The Charlotte News

Sunday, November 7, 1937


Site Ed. Note: This day’s newspaper would run a photograph of new staff members. Commensurate with their employment, certain statistical notations were observed within the community at large, proving that full employment, employment at skills best suited to the individual's own goals and desires, is the best goal of any society. We have suggested it before; we'll say it again: This was the very best of butter that any well winding watch could want within any wabe wery wervel. 'Tweren't any doppelgangers among them, either, sport.

Also, on the book-page of this date, Cash would contribute a piece on the new edition of Bartlett’s.

As we have mentioned before, at the Carolina Book Fair in the spring of 1938, as previewed in the piece below, as post-viewed in a subsequent piece, Cash would meet his bride to be, Mary, and would also strike up a fateful acquaintance with Jonathan Daniels, fateful because it was, in part, along with the Knopfs, Daniels who sponsored Cash for the Guggenheim Fellowship in October, 1940, which took him to Mexico in May, 1941 for the planned year to write the never-finished novel on Andrew Bates and his cotton mill family. To what extent, incidentally, the novel, which Cash claimed to the Guggenheim Foundation in October to have already well outlined, was ever actually committed to paper, is not known, as none of it, so far as anyone knows, survived the trip to Mexico. That is not to suggest that there is anything necessarily sinister in that, as it may be simply the fact that Cash, who wrote in fitful, insistent flurries, interspersed by great doses of deliberative contemplation, even as to something to be labeled "fiction"—maybe especially so in that realm, which can be a more painstakingly arduous task, we have found, than so-called non-fiction, as often as not embraced of plentiful aspects of fiction, and vice versa--, had simply not yet begun to write, except in his head, the place where all good writing, perforce, finds its inception, by reflection, not narcissistically, if it is good writing, we suggest, but, rather, by that process which Cash claims to find lacking in summation, in "More Work, Doc", as we, quite candidly, do also.

Now, if only the Doc could explain to us why Mr. Carrol was in error, and not simply that he was, we would be most happy to listen. Candidly, again, we oruselves took two whole semesters of symbolic logic at the same university at which the Doc taught, and we, for the life of us, have yet to prove or disprove the thesis offered by Mr. Carroll.

The question we pose is whether a mirror has four legs or two in the conjunction of parts of Prestopino galloping wildly across the sky?

One thing is clear as glass, however: that is that a young pig with an umbrella in the sunshine is neither a wise balloonist, nor a tightrope walker; nor may consume Browning's mint Julia, or even Four's-men in the porous copper Rain of Lincoln Lane, at least not without a cemetery license, and the ability to don imponderal and thus, snugly fitted within the cloak, float away as one on the dust wings of the vacuum's sneeze.

Why did the horse start in the driveway?

Why was the field goal a record-breaker of precisely 42 yards, right before our eyes, three days later?

One time, in the Year of Our Lord, 1976, the Bicentennial Year of our birth from Revolt to the Crown, by the cracking of the Liberty Bell there in Philly, we had occasion, August ‘twas, just before our embarkation upon the study of legal matters, to be in a film.

Our co-star in the film was Kate Hepburn.

Oh, you think, we jest. We do not. Well, maybe a little, in that we were only engaged as an extra. Nevertheless—

The film story was set in the Hollywood Bowl, right there in Los Angeles. It was of a title we then did not know. The plot of the scene, for which we were given direction, was, first as to our part, to appear in awe of the goings on before us in the Bowl, that being Ms. Hepburn and her little playmates, descending into the Bowl in a Hotair Balloon, a real one, while at the same time the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the real McCoy in this instance, too, made a large and grandiose pretense, it being against union rules to play in public for free outside the normal strictures of an actual performance so scheduled as such, at least so we were told, though in hindsight, it may have been, and probably was, just some bit of parsimony in the budget of this film, of which we were poised as an extra, the Philharmonic miming, therefore, to the recording of Tchaikovsky’s "1812 Overture", which the Philharmonic regularly performed each summer, we were told, on July 4, in the Bowl, in actual performance, not being mimed then, in those instances, as late afternoon, into evening it was by now turning, there having been a major problem occurring on the set, causing much boredom to all in attendance, that being the fact that the balloon, while descending, had caught itself in its ropes somehow, and was stuck in the air above the stage of the Hollywood Bowl, our awe descending with its stuck set of chords, both the ones in the musical recording played over and over again only to be abruptly stopped inchoately, as the musicians likewise, as if playing musical chairs in school, desisted each time abruptly in their mime, according to the music, the balloon, too, and its actors and actress, there being two children with Kate in the balloon, Kate, though, taking it all in good stride and sportily hailing all us extras from high in the sky there over the Hollywood Bowl, urging us to keep the faith and thanking us for our patience with this nonsense before us, in the Hollywood Bowl, wherein the Beatles had played in 1964, we thought to ourselves, as slowly we lost our awe of Holly Wood, not that we were that much in awe thereof, actually, to begin with, our having been taught early on that it was just all make believe, as it was, anyway.

The film, we found out later, was titled "Ally, Ally Oxen Free"—which to ourselves made it residually poetic for a child's memory we possess of a very nice song of the same title, although, in this instance, for whatever reason, they chose the spelling, "olly", even though, in fact, there is no such spelling and no such word, the correct spelling being, and conveying the whole meaning of the game, you see, "ally".

Some years later, one of the co-stars, also an extra, came across this fine piece of literary filmmaking and introduced us to it for the first time. We admit that we did not take the time to trouble ourselves with a viewing of the entire piece, we most decidedly wishing only to view that piece of artistic reportage set in the Hollywood Bowl. We looked for our part in the play; we did not see ourselves, but that is not to say, the images being somewhat out of focus, that we were not there, and with dialogue to boot, though we were never paid by the Screen Actors’ Guild for our part, surely a suable offense by the Guild.

In any event, it being a pretty hopeless affair, we decided then to set aside our acting days, chalking them up to wanhope, though filmdom’s loss is our gain.

It was a good career, though, you will have to admit; for few young aspiring thespians obtain as their first part, even as an extra, a place in film history alongside Kate Hepburn and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, even in miming their parts, in the Hollywood Bowl, with the pre-recording of the "1812 Overture" by Tchaikovsky playing over the loudspeaker system.

We conclude, quite soundly and logically, based on our teleological doxology that we were, at very least, wise young pigs in 1976.

Well, the lesson, for us, at least, was free. Who could ask for more?

Twenty-five years from this date, Eleanor Roosevelt would pass away at the age of 78. Though it is granted that she had more practice at the role by the span of four years and a month than any other First Lady in the history of the country, and it is further granted that to many she was controversial, it is for precisely that latter reason, and the courage it took to be controversial in the role she held, that she was and will always remain a pre-eminent spirit watching over our democracy.

Son James had just won his re-election bid for Congress the day before in California, as reported here.

The rest of the page for this day is here.

A Real Forum

The Chamber of Commerce forum on wage and hour legislation seems to have been a huge success. Instead of being attended by proprietors only, ready to agree with each other that it was a bad idea, representatives of organized labor put in an appearance and went down the line for the principle involved. As a result, the meeting adjourned after two hours of discussion without taking any formal action.

That's fine. A forum, to be genuinely a forum, ought not to be composed exclusively of those who think the same way. Once convictions are sound and logically arrived at, it will do them no damage to be bumped up against another set of convictions. If they aren't, the sooner it is found out by the test of disputation, the better. Besides, there never has been a better means of exchanging information than a hot argument.

More Work, Doc

Lewis Carroll, in his "Logical Nonsense," sets down the following series of propositions:

All who neither dance on tight ropes nor eat penny buns are old. Pigs that are liable to giddiness, are treated with respect. A wise balloonist takes an umbrella with him. No one ought to lunch in public who looks ridiculous and eats penny buns. Young creatures who go up in balloons are liable to giddiness. Fat creatures who look ridiculous may lunch in public, provided they do not dance on tight ropes. No wise creatures dance on tight ropes, if liable to giddiness. A pig looks ridiculous carrying an umbrella. All who do not dance on tight ropes, and who are treated with respect are fat.

From all of which might be deduced, said Carroll, the proposition that "No wise young pigs go up in balloons." However, he cautioned that it could only be done through his own private and circuitous system of symbolic logic which has stumped mathematicians. The world has gone on believing that it was so ever since. But now, we learn from Messer Bob Perkins who edits the "Pop Quiz" for the Daily Tar Heel, up steps Professor Doctor A. E. Ruark, head of the Physics Department in the University of North Carolina, to say that Carroll was wrong and he (Dr. Ruark) had himself analyzed the proposition to the correct conclusion in ten minutes, using nothing but straight-forward logic and mathematics.

Another great victory for Homo Sap, and another feather in the Tar Heel cap. And now if the Doctor would just tell us what it is that Gertie Stein and e. e. cummings are saying, and precisely what the "agenbite of inwit" adds up to, we think we'd be perfectly happy.

Great Expectations

There's a fair chance, bettered considerably by the stock market collapse, that the capital gains and undistributed profits tax laws will be revised or at least amended in the next few months. Business has been kicking up and keeping up such a terrific row about them that finally the din is believed to have reached the President himself. Business hopes that he is going to give the signal to his sides to loosen up on some of the more stifling provisions of these experimental tax laws.

That would be helpful. The laws are onerous, and unsound practices sometimes do have to be resorted to in order to avoid the higher tax brackets. But it should not be overlooked that these taxes were not imposed solely for the ill humored purpose of harassing business. They are meant to raise revenue, and may raise it. The government still needs the revenue (cf., Treasury reports showing expenditures at 2000 million dollars for the year since July 1). And, obviously, it follows that merely to change the manner of levying taxes cannot of itself work any wondrous improvements so long as the same amount of taxes must be collected in one way or another. Doesn't it?

Business is in for a terrific disappointment if it expects a simple twist of the wrist to make taxpaying painless. The case calls for surgery, not chiropractic.

They Aren't Worth It

The article in this week's Collier's on peonage in Southern textile mills, digested in yesterday's News, is certain to arouse great indignation in the South and call forth strong condemnation in the North. That is the effect it was intended to have. Mr. Davenport was on the lookout for a story, for adverse evidence. He found it. Without making or pretending to make a survey of the industry as a whole, he found a few mills with company stores and a few employees who were always in debt to the stores, the which he put together under the catchy title, "All Work and No Pay."

We believe it goes without saying the Mr. Davenport, in line of duty, has defamed the Southern textile industry in general and the Carolinas in particular. Most mills long ago abandoned company stores, despite the fact that in principle they were models of these newfangled cooperatives the West is going in so strongly for. But they were susceptible of abuses and misunderstanding, and possibly in too many cases the customer was always wrong.

Those that remain are a source of constant hurtful publicity, such as the Collier's article, and while it does not follow that the stores should be done away with in order to placate Mr. Davenport, it does follow that the industry as a whole suffers because a few of them are still being operated. It is highly doubtful that either the profits made from the stores or their convenience to employees offsets their bad name, whether it be deserved or undeserved.

The Predictable Mr. Hull

American exporters have had their heads together at Cleveland on "the twin terrors of international trade--war and the dictatorship doctrine of self-sufficiency." And the president of the outfit, Eugene P. Thomas, a former vice president of United States Steel, Friday had to say:

"We are 100 per cent against economic self-sufficiency and 100 per cent for Secretary of State Hull's trade bargaining program."

The amusing thing about this is that Dr. Hull is the New Deal's right hand man. And the American exporters, of course, represent Business, which, of course again, is supposed to hate the New Deal, and in fact often does hate it quite as ardently as the New Deal seems to hate Business.

But the secret of Business's liking for Dr. Hull--and it's not at all confined to the exporters but is pretty general--is not hard to come at. Our Cordell is a New Dealer with a difference. In reality, he's an old Jeffersonian with the belief that a world in which tariff barriers and burdens would be done away with as nearly as possible would be best for all peoples. Of the notions of his Chief and his Administration playmates--which, ironically, have often moved toward the opposite end of economic self-sufficiency--he has taken no account. He has known no right and no left. There have been no sudden and bewildering reversals of policy in his department. But straight down the road he has gone toward his goal, adhering tightly to Jeffersonian tradition, and proving, so far as foreign relations go, at least, that it will work. Yet, it is pretty easy to understand Cordell's popularity with Business. He's still doing what he started out to do and will be doing it when he finishes.

The Book Fair

Faulkner, Cabell, Glasgow, Haywood, Green, Wolfe, Caldwell, Tate, Burt, Miller, Sims, Blythe, Bledsoe and in Atlanta a girl named Mitchell--Say! Maybe the literary folk are right in crying a Southern renaissance of bookmaking. Those names are only a few any casual reader might think up. They include the most distinguished writing names in America, and we pridefully remark, a fine representation from North Carolina and three from Charlotte.

A Carolinas Book Fair, as proposed by the city's book clubs and the literary editors of the two newspapers, seems, therefore, very much in order. Here is something that should be celebrated, not merely to do honor to our prophets, but to mark a whole decade of surprising literary activity throughout the South. Something strange and perhaps important has happened below the Line to make an incentive for all this good writing.

Well, we were first to celebrate our independence. It seems appropriate that we should be first to celebrate our literary majority; for the Carolinas Book Fair will be unique, the first of its kind in the Confederacy. We look forward to something good and interesting in the Spring, when the town is host to writers and publishers.

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