The Charlotte News

Sunday, February 18, 1940


Site Ed. Note: "Fanaticism" and, for that matter, "Deign, Eh?" remind us that Morse, et al. v. Frederick, 000 US 06-278 (2007), was decided 5 to 4 at the end of the last Term of the Supreme Court, in favor of the Starr-gram people and against freedom of speech for students, and 6 to 3 in favor of qualified immunity for the principal against being sued for a violation of civil rights, Justice Breyer adding his vote on that issue.

The outcome of the case enables school authorities to discipline students displaying such signs as "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS", a "nonsense" expression which nevertheless appears clearly to some to advocate drug use.

We ourselves, as we have commented earlier, donít know what it advocates, but we would guess its advocacy is in the eye of the beholder, should it be deemed (not deigned) by the perceiver to advocate anything at all, it being so ambiguous as to inspire little of anything beyond a knot in someoneís hosiery, from what we can see from the actual facts of the case anyway.

The day some high schoolerís sign of this sort, unfurled before an Olympic torch parade through a city in Alaska, causes any young person, not already so disposed, to take up drugs, is the day we best start considering banning a good bit of the library at most high schools--any book with the word "drug" in it, or "dope" or "acid" or "pot" or "hash"ósuch that your whole science, health, and home economics curricula will be dumped right there, assuming they still have those in the public schools these days, that is when not too busy with Bible class and the memorization of the Pledge and the Conservative Party Motto: "Do unto others as thou wouldst have Liberals not do unto you, (remembering also the corollary to the Rule: We make up the Rules as we go and so never fear what others may do to you or say about you; just do it to them first because they hate you, but donít hate them for then you lose, and report what they say to the principal because they are also hated by others, and for good reason, because they are Liberals)".

Also, of course, ban any book with the words "kill" or "murder" or "gun" or "knife" or any variants thereof in it, definitely menaces 2 society, starting with Shakespeare, working your way up to the Bible and back again.

For the fruit of the vine is clearly a form of drugs, and that slogan, "a time to kill", just for starters, plainly advocates imminent violence, and so cannot be tolerated in our public schools.

So get rid of all of that subversive material so that the hosiery-knotted may feel more relaxed around the coloring books left over, and so that they then might complain a lot because their children cannot read or compete when they finally attain a college level, should they be able to do so, and then, in frustration, insist that the college curriculum be changed also to accommodate the soft-headed; until finally we have a society where thinking is a crime, if, that is, it already isnít, where nonsense interpreted as advocacy of one sort or another makes sense, thus to make it quite irresistible for teenagers to do precisely whatever it is the interpreters interpret the nonsense to suggest they do.

On the other hand, our reading of the majority opinion tells us that if the student, as he did not in this case, had proclaimed his sign to be political speech, in opposition to a war, for instance, such as the display approved, and not the least bit altered by Morse, in Tinker v. Des Moines Sch. Dist., 393 US 503 (1969), (decided probably in France by that old Revolutionary Court), whereby black armbands worn in protest of the Vietnam War were deemed not sufficiently disruptive to allow school disciplinary intervention, why, then, the student would probably continue to be able to exercise such a right.

So, it should be perfectly alright then to make such a purely political sign and hoist it, videlicet: "Gong Hits 4 Usama".

Have at it, boys and girls. Just remember the magic words next timeó"Like, you know, teach, itís like an anti-war slogan. Ye dig?"

But would "Bong the Presidentís Former Counsel for Contempt of Congress" be considered an apolitical pro-drug slogan and thus susceptible to discipline by the school?

Or, would that be considered to be advocating violence?

How about "Commute on the Scooter, Libby, and Save Gas, Jumpiní Jack Flash"?

Or, "Old News Is No News, Just Another Bonged-Up Day at the White House"?

First thing you know, if we continue parsing our freedoms, reading into words something other than what they actually express, or in this case, reading expression into the absence of any readily discernible expression, as we are plainly and outrageously headed, to the point where one must be both an astrologer (or a heavy contributor to the Republican Partyís corporatista-christo wing) and so extraordinarily foresighted to be deemed a diviner of mercurial judicial wisdom, seemingly changing by the hour, to determine what one might say in public, all, save the Starr-gram people of course who determine these issues ad hoc in private church meetings somewhere in Iowa after reading through ancient copies of divinely-inspired scrolls located behind the throne in their little prayer vestibules in the back of the house, shall be so chilled as to have noneójust like the Fourth little piggie.

Ourselves, we continue to proclaim Bíreshit 4 Jesus, all the way home. (No joke, that: should you have ever been in the same or similar straits, such that you were coursing upon a trail in the forest on a night at 10 o'clock late, decrying the fates, when the earth's and moon's traverse are such that the sun in its lunistice may no longer find the latter, the out-brief-candle curse, treading amid the undergrowth surrounding the lake at the base of Grand Teton, after your flashlight had ceased its flash, having coursed the great trail for 26 miles from the lower to the upper place of slake, in dash, and then the switchbacks, saturs, the air-depriving switchbacks, endlessly upward for two or more miles, up the stiles until the legs, which angles back stopped asserting nerves, stop you cold, exestuated in the driving heat which produces any longer only raw salt caked above your brow in streaks, and, after the hurtling descent from that, stepping laterally, slipping as a cat every so often losing footage, across the 100-yard ice field perched on the 60 degree slope of the mountain's rootage, down through the trees, just in time to greet the dark so dark that your eyes strain to seize your feet still within any orchestrated pass, your ears pricked then to hear every so often the cracking woodling-archer's sound struck fast, not too far away, interrupting that which otherwise proceeds silent as the coffin, followed by a rustle in the void absent of reflection, indicative of one of the creatures, whether of God or Satan, or heading away or in your direction, knowing not that which you may not know, yet see, being incognite save that the vibration introduced traces from some being in the wood proximal, fret's key, sans libation, your only defense the rattle of your sabre against your scabbard's ghostly Topsy-pull, that is to say, your empty canteen popped pointedly as a bongo boasting emptyful, as your otherwise disutile flashlight provides sufficiently metallic clacks against some other hard object to echo Ramistically waxed as the Frog fording, paddy-hopping, while wishfully enamoured of the yoke, at once to engender by reflection in the dark the magnification by those strokes, protected in that by the shield the canopied lune-less ceil affords within the blister in which your barely discernible wits have scantily clad you as a Sister, well beyond one's own innate fragility, or primate facility of the moment, were it debated by either beast's or divinity's tome stint whisper, to fortify with anything of more substantial finity than pure imposture within that faintly spelled foment's misture, well, you will readily appreciate the prayer, and the roamin' man's picture, your honorable manner-ascent miss or mister.)

In any event, it all appears to us to be Morse Code for: "You Lost Your Freedoms by Worrying More About Bongs Than Being; More About How Something Is Said Than the Substance of the Saying". So we say: Worry not about bonging up the country, but rather being that which your country belongs to you.

Ourselves, we donít give a tinker's damn for a bong, but we do for our freedom to say and think as we please.

If you donít like it, we recommend laying off the acidóand the litmus, too.

It's a Killer, Dude.

Bonds In Time*

This Cheap Money May Not Last Another Year Out

Precept No. 1 in the handbook of politicians is not to raise taxes during an election year. Wherefore it is highly unlikely that the Administration's proposal to tax the income from Government bonds of all kinds, in essence a tax increase, will go through this year. But next year is an offyear, and the chances of this legislation look good enough.

First effect on mutual bonds, not to mention State bonds, would be to jump the interest rates at which they can be sold--in other words, to raise, perhaps to double, the cost of money. And if you double the interest rate of long-term bonds, you have got something to pay.

It occurs to us that the City and County Governments may well begin to think about this eventuality, with the idea in mind of beating the tax legislation to the wire. It would be foolish, of course, to issue bonds simply to get bargain money for which they had no immediate use. At the same time, if either has an essential undertaking of any consequence in mind, the forehanded policy would be to plan it out, submit it to the voters and finance it while the financing is good.

Site Ed. Note: ...And now we present, in print, "Plenty of (Fur-lined) Jam Jars", by the Ravelers, a quartet who made hit after hit and really hit it big (pardon the potentially double-entendre references) in Sweden--Orrefors, Småland, to be precise, where the Littles lived in 1940...


The Boys Of The Atheist School Had A Field Day

A curious exhibit in fanaticism was that put on display in the suit brought in New York against the Rev. Harry Rimmer by William Floyd, publisher of an atheist organ called the "Arbitrator."

The Rev. Rimmer, a fiery evangelist who holds to the theory that the Bible was directly dictated to some heavenly amanuensis, is particularly insistent that it is to be treated as a textbook of biology and all the other sciences. And according to Atheist Floyd, he (Rimmer) had published a newspaper advertisement offering to pay a thousand smackers to anybody who would discover a single scientific error in the Scriptures.

Other men simply smiled at such monkeyshines, of course. But not Mr. Floyd. Promptly he rushed into print with the "vaulted firmament" and a vast mass of textual quotation, demanded the thousand iron men. Doc Rimmer wouldn't pay. To the obvious joy of Mr. Floyd. And also Mr. Wolsey Teller, vice-president of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism. They hurried to bring suit.

The judge threw the action out, but not before the AAA boys had got a full opportunity to air their views in the most belligerent manner. Which seems to have been all they wanted, for they had not even taken the trouble to provide evidence that the Rev. Rimmer had actually published the advertisement. They got in their say, made sure that it would be picked up and published over the country, and went happily home.

The fanaticism of parsons of Mr. Rimmer's stripe is sometimes wonderful to see. But for a really first-rate performance in that line, the "emancipated" atheistic boys take the furlined jam jar every time.

Deign, Eh?

Jim Farley Joins The New-Meanings-For-Words Club

Presently, we foresee, we shall have the weight of the world upon our shoulders if we continue to carp in our peevish way about the crossing up of the meaning of words. Or perhaps end in the booby-hatch.

Long and often have we chided the use of flaunt for flout and flout for flaunt, but all that it has ever got us has been a few Bronx cheers. The nation goes right on using the words that way. And so no doubt would go right on using argosy for odyssey and odyssey for argosy, a new one which we have discovered in [indiscernible word] up. So, probably, the [indiscernible words] to do is, in company with the Messrs. G. & C. Merriam, Funk & Wagnalls, et al., to resign ourselves to it with a sigh.

But yet once more we are tempted by the discovery of what old Jim Farley had to say in Memphis Wednesday. Jim was in fine rhetorical fettle:

"Our Easterners cherish to themselves the comforting belief that they are superior to our Westerners... They in the West deign to assume that they have almost a monopoly of independence and [indiscernible word] courage..."

Deign, Jim? The word means, "to accept as fitting with one's worth and dignity, to vouchsafe, to condescend." And somehow we doubt that any of those definitions fit the Westerners' case. Has somebody been trying to confer the title to these virtues upon them by way currying favor with them? Obviously not. The idea is plainly their own. And while they may feel that even so they are condescending, the world, including Jim Farley, hardly seems to think so.

Somehow, we have an idea that what Jim meant to say was that the Easterners had made bold to assume this thing. Or just that they had assumed it.

Late Or Early

Allied Aid To Finland Depended On The Weather

The Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet, saying that Finland must get help at once or make peace with Russia, infers that the Allies have definitely offered aid to the little country and that it will probably accept.

But spokesmen of the English Government hasten to explain that large-scale aid from the Allies is not presently practical, and that it is either too late or too early to do anything to save Finland.

This may be designed simply to befuddle Russia and the Germans and to hide a real intention to go immediately to the Finns' succor, but it does not seem very likely. For it is certainly true, as the British explain, that British and French soldiers would have to have a considerable period of acclimatization in Finland before they would be fit for anything but to fill hospitals. Indeed, it may be doubted that men of either nation would ever be worth much in the Finnish Winter. If direct aid is to be sent Finland, it will probably have to wait until late Spring or Summer. And if she is in as desperate case as Aftonbladet suggests, then it does seem too late to help her directly.

However, there is an alternative--the attack on the oil fields in the Russian Caucasus which, according to rumor, the Allies are considering. Such an attack would certainly force Russia to abandon the Finnish campaign and concentrate every ounce of her power in the Caspian country. For if she loses her oil, she is done for. It would also have the advantage from the Allied viewpoint, making it impossible for Adolf Hitler to get oil save in Rumania, thus forcing him either to attempt to break the Maginot Line by a Blitzkrieg or to attack Rumania directly--in which case, the Allies would have the Eastern Front they so much desire.

But even this move, if it's contemplated, must wait a while yet. The Winter climate of the Caspian region is only a little less severe than that of Finland.


Some Old Words That Sound Odd Enough These Days

Quoting a man against himself has its dangers, and is sometimes less than fair. Men do change their opinions over the years--at least men with any sense do. And a man who had stayed absolutely consistent with himself in the last eight years would be a monster like Little Lord Faunteleroy or Parson Weems' George Washington of Cherry Tree fame.

Nevertheless, when a man's own words contradict the whole course he has followed, it is at least amusing and conceivably important. Anyhow, for what it is worth, we extract from Nation's Business the following:

"I have warned the country against unwise government interference with business; and I pointed out that the policies of the present leadership... in the last few years have constituted dangerous back-seat driving... I am opposed to their kind of governmental interference with business. It means casual, dangerous tampering."

The words, you think, of some brash Tory declaiming against the New Deal? On the contrary, as you may suspect, they are words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he was running for the Presidency in 1932.

Site Ed. Note: Incidentally, though usually we don't title our semi-rhyming nonsense, we shall, just this once, make an exception for that bit above: we shall call it "Sissypus in Boötes (Or How the B'ar Done Runned Away, Sc'red As Or By the Dubul's Chassé)".

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