The Charlotte News

Tuesday, November 23, 1937


Site Ed. Note: Just a couple of months ago, the Provincetown Art Museum on Cape Cod held an auction at which some of Gifford Beal’s etchings were auctioned off, now fetching between $287 and $718, even at charity prices—not bad by modern standards. His paintings, however, draw considerably more, in the range of $15,000. Signed originals of Rockwell Kent’s "Wayside Madonna" sell for $1,800. Save your sheckels, or just buy a Christmas card for a couple of bucks. Or, even cheaper than that, click the links. It’s all in the viewing, not in the original, we posit. They won't let you touch them in a museum, anyway, nor would it be a good idea should you own it.

As to "Jean III", without its prior prompting, we once ago marked down a note on Guise and Navarre, that being nearly five years ago now, in January, 2003, in conjunction with "Scary Stuff", October 6, 1940. It gets scarier all the time.

We note that the second paragraph of that piece is a bit of a paragrab, indeed, when read a certain way. One could see in it remark of great prophecies to come, such as the Fall of France in May, 1940, the hedgerows of Normandy reclaiming it, in blood, for the Allies, etc., all leading from the present civil war in Spain.

The Nazis overran Blois on June 18, 1940, incidentally, and it was re-captured by the Allies in August, 1944.

As to the murder of the "Cardinal of Lorraine on the backstairs", apparently a reference to the rococo exterior spiral staircase at Château de Blois--poetically symbolic of the whole Guise-Bourbon conflict through time--the Cardinal is Louis II, one of the many Guises, brother to Charles, assassinated the day before, December 23, 1588—just as the Raleigh Colony in the New World was awaiting re-supply by John White, delayed on return by the consumption of ships in the fight between Britain and the Spanish Armada.

Catherine de Medici died, apparently of natural causes, on January 5, 1589 while still at Blois.

Cash's reference to the "play" is probably that of Kit Marlowe's Massacre at Paris.

There will undoubtedly be, should you explore this material with any more than slight depth, a temptation to find somewhere in it James Earl Ray’s French-Canadian "Raoul", the Mysterious Stranger who supposedly hired him. We doubt that story.

The assassination has the ugly ring instead of that which was simply in sum, by any other name, still the same olde Ku Klux Klan--which is not to say that there were not other operatives than poor white trash within the ring, as the ring crossed over many avenues within society, rich, middlin' and poor, politically powerful and peons.

The Birds—Aristophanes.

Having gotten away with murder before, even of prominent white men, their bloodlust was boundless, now. Nor would it confine itself to the South, though obviously there, in the time, in its most troubled and Bossed city-states, they stood the best chance of getting away with it.

With the start of the Christmas season being now upon us, we also could not fail to note the serendipitous juxtaposition of the last names of the first two senators mentioned in "Caught in the Act", involved in filibustering the Wagner anti-lynching bill, those being Senators George and Bailey, and that it was Marcus Goodrich--married in 1946, and for the next seven years, to Olivia de Havilland--who wrote the treatment for the 1946 film about the character bearing the two Senators’ last names in that order, that film usually shown perennially, ad nauseam in fact, this time of year.

Anyway, don't jump

Life has its ups and downs, but death comes soon enough to all of us without hastening the matter. We shall remember it if you only will.

The Perennial Issue

Monopoly, of course, just can't be understood in America. Both major political parties have been viewing it with alarm in their platforms every four years since the memory of man runneth not. Why, last year the Republicans even went back and lifted, intact and virtually unused, an anti-monopoly plank from the Democratic platform of 1912.

No longer ago than October 12 the President himself struck out again at monopoly. He said that the anti-trust laws and monopolistic practices were being studied and that further legislation was necessary. In his message to the special Congress one month later, however, he did not allude further to the matter.

Monopoly, it begins to appear, is like Mark Twain's remark on the weather. Everybody talks about it, he said, but nobody does anything about it.

Caught in the Act

There doesn't seem to be, we must admit, more than a superficial similarity between a sit-down strike and a filibuster, such as United States Senators have been conducting for the last week. A sit-downer remains where he is only by sufferance of the authorities; a filibustering Senator is put there by the people. A sit-downer goes into his act in a spirit of defiance of the laws, whereas a filibustering Senator proceeds in strict accordance with the rules of the Senate and can be silenced the moment enough Senators invoke the one rule which will silence him: cloture. The sit-downer draws no pay while he is so engaged; a filibustering Senator's emolument goes on and on with the sound of his voice.

But there is, at that, some slight resemblance between a sit-down strike and a filibuster, enough, at any rate, to make it highly ludicrous that the Senators who have been filibustering this last week--George, Bailey and especially Tom Connally--are the very same Senators who were loudest in their condemnation of sit-down tactics last Spring. Since the genius of both is obstruction of the many by a few, it might be said that "what these Senators have denounced with one breath they have practiced with the next."

Unholy Alliances

The Baptists in their state convention and now the Methodists in their conference both adopted resolutions upbraiding the last Legislature for its local pay option liquor law and convenanting to defeat any candidate for office who advocates legalization. That both denominations have every right to their opinions goes, of course, without saying. But the unfortunate effect of taking an official stand about liquor legislation is that the churches are put into the position of sponsoring that horrible failure, prohibition, and endorsing it as though it were an integral part of the gospel.

The unwisdom of the act is clearly apparent. It forces people of a contrary mind--good people, let us say--actually to combat the doctrine of the church, which is about the same thing as combatting the church itself. It actually tars the whole church organization with the political stick, making it a potential factor for bad government, as we shall show, concretely and succinctly.

Let us suppose that Mecklenburg has a candidate for the Legislature with all the qualifications which our candidates so frequently have lacked. Let us surmise that he is wholly acceptable on the basis of character and ability, to Baptists and Methodists alike--with this single exception, that he favors control over prohibition. The only other contestant is an opportunist known for a scoundrel, without anything to recommend him except that he has come out, cunningly, for prohibition.

If Methodists and Baptists generally considered themselves bound by the action of their central bodies, they are obligated to vote against the qualified man and for the disqualified. Either that, according to the resolutions adopted, or not to vote at all. In any case, they will be subordinating their obligations as citizens of the state to their imposed obligations as church members, and that combination of church and state hath an ominous sound.

Jean III

The Duke of Guise is front page news only because of the comic opera ring of his manifesto--and because of his name. Despite the existence of a considerable royalist party in France, he is almost surely never going to sit on the throne of his fathers. But like a good scion of the House of Bourbon, he refuses ever to admit defeat. A hundred years from now there probably will still be a Bourbon dwelling somewhere in exile and insisting that he is still King of France.

But the name! Jean, Duc de Guise and King of France! The last King of France who wore the name was he who met the Black Prince at Poitiers and saw his mighty hosts of knights turn tail before the English bowmen hiding in the hedges, and himself left to be carried off captive to London's tower. And Guise--what a crowd of memories is in that name. In her spangled chamber at Blois Madame the Queen Mother of France, Catherine de Medici, waited imperturbably while her murderers struck down the Cardinal of Lorraine on the backstairs. From the gallery at Amboise, Catherine and the Queen Regnant, Mary of Scotland, aged 17, looked on as the Duc de Guise butchered Protestants in the courtyard below. In a morning the bells roared through Paris and it was St. Bartholomew's Day. And there flashing at the end of the play was the shining plume of Henry of Navarre.

Buy North Carolina

In that series of excellent articles by Mr. Daly on the theme of the State's taxes on intangibles, payable this year for the first time, it was noticeable how thoroughly moderate the rates are. It's no fun to have to pay new taxes, but, after all, $10 on an average bank balance of $10,000, for instance, won't break the depositor, especially since he is relieved from the necessity of paying any city and county taxes upon such wealth.

Rates upon other classifications of intangibles are reasonable, too. In fact, in just one particular does the State's tax policy convey the hint of onerousness, as though the power to tax was being used for a purpose extraneous to that of raising revenue. This is in respect to the two taxes on stock in non-North Carolina corporations. The first is a flat 6% tax, without offset, on dividends from such stock, and the second is a tax of 30˘ per $100 on the fair market value of such stock. On a stock paying 6% dividends, the two taxes combined amount to 11% of income received.

The State seems to be nudging holders of stocks and gently suggesting to them that they buy in North Carolina companies, thus avoiding these two special taxes. Now if the State would just guarantee the soundness of its recommended investments, everything will be jake.

Art Climbs Down

One of the curious things the more-or-less-late depression has done is to get Art down off a pedestal in these States and set it to trying to appeal, if not exactly to the masses, then at least to people who neither are professional highbrows nor have much money. In the old days it used to be so, for instance, that an original etching by a man of any talent or the slightest name cost you from fifty smackers up--usually up. But now in New York the etchers have formed a society which will sell you an original for five bucks, and, though there are some hams among the contributors, not a few of them are men of marked talent and even reputation.

And more recently still, the artist, looking around for additional cash customers to take the place of the old Economic Royalists who used to be their patrons have come down to the Christmas postcard trade. Yet, instead of the old chromos of St. Nick in gilt and red and silver, a really swell postcard this Christmas will have--well, an excellent reproduction of Gifford Beal's "Fishing Village," or Rockwell Kent's "Wayside Madonna" or "Preparation for the Feast," or Alexander Brook's "Countryside in Winter," or any of several hundreds of others by artists of distinction.

It's nearly the last word in something, comrades of Philistia, when Art expresses itself in the medium of the lowly postcard.

Site Ed. Note: The rest of the page is here.

As we have suggested before, we believe old Jeff was a mite teched in the head--maybe fancying himself the Duc de Guise or something.

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