The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 3, 1940


Site Ed. Note: So, the cautious skeptic may ask of us: what on earth, Dear Sir or Madame, is it you are attempting to say?

Well, first off, should you read "Gag Laws" with a discerning eye, understanding withal the Hoares and Astors and Unity Valkyrises of the first piece, projecting first forward to the latter 1940's, early fifties, after the War, then onward, to the sixties, yet onward again to the seventies and eighties, finally to the present era, that is the one we call "post 9-11", (which we ourselves dub instead the post poly-wrap hysteria over one single aberrant, abhorrent act and day turned from it into the Chilly War), then you may glean what it is we are suggesting to you, those of the hyper-skeptical, lese-ma-jester broods, those inclined perhaps either to join existing or even to create your own Milice, and who give hosannas in the meantime to any organization which strips the individual of his or her rights generally.

For more on Boss Crump of Memphis, see "Crump Reigns", August 8, 1938, and the associated note of August 9, 1938.

Thirty years later, incidentally, the mayor of Memphis during the garbage strike was Henry Loeb, who, while maintaining a shotgun beneath his desk, refused to negotiate with the striking collectors, prompting what then transpired. Mr. Loeb had also been mayor from 1960-63.

And in the cold shadows of a winter's day, we dig further to find:

Thus, follow us, if you will:

Antilochus, son of Nestor, was killed by Memnon, the Ethiopian king, at Troy. Achilles, to avenge the death of Antilochus, killed Memnon.

Anti-lock brakes were first invented by Bosch in Germany during the reign of Hitler. They were first used in production cars on the Ford Zodiac Zephyr Mk IV, beginning in 1966, manufactured and sold only in Britain and Canada.

The west wind is called Zephyr.

The wicked witch lives in Winkie.

Airbrakes on trucks and trains, invented by George Westinghouse, operate inversely to normal hydraulic brakes, viz., when the foot is applied in the hydraulic system, a current of fluid is actuated to impel a cylinder piston to press the shoe or pad to the wheel hub or disk; with airbrakes, pressing the pedal actuates a switch which then turns off the air compressor, in turn allowing the pads to grip, their normal resting state.

Douglas Fairbanks became well-known for his role as Zorro.

The Lincoln Zephyr was produced from 1936 until 1942, when all production of passenger cars ceased in the United States until after the War, in 1946.

On June 5, 1941, the University of Texas student newspaper, The Summer Texan, ascribed to Cash the following statement, though just how it became attributed to him we know not for it was not precisely part of his June 2 commencement address to the graduating class in front of the Tower, upon the face of which there is the inscription, "Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free":

...[T]he South's idealism and romanticism had produced a mental boycott that at times quarantined at the Potomac and Ohio the stream of ideas passing through the world. Southern schools were crippled by the spirit for decades, he said.

"It is a great rich land, this South," he said. "In Texas alone there are more potential riches than in the continent of Europe. Here, if anywhere, in Texas and in the South, man should be able to create a good society."

Go figure.

In any event, think Cash not callous here, for Unity survived her self-inflicted wound and lived on until 1948, when she died of old age at the age of 34. She tried the quick way out of things for she had been distressed at the beginning of 1940, given her affinity to Der Fuehrer, with the declaration of war by her native country on Germany back in early September.

Perhaps, Unity should have taken a different Ride.

In any event, 'twould appear that the family Mitford had a few loose screws, not to mention some wilde hairs, too.

Papa's Girl

The Hon. Unity Can Blame Her Sire For All This

The London Daily Mail's story that the Hon. Unity Valkyris Freeman-Mitford is suffering from a gunshot wound in the head is open to some suspicion. It is as though a Hearst paper in the same town should report on a scandal concerning a daughter of Scripps-Howard.

Or, better, as if the old Mirror should report on one of its fellow tabloids.

Papa Lord Redesdale, you see, is publisher of the Express, Daily Mail's chief rival for the favor of the cockney population.

In any case, the Hon. Unity seems to be in much the same case as Dr. Faustus at the conclusion of his pact with Auld Hornie. Gunshot, poison, or just nerves, it is not likely that she was quite so taken with her Nazi friends as she was once upon a time when she nearly got ducked in the Serpentine for openly proclaiming them wonderful. And for it all she can well blame Papa Redesdale.

For her violent pro-Nazism was probably a reflex from his own. No one in England, save perhaps the Marquis of Londonderry and Lady Astor, has been more responsible for the shortsighted policy which made it possible for the Nazis to menace England. More even than Rothermere, his rival with the penny papers, he sold the policy of "appeasement" to the common people, and enabled first Baldwin and then Chamberlain to run England perilously close to the rocks. His foolish theory: that Nazism was an excellent defense against Communism.

Site Ed. Note: Perhaps ultimately the inherent problem with the little Hons. was that they acquired the honorable title by something as commonplace among us as birth.

The Mitford estate, incidentally, was Asthall Manor, located by the River Windrush. Unity's sister, Diana, married in a ceremony at the home of Dr. Goebbels, Hon. Hitler attending, Sir Oswald Mosley. Sir Oswald, by 1932, after a career of ambivalent indecision in politics for over a decade, vacillating between the ranks of Conservatives in Commons and that of Labor, finally gave up both to form the British Fascist Union (BFU), (or perhaps that was BUF). Regardless, in 1940, both Sir Oswald and Hon. Diana were arrested and placed in prison by the British authorities who considered them dangerous to the Commonwealth. Eventually, in 2006, however, the gross injustice to Sir Oswald was rectified by the BBC when it selected him as the worst British subject of the Twentieth Century. That bit of blight on his otherwise sterling and unblemished reputation as a fascist, as well his intestinal fortitude nonpareil, however, should not deter one from aspiring to Sir Oswald's station. For to be even the deepest dipped sheep out of a deep dipped sheep family, which nevertheless entertained many Nazi and Fascist aristocrats at Asthall Manor, is certainly to be in a position where one may have many rewards. Therefore, when considering the Mitfords, just remember that one's manners in the face of Asthall is really, in the end, all that matters.


Concerning The Identity Of One Who Played The King

In Memphis on New Year's night they had a quaint little ceremony. Immediately after the stroke of midnight, one E. H. Crump was sworn in as Mayor. He kept the job just five minutes as a great joke, then resigned and handed over his commission to City Attorney Will Gerber.

Well, and who was this Mr. Crump who figured in these monkey-shines? A town clown or character about the streets? Some poor harlequin picked up by his betters to make sport of for a moment? Or some jesting business man who likes to don cap and bells, and whom nobody takes seriously enough actually to consider for mayor?

Not so. He was a man who, if he had chosen, could have been mayor of Memphis long ago, a man of large and great affairs, a man known wherever politicians foregather.

More. In his time he has made and unmade a dozen mayors of Memphis. And in his time, too, he has made and unmade Governors of Tennessee. And all of them he has ruled with an iron hand. All of them have looked to him for orders and beautifully discharged them. Or so, at least, the legend runs.

In short, masters, Mr. E. H. Crump is [remainder of editorial indiscernible].

Gag Laws

[Indiscernible Word] Hysteria Begins [Indiscernible Word] In Its Work

General Ironpants Johnson, in his column for today, calls attention to four bills which threaten free speech in the United States. All of them have already passed the House, and two of them have had favorable reports from Senate committees.

Yet one of these bills makes it possible to seize a citizen, on the authority of a single bureaucrat adjudge him an alien subject to deportation, and thereafter hold him prisoner for the rest of his life, without benefit of counsel, habeas corpus, or even contact with his friends and relatives. It is simply a revival of the old lettre de cachet of the French kings.

It is staggering to think of such a bill even being proposed in the Congress of the United States, to say nothing of its getting as near enactment into law as it now is. But it is not inexplicable. Ultimately all these bills are the handiwork of Martin Dies and his committee, who have been busily building up hysteria over the Red Peril the past two years. And these bills, about the content of which the people actually know nothing, are being railroaded over on the wave of hysteria thus created.

Dies is one of the most dangerous figures who has appeared in recent American history. Consciously or unconsciously, the man is a Fascist, out to destroy the Bill of Rights and to make it impossible for anybody to utter an opinion which does not correspond to his own concept of Americanism. In Washington the other day, he admitted quite frankly that he hoped that, if his committee could keep up its work another year, it would result in the expulsion of 7,000,000 aliens.

It is a scheme of madness. He proposes nothing less than the expulsion of the whole body of unnaturalized aliens. And you may write it in the book that when we do that, we shall for good and all wreck not only the American tradition but the American economy as well.

The Reds in this country are an unpleasant lot, and some of them may be actually dangerous. But you may be sure that those in the latter category are well known to Mr. Edgar Hoover and his FBI, who are entirely capable of dealing with them under existing criminal laws. There is no reason at all why, to combat them, we should give up any part of our heritage of freedom. And such laws as these proposed by the various followers of Dies are a hundred times more dangerous to us than all the Reds this side of Mars.

Changing Sins

These Boys Always End In The Dog House, Regardless

Pity the poor cotton mill men! It's "do this, and thank you" and do it again and catch the devil for it.

At Greenville, S. C., five men have been indicted under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act on charges of conspiracy in restraint of trade. Specifically what they are charged with is having entered into an agreement, representing mills operating more than 95 per cent of the print cloth looms, to reduce production for July, August, and September by 25 per cent of the normal, and to fill orders for that period only from current production. That is to say, they were out to make sure that they had no over-production piling up in their warehouses.

But that, precisely, is what they were supposed to do and praised for doing under NRA Code No. 1. Over-production was represented as the bete noire of the industry. And so it was made a crime to operate machines more than 80 hours a week. Moreover, ever since the Supreme Court decapitated NRA, the Textile Institute has been preaching the same thing, supposedly with the co-operation of the Government. The Department of Commerce has constantly warned industry against overproduction. But the minute the boys take all that at its face value and begin to act upon it, they find themselves faced with the hoosegow.

Apparently, they may as well make up their minds that the New Deal is vexed with them and isn't going to like anything they do.

Site Ed. Note: One more edifying thought for the day on this set of pieces: Once, 'twas latter May, 1966, we were listening to the radio one night, a radio which, one might say, substituted as our Toby. Well, we listened because we liked to listen, and we were, moreover, encouraged by the hourly give-aways of various and sundry wondrous things, some of note and some of not, and some downright silly; yet it was a very nice enterprise onboard the sinking ship to keep our little minds off other things not so nice, we suppose. And so every now and again, to achieve or not a Victory, we would call up our babysitter on the phone and talk of, you know, ships and shoes, sealing-wax, and many other things.

And, well, this one night, as we sat listening and waiting, wading, for the opportunity to call, our babysitter played us a new waxy disc, one with a big round hole in the middle through which one would insert the spindle on the turntable. Well, our babysitter this night played for us a tune which was new and which we interpreted to be of the lyric title, "Atherback Righcher".

We did not know who Mr. Righcher was or was supposed to be, but we, being of only latter seventh grade learning, made room for the possibility that he was someone of whom we had simply not yet heard, and so intently we listened; and, we liked the tune, and so we listened and listened more closely all through the weekend, waiting, never quitting, for the replay of this song, that first listen having been on Friday night.

More closely we listened, all the while sure that the song was titled "Atherback Righcher". And so, so captivated were we, that we attempted even to write down the lyrics, just from listening. (Someday, we shall look that up for you, the product of our attempt at latter seventh grade listening, and test our memories together. But, suffice today, since we are at the Jackaranda and therefore not sufficiently proximal to our little blue desk into which, glitches and all, we reposited our writing of that weekend, we shall be content simply to impart that much of the song as we remember from then, its putative title, the one to which our ears gave it anyway.)

A few days later, at the record shop, one just below where our babysitter worked, where all the resin filled the wooden nicks, we spotted there the little black and blue jacket slipped over to cover the dull commonplace of the waxy thing with the big hole in the middle. There it said, in plain black letters over a royal blue background, the actual title of the song. We thought to ourselves: "Hmmm, we misheard what we thought we had heard there on the radio over the weekend. My, how strange. We do not always hear things correctly the first time, or even the second or third or fourth time through the long weekend with our substitute for our Toby close by screaming to our ears pleasant muses. And, oh, so it pays to read them later to understand them better. Hmmm. We shall remember this little object lesson with the hole in the middle and the black and blue jacket over it for the future. Thank you, ol' pal."

A few months later, in early August, 1966, we heard yet again on the radio another waxy thing, spun by our babysitter, with a little hole in the middle. This waxy thing was one about all the lonely people. We thought to ourselves: "Hmmm. Isn't that interesting? Atherback Righcher, who wasn't really, just a little more than two months back, seems to have developed now into a person anyway, whether real or imagined we don't know precisely but it makes for a nice muse, sort of."

Well, we just like to keep those things in mind and occasionally pass them on to you, for it keeps us young in mind and heart and, hopefully, you too.

And, peace to the soul of a humorous columnist who passed away yesterday, Art Buchwald.

Time and Life are funny that way.

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