The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 14, 1937


Site Ed. Note: The following three editorials were left off when first we started posting nine years ago, in December, 1998. These came from the original newsprint of a handful of columns, about one month's worth scattered through the 43 months of Cash's associate editorship, which Cash's father had preserved for the quarter century before his death in 1964, and maintained thereafter by Cash's sister. So, we now add them for completeness.

The authorship of the piece on Robert Rice Reynolds, a favorite target of the editorial column before Cash came aboard, still remains unclear, as does the piece on the Farm Board. Probably, the piece on the Supreme Court case, however, was by Cash.

Judgment remains on reserve anent two of the three pieces posted in 1998, so marked, as to whether ascription to Cash is proper. The one regarding the dangers of the icepick, growing out of the other piece, "A Governor's Bravery", is unlikely his: it uses, for instance, the term "colored", which Cash rarely used, preferring "Negro", (probably because of its negative segregative connotations, "White"-"Colored", in an era when the attempt among progressives was to shed or mock such retrograde symbols, the NAACP's traditional title notwithstanding). "Colored" occurs only twice in The Mind of the South--once in relation to farm statistics, and only in variation in the same sentence with "Negro", and the other a purely literary usage--, and, insofar as may be discerned, virtually never in The News writing. One of the two usuages in the book runs:

Whoever will take the trouble to investigate a little in any county in the South--outside the areas occupied by the colonial aristocracies, at any rate--will be immediately struck by the fact that the names of people long prominent locally, people emphatically reckoned as constituting the aristocracy, are shared by all sorts and conditions of men. Stay awhile in any town of the land, and presently some gentleman native to the place will point you out a shuffling, twisted specimen, all compact of tangled hair, warts, tobacco stains, and the odor of the dung-heap, and with a grandiloquent wave of the hand and a mocking voice announce: "My cousin. Wash Venable!" What he means, of course, is what he means when he uses the same gesture and the same tone in telling you that the colored brother who attends to his spittoons is also his cousin--that you will take him seriously at your peril. What he means is that the coincidence of names is merely a little irony of Cod, and that the thing he says is clearly not so.

--The Mind of the South, Book I, Chap. I, "Of Time and Frontiers", Section 8, p. 40*

Of itself, it isn't a major issue, as the term was widely used inoffensively, by both black and white alike within Cash's generation, accustomed to its traditional utterance, well into the 1960's; we only make note of it as it serves as another catch-word by which the reader may, with probable accuracy, eliminate certain editorials as not authored by Cash.

Plus, it provides us something about which to blah some.

The other editorials of the day are here.

It Won't Break Him

Probably overlooked by a great many people in the Japanese excitement was the Supreme Court's decision yesterday, 6 to 3, that the Treasury did not have to pay interest on Liberty Bonds for the six months' period between the calling of the bonds for redemption in devalued currency and the express maturity date. We must admit that the ethics of the transaction were arguable, and that we are torn between the majority view that it was justifiable because it was in the public interest, and the minority view, as phrased by the old reliable McReynolds, Butler and Sutherland, that nothing excuses a plain breach of contract.

But there is this consolation: that the amounts at stake in the three cases decided against the plaintiffs were picayunish. The first was for $175; the second for $1.07; and the third for $17.50, making a total of less than 200 bucks. To be sure, we know that the principle of the thing is what counts, and that there was enough of principle in these actions finally disposed of yesterday to divide the lower courts and to split the Supreme Court 2-to-1. But there is oftentimes a hairline distinction between principle and sheer contentiousness, and we are constrained to suspect that any man who carries a $1.07 case all the way to the Supreme Court is carrying principle too far.

Every Inch a Candidate*

We have a complaint to make of a headline in Sunday's News. It said:


Reynolds not yet active? He was hospitalized for a few days, it is true; and his presence, like Hancock's, is required in Washington, which keeps him from getting around among the folks at the filling stations back home. But Bob's campaign for reelection has been going on for years. In fact, we can name the very day it was begun.

That was July 2, 1932, when he was nominated by the Democrats of his state for the United States Senate. Every minute since that time he has been running to succeed himself--and practicing precious little statecraft in the bargain. His every attitude has been struck in the calculation of its effect on the voters, hence upon his candidacy, and the uppermost conviction of his Senatorial career has been that it should be extended. We're afraid it will be, and that would make him Senator again, but not necessarily a good one.

Shades of the Farm Board*

Senator Cotton Ed Smith and a company of Southern Senators, including a great advocate of economy and a balanced budget, George of Georgia, are demanding that the Federal Government go into the market through the Commodity Credit Corporation and buy cotton until it is pegged at 12 cents--which would mean taking about 6,000,000 bales off the market, according to their estimates.

It happens that just that scheme has been tried before--by the old Hoover Farm Board. Well, and how did it turn out? A Senate subcommittee reported in 1935 that of the $500,000,000 spent by the Farm Board in an attempt to peg the prices of wheat and cotton, it lost $344,900,000! Furthermore, you will remember, it did not succeed in pegging the prices of either cotton or wheat. Said the report, specifically:

"It can now be seen that the stabilization activities were foredoomed to failure; but the Farm Board made its loans for price pegging without the benefit of the certainties which experience since has taught."

What "certainties" were meant? Well, for one, that surpluses, even though impounded by government, still continue to affect prices quite as if they were on the open market.

With all that before us, then, it may be said of the scheme of Cotton Ed and his friends that it is simply a scheme to have the Government pay a flat subsidy of four cents a pound on 6,000,000 bales of the staple--totaling $120,000,000. Or, assuming the same ratio of loss as the old Farm Board's, about $84,000,000.

*Site Ed. Note: So sorry. The word is actually God. The scanner, many moons back, chose of its own accord? to scan it that way, and, well, we rather like the choke, and so will leave that one for your ponderation. The other one, above, is simply a slip of the finger.

So, is it all just a Fish story? Well, we don't propose to know. But, like as not, sooner or late, we shall all find out, one way or the other. But that time comes quite soon enough, for each of us, and, thus, no need to hasten the proposition's outcome, 'ey? So, if you will, don't hang us on a bleeding cross for it, ye blaspheming Roman-helmeted bastard. It's sort of like glass, you know. But, don't tell anyone.

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