The Charlotte News

Monday, January 8, 1940


Site Ed. Note: Regarding the subject of "Drought", that is climatological change in general, we recommend to you the recent documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth". While we bother our silly little heads about such stains around the globe as that in Iraq, the planet itself, drenched in 150 years of insistent and ever-increscent burning in the tanks of the fossilized remains of our ancestors who got us here, as their spirit daily calls to us to stop it forthwith or else be vanquished by the storm, spirit and all, dies a disturbingly complaisant death, judging by the populace as a whole tending its crust, running hither and thither apace as ants governed only by robotic instinct, the robo-copse.

Of course, pay no attention to the narrator of the film, whom we have been told is quite nuts, because he wanted to save a Spotted Owl from extinction 15 years ago.

Learning about the supermarket scanning equipment thing down at the local grocery is a far more precedential and pressing task than that.

"Crackdown" reminds us to remind you that since we placed this site online in 1998 with the notion in mind that we would not experience backlash from its rather tame contents, we note that nevertheless we have, almost from the start of it, to the present time, and on a routine basis. Whether these people are on crack, we don't know, but some of them seem to exhibit the same effects of not understanding the English language. (Of course, we recognize the way that works--someone with a political or economic axe to grind grabs some neophyte without a clue, or much of a high school diploma, if any, probably, and gets them to read a paragraph or sentence or word exactly opposite from its intended meaning, and then rushes that person headlong to fill the breach, obtaining from them, for their kind patronage, fealty for the duration, that is, to protect the poor ignorant neophyte from revelation of their crimes and prosecution for them, becoming in return the grinder's lifelong slave.) It all tells us, existentially and solipsistically, that the mentality of Fascists and Klansmen, though perhaps of a quieter, kindlier variety than exhibited in yesteryear, more gentile, less inclined to wear robe and mask, or don swastikas and jackboots, more inclined to business tweeds, yet nevertheless still quite the philodespots, the sine qua non for being of the mentality, prancing about even as low-level, usually local, and rather stupid, brutish, and absurdly silly, public officials, as they always did, of course--Thomas Dixon having garnered for himself, winding through his rushes, a position as Clerk of Federal Court in Raleigh in his latter years--and not only in the South, but elsewhere as well, still exists.

For concentrated moneyed interests involving any highly desired commodity, raw material, or product always have a tendency to so pollute the surrounding territory of the manufacturing base with that company-town, Boss mentality, anywhere and in any political climate, whether those interests appear in the spectral habit of tobacco, textiles, firearms, missiles, lumber, paper, automobiles, steel, oil, computer software, volks-inspired, pfefferminz online auction sites run amuck, what have you.

Doubt it? Look around a little.

Solution: Watch the roads, the signs, and how and where you're driving. And, meanwhile, stop driving so much. Relax, get out, enjoy the scenery more. The life you save likely will be your own.

Perhaps, and most probably, as always, everywhere it has long been attempted, if not otherwise ameliorated, that mentality, too, that Boss mentality, will ultimately be vanquished by the storm.

Else, maybe, some expert golfer, a philomystic in need of escape from behind that hazy, ice cold Resolute desk, from the tee, shall strike a ball into the air and hit the Horse's hindquarters just at the right oblique to set the whole in motion to the ground.

Oliver Stanley, discussed as the son-in-law of a prominent Fascist in "Father-In-Law", remained in the post of War Minister only four months, until the Chamberlain government fell in May. Though a prominent Conservative, he was sidelined in the Churchill government until 1942 when he was appointed Colonial Secretary, overseeing from that post the British colonial interests from Ireland to Palestine to Africa to Cyprus to India to Ceylon to Burma and its Road to the Pacific dominions and back 'round to Guiana and Grenada to Grand Bahama, Jamaica, up the treacherous triangle to Bermuda, in which position he remained shortly until 1945. Before his death in 1950, he followed his father, who had been War Minister during World War I, as chancellor of the University of Liverpool.

While it is not known for certain, it is quite likely that, in that latter position, Right Honorable Stanley was singularly inspirational for the introduction to the subsequent hit record of spring, 1970, titled "The Long and Winding Rood", that being, of course, everyone's favourite, "Londonderryaire".

In any event, nobody told us there'd be days like these. Not even Saro Jane.

Best Teacher

Sanatorium Case Contains A Warning About The Library

All's well that ends well, and now that Dr. Holton has withdrawn his action to restrain the County Commissioners, the improvements at the Sanatorium may be undertaken at last. And none too early.

The other chief controversy of topic, however, the state of the Charlotte Public Library--is yet to be decided upon by the people and yet, in all probability, to be passed upon by the courts. Litigation over a number of points is probable, and besides, the County Commissioners would hardly be rash enough to expend funds for the Library unless they were assured that they did it legally and without assuming personal liability.

The time to dispose of the legalities and the technicalities is before, not after, an election is held. Otherwise the re-opening of the Library may be still longer postponed or so encompassed about with uncertainty and dispute that the people will grow cold to the whole vexing business.


New York's Plight Reminds Of Climate's Importance

New York City authorities are getting worried over the fact that each citizen of the place uses an average of 130 gallons of water a day. Reserve fresh water supplies are only half the normal, as a result of the long drought in the East. Winds sweeping over Staten Island truck gardens have plastered the city with a dust coat like that of the Middle Western cities in the Dust Bowl. Ponds and lakes have dried up, and the great system of reservoirs which supply the city are now threatened. And still the rains have not come.

Probably they will come in time to save the city from an actual water shortage. But the threat is enough to remind us that we live in a time when curious climatic changes are in progress, and that, along with the question of food, such changes are the most important of all environmental factors to man.

Men first got into Europe from Asia and Africa, they say, because the shifting of the ice belts led the little wild horses which served them for food to move northward. And all around the earth the march of civilization has followed the migrations of the lowly herring, themselves probably due to climatic changes.

And this very question of rainfall has often led to the most remarkable consequences. There is evidence that the Sahara was once a favored and blooming haunt of men. The great excess of rainfall in Greece and the Balkan countries about the fourteenth century B.C., followed by a long period of drought, is probably the explanation of the wholesale migration of the Greeks and their kinsmen into Asia Minor, a migration which resulted in the Ionian civilization and which planted the Philistines (certainly of Greek origin) on the shores of Palestine to do battle against the Children of Israel.


But Governor Maybank Needs Aid In Doing This Job

Governor Burnet Maybank of South Carolina obviously means business when he declares himself to be determined to run to earth the hooded mobs which have been operating in that state. Such declarations are usual on the part of Southern governors, but all too often they have been no more than professions.

But Maybank's campaign has already resulted in the arrest of three men, including Fred V. Johnson, of Greenville, the self-styled chief of staff of the Ku Klux Klan in South Carolina. And the Governor's vigorous action, plus the offer of a $500 reward, has moved several voluntary witnesses to come forward--so that the prospect is good for the ultimate rounding up of all or most of the participants in the abduction and beating of Lanier Pruitt at Anderson recently.

The Governor's spirit, too, has had its results elsewhere. The City Council at Anderson, for instance, has been moved to name in censure some of the town's police officers for (1) failing to do anything to protect Pruitt, though some of them were in the vicinity of the crime, and (2) failing to make any move to investigate the case until the Governor forced the issue. And the arrested persons have been charged with a formidable list of crimes, including burglary. Only kidnapping--one which plainly ought to hold--is missing.

Nevertheless, the Governor's heartening energy is not enough by itself. The ultimate test is still to come when these men are tried. Who knows the sentiment of the people of South Carolina best--the Governor or those cops in Anderson who did nothing about the Hooded Hoodlums? We shall know more about that when the trial comes off.


Stanley's Family Ties May Be Significant

It may mean nothing, but it is interesting to observe that the new British War Minister, Stanley, is the son-in-law of the Marquis of Londonderry.

Londonderry is the greatest champion of Fascism in England. His incessant preaching of the doctrine that Fascism was a necessary bulwark against Communism had much to do with determining the English position in the case of Spain--and so with Franco's victory there. And he was the first to come out boldly and explicitly with the proposition which eventually brought on the present war: that it was desirable to come to terms with Hitler and let him hog up central Europe by way of heading off the Reds. He practically shouted with joy in the London Times when Chamberlain sold out Czechoslovakia in return for Mr. Hitler's promise for "peace for our time."

Nor is there any evidence that he has changed his viewpoint. On the contrary, he is very eager still to make peace with Hitler and form a united front for attack on Russia.

Which brings us to the point. Recently there have been recurrent rumors that Hitler himself is playing for a peace in which he would be allowed to keep most of what he has taken in return for his support of a joint expedition against the Reds--Germany to get the Ukraine as her ultimate reward. And that Sir Samuel Hoare, the great compromiser, and other members of the English Government are anxious to close with him on those terms. And in view of those rumors the appointment of Londonderry's son-in-law as War Minister may be a significant straw in the wind.


Which Turns Out To Be Younger Than Expected

There is a legend that when the Virginia Military Institute cadets marched into a battle at New Market, a veteran band played "Rock-A-Bye-Baby." But it must have been some other song.

For now it appears, with the death of Mrs. Effie I. Canning Carlton in Boston, that "Rock-A-Bye-Baby" was not written until after the Civil War was well over.

Or at least the haunting melody with which we associate it wasn't written until after that war. The rhyme itself, of course, comes from Mother Goose, and back of that out of the folk heart--in one form or another is probably nearly as old as the English language.

It will come as a shock to most of us to learn that the melody is not old also. For it has the same quality of unpremeditated spontaneity which belongs to the old verses, and fits them as a perfect garment.

What makes its story more interesting still is that Mrs. Carlton wrote it when she was only fifteen years old, to quiet a restless baby of a neighbor. And only the urging of her teacher led her to show the song to a publisher and so give it to the whole world.

But perhaps that is the secret of the melody. Its appeal is that of the artless simplicity of a little girl, who only the other day stopped singing to her dolls.

It is a crowning irony, however, that the author of the tenderest lullaby in the language should herself have died childless.

Site Ed. Note: Once, in spring, 1971, we were instructed by our English teacher to select some poetic verse which spoke words of wisdom to us. Curiously, we selected some words which later would reveal something else to us, through time--the power of spiritual, as opposed to merely material, being.

We only re-discovered this notebook entry about a year or so ago, its presence there having slipped from memory completely in the long thirty-five year interim, one full of awe and mystery and contemplation, possessed of less tragedy than the seventy odd annual cycles preceding it, though not without its share. And, though a little dusted and yellowed with time, sitting there the decades in the ring binder, miles and miles gone and away, simply awaiting our eyes once again to cross upon its content, to realize that somehow through it all its wisdom never lost of the lesson thus imparted.

Imagine that.

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