The Charlotte News

Sunday, December 26, 1937


Site Ed. Note: Cotton roads, 'ey? Sounds like a good idea, especially when read in combination with the first piece. Cotton cars, too. Yeah, cotton roads and cotton cars. Cotton. That anything like tobacco road?

Well, lots of things were thought of and tried, such as the soybean car which withstood the famous sledge hammer test administered before Life photographers by Henry Kaiser and Henry Ford, but proved too costly at the time to produce. Yet, maybe, who knows? Soybean cars which bump off one another. Vegetable oil, methane from the cattle to run them. Give it a whirl. We might now have sufficient excess with which to make them cost-effective to produce. Anything might be better than what we have, after all.

And again, while in its form then proposed and at that time of relative gullibility and lack of an educated, informed populace in many parts of the nation, we think now might be the time for such an amendment to the Constitution as that discussed negatively in "They Will Misinterpret It". Not a bad proponent to have on your side either, Frank Porter Graham.

And, as to "A Universal Language", we might add something too, often omitted from the realm considered poetic, that of the comic, the fool, that which also is susceptible of evincing some of the most truly moving poetry of all, especially with the drift of time layered on top of it sedimentarily, to be unearthed anon with a shovel and pickaxe to reveal the unearthly, the joke that transmits through time, yet to bring the irresistible quake, the quick, the queeling, the qued, the queachy, the Queckenstedt queimish, querof the whittie-whattie quockery quells the beast, which, after all, but bearing close resemblance to the god, begurgles, bedraggles, and betickles alternately within our cracked temblors, contrasting in high relief the twin faces, but for which we would not, such that we understand instead that we are rather human.

Just as so long ago as Shakespeare, often self-effacingly, interjected into his comedy, a solemn moment of apparent poetry, yet poetry shed only for the momentarily cast to sleep in stupor, and, conversely, the pièce rose into that of his most solemnly dramatic pièces noire, as the pièce à thèse dialogue in advance of the play within Hamlet, or, within same, the philosophical apologetic laid by the gravedigger disheveling the dirt for the final resting down of drowned Ophelia, to whom, he proclaims, water came, not to her ascribedly, for her crownly soul, thus could she or should she go.

By the way, omitted we, quite inadvertently of the sleepy-eyed moment, a clause in the Christmas Eve prints, for which we duly now unlick, but not without seal, for we think, in hindsight perfect, 'twas but the Sanity Claus, with a perfectly implying "," into its stead; ergo, on this, yon day second of Christmas, to all a night good.

The rest of the page is here. Cash also contributed this day "Backyard, South View" to the book-page, to which we scarcely might object lest the displaced movement to the front be in extremis to the nines, bursting even Hager's lines.

Portrait of a Simpleton

He came, we think, very near to being the simplest man in Charlotte.

He began his rush to beat the traffic light at Independence Square immediately after he had passed the intersection of Fourth and South Tryon Streets. When he was, say, seventy-five feet short of the goal, the yellow light came up and flickered toward red. With rear wheels dragging, he succeeded in stopping her, just as he reached the corner, twenty feet beyond the white line. Two pedestrians who had done this silly thing of placing confidence in the green light in front of them just avoided being knocked down by prodigious leaps. The pedestrian stream, making sure that he had stopped, circled cautiously around him. Across the street the cop glared at him speculatively, took a step or two toward him, and thought better of it.

The boob! He nearly got arrested. He should have kept on going, red light or no red light. That's what nearly everybody else does, and never a whistle from the cops.

They Will Misinterpret It

The longer we look at that proposal for a constitutional amendment for a popular referendum before a declaration of war, the more doubtful of it we become. And that in the face of its endorsement by Major General Rivera, Major General Smedley Butler, and our own Frank Graham.

We do not believe it has any magic in it for the averting of war. We have had no war for which the people generally would not have voted anyhow. And it seems doubly unlikely in these times, when mass reaction is greatly accelerated by the better means of communication and propaganda, that we are going to run into any situation which will bring the Government into a mood for declaring war without also bringing the people into the same mood.

And on the other hand, it promises to have at least one very dangerous effect. It promises, that is, to create the impression abroad that our Government's hands are so thoroughly tied that it may safely be ignored in international affairs--in particular, to give the bandit nations, Germany, Italy, and Japan, a still more brazen confidence than they now have. And if it did that, then, so far from being an instrument for the keeping down of war, it would actually be one for the encouragement of world conflict.

Not Too Fast

Secretary Roper said today he had received estimates that 10,000,000 bales of cotton a year eventually might be used in highway construction.

That would be splendid. We hope the estimates turn out to be correct. For the use of 10,000,000 or even half of 10,000,000 bales for roads would solve the problem of the dwindling foreign market for Southern cotton, and make life for all of us who live in the South a darn sight more comfortable and pleasant.

Just the same, we think the farmers of the land ought not to take to banking on that quite yet as a basis for production estimates. That word might in the Secretary's pronouncement has to be taken into consideration. The fact is that the use of cotton in road-building is very much in the experimental stage as yet. The Department of agriculture, indeed, is only just now beginning seriously to get down to the business of making systematic tests. And even if cotton should meet all the tests as a satisfactory material for road building, it would still have to meet another fundamental and even tougher test, to wit: will it give the same service for the least money, as [indiscernible word] to other materials? We hope, as we say, that it meets all these tests successfully. But meet them it must before 10,000,000 or 1,000,000 or 100,000 bales are put to that use.

This for the Major*

We can't go along with Major Bulwinkle in his regrets for the demise of the wage and hour bill in the special session of Congress. What the Major says about the flexibility of its provisions is probably true enough. But--in actual practice the merits or demerits of the flexibility would depend entirely upon the manner in which the law was administered. As for the Major, he appears to have had perfect confidence that the administration would have been satisfactory.

But, ourselves, we can't quite share that faith. The whole record of the Roosevelt Administration, and particularly the record of NRA and the Labor Department and the National Labor Relations Board, seems to miss the point the other way about.

Nevertheless, if we can't string with the Major in his opinion of this bill, we can at least respect him for courageously standing by his convictions. It has not been easy for him to take the stand he has taken, with nearly the whole body of his Southern colleagues ranged pretty angrily on the other side.

A Universal Language

Our contemporary, the excellent Montgomery Advertiser, taking its cue from Harry Hansen, looks over the field and, from the fact that, when searched, nine out of ten people turn out to be carrying around a worn clipping of some verse, concludes that even our common Americano really likes poetry, despite his shamefaced protests to the contrary.

Of course. It went without the saying, Professor Hall. Old William Hazlitt said it more than a hundred years ago:

"Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself. He who has a contempt for poetry cannot have much respect for himself, or anything else... Wherever there is a sense of beauty, of power, or harmony, as in the motion of a wave of the sea, in the growth of a flower... there is poetry, in its birth... Fear is poetry, hope is poetry, love is poetry, hatred is poetry; contempt, jealousy, remorse, admiration, wonder, pity, despair, or madness, all are poetry. ...The child is a poet in fact, when he first plays at hide-and-seek, or repeats the story of Jack-the-Giant-Killer; the shepherd-boy is a poet when he first crowns his mistress with a garland of flowers; the countryman, when he stops to look at a rainbow; the city apprentice when he gazes after the Lord Mayor's show; the miser, when he loves his gold; the courtier, who builds his hopes upon a smile; the savage, who paints his idol with blood; the slave, who worships a tyrant, or the tyrant, who fancies himself a god;--the vain, the ambitious, the proud, the choleric man, the hero and the coward, the beggar and the king, the rich and the poor, the young and the old, all live in a world of their own making; and the poet does no more than describe what all the others think and act..."

Site Ed. Note: Well, it's a fine thing when the thing doesn't cause the whole of the Duke Energy grid to be disrupted over half the east coast in the outing from the offing. Yesterday, for instance, we were out riding our bicycle, nearby our old school, when we came upon a house in the midnight clear which was so overborne, as was too its bounded yard and wood, that one could scarcely make out a house at all behind the little twinklers and twinklets, and, to boot, some electronically produced carol emanating blissfully from some secret place behind that, pianetting away to the not so blissful stirrups ringing in your hammer and anvil, involuntarily clangoring to receive it. We grant the Christmas spirit; fine. We mean not Scrooge to become. But, there becomes a fine line between that, the conveying of the Spirit, in simple gifts, and merely just showing off one's past. Leave a little power in which your neighbors might share to show off a simple light or two, maybe, next Saturnalia. Candidly, it has a tendency to be blindingly overly brilliant and much too variegated when displayed in such copious and captious array. Not to mention burning more fossil fuels from the poles in the process than there are real, tiny reindeer at the Pole left to be fossilized later to provide them, bi-polarly.

A Fine Thing*

The Parks and Recreation Committee and the Chamber of Commerce rate a joint accolade for their co-sponsored and highly successful Christmas decoration contest, the winners in which have been announced.

Interest in the annual event is indicated by the fact that entrants numbered five times the participants in the 1936 contest. Chairman J. M. Sorrow has estimated that 2,000 Charlotte homes were illuminated during the current Christmas season. Some of the displays are ornate and expensive; others, simple and not representing any considerable financial outlay. The citywide ensemble, however, is enormously effective and well worth a tour of inspection. Undoubtedly Charlotte has never done herself so proud with Christmas prettiness as this year.

Internes in Government*

It's an engaging and novel experiment, this of the "Internes" in Uncle Sam's labyrinthian organization in Washington. From a list of 300 graduates recommended by their colleges, 37 were chosen to serve, without pay, as full-time assistants to Federal officials. For four months now these internes in government have been at their duties, and once a week they hold a clinic among themselves, dissecting their work in particular and government in general.

Each year a new class will be put through the mill, and many of the smart young men and women are expected to go into Federal employment permanently. The Government can use them nicely. There can't be any such thing as a career service without a wholesale revision of the spoils system which now obtains, and keeps on obtaining in spite of Mr. Roosevelt's repeated intentions to ditch it, but at least it will be an innovation to draw employees from the colleges instead of from the ranks of the party in power.

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