The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 9, 1938


Site Ed. Note: ...And, incidentally, Manchukuo is nominally independent, even if by so being, not only independent but into chosen. (Our software sometimes is not compatible with our mind and tongue--as we must sometimes compromise known cor-rect pro-nun-ci-a-tions such that the dim sums of 0's and 1's within the machine might under-stand us. And so, it inter-po-lates things then too slowly and renders the result quite inaccurately on the page, necessitating our tired, aging eyes to rove the page first for precision, then for substance, then again for finer meaning, sometimes, upon getting lazy and good for nothing in the latter hours, missing the point altogether in the end; and thus you will sometimes have to catch that part yourself and do some interpolation on your own (or at least, where available, check the original print when something seems not to make too good sense--though sometimes you will find it does and is right all along, or that the erratum is altogether worthwhile in the twinkling of an eye).

Also, we are, for the life of us, trying to figure out still what moonpleter melodramatics are, as well, below, what the devil a "ball-dodging smoke's at a county fair" might be. Although we weren't planning to use them ourselves, we might nevertheless, just for the exercise of our brain pan, do some guesswork on those, just wondering and wandering along here.

Hmmm. Moonpleter. Could be. Maybe.

Ball-dodging smoke's at a county fair. Yes. Okay. May be. No, hmmm. Can't say for sure. Probably, though. Maybe not.

Then there are those who have the answer right off the bat, and are sure as shootin' of what the story altogether means from just one real quick read-through, yepper. What it means precisely.

They are Russia, then, you see; everyone else at the game, those whom they don't like, thus become, naturally, Japan.

Then, it would seem, there's a flaw in the logic; for that would make them who thought that way sure enough Red, if you were Russia under Stalin, that is.

And if you were Japan today, as long as it wasn't under the rule of Joe Isuzu, you'd probably be alright.

But then some might see that as virtual omnipotence, being Russia that is, back then, and so do it anyway, thinking they might outwit what has gone before, merely bypassing the mistakes of the past in the process; good for them, that is, until the fall of the statue in Red Square. For, it is the process, which is flawed, that dictatorial process, failing to avail themselves of the insight in the process, as the dictators always will, of the art, even if some of the dictators themselves might claim to be artists. Yet, they never achieved a depth of understanding of even the art they themselves created.

And so, they killed six million Jews, and countless others through history, these Nazis of whom we speak.

For though democracy works painfully slowly at times, and, in the process, permits people to say all kinds of nasty things to one another, even cuss words, even on the telephone, damnit, and even suggest on circumstantial evidence that someone, who looks like they are acting funny and being altogether way too picky when they have no reason for such, might have been paid something by someone else with an economic incentive to do so in order to get the first to be so picayunish and focus their attention on one person, who happens to be also regularly uttering a political point of view despised and regarded as heretical by the payee; very convenient to the payor, who has only wealth and power in mind anyway, promising same to the littles to do the dirties--in the end of course to provide only the crumbs--once again, ho-hum--to the littles after the big hungries have had their way, with the littles' cooperation, over the sayer of those words which so threatens both the littles' sense of self-worth and chastity, built on nonsense for time immemorial, at least, oh, 40 years or so, and, moreover, oh gross offense! the continued wherewithal and sustenance, over-sustenance, of the pocketbooks of the hungries, who must have huge pocketbooks to pay out all of those unearned subsidies to the littles for having done the deeds for the hungries to perpetuate the hungries' power and fame and what-not, to reduce what was once by its design a progressive program, turned inside out, to a cruel joke by those to whom it was antithetical in its origin--you see.

Well, all that said, we were listening more to that record. We tuned into some other things, too, while we continue to enjoy its progress through the finer nuances. Those other things are from yesteryear, many moons and tracks ago, many bloody moons and tracks ago, in fact--such as more Boo, Boo, Muddy, McKinley, Fats, Fats, Patti, Nat, Big Joe, Jack, and Little Walter, not to mention Dean, Marty, Guy, Doc Winston O'Boogie, Spike, and the Drybones--all the Drybones.

Ah, well, shake that little tambourine and shuffle, shuffle some right across the floor. We like it, more and more.

Stardust memories. Ah, yes, those are the stuff of dreams, the stuff of dreams, ah yes--as long as some bitter little dictator doesn't come along to try to warp those memories, stardust, dreams, stuff, and all just right down to a mere quintescence of fust. But, should they, we'll be cussed to a sin's essence were we to let you down and not jump right on back, to fight that good fight on the front lines, even if out of sight.

We said it before, we'll say it again--lynching but kills the lynchers. And lynching is a sin.

Come to say, by the way, when will Boo, Muddy, Clayton, and some of the other mysterians dug by tears of the ray, get together again and make up Vol. V? We're still waiting, walking, heart-burning. God only knows why we're even still alive. There are, yet, after all, walls still which need to fall. Lots and lots of Wonder Walls...

Roll over, Beethoven.

For soon, it shall be November, again. And we know what happens then.


(Incidentally, going back to yesterday for a moment, Edward Hull Crumb continued to boss Memphis, and other parts of Egypt, maybe, too, Rome, until his power began to wane in 1948, finally undone completely in 1952, no longer fain to court a sate, his minor league outrun by those Beale Street blues--with the election to the Senate from Tennessee of Mr. Gore. Fascists don't last. Best hitch your wagon to democracy, pal, and forget about all of that. As they said, get over it. You, too, indeed, most especially, in fact, you, Anheuser.)

Dance to the Music.

(This was what you call a red sunset sequel, a enin rebmun red sunset sequel.)

Now, the other rollin' and tumblin' smoky-water Torbay sequels.


The prospect for the repeal of the absentee ballot law, to say nothing of the general reform of the election laws and the purging of the registration books, looks pretty poor after the action of administration forces in blocking action on it in the Senate at Raleigh yesterday. The excuse was given that it was thought that the matter ought to be held over until the regular session of the Legislature in January. And if the question were a properly controversial one, there might be reason in that, seeing that the session was called for a special purpose. But it is not a properly controversial question. There is simply no argument in favor of the thing, for everyone knows that it is everywhere in the state simply the instrument of cynical and all but open fraud. In view of the current revelations concerning its wide abuse, the repeal of the law ought to have been a matter of mere routine, and what better time to do it than precisely at the moment when the evidence is fresh--when the people are intensely aware of the case?

We can think of but one really plausible one, to wit: that there is a very good chance that, in view of the notorious shortness of the memory of the people, the current scandals will have been forgotten by January, that the agitation for repeal will have died down, and that it will be much easier not to do anything about it...

Commentary in Anatomy

Japan's celebrated "face" has been lost so many times of late that it may be that she'll have to reconcile herself before long to going without it altogether. First, she was going to be in Hankow before August 1, but now she is bogged down on the Yangste and making progress only by the yard. Then Russia was either going to get out of the disputed territory between Manchukuo and Siberia or be thrown out. But Sunday it was Japan herself who was thrown out, or nearly thrown out. And the day before that, the Russians pulled her nose and slapped her cheeks by sending 24 huge bombers into Japanese national territory and bombing a Korean railroad. There was big talk about immediate and terrible retaliation. But faced with the fact that an attempt at such retaliation would certainly bring Russian bombers swarming over Tokyo and Osaka to give them a dose of the medicine Japan has been handing out to Hankow and Canton, and that there was no way adequately to retaliate upon the Russian cities 6,000 miles away, the word had to stand for the deed.

It must be exceedingly painful for a people so tender of its face to have it messed up like a ball-dodging smoke's at a county fair caught between two old-time big league pitchers out for a little clean fun. But perhaps Japan is not thinking so much of that anymore. For it begins to luck as if her greatest worry will be to preserve, not her face, but her neck.

An Issue Settled

The truth about Mr. Corrigan is at length out. When he landed in Ireland, he told officials there that he had started out to California and that his compass had jammed, so that he went the wrong way. There was a twinkle in his eye which said his tongue was in his cheek when he was saying it. But he went right on saying it. He said it in London. He said it repeatedly on the ship coming home. He said it facing Mayor LaGuardia in New York. And he said it to all and sundry who asked him. He said it so often that solemn-minded people began to speculate that it might really be so. After all, was this not the silly season? Was not Sirius, the dog star, ruling in the skies?

But, Monday, it was finally settled. Wonderful science settled it. In Boston, home of the codfish, beans, and learning. There, Dr. William Mouton Marston, New York psychologist, got Mr. Corrigan in front of a crowd and proceeded to apply the lie-detector to him--a device which records a rise in blood pressure when the truth is departed from. "Did you really start for California?" "Certainly!" said Mr. Corrigan feebly. But the marker rose suddenly.

We hope that puts your mind at rest.

In Which We Sit On A Fence

About Mr. Harry Hopkins' new "permanent program" to furnish between-season WPA (though non-relief) employment to needy farmers, we are quite unable to make up our minds as to whether we are for it or against it. Whether Mr. Hopkins knows it or not--and he does seem in fact to know it--it is, in the final analysis, simply a scheme for the subsidizing of the South by the rest of the nation. In announcing it Mr. Hopkins said that there are "many thousands of Southerners in rural areas not earning an adequate living from agriculture," and went on:

If the per capita net income of farm families in the South could be brought up to the level of farmers' incomes in the rest of the country, the pool of purchasing power thus created would absorb twice as many goods as we exported to all foreign countries in 1935.

To which he added again:

The whole trend of development of our industrial economy, the tariff, the railroads, and the effect of the one-crop system handicapped the South.

And all that sounds very tempting. With one-third of the population of the nation, we get only 13 per cent of its total income, and that despite the fact that we are potentially by far the richest portion of the country. It is quite true that there are thousands of farmers in the South who aren't making an adequate living from agriculture. No sensible and decent man anywhere will deny that the great body of our tenants and sharecroppers need better incomes to get away from the diet of "grits, greens, and gravy" which Mr. Hopkins mentions, to live in decent houses, to wear decent clothing, to enjoy amusements more civilized than the shocking ones Mr. Erskine Caldwell has portrayed him as indulging in. The per capita income of these people is as low as $40 a year.

Moreover, the prospect of increased purchasing power held out by Mr. Hopkins is very alluring. In 1935 the value of merchandise exported from the United States was $2,085,092,000. It follows, therefore, that, if his figures worked out, the purchasing power of the South would be increased by $4,170,184,000! And nobody could deny that that would be swell, not only for the farmers but for everybody in Dixie. The South, indeed, would have to pay part of the bill, but seeing that we get only 13 per cent of the national income and that that 13 per cent is very thinly distributed, it is likely that, counting both direct and indirect taxes, we should not be paying back more than 15 or 20 per cent of what we got. It would be the East which would have to pay most of the bill. And we have no scruples about thinking that that would be both fair and enjoyable. For it is precisely this East which has so long fattened on the South through the tariffs, railroad steals, etc., which Mr. Hopkins instances.

And yet--and yet--. The real crux of the whole case of the South is that one-crop farming, which is to say, cotton. The South is a depressed economy first of all because its primary business is the growing of this staple, a half of which has to be sold in foreign markets, mainly those of Europe, and because these markets of Europe fix its price everywhere, including the United States. In other words, the Southern economy is an economy geared to European levels and set down in America. That is why the East has been able to bilk us with the tariffs, etc. It never has been tenable, seeing that we were bound up in a single nation with Yankeedom. Before the Civil War, it made slavery inexorably necessary. And since it has made the depressed condition of the Southern tenants and croppers just as inexorably necessary, if the landowners were to have any hope of profit from it. In recent years, with other countries beginning to produce huge quantities of very cheap cotton and the cost of production going steadily up in Dixie, it has been growing less and less tenable.

In sum, then, isn't Mr. Hopkins' scheme at bottom a scheme to bolster up and perpetuate this untenable system? Isn't it likely that it will keep the South indefinitely hanging on to the growing of cotton for the foreign market, even though the margin of profit grows even smaller than it is now? Precisely, as the direct subsidies on the staple itself, are already having that effect?

Or is it that this is the only way out? That the South really has nothing to turn to adequately to take the place of cotton? That it's better to subsidize the growing of cotton and hope for a gradual shift to other economic activities than to risk the collapse of the system and catastrophe in the attempt at sudden readjustment? We don't know. But if we did, we'd know more certainly what to think of Mr. Hopkins' plan.

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