The Charlotte News
Wednesday, December 29, 1937
Site Ed. Note: The rest of the page is here. As for the rooftop caroling in West Chester, Pa., well, we think not. Whoever heard of rooftop singers? You might as well have them just walk right in and sit right down. Then, you're bound to have among them some big, burly jovial fellow who will in fact be one of those indefatigably persistent Reds. Besides, who is Jehu? Is that some yahoo? And what if you don't particularly subscribe to that sort of thing, caroling, we mean? There'd be no end to it. Let it be, we insist.
What? Why we never heard of such a silly thing as British eccentricity. It's patently absurd, we tell you. Bollocks to that!
Well, anyway, we were contemplating yesterday starting another expedition to the Kilimanjaros, which are located in the Africas' countries of Western and Eastern Tanzania. Yes, and to that end, we plotted our trek upon our globes which we keep here in our drawers, (that is when we do not deposit them in our brasseries).
Now, look here. If you follow the two crevasses to the four giant boulders which are alternatingly located on either side and below the two large giraffe-shaped rock colonnades...
Consider our British cousin. In many respects he is undoubtedly the most curious among all the curious saps who go to make up Homo Sap. Only the other day, a Scotchman climbed up in his place in Parliament and scandalized the Cabinet by proposing that tariffs be taken completely off women's shoes from America. And the reason? The Englishers make better shoes than we make. They last for years. But--the blame things hurt the women's feet. They've been hurting them for centuries. And the British manufacturers stubbornly refuse to find out, what American manufacturers long ago found out, that a shoe can actually be made which won't hurt.
He puts his shirt on over his head, this Englishman, because his shirt makers refuse to give him the coat shirt which we long ago developed--and perhaps because he wouldn't wear it if they did. For underwear he wears something that can only be described by the horrid word, drawers, and he holds 'em up with tabs through which he passes his braces. His suits hang on him like fertilizer bags. He won't eat cornbread, but he dotes on--kidneys. He despises plumbing, and has his bath in two cupfuls of warm water in a pan. He persists, in the face of sense, on calling an elevator a lift, a truck a lorry, and a locomotive engineer a driver. In short, the fellow is an eccentric, and we can't think of a thing to do about it.
Uses of Education*
This is not to contend that we have entirely overcome the panic impulse, but only to remark how years and years of constant training in schools, of drills called without police and other conditions simulating the real as near as possible, have produced a people with whom it is almost instinct to restrain themselves at the call of fire.
At a movie matinee for school children in Revere, Mass., day before yesterday, fire broke out. From the accounts, it appears to have been a fire of some consequence, for there was mention of smoke and flame within the theater. Upon the discovery of it, the manager hastened to the stage and told the children that they must leave at once, and he pleaded with them not to lose their heads, to move rapidly but in an orderly manner.
They were old hands, in all probability, at this game of fire drill; so they filed out, 500 of them, quickly and in routine, as they had been taught.
Site Ed. Note: Incidentally, if you have never had occasion or motivation to sit down and view Michael Moore's exceptional presentation, "Roger and Me", documenting, both poignantly and serio-comically, the demise of his hometown in Michigan, and his ever-evaded quest to visit with the Chairman of G.M. at the time, Roger Smith, now, perhaps, made the more poignant by the latter's passing in recent months, to find out why it was that the assembly plant there had to be closed, knocking out of work a generation grown accustomed to the employer in this company town, a process endemic to many towns and cities in many large industries across the country in the 1980's, victims all of, should we wish to borrow a phrase, Voodoo-economics, then by all means take a couple of hours this fifth day of Christmas and do so--and really view it, not merely for its comedic impact, but for its more serious implications for our society, not only in 1989 when it was made, but in 1937, in 2007, and in times to come.
Of course, in one sense, it was not Roger's fault entirely, but more generally that of an age in which Roger was raised as the go-getter, the Babbitt, the fellow who could get things done, as long as the bottom line supported those things, and when not, why, then, you did the sensible thing for the company which gave you to enjoy life, and cut your losses--close the expendable plant, ship the jobs to Argentina or Brazil or some place equally exotic for lower wages which the peasants down there, without all those unions, were glad to get, as being better than the rubber plantations, the coca plantations, on which they were likely otherwise consigned for employment at the same wage, a buck a day or so.
Roger, undoubtedly, unfortunately, for all that good business acumen, had little time left in his curriciulnasiam, a fault of the university or college he attended for not insisting upon it in the first couple of years of college, a broad enough education fully to encompass the humanities, ethics, literature, philosophy, to understand that people are not widgets. That each person has the same basic feelings and needs as thou, and once deprived of that, then trouble is bound to start at large in society, eventually curtailing Roger's ability to do his job at the top and enjoy those comforts which that job gave him, starting first in the household, in the streets eventually, without something to replace that corporate benefactor deserted, one who had the moral and ethical obligation to give back, and the means to supplant that closed plant with that replacement to stimulate the creative, but did not, and insofar as the case at hand is concerned, at last report, and in dozens of other such cases across the industrialized country, has still not.
Too busy thinking up alternatives of a very uncreative mind, such as warring on Iraq to supplant the missing employment, you see.
For nobody but a pansy who doesn't understand business, took history or art or drama or sociology or philosophy. Don't consult with them. They're those egg-head liberals, not like us pie-brained smart boys, us who really work for a living, uphold the family values of the culture, as for time immemorial, grind it out from that terribly hard middle-class upbringing we had, those of us of the factory-think who dare not think out of the box for fear that the box might turn on us and deprive us of all those good things we have managed to accumulate while sitting by the pool with our luxuriant fifty SUV's, talking business on the cellphone now and again, making those colossal deals with Argentiana and Brazil, our good pals who we have caused to stop raising all that coca by supplanting those fields with nice assembly plants, see, and with leather interiors in those fifty to make us feel at least, by exterior appearances anyway, like we are really just rough and tumble truck drivers, of the people, by the people and for the people, having it real hard, those fifty sitting out in the driveway ready to go driving somewhere whenever we need to get away from all this luxury we have accumulated off the backs of those hard-working people we laid off when times got too tough for us to get the pie-charts to fit them into it anymore.
Well, we here by the pool, in the sunny sunshine, in the dead of winter, dedicate this note to the Fifty.
Or, shall we go bowling?
What's twice as cold as freezing, Mr. Tobacco Man, Mr. Household Finance Man, Mr. Voodoo Economics Man?
Auh, don't worry, she'll be alright, in the mawnin', when the Revooluuution come.
By the way, can you figure out Ripley's puzzler today, and without first the application of a ruler to the fingertips? If so, why, you're prob'ly a carpenter, too.
It hath an exceedingly ominous sound, this cutting off of 30,000 General Motors employees. To be sure, some 205,000 employees will continue to work (three days a week), and the weekly pay roll will still exceed $24,000,000. But it's ominous in sound, just the same, for these 30,000 who are left off in the automobile industry will in turn have an adverse effect on unemployment in other lines, which in turn...
President Knudsen advances two explanations of the conditions which have made this curtailment necessary. In fact, we believe there is a roundabout intimation of a third explanation; but at any rate, relating exclusively to General Motors' business, he says. "The used car market is stopped, and when that is stopped our employment stops."
And what stopped the used car market, and what does he think brought about this general and more or less acute business recession? "The price level rose too fast in the Spring of 1937, and we just couldn't digest it." And what made the price level rise too fast? The motor man does not speak directly to that point, but he does, by means of an invidious comparison, bring it out all the same. He said that no curtailment had been necessary in General Motors' plants in Canada, where there is no CIO and only the shadow of a New Deal, because "business is normal there."
Into the ranks of the gallant states, led fittingly by Kentucky, yesterday stepped Ohio. It looked once as though it might never be so. For at about the same time that Kentucky was freeing the Garr brothers and cheering them to the echo for the self-defense shooting of General Denhart as he ran away as fast as his legs would carry him, Ohio was sentencing Mrs. Hahn, the German dame charged with poisoning some half a dozen lovers, to the electric chair. But the fascination of romantic chivalry was too great for even Ohioans when they came up against the case of Louise Campbell, granddaughter of the Youngstown Steel king, who shot and killed her mother at a Christmas party. And so yesterday the coroner's jury sitting in the question decreed that Mrs. Campbell came to her death by "an unavoidable accident."
That was what Miss Campbell herself claimed. Nevertheless, she herself testified that she shot out a candle in the drawing room of her house to attract attention, and that her mother was killed as she attempted to seize the gun away from her. And that sort of thing has not been, we believe, the general view of the law as to what constitutes "an unavoidable accident." Nor has the defense that the lady was probably soused ever been accepted as a valid one under the law. The case, therefore seems to be a plain one of romantic chivalry. But Ohio overlooked one thing to make its stand perfect. "Unavoidable accident" is, after all, pretty weak. It should have called it that other thing, self-defense.
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