moves toward occupation afterward, occupation required in any event to prevent re-emergence of Nazi-Fascist enclaves. The thought was not only outrageous but dangerously stupid, in fact.

And, though two bloody wars were fought nevertheless over these struggles of the Cold War and though the confrontational tension was always at work to establish the psyche of mutual fear for four decades, it did not finally erupt in either a global or thermonuclear conflict--at least not yet. And while the nyet to nuclear threat is still in the offing between the two formerly contesting powers, it is best to use this time, limited as it may be--as so often peace between nations can be, 20, 40 years?--, wisely to put Pandora back in the box for good and all forthwith, 15 slow-going years in that endeavor having already elapsed with some but far too little progress toward the goal not only of the end of proliferation but the end of use altogether.

And for the United States especially to set the prime example in this regard for such nations as Iran and North Korea would be the rational course, it would seem, rather than issuing ultimata and threats which only stimulate the same thing such pride-swellers would stimulate in us were they to be issued, say, by a group of Muslim states. Would we do anything in the majority scene except to sneer, make incautious jokes, followed by roistering laughter were, for instance, some Pan-Arab group tomorrow to issue an ultimatum for the United States to abandon all further maintenance of nuclear weapons, cease in the production of heavy water--since, though useable for energy production, it might also have utility for producing weapons-grade plutonium--(and irreversibly to insinuate cancer into their ground-water as well-known for decades to have been the case in the U.S. from the testing in the 1950's in the Nevada desert and the storage since of seeping waste materials from Georgia to Utah)--, or else face a boycott of all of their oil? What would we do?

Hell, come to think of it, it might not be a bad idea for that Pan-Arab group to do just that to us. Then, who knows, the automobile manufacturers might suddenly come up, patriotically and NASA-style, with a whole line of 500-mile range electric automobiles which go 0-60 in 4 to 6 seconds and have sleek fast-looking outer shells to boot, plus a reasonable boot, not unlike the new 250-mile range Tesla which uses electricity equivalent to consumption at 135 m.p.g., only at a price considerably more competitive with the gasahog market as opposed to the cool 100 grand the Tesla is slated to be tagged, and though with plenty of kick, not much boot.

Examples speak louder than threats. Conferences designed for the purpose of mutually eliminating these threats on all sides, and sitting down to talk about, especially at this vortically tumultuous time of year, the real threat to us globally, that which Nature, always the Joker, is dealing us for our mistreatment of her these last 150 years, treating these other nations as equals, not as rogues, is a primary step, we venture, toward achieving the goal of having something more stable than the old Pax Romana, that tenuous thing built exclusively on empirical thinking, which thus far the end of the Cold War has but achieved.

It's yet still a long way to Tipperary. (But don't blame the writer of the song; it's the listeners, and what they hear in them, about whom we need most to be concerned.)

Which reminds us that we must get ourselves to the record store Tuesday for the new album. It's the first one since the last one, released September 11, 2001, and the longest cessation since the beginning in 1962--though we did get that exceptional book of poems from the 20th Century a couple of years back, which we have still not yet finished savoring--soon. We hope that Tuesday, August 29, 2006, while no doubt due to be more Modern Times, will be at least less startling in its example of modernity than at last release. We have still yet to get over that one, obviously. Yet the dialogue thus stimulated by it, which continues, is in the long run, no doubt, a healthy one for our budding little republic here, always and forever, 'twould seem, full of tension.

The things else magnified this date. (At least the name of the chick in Wilkes weren't Burger-Blackmun, though it's double-yoked roe we shall still eat. (That's a Middle Temple of the Inn Hall jest, underscored as such for those of you with no sense of haute cuisine, even flava beans. You know--Pope, Baptist Babies, all that.))

It Must Not Fail!*

With only five days left to go, the popular subscription fund for the Memorial Hospital is $33,000 short of the necessary goal of $100,000--only $67,000 having been subscribed to date. The time is alarmingly short, but we refuse to believe in the possibility that it can fail. For that will mean the loss of the free gift of $450,000 by the Federal Government, and a chance to get a hospital that will be adequate to the city's needs on such terms as probably will never come again.

We refuse to believe that the people of Mecklenburg will pass that up, we say. We refuse to believe that they are so little interested in their own health and safety and those of the people generally. But if they are, then, sirs, we refuse to believe that they will do it, on purely commercial grounds. This hospital will spend about $300,000 annually in Charlotte. That means employment for not less than 300 persons, and it means money in the pockets of every merchant and business man in town year after year.

Turn in your subscription now!

The American Way

A year or so ago when we began archiving the miracles of the Silly Seasons, our astute intention, of course, was to make our diligent staff of reporters feel foolish. To co-operate, we sat up here in our ivory tower wearing a Sherlock Holmes cap and peering at the mane world through a magnifying glass. That was to make us feel foolish, too. For the profession of newspapering, every so often, makes a satire of the efforts of our little band of serious thinkers.

Later, as we sipped our frosted julep and read "The Anatomy of Melancholy," and thought it over, we realized that the Western World was indeed headed for hell in a basket and that we, as contemporary historians, were performing our accurate and faithful functions in recording the symptoms. Europe, we observed, is a plain case of schizophrenia, split between the personality of a Chaplin moustache Unter der Linden, and a Cro-Magnon jaw by the Tiber. And the Japs glorify their ancestors by murdering women and children.

Ah well, so it goes. Over here, of course, we go nuts in a more American way:

Dottie Lou White of Raleigh wins a trip to Hollywood, but says she doesn't want to see Robert Taylor;

A grizzly bear escapes in Pittsburgh and gets killed;

Errol Flynn starts for Mexico, lands in Reno;

In Texas, a man gets elected governor on a platform of crooning;

In Charlotte, a grand jury reports there are seven acres of tomatoes at the County Home. "Too many tomatoes," says the grand jury;

And in New York, the hub of a nation goes mad over an Irisher who flew the wrong way.

Life, we always say, is like that. Go to it, boys, report it to the hilt. This is the stuff of history.

Site Ed. Note: So, too, is this: "The old house by the lindens/ Stood silent in the shade,/ And on the gravel pathway/ The light and shadow played./ I saw the nursery windows/ Wide open to the air,/ But the faces of the children/ They were no longer there./ The large Newfoundland house-dog/ Was standing by the door,/ He looked for his little playmates/ Who would return no more./ They walked not under the lindens,/ They played not in the hall,/ But shadow and silence and sadness/ Were hanging over all./ The birds sang in the branches/ With sweet, familiar tone,/ But the voices of the children/ Will be heard in dreams alone./ And the boy, who walked beside me,/ He could not understand/ Why closer in mine, ah! closer, I pressed his soft, warm hand."

After Chosen--?

It was an ominous warning Russia gave Japan yesterday when she struck, not into Manchukuo, which is not only independent, but into Chosen. For Chosen (Korea) was handed to Japan as a sphere of influence only by the Treaty of Portsmouth. But in 1910 she formally annexed it, and it is as much Japan as the Island of Honshu itself. What the bombing said in effect was this: from Vladivostok, the base from which the bombers came, it is but 700 miles as planes fly to the four master cities of Japan--Osaka, with 4,000,000 people, the great industrial nerve-center of the country, Kobe, with 600,000 people, Yokohama, with about the same number, and Tokyo, the capital, with nearly 6,000,000, paper-built cities all, and dreadfully vulnerable from the sky.

What is more, Japan can't really retaliate in kind if the next move sees these cities bombed. She can bomb Vladivostok yes, but it has only 150,000 people and is heavily fortified. She can bomb the Trans-Siberian Railway. But to reach even such cities in Siberia as Tomsk she has to fly 3,000 miles. And all the important cities of Russia lie beyond the Urals, 5,500 miles away. Moscow, squatting 6,500 miles away, is as safe from Japanese bombers as though she were on the moon.

The Hero Arrives

In Mr. Douglas Corrigan, the American people--as well as the Irish and indeed the people of all countries which do not insist on having no hero who does not belong to the local "race,"--seems finally to have found a hero of the air it can take to its heart without any iota of reservation.

There always was more than several iotas of reservation about Lindbergh. He had unquestionably undertaken his crossing with a view to capitalizing on the publicity, and is said to have gone so far as to engage a famous press agent before starting. But there was too much natural reserve and reticence in him really ever to have gone through with that. The American people did its very best to take him to its heart despite his dourness, but he simply cannot stand the close pressure of sweaty bodies, the eternal stare of adoring eyes, and showed it sometimes in rather startling ways. As for Byrd, he was a polished and formal icicle. Chamberlain and Levine were pure commercialists. And though Wiley Post and Howard Hughes were capital fellows, both lacked the peculiar spark which makes the popular hero.

But Mr. Corrigan--Mr. Corrigan seems to have made his flight for no particular reason but the pleasure of pitting his courage and skill against the treacherous Atlantic; as our American idiom has it, for the sheer hell of it. He said the other day that he didn't know whether he would sign a $25,000 movie contract or not, on the ground that he didn't find money necessary to get all the fun out of life he wanted. And that speech, which would have been mawkish in the mouths of most men, somehow rang as true as an old-fashioned gold dollar. As simple and homely as an old shoe, he has the calm self-possession, the careless gaiety, the mocking wit, and the snappy comeback, which are equally geared to the Irish and the Americans, themselves so largely Irish. And he seems to love the crowd quite as much as the crowd loves him--to be one of those bog-trotters who simply dote on being half-pressed to death by swarming humanity. Friday, after they crushed in so that the cartilage of his breastbone was painfully bruised and broken, he was as cheerfully ready for more as at the beginning.

In short, the fellow looks the very archetype of the hero the people have so long been seeking without ever quite finding him.

The Dark and Bloody

It will be rather hard to have to wait a week, as we may have to under the serious election laws of the State, to find out whether the New Deal did or did not take a licking in Kentucky. But meantime we can divert ourselves by observing that the state still remains "The Dark and Bloody Ground." There were killings at the polls yesterday as usual. But we trust the old swashbuckling doesn't go so far as it did back in 1899 when Governor-elect William Goebel, Democrat, was shot down by an assassin, after another hot election. Goebel's opponent in the struggle, which had to do with Free Silver, was one William S. Taylor, who fled the state after the shooting to avoid trial for murder. But no one really knows to this day who killed him, though Kentucky is full of legends on the score.

It is really curious how violence has survived more fully in the state, and not necessarily only in the mountains, than in other Southern states peopled by exactly the same folk. And that the Indians, long before the white man's coming, had named that fair and rolling land by that dark and lovely name it bears.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News--Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.