The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 12, 1938


Site Ed. Note: We have caught Mr. Cash in an error of ascription below in "April to the Rescue". The quote belongs not to Shakespeare's loves but instead to those of Ben Jonson, from "An Elegy on the Lady Jane Pawlet", the fuller quote being,

What gentle ghost, besprent with April dew,
Hails me so solemnly to yonder yew,
And beckoning woos me, from the fatal tree
To pluck a garland for herself or me?

Well, we suspect we can forgive Cash for the literary faux pas, even if he was too lazy that day to do the simple task and look it up on the internet.

We shall simply add a line, written long ago, by the great early blues artist, John Milton: "Have you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadow?"

As for "Concussion as a Sport", we add yet another line, this one from the folk collection of Lord Byron: "I was shadow boxing early in the day, figured I was ready for Cassius Clay."

"Stymie" brings to mind the rhythm & blues artistry of Kit Marlowe: "Oh, Carol, don't let him steal your heart away."

The first piece suggests the dirgeful simplicity conveyed in various fugues by Bach, over-layering the poignant words written so long ago by Anonymous: "The city fathers are trying to endorse War Admiral, of course, but we here working for nothing back home simply say, 'no taxation without representation' while on the throne."

Don't ask us how we are able to deliver up these quotes just off the top of our heads like that. It's just a simple gift from which we give back to you, all deriving from having grown up with story seldom told, having squandered our resistance on a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises.

The question though, the question of questions, from all of these quotes, which comes to mind to ask the ghost when next we see his hoary frost: Did he ever return?

Anyway, we were just passing the time here at the Dam of Fontana, up near Waynesville, where we often go to do bass fishing, that is when they let us out of the chains of being falsely, scurrilously, and querulously accused of escaping the fiddle-mellow task's writ of taking her little yellow basket.

It Has Possibilities

"Let the people rule" is about to become a reality here. The City Fathers are in a mood to let the children decide on open or closed Sundays. There is talk of a straw vote on a municipal swimming pool. Why not let the people vote on who becomes city manager, chief of police or keeper of the dog pound, and whether or not a traffic light be installed at the intersection of West Trade and East Fourth Street. There is no such intersection, but what of it? Let the People Rule!

Then, with people ruling through straw votes, the City Fathers would have time to shake hands and make speeches and open the public baths and such. The scheme has wonderful possibilities. Even the People would get a break when it came time to fix the tax rate. Charlotte would have the lowest tax rate in the world. In fact, it might have no tax rate at all.

The Paradoxical Yadkin

Maybe, after all, Elder McNinch was right. Maybe the Yadkin is navigable. And so maybe the Elder was within the fact in ruling that the Aluminum Company of America would have to have the Federal Power Commission's consent for building its proposed $8,000,000 dam at Tuckertown--even though that might very well mean that the company would decide not to build a dam at all.

For, certainly, it appears from the story carried in The News Friday that in the late 'Forties of the last century a certain Colonel Thompson, an engineer in the Tar Heel country, gave it as his sober and considered opinion that the stream was actually navigable. And that the Cape Fear & Deep River Slack Water Navigation Co. did most deliberately and authentically think of running boats all the way from Charleston to Wilkesboro. Or, anyhow, barges.

But on second thought we shall not, quite yet, present our apologies to the Elder. For conning that story closely, we discover that, neither the engineer nor the company held that the stream was navigable in its native state, but only that it could be made navigable by locks--and dams!

The People's Wills

Robert Jackson advises the Senate subcommittee investigating his qualifications for Solicitor General--and he seems well enough qualified--that he believes the Supreme Court "must express the will of the people." Of course. Nobody in his senses believes that any branch of a democratic government has the authority to block the will of the nation.

Still, we think the statement needs a little amending and clarifying. The Supreme Court must express the will of the people--only, it has to be remembered that the people sometimes have two wills. There is the long time will, embodied in the Bill of Rights, which recognizes that the majority must not deprive the minority of certain fundamental rights, if only because all experience has shown that to do so invariably leads ultimately to violence and attempted oppression. And then there is the short time will, which sometimes springs up in the heat of great contests and perils--the will to drive through to a passionately desired end, regardless of the rights of minorities. We had plenty of examples of that in the late World War, and perhaps we have had some since.

The time might come, the time has come in the past, when the majority of people might want--have wanted--to bridle the freedom of speech, for instance. And the Supreme Court would certainly be justified, we think, in blocking that. For all experience has shown that the American people, as a whole, always come back in the long term to the will that the right to speak their minds be preserved.

April to the Rescue

These are the most eerie times in which we live, good companions.

First, there's Paul's Ghost of Herrin Avenue which turns bewilderingly from an ectoplasmic apparition into a blood-sucking critter that leaves a large round ring, like that made by an oil barrel, when he sits down. Or into a large hairy varmint that wants to wrestle with people passing through the woods in the dark.

Then over in the Lowrys section of Chester County they have a hant that resembles "a large German police dog," that kills hogs and calves, but upon which bullets strike harmlessly--a werewolf, obviously. And at Rock Hill they have another going by the hair-stiffening name of "Udalicus." And worse yet, it appears on the most reliable advices that Auld Hornie himself, tail and all, has been seen at least five times during the last few days in Georgia.

Ah, no. We do not much blame those dark citizens who, according to Chief Littlejohn, prefer staying in nights to dining on ham for breakfast. But let them take heart. Let all of us take heart. April is not far away, and it is known of old that a ghost or banshee "besprent with April dew" (we quote you Master Will Shakespeare himself) becomes straight way a "gentle ghost," begetting fright in one but only the soft melancholy of Springtime and going away when you command him. We are not prepared to vouch for it, but we imagine for the benefit of the embattled Georgians that the same rule might hold for even old Squire Voland, too.

Concussion as a Sport

It was a terrific blow which traveled about eight inches. ___________'s mouthpiece landed in this writer's lap. Its owner crumpled slowly to the lowest rope and was motionless until moved by his handlers.

Fully five minutes passed before the Atlanta lad was able to stand without support.

Thus The News account of a bout between heavyweights in a high school boxing match in the Armory here Thursday night. And boxing is the manly art, of course, so that old women could hardly be expected to appreciate the finer points and the sport of it. All the same, a knockout is hardly a healthful experience, and when it is a high school lad whose brain is made to cease functioning for a few minutes, the sport ends in a rather grand finale.

For a knockout, of course, has the outward manifestation of a brain concussion. It may be a minor, temporary concussion, usually is, but the physiological process is the same as a major concussion. A blow on the "button," which is to say the point of the chin, drives the bone structure of the jaw against the temple bone, which encases the brain and which communicates the blow to the brain itself. And while a young chap may survive one such jolt with his mental faculties unimpaired, he is called upon to expose himself perhaps to a similar shot the next night or the next week or whenever his team fights again.

Boxing has its virtues, to be sure, and we are cognizant of them. At the same time, it has its grave risks, and we are cognizant of those, too.

Site Ed. Note: For more on King Carol and Rumania versus the Nazis, and his ultimate trust of them turned, as with all others, to betrayal, see "Shrewd Move", July 14, 1939, "Boon to Allies", September 2, 1939, "Counter-Terror", September 23, 1939, "Decision", January 30, 1940, "Carol's Turn", March 17, 1940, "Black Oxen", May 27, 1940, "Bear Moves", June 29, 1940, "Soft Hamlet", September 9, 1940, and "Slow to Learn", October 24, 1940.


King Carol of Rumania seems to have trapped Adolf Hitler neatly by throwing out the Goga anti-Jewish cabinet and installing a dictatorship under the control of liberal and centrist elements, which has for its purposes the putting down of the Nazi Party in the country and the restoration of friendly relations with France and England. And in doing so, he may have done the world a service in making war somewhat less likely.

When Goga came to power, it was generally assumed that the pro-French Carol was through and that Rumania had definitely come within the orbit of Nazi Germany. That meant, given the Austrian coup he has long planned, that Hitler would have an open road to the great Rumanian wheat fields, since Hungary long ago came into the Nazi orbit--food with which to feed his country through a long war. It meant, again, given the Austrian coup, that the whole eastern and southern borders of Czechoslovakia would be wide open to his attack. And finally, it meant that, given the Austrian coup, he would have a straight and open road to strike for the Ukraine and the hegemony of Russia which he has told us quite frankly, in Mein Kampf, he means to grab.

But with the return of Rumania to its old alliances, all that collapses. Hitler, without food for his country and with the road blocked before him, is in a much less advantageous position to enter upon war.

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

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