The Charlotte News

Monday, November 17, 1941


Site Ed. Note: The piece from the Baltimore Evening Sun, "Pauperizing the Navajo", brings to mind the piece from August, 1939 by Ernie Pyle, "Navajo Passage". It also suggests the irony that during the war, as in World War I, the so-called "code talkers" of the Navajo provided a crucial means by which intercommunication could take place in the Pacific theater via cryptic messages transmitted in lost dialects of the tribe.

Eventually, oil and gas preserves were discovered on the reservation and have significantly increased the tribe's income.

So, its traditional means of sustenance, the raising of sheep, was curtailed, and in its stead came oil and gas. Somewhere in all of that is a modern parable, indicative in little of the destruction of the planet in large.

"Nazi Etiquette", discussing the Nazi proclivity to foist explanation for its own weakness on everyone but itself, ultimately coming round to the anti-Semitism with which it bonded itself together in the early twenties, finds corroboration in an earlier Cash piece of December 31, 1937, "Sixty Against the Government", in which it is explained that the post-World War Jewish population of Germany was no more than one percent. Thus, what did that say of the strength of these Nazis, that one percent of the country's population could drag the remaining ninety-nine percent down? It suggests surely that the Jewish population was by far the superior race to the pluperfect Aryan Übermensch--either that or, more probably, that the Übermensch had imbibed a bit too much of the goober-pinch, that is the busthead, that is the radiator fluid, that is the Lunes pediculous reticulum of itself.

"The Pinch", borrowing lines from Hugh Johnson's column of a couple of weeks earlier, indicates that steel production would be adequate for civilian uses without declaring a shortage for defense purposes. The fault in these figures, besides not taking into account that which was about to occur in the Pacific, was nevertheless evident on their face: 1929 figures are used for comparison. But in 1929, automobiles, the chief civilian use of steel, were not only far less plentiful than in 1941, but also smaller, utilizing significantly less steel in the production of each vehicle. Take for instance an average Model A hood or door and examine it sometime. The hood is comprised of four hinged pieces, thus not in need of bracing inside. The 1941 models, by contrast, had expansive nose hoods, mainly triangular affairs with plenty of curvature and lots of interior bracing to support the steel sheet from the thing thus pressed, to keep it from twisting when opened. The 1929 doors, while equipped with a modicum of bracing, were nevertheless found to be both smaller in size and without the inner wall and solid shell perimeter which the more modern doors of the 1941 models possessed, providing a stronger outer fortress against side collisions, as the running board was no longer present to act as a bumper, especially in the considerably accelerated speeds at which the whole carriage was now moving along the smoother, more universally laid along the dust macadam on which it rode.

"Solid Brass" spells out Tojo's demands to the United States as delivered in the Diet the previous day, precisely three weeks before the attack. It is self-explanatory. Mr. Kurusu was sent to the United States with a message: our way or the highway, the typical fascist-militarist line. Mr. Kurusu had no hope of success. "Alright, then..." said Honorable Tojo, "ya'll don't want to listen. We'll show ye then."

But, as brass melts in fire, fire therefore trumps brass. Thus, we have great brass fire. Remember that next time you wish to provide that familiar ultimatum.

We observe, from reading each, the piece on the Navajos, the piece by Hugh Johnson--indicating more efficient administration is due for labor and industry in order to speed it up, not the killing of a few American boys, as the saw had it--, and the piece by Raymond Clapper, pointing out the lack of unity among Democrats in Congress regarding the foreign policy, emblematic of which was the twenty percent defection within the party on the vote to abandon neutrality, as there was near unanimity against so doing among Republicans, that the Japanese and Nazis in the country reading these pieces in and around Washington might well have taken from them in concert that discord was such in the country that an attack on Pearl Harbor would have its desired impact, to drag the Administration to the peace table, restoring trade to the status quo, leaving the Japanese to conquer at will in the Pacific, giving up the Philippines, etc., providing Hitler his brokered peace with Great Britain, allowing him to foist his will on Stalin, and then to live as one big Fascist-Nazi family. Mr. Roosevelt, however, had other ideas.

Chinese fortune cookie say: Don't mess with a man in a wheelchair. Odds are he has much more time to think than thou of two walking legs.

Meanwhile, over in Lexington, Otis was born.

And, reflecting back a moment to the poem written by Mr. Coles, appearing on the page of Friday, we received over the weekend from our friend in the Bahamas the following bit which he assures us, as always, was written in 1991, this particular part during early September of that year, before the novel, but then becoming part of the novel by October. He stresses in his inimitably churlish way, "You better well believe I never saw that piece to which you refer me, you silly, sycophantic, Lilliputian with the Cheshire grin," thus assuring us once again that he never laid eyes on the print of last Friday before he indited this bit of verse himself, now seventeen years ago. It remains a very curious mystery, but we have checked it all out through the usual impeccable sources and have confirmed that it is, indeed, the case, just as he informs us. See it therefore as you will.

The scene, we are told, is the Baptist Church in Shelby, July 7, 1941. A funeral is proceeding.

A black man at the back of the church stood upright from the oak pew and proceeded to the front of the church. No one knew him then. By day's end, they would. He spoke in quiet tones.

"You were the Truth Preacher, not with vanity strides, though that Vanity haunts and trails us every one. But you did not swagger, nor be the braggart, nor fake, nor bake our minds and souls by copper guide as did the Charlatan who said, 'The wicked black un, shun.' Brought to earth like the Copperhead snake of Lincoln's day which urged from North and South the guns to poison those but babes, such that to cut the poison, a nation was hoed in twain, upon the snake's bold hatred strike there in east Charleston's pain. And where do serpents oft hide? you asked. Why, under the lumber wood, it is said. So, from there you began your searing light, as did Lincoln's blue velvetine uniforms of the dead, who freed the many from the few who held them apart from themselves. So, in little, of academe, did you, by dipping from the ribbon's ink to pen well the new Truth vision of the old fancy Gone. And it is like a song to act on authority-light of imagination; not guns or knives or two wrongs..."

Well, perhaps a coincidence. Thanks again to Mr. Coles and if by chance he is still among the living, we wish him well. If he has passed, we dedicate the above to him, since we dare fancy it was actually, back there in 1991, in probable likelihood, his spirit who, at least in part, wrote it. As our friend has suggested before, the writing of its full 800 pages of manuscript was nearly, on most of the 14-16 hour days, like taking dictation--which is why it only took six months out of one calendar year to write. Or, so he tells us.

The herein, you will note, has taken us a good bit longer to complete than that of our suave friend's chef d'oeuvre down in the Bahamas, who remains very proud of himself at his achievement. But, of course, the herein has stretched to quite a bit more than a mere 800 pages we assume, though we have never taken an actual count. But just in the last year, for instance, we warrant that it is quite a bit.

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