The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 20, 1938


Site Ed. Note: The reference in "It's Simple, Doc" to the letter writer from South Carolina who became upset at "The Playful Shark", November 16, 1937, and labeled Cash, not just a "yellow cur", but a "yellow-livered curr" and that he would not stoop to his "breed of trash", appeared November 21, 1937. We continue to think it rather odd that someone became this exercised about an editorial musing on the playfully nipping sharks surrounding the sailors of the sunk vessel and whether this description defeated their popular conception as maneaters, that is, the sharks. "Breed of trash" over that? Well, perhaps it was in fact something else which the letter writer disputed and simply hadn't the means of the moment, seeing red, to say forthrightly. Or, perhaps this bit of dis-amity, that is to say inimical sounding diatribe, derived itself from some affinity for bowling; or, maybe, the writer was surrounded while writing the letter by maneaters and couldn't form the words to express the alienation thus conveyed by such an inaccurate bit of musing on whether sharks were in fact maneaters, at such a time as that. Regardless, as we pointed out in our note in association therewith at the bottom of the page, "curr" is not the doggie, but rather refers to curling, also known as bowling, which, we venture, may not have been quite so accidental as it appears in its misspelling, especially given the coincidence of names of the authors between the letter and the 1867 poem, even if of different spellings also.

But, who knows? Perhaps, just some Scotch-Irish serendipity at work to lead us to it, the proof, that is, that there are maneaters in the deep.

Lover of Liberty

A spectacle for the cynical, we think, is that of Dr. Eamon De Valera in London these days.

Dr. De Valera, of course, is the great modern champion of liberty for South Ireland. For thirty years now he has been advising us, indeed, that he was the incarnate voice of liberty crying out against 600 years of tyranny at the hands of the wicked Britons. And in recent years, Dr. De Valera has, as everyone knows, achieved the liberty for Southern Ireland for which he, not to say thousands of other wearers of the green, past and present, have fought. And is Dr. De Valera, therefore, content?

Not Dr. De Valera. One of the main reasons he is in London now is to demand that Northern Ireland be turned over to his South Irish government to rule. And Northern Ireland, you understand, is inhabited by Orangemen who are Protestants, who hate their Catholic neighbors to the South with one of the most cordial hates in the world, and who had rather die than submit to their rule. In short, Dr. De Valera's devotion to liberty and aversion to tyranny seem to be somewhat conditioned by the question of whose liberty and whose tyranny are involved.

Strike Up the Band*

How "revitalized" the Republican Party of North Carolina may be, as a story in yesterday's News put it, we shall be finding out next November or a couple of years later. Meantime, the prospect of a whopping Republican state convention in Charlotte on March 16, with from 3,000 to 5,000 party members in attendance, a hundred-piece band, and Senator Arthur D. Vandenberg as the principal speaker of the occasion, has every appearance of aggressiveness, we must concede.

We trust there will be no hitch between the decision of the party officers to hold the convention here and the necessary confirmation by the State Executive Committee. We trust especially that Senator Vandenberg will find it possible to appear. He is a first-rate man, Vandenberg, a moderate rather than a liberal, yet pronouncedly more progressive than reactionary. He is high in the rank of Republicans in and out of office, a factor of importance in the Senate despite the hopeless minority of the coterie which sits to the right of the aisle dividing the Senate according to party labels.

In their own name, state Republicans are welcome in Charlotte anytime they feel the convention coming on. If they bring Vandenberg and a hundred-piece band, they are triply welcome.

Harold and the Smear*

Judging from the tirade delivered in the Senate yesterday by Senator Pittman and the uproar for an "investigation" of the Interior Department, a good many of the boys in the Senate are out to "smear" the Hon. Harold Ickes.

And from one viewpoint, that would be most fair. For the Hon. Ickes is himself the greatest practitioner of the "smear" at present operating in the Republic. More than that, he has laid himself wide open by keeping a lot of wire-tapping snoopers around his department to spy on everybody--snoopers who failed, ironically enough, to catch Mr. Reno Stitely, the only considerable crook who seems to have been about.

Nevertheless, we trust, that the boys will think better of it and decide not to try to "smear" the Hon. Harold. There is no evidence whatever, when you come to it, that he does not really deserve the title "Honest Harold." And though it seems that if he had paid less attention to picayunish matters, he might have had a better chance to catch Mr.'s Stitely, yet such things as the CCC's steal happen sometimes in even the best-ordered establishments. Above all, we think that the "smear" technique ought not to be extended. The Hon. Harold practices it passionately, apparently because he is temperamentally addicted to imagining that anybody who disagrees with him is necessarily a scoundrel. But there ought to be more sense than that in the Senate.

Almost Eye to Eye*

Monopolies and monopolistic practices...incompatible with democracy...undesirable extensions of control in the hands of a few people...eliminating the pyramiding of and abuse by holding companies high in the public utility field...the principle of collective security...the protection of farm incomes through Federal legislation...

The phrases above could very well have been taken from a Presidential message, or the Democratic platform of 1936, or the speech of some confirmed New Dealer. As a matter of fact, however, they are lifted bodily from the statement of the Commerce Department's 50-man Business Advisory Council which, yesterday, W. Averill Harriman, Union Pacific chairman, read to the President, who jotted down notes, expressed agreement or suggested modifications and additions.

And the statement shows quite emphatically, we believe, how much of the New Deal has come to be accepted, at least in principle, by business men. In fact, if the President were in turn to accept and act upon two recommendations made to him by the Business Advisory Council--(1) develop a "sound" policy as the basis of relations between government and private enterprise, and (2) revise certain onerous forms of taxation--there would appear to be nothing substantial to prevent business and government from heartily co-operating with each other for their mutual good.

Site Ed. Note: For the February, 1937 News series, primarily the work of Cameron Shipp, on Charlotte's slums, go here.

Slums--We Deplore 'Em

They tell us that, while the exteriors of Gastonia's worst slums, four houses along the railroad tracks which give shelter of a sort to 174 white families, are not so bad, the interiors are something to turn your stomach. Squalor, filth, smell, overcrowding, disease--these are some of the milder adjectives our slumming reporter invokes for the description of what he saw in these Gastonia framed tenements.

But we refuse to concede that Gastonia has slums that Charlotte can't match, squalor for squalor. Furthermore, these in Gastonia at least front on a paved street with a sidewalk, and probably there is a street light at the corner. Over here, many of our slums face on the muddiest of alleys, and at their rear runs a creek which frequently overflows its banks. As for street lights, there are none, often for the very good reason that there is no street to be lighted.

We refuse, then, to award any palms to Gastonia for its slums. But we must confess a tremendous admiration for its determination to be rid of them, to have them condemned as fire hazards, or if not as fire hazards as menaces to health, or if not as menaces to health as something else. Over here, we deplore our slums, but we are resigned to them. We condemn the existence of slums, but never any of the slums themselves.

Site Ed. Note: Like the Oedipal complex, the Electra complex leaves a lot to be desired as a tool to understand, psychologically, manifestations of behavior, at least in adults. For while the "killing" of the father or mother may be applied in a purely representational sense, just as the mythology is applied to suggest the framework of behavior, the ultimate worth of the construct then comes into question.

Inevitably if a conflict arises with someone as an adult, there is a tendency sometimes to try to explain it in parental terms. If the conflict derives from an unreal plane of fanciful imagination, emotional prejudice over the person's looks or the manner in which they casually look at you from a distance, sternly or perhaps just seeming to be too interested or analytical for the observation's object's sense of comfort, not based on actual offense, then perhaps there may be some validity in that sort of analysis; though typically as not the prejudice may derive from many places outside the home environment, some physical resemblance of the casual observer to a member of a peer group growing up with whom the observed did not get along, did not respect, etc. Or, if the observation be one of apparent stern disapproval, is it merely the discomfort of the moment being manifested in rebellion to that, nothing representational of anything at all?

And, moreover, is it the case that we necessarily "kill" off our same-sex parent while growing of age, only then, perhaps out of the sense of guilt for the "killing", seeking to fill the shoes in some manner, more or less, of our "victim" in the end? Is that the inevitable life-cycle of the human? Or is it simply that we naturally rebel against undue strictures applied authoritatively by virtually anyone at any time, the parent, especially the same-sex parent, being the one most often to fulfill that role traditionally, it being inherent in the human make-up, just as with any animal, to have the desire to be free? And, is that not healthy, at least within limits, rather than the obverse?

Parenthetically, we might also query whether Dr. Freud so represented the complex because of his own secret desires to kill both of his parents, and thus naturally ascribed that desire, to assuage his sense of guilt for mentally wielding Lizzie's hatchet, to everyone else. But that oversimplifies, in focusing too intensely on one small aspect, his entire contribution, we suspect.

In fact, of course, we don't typically "kill" anyone, representationally or actually, and, except in rare instances, children typically do not kill their parents in fact, except in mythological representations. So, if it is a complex at all, rather than framing it in inaccurate and bloody sounding patricidal and matricidal terms, shouldn't it be more all-embracingly termed the freedom-complex or perhaps the freedom-paradox? That is, some rebel against that in which they nevertheless find need, for comfort and solace, to alleviate their own responsibility in thinking independently, without guidance or confirmation from an authority figure, the freedom enabled by being told what to do and when to do it--the freedom-paradox. Most of us, however, whether in need of that particular paradox or not, rebel against the bossy, the puffed up Mussolini bossy, applying rules subjectively and without reason, just to manifest their bullying authority, or exercise their prejudice against someone, to kill off their same-sex parent, maybe--doesn't matter whether the bossy resembles a parent or, as instead they usually do, the hind end of a cur dog. The hind end of a cur dog being entirely too irresponsibly free at times, and so we rebel against it.

It's Simple, Doc

Out of 521 women queried on the subject, 520 told Dr. Donald A. Laird, of Colgate University, that they preferred men bosses to women bosses. The women themselves said they liked bosses of the other sex because (1) women let personal things creep into work; (2) men don't get angry telling you about errors; (3) women bosses are efficiency slaves; (4) men don't scream at you; (5) women find fault more; (6) women bosses do old-maid thinking, that is, too much detail.

But Doc Laird himself says they're nuts. What really explains the vote, he maintains, is an emotional element. The women--all women--he goes on, have a subconscious antagonism toward their mamas, of whom they're jealous. And a female boss stands in their minds for mama. This Doc, you see, is a pupil of old Doc Freud, a Viennese gentleman not wholly unknown to fame. And the thing he is talking about is called by the formidable name of the Electra Complex, after that daughter of Papa Agamemnon who slew Mama Clytemnestra

Discretion warrants us to keep out of this. But after all our letter column needs filling, if only with letters like one we got from South Carolina, wherein we were politely styled "yellow curs." And so, in reckless mood, we suggest to the Doc that, even granting that the said answers were a little funny, it isn't necessary to resort to anything so recondite and dubious as his Electra Complex to get a rational explanation. Hasn't the Doc heard that women have their natural game, and that, among the tribe, the marriageable boss is considered excellent hunting?

Site Ed. Note: The rest of the page doth curr here.

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