The Charlotte News
Saturday, March 8, 1941
Site Ed. Note: A reminder that after February 23, 1941, The News ceased publishing a Sunday edition. Thus, it was not laziness by Cash in the wake of publication of his book which produced the absence of Sunday editorials.
Speaking of "grizzly stunts" over the radio, grizzly stunts as that set forth below having now become quite commonplace in our society, callously so, and without anyone much voicing any opposition to the callousness of presenting a person’s death by execution as a circus ring entertainment attended by images of stupes applauding and waving "Fry" signs, we turn to the present flack dominating the airwaves—silly though it appears to us by relative measures, given what else is at stake in the world—, the comments by Radioman, the "Us-man", we’ll call him, about the young college students who happened onto the national television screen by virtue of their achievement at the game of basketball.
We also understand that they are stellar students, and since that comes at a prestigious university in New Jersey, it is no mean achievement; it is too bad that they were not first recognized for that, their achievements in the classroom, before that in connection with any athletic event. For the former is far more important to the sustenance of a vibrant democracy and a diaspora of erudite citizens populating it who can think and communicate with reasonable articulation that leading thought to others who may not yet be possessed of the opportunity these young women have presently to obtain a good education; and these young women, having accepted without fanfare yesterday the apology of the Us-man, appear to us to epitomize that notion of dignity and intelligence, especially under the glare of a national spotlight and media attention, when to sound off would be the greater temptation, especially given the maelstrom into which they have been involuntarily cast for the past week or so. We find it disconcerting, however, that the mass media stress more the bizarre, the circus, the tomfoolery of the Motley Fool, the Us-man, commenting rudely on a basketball game, while giving at best lip service to the more important aspect of our society with respect to the collegiate environment, the obtaining of an education to lead that society in a positive direction. Indeed, were the stress not so in the media, the Us-man could never, without a high school diploma, have made absurd money, reportedly ten million bucks a year, speaking mostly nonsense, the conjurings of the Motley, over the airwaves every morning to people going to work.
So, let us comment on it some, by all means.
It is a thorny thing, we find, in parsing through our opinions on it.
We did not hear the comment as it occurred, only sometime after the furor which it precipitated, and so have difficulty providing a completely unbiased, unadulterated opinion as to how we might have reacted to it originally. We have seen and heard the Us-man a few times, although, because of the early hour, and because we rarely ever listen to radio at all, and haven’t for 35 years, music of our own choosing being our chosen muse usually while driving, and silence, except for the wind, while biking and running, we have become acquainted over time with his banter, and that of his partners, primarily through the tv screen. They were often abrasive, rude, indecent, insensitive, outrageous, and, like other workaday New Yorkers they mirrored, also quite funny and entertaining—at times.
We found ourselves, when we did have occasion to watch over morning coffee, alternately outraged and amused, sometimes even moved to think, not just to emote—just as it is when we visit NYC on occasion. We shall never forget, for instance, the brusque and seemingly thoughtless redcap at Grand Central who stored our briefcase as we took a three-hour stroll down to Central Park between flights out of Newark a couple of decades back; we had told him in the beginning that we anticipated return for it in three hours and that we had to catch a plane thereafter with a narrow window in which to do it, told him again upon arrival back at the station that we had fifteen minutes to make the bus, whereupon he proceeded to dawdle for nigh on twenty minutes as he searched for what he said was our "lost" briefcase he stored somewhere three hours earlier, until whether we had time left to catch the next bus and from it make the plane was in severe doubt. After making our dissent to his dawdling quite plain, tipping accordingly, he proceeded to follow us half a block out of the station, not to impart a piece of his mind, as might have others of such an apparent delinquent disposition, but rather profusely to apologize as if its dependents were his life and time or not in purgatory. Such, we think, is the spirit of New York, that the callous brusqueness is but an opaque veil knowingly worn against the teeming pestilence which hordes on the subway platforms, the streets, the pigeon-filled circles and plazas, the parks, the gutters, underneath cardboard, all set before it each day in an elaborate artistic creation formed willy-nilly in the wake of a cacophonous morass of echoing horns, roaring machines, percussive jackhammers, omnipresent sirens, dogs and cats and cabs, nevertheless forgetting only transitorily, only so long as that veil is needed, that somewhere underneath each veil, amid the morass, is a human being, thus stimulating the more the more in a flash of recognition out of the din, as one encounters a living soul struggling from the flames of hellfire, of appreciation for that fact—such, we think, is the spirit of New York.
And did not the Us-man epitomize that spirit?
The guests the Us-man had on the program were the elite of the media and print press corps, speaking usually on politics of the moment, and politicians about whom the print and media elite were speaking, and since we are attuned to that sort of thing, having come of age in the sixties, we found that part of the program engaging and informative, especially since the politicians and journalists and media personalities who came on the program, usually by telephone, were willing to let their hair down and speak off the cuff, without the Kliegs and script in front of them or the handlers whispering from the wings sweet nothings into their ears. It was thus a colloquy often refreshing and illuminating beyond the usual news and chat about it. That part we shall surely miss, especially in election years.
And, since the program originated from that City amid the morass, we pause to wonder whether the abrasive humor, often self-effacing as well as other-effacing, did not scatter to the wild winds pent-up tensions among the urban audience, necessary in such a place in need of fresh air as a breather every morning. Especially so in such a place, as it is, inevitably given on occasion to racial and ethnic tension resultant from its melting-pot milieu characterizing it almost since its beginnings under Peter Stuyvesant.
Is it not the fact that the racial tension in the South which for so long erupted into violence, ultimately civil war and a pattern of ritualistic lynching, did so out of an admixture of two primary ingredients: emotion taking precedence over thought in a largely uneducated population, and, moreover, precisely because of the stress in the South, a stress persisting unfortunately, on too much decorum, Puritanically, placing gentility far ahead of substance on the scale of importance, leading ultimately, by the repression of tension dispellers which fly in the face of that expected gentility, to the violence? Does a substantial dose of irony and sarcasm and literary humor not threaten most mightily therefore the most tradition-instilled Southerner’s established and enforced order of things, dependent as it is on maintenance of this gentility as the enforcer to tamp down any reckless thought tempting rebellion to those established orders?
So, is it not the case that the Us-man and those similarly situated serve, in a crowded urban area, maybe elsewhere within the broader audience, maybe among those in the hinterlands, to absorb and relieve some of that inevitable tension by acting as bile-spewing colormen with a purpose, to avoid the worst from the bile-spewers out on the streets without a purpose? That is, not unlike those at athletic events, they shout and rant and rave, cut each other and their guests to size, echo outrageous statements publicly which some of their audience have already made privately; but then, rather than assaulting or murdering their object of scorn, reach out with a levelling grin ultimately to depart as friends, only to have the scornee often return for more of the abuse later?
Is this then, even in its usual bad taste, much as the family living room in many homes in and out of the crowded city is often in bad taste, not a necessary part of any society which is not perfect, to insure that a mirror thus reflecting will absorb the worst of the dark-flow of electricity malevolently passing across synapses on those subway platforms, behind those horns or machines or jackhammers, in those lives of the listeners, and ultimately to enable them to act accordingly with the example thus set, to grin instead and depart as friends? Just as we did that afternoon twenty years ago with the unforgettably callous and, by equal turns, remarkably contrite, middle-aged Caucasian redcap—to whom, incidentally, whether dupes to our own sensibilities or not, we then provided a substantial increase to the original cheap tip.
Is it, the dedicated listening to the Us-man banter, not then a viable alternative to gladiatorial combat in the street for those, especially among the young, who don’t vent vicariously otherwise, such as by attending sporting events, the pro ticket being increasingly out of reach financially for the average workaday person, the college game as often leaving a hollow without feeling of association?
Thus, in speaking the thoughts which the Us-man and his staff pick up from conversation on the streets, does this mirror to society at large not serve the good in the end?
We ask the questions. We don’t know.
That is not to say that anything heard on the street ought necessarily then to be repeated over the public airwaves for the good of all. In this instance, it was an utterance grossly unfair to young college students who happened to play well the game of basketball. It had no purpose. No one was on the verge of doing violence to the young students for merely playing basketball well, obviously. There was no tension to dispel. And the utterance conveyed thoughts which had absolutely nothing to do with the story or the young women at any juncture.
We do observe, however, that repression of speech will inevitably always lead to revolt and violence, always has. It is fundamentally a part of every human being’s make-up, no matter how quiet and reserved the human being seems on the surface, to communicate to others their thoughts, emotions and ideas. That is, fundamentally, what makes a human being a human being, not an animal. And, if one must stop, consider carefully, and then filter all of one’s speech through a chiller--say it this way or be fired, say it politely and indirectly, substantively the same or worse, and survive--, then one has lost the freedom of spontaneous thought and expression and with it a form of candor, candor, almost childlike at times, which the Us-man refreshingly provided, like him or not.
Maybe it is because he did not graduate from high school and obtain the filter of a college degree or better that he remains unfiltered to a large degree, and was able, infectiously, to draw others, far more highly educated formally and, from it, ordinarily self-inhibited, into a more direct and unfiltered discussion of ideas over the airwaves.
Does this open candor pollute the airwaves, or does it not refresh the already far too sterile airwaves, airwaves which have been too sterile for the most part since the advent of radio and television, airwaves which, because of that very tendency toward sterility, increasingly so in the last 25 years, stimulated an inertia in the first half of the fifties to everything from McCarthyism to violent racism, violent as with no time since immediately after the Civil War, before, through courageous exceptions to the rule, primarily at CBS, that same media began to lasso these sterile baiters, those insisting on the genteel as a "moral" or "ethic", these Fascists themselves never appearing to understand what true morals and ethics really are, back to reality? In consequence of which in part, we have a more integrated society?
Again, we pose the questions. We don’t know.
We are concerned that the firing of the Us-man by NBC and CBS, obviously done out of pressure from sponsors, some of whom, Procter and Gamble notably, have a horribly racist history, and racist in the true meaning of the word--in the case mentioned contributing gobs of money to racially aimed eugenics programs in the 1930’s, not merely stating an offhand bad taste comment--, will result in a far worse effect on society than the comment made about the young women college students.
The comment was offensive. It picked on individuals who had done nothing at all in the public eye except play basketball and attend college, and happened therefore to wind up on a night on the national television screen. But is it worse to risk the comments of this type from the Us-man and his like than to squelch the debate entirely by silencing from the airwaves entirely the Us-man, thus chilling in others any form of free banter, as distasteful and uncivil as much of it is inevitably, just as with any locker room banter?
Whether similar comments to that made by the Us-man were made, privately or publicly, in 1955 and 1956 when Bill Russell became the first African-American intercollegiate star to lead a predominantly white major college, the University of San Francisco, to successive national titles, we don’t know and can’t remember. Whether similar comments were hurled about when five white guys, mostly from New York, mostly Irish Catholics, from the University of North Carolina beat the University of Kansas with Wilt Chamberlain by a single point in triple overtime the following year, we don’t know. But, we suspect it was so, judging by some comments we ourselves heard even into the 1960's and later, regarding college athletes, especially early on as African-Americans began to be recruited by some major predominantly white colleges and universities in the South around 1966, Wake Forest and the University of North Carolina leading the way, as strange as that late date may seem.
We have heard the term "boo-ball" more than once since the 1980’s, and not from Southerners. That, to our ears, is a misnomer. It is not boo-ball, but basketball. We played the game ourselves while growing up, and we never once played with anyone named Boo. Nor did we see anyone on the roster by that name, though Pud and Peppy and Pearl we did see. The game was invented by a white man named Naismith in Massachusetts and originally played with peach baskets, to keep the young Irish hothead rowdies at the Y.M.C.A. gym and out of fisticuffed frenzy during the winter months. Call it Mick-ball if you like, therefore, but not boo-ball.
We ourselves prefer to call it a clockwork orange, and for manifold reasons, some of which, for the propriety of decorum, we shall not bother to explain here; but the game involves a lot of weaving, and sometimes, though a "non-contact sport", also ultra-violence.
But whatever you call it, bear in mind that this game helped enormously to integrate our society, as much, we dare say, as did the civil rights movement itself, as much as did the Federal government and the Federal judiciary, though obviously those who stimulated the nation’s conscience from within the civil rights movement as well as the enforcement mechanisms generated by the Federal courts and the policies and laws promulgated and passed by the government were sine qua non to everything else which has characterized progress in race relations in this country, including the integration of sports. Yet, no matter how many laws are passed, how many National Guardsmen are sent to a community, how many of one’s co-workers or bosses or what have you are of another background, religion or predominant racial characteristic, society is never integrated truly until there is recognition on the part of each that the other is a human being. And that, no matter what anyone else may say, takes place best and most thoroughly every day in this country, not in churches, not in school classrooms, not in the workplace, but in the field or on the court of athletics when one is young. That is where that recognition of fairness, of humanity, of cameraderie is inculcated or not. If one cannot play the game for some reason, viewing it with appreciation for those finer aspects can produce like inculcation. There is something about the mutual work ethic, the common sweat, the common look of empathy to each from exhaustion at the end of a grueling practice session, not unlike that in warfare probably, which leads inevitably to that recognition, that esprit de corps, of a common bond which becomes finally the integration of society in little across all racial, religious, intellectual, cultural and socio-economic barriers, even if only of the moment; but a little compounded on courts and fields across the country, not by force, but because each individual finds in another person a friend, and one on whom one can rely, with whom to play ball, all in a game in a yard, a field, on a plot of pavement or in a gymnasium, in every town and village in the land, until that little, compounded, becomes writ in large. And that reliable friend, by having endured common pain and triumph, enchantment and disenchantment, by turns ingratiation and alienation, usually becomes a friend through time, not just of the moment, not just in the game.
All of this team game we play, as distinguished from the stress on individual merit in track and field and the older games of the Greeks, is new to mankind, having been brought about only in the last 150 years or so in the case of baseball, even more recently as to football, soccer, basketball. These team games we play are not without rime and reason. They are not for the purpose of producing stars with bloated, swaggering egos extending far beyond their merits and maturity as human beings, though often such a result appears to us vividly in the news. They are rather designed to dispel tension among us.
They are to get rid of or dissociate us from our worst raw instincts, instincts which inhabit all humans, fight or flight, predation residual from our hunter-gatherer days, instincts of survival inevitably resolving in aggression, and by the process to vent those instincts on the court or field under controlled conditions, with pre-learned rules and referees to enforce them as guideposts in the venting.
Not unlike radioman, the Us-man and others like him, and his game and his players in that game also perform each day on the radio.
So, in sum, we think that the matter at hand of the Us-man is probably a tempest in a teapot, much ado, not about nothing, for the young students’ sensibilities are to be protected and nourished, but about very little when compared to the matters which matter most in the world. For, in truth, no one in their right mind would take much of what the Us-man in his Motley says as wisdom; indeed, he does not take himself seriously, such as with the Rushing Lamebrain, or the tv evangelists, who do. Just as the tv drama or soap opera or sitcom even, with its cheap repartee built on mutual insult as an emblematic role model for youth to follow, does. And who and which others do, as well, take seriously, making these forms of entertainment potentially dangerous should they, as they regularly do, utter calumny or racist, misogynistic, or just mean-spirited statements, even if, as they always are in these forums, carefully scripted with just the right words suitable to acceptable decorum.
Our perception is that the Us-man is a poor target therefore for this sort of aim. He is not, from what we have been able to hear and gather in listening to his substance on occasion, as opposed to his more inflaming words and phrases, a racist or a misogynist. He is no Rushing Lamebrain. He reads, and not just Mein Kampf or its latter-day equivalent. His opinions are liberal for the most part, as are his political choices, which he makes no bones about uttering. He is a leveller and a tension-dispeller, a person who often uses irony to make points of one sort or another, even if sometimes the point becomes lost in the reach too much for the quick jest.
Or, do we grant too much to the Us-man in the way of orientation to anything but escapist entertainment for mental cripples?
What has been lost in the media coverage, with the stress on the racial component of the statement, is that the whole banter in question began with a comment on tattoos attributed to some of the young students in the game. But, lots of young people for a couple of decades and more, as the Us-man is fully aware, have opted to color their persons with tattoos, true of males and females, regardless of skin pigment or cultural background. Candidly, we have trouble understanding the practice, but we grew up in a different time, where tattoos were worn usually by men out of the armed forces, where the popular mode of expressing individuality or issuing with appearance an unspoken socio-political statement, expressing dissatisfaction for the political climate, for a war, was, among the males, to grow a beard or long hair, and, among females, to don a certain habit of dress or dis-dress, as the case was—more mutable expressions than the tattoo. But perhaps, in that relative immutability of the tattoo comes the explanation. When one feels an icy stare or a discriminatory remark obviously occasioned by length of hair or manner of dress, one need only go to the haberdasher or barber for a remedy or not. There is still choice left, consciously to make, as to whether or not to endure the snares of stares, the contumely of the insensitive. But, when one has gone to the tattooist, like it or not, one is more or less stuck with the mark which may cause discrimination. One can only cover the tattoo or not to neutralize or not its immutability. One cannot, however, in most cases, cover one’s racial characteristics.
We only offer the comparative explanation, psychologically and sociologically, for analysis. Whether conveying mere rebellion, striving for individuality in a world fast eroding it, a political statement of protest to the established way of doing things, or as a conscious effort to gain insight into what it is to be discriminated against because of less mutable physical attributes, tattoos are plentiful these days, and do not suggest that a person is either a street walker or former ensign in the Navy.
Finally, we would be remiss were we not to suggest that perhaps, subliminally, what triggered the Us-man was the moniker of the University’s athletic teams: Scarlet Knights. And, we are not being facetious. It can convey other meanings than that intended originally--but then so can Tar Heels, Blue Devils, Demon Deacons, Trojans, Runnin’ Rebels, Hoyas, and a whole host of other such names, meant to convey something about the spirit of the school, its history, the history of its surroundings, or some expression of some sort which is salutary and innocent, albeit with a college wink of both erudition and folklore sometimes in the bargain. These traditions are as old as the hills. So are Motleys who mock them, Motleys either from the other side of the arena yelling such things as "Go to Hell, Carolina, go to Hell," or Motleys outside the disputatious booby of college athletic tradition altogether, in the uncolleged general population. Whether the Us-man consciously made the association or not, it is at least interesting to consider--that the Volunteers, he said, were "cute" while the Scarlet Knights were something else.
So, perhaps, his stated opinion was not really based on any physical observation at all, but something entirely Freudian.
Again, it is just an observation.
We are glad the Scarlet Knights, the young women college students and their coach, accepted the Motley’s apology. We are sad the Motley has been fired, not so much for the ten-million-a-year Motley’s sake as for the other hapless fool somewhere down the line who needs the job and will have his or her life ruined inevitably in the wake of this episode because of some remark which someone in authority decides, purely subjectively and because they don’t like the individual, is offensive and thus grounds for firing or otherwise harming the person, someone who will not have any alternative means of support, all by a form of private Fascism inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution. It may happen; it has happened before. And that person may not be Caucasian or male.
We are sad that freedom of speech has been constrained, even though over the airwaves the distinction must be made that, because it is a privilege granted by Federal licensure to broadcast, its freedom of expression is not as broad as it is generally in ordinary life, though because radio and television stage example to a broad mass of the population, it should be nearly so, if not completely coterminous with that of the public at large. For we think that it is important not to have numb-speak on the airwaves, but honest, unfiltered expressions of thoughts, at least some of the time, most especially if those thoughts are unpleasant to hear, as long as they are not stimulative of violence. Certainly, the remark in question was in poor taste, was hurtful to young college students trying to get an education, and Us-man should not have made it. But, is it grounds for restricting speech? Is it grounds for silencing him by firing? Is that not, by effectively ending the debate, the ending of the civil rights movement which began with freedom of expression and association as its chief tenets and rallying cry? Is that not what the worst, most vehement, most violently oriented segregationists, the true racists and misogynists, finally want?
Again, we merely ask the questions. We don’t know.
In the end, we suppose, after due consideration, it is a far better thing that we do to debate at length the propriety over the airwaves of these silly, facetious, yet hurtful remarks, aimed at particular, innocent individuals, than to be discussing some heinous murder in Manhattan or elsewhere, racially motivated or not, by some lunatic who had no other means of expression than by a gun or knife. What we find most troubling is that the debate has ultimately devolved primarily to consideration of the propriety of the firing of Us-man. The broader issue is the more important one: To quell the speech, to silence the heretic, is not the cure but is to hide the problem until its seething heat erupts to violence; to tie and gag the Fool is not to amend the King’s ways but rather to avoid the problem in the King until the King falls by Revolt, being "revulsed" by mere words to prompt chilling action sounding rather Royal, after all.
A generation of folks who grew of age in the 1950’s and 1960’s knows, or ought to know, that lesson all too well. Sometimes, though we sound a little old in saying it and hated hearing such from our elders when we were collegians and younger, it pays to listen a little and appreciate at least what it is those a little older, a little wiser, whether Fool or no, are trying to say, and thereby glean a better understanding of the world at large, better then equipped to deal with its pitfalls and snares. Most of us want to change it, at least some of it; but it is a stubborn suitor for change, always has been. It changes, if at all, by the generations, by time, by admiration, by disenchantment, by deceit, by conceit, by liberty, by despotism, by revolt against despotism and resolve to do better—and usually within the same society over time. It does not change by shutting people up or by chilling their freedoms to think and speak, by firing them or otherwise demeaning them when they do. That is the sure road to Fascism, leading on to revolution again.
And, in the midst of it all, Ireland may have reached peace for the first time in the memory of most of us.
While in Kentucky a native of Australia opened a Creation Museum, showing how the world is but 6,000 years old, that human beings co-existed for a time with the raptors, even in Toronto, perhaps, and that these beasts only disappeared because Noah, while obviously taking in some gators and copperheads to the Ark, apparently, did not bother with Dino. He says he established this elaborate theme park because his father told him that if Genesis is not true, then the rest of the Bible cannot be trusted. While that strikes us a little bit akin to saying that if Scarlett and Rhett were fictional, then no such characters existed and neither did antebellum days of the Old South, slavery or the Civil War, we don’t know. How it is that the creationists explain away, but for evolution as accelerated in some instances by Man’s feeding and hunting habits, the indisputable fact that certain species are disappearing from the planet in our own time, and doing so without the intervention of Biblical prophecy to explain it, we also cannot fathom.
For now, until proved more thoroughly to us by logic and demonstrable archaeological records, however, we shall persist in adopting the notion of evolution rather than insisting that Genesis is based on actual historical fact and that this fellow Noah lived in actual, presently calculable Gregorian years to be 950 of them. And, logically, that does nothing to dispel the teachings of the Bible, any more than the teachings of Shakespeare are anywise diminished by the fact that a large part of them is entirely derivative of what we label as fiction, but what in truth, as long as true to human experience, is always truth, sometimes truth stranger than that which we pass off as fiction—including the fish story.
Perhaps, the best remedy to all of this much too serious quagmire into which we have fallen, and, more generally, the one into which the whole country has fallen since the Copperhead Snake, its fangs extended in coil, took us for a ride on the Battery that day in Lower Manhattan, is for Us-man and his staff of co-conspirators to have a summer game or two for charity against both the Tennessee Volunteers and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights women’s basketball teams. We think the appropriate moniker for the Us-men would be "Fatheads" or "Fallstaffs", as you like it, or like it as you will. Whether these young, fit women would deign to take on a bunch of overweight, out of shape, grizzled old men such as these whose tongues are loose and vile with venom, and who obviously must have never bounced a clockwork orange in their lives, or if they did, didn’t do it very well or for nearly long enough, we don’t know. But it might be fun to watch, regardless, a good levelling experience for the Us-man and his fellows, and his most dedicated followers who might otherwise take the whole thing far too seriously, and perhaps in that, Us-man and his fallen staff would finally get the picture and the true spirit of the college game, that it is first, foremost and last, a game of integration, and as participants, not just as the proverbial unruly wannabe qua fan dancer.
Integration of society it has aided mightily since 1955, and continues so to do, at every level, from elementary school onward, and for every boy and girl, regardless of age or background, who ever picks up that orange or brownish round ball, be it rubber or leather, possessed of its black tiger stripes curly-kewed over it by design, smells its fresh scent of whatever it is they put on it at the factory to make it shine at the store, and bounces the thing to find it returns to the hand in a most sure manner, then dribbles on to find the uplift the ball itself magically affords to the otherwise complacent and ill-timed heels of the sneakers, throws it to the hoop to be able eventually to say "yahoo" as the net closes, opens, gets cleaned, (or extremely reddened with mud, as the case may be, should you happen to have your goal near a red mudhole and it happened that it rained during the morning before the afternoon pickup game after watching your older sports heroes of the college ranks play to a thriller finish, be it win or lose, as long as they all shook hands at the end and didn’t throw too many chairs or punches in the interim or place bets on the game at its start).
Well, have you ever had such an occasion, welcome to a clockwork orange.
The score, as we recall without looking it up, was something like, in double overtime, Loyola of Chicago 62, Cincinnati 61, though our memory of the score is probably flawed after 44 years. (We had to content ourselves that year, our first as an admirer of the game, with vicarious experiences, as our traditionally favorite team, with its new, young coach, was beset with its miseries—but nothing lasts forever.)
We told you thirty days ago in our rhyming rendering set with the strangely timed pieces of January 29, 1940, having to do with basketball and other things, that is our rendering, not the pieces, which came to us off the ether somewhere, that the sword would appear from out the dome; it has. We did not know how it would; only the rendering knew that, speaking for itself, merely issuing of its own from our rhyming muse, not from us. We are only glad that its appearance was not violent, this sword, as we assumed it would not be, but rather only gently instructive, as a tap on the shoulder, and not hurtful finally to anyone, such as what occurred both before, during, and after that noted below.
Good luck in your chosen sport.
This Comes Near Being Low in Sensationalism
Perhaps the final low in yellow journalism was not achieved by a tabloid newspaper, as one would have once expected, but by a radio station.
In the prison at Columbia, La. four men were waiting execution on the gallows yesterday for murder committed in connection with an attempted jail break last year.
Then a radio station at Monroe, La. had what seemed to it a bright idea. It got permission to install a microphone in death row, asked the four men to prepare statements to be made just before they went to their deaths. Duly, they did.
The statements were pathetic and heartbreaking. Like men about to die under any circumstances, they thought of their mothers and their wives and their babies. And inevitably they thought that crime did not pay.
The attempt to justify this ghoulish and incredibly vulgar performance will of course be based upon just that--that they confessed in the end that crime did not pay. But it is a shabby and vain excuse. If that were the case, then the purpose would be better served by going back to public execution, something that the conscience of the American people long ago repudiated as brutalizing and useless.
What we have here is simply an exercise in cheap sensationalism, carried to its farthest verge and designed to appeal to the morbid desire to hear the last faltering words of men on the edge of doom and to mawkish sentimentality. It deserves the contempt and protest of decent men.
Sportsmen Refuse To Make Any Concession to Cops
Yesterday Tim Pridgen wrote in the Charlotte News, of the Legislature:
Dead in committee, if it ever got that far, was a bill to require owners of small firearms to register them with the local government. Rep. H. L. McDougal of Mecklenburg considered the measure for a time and then it was taken over by representatives from other counties, but the record does not show that it ever reached the action stage. Sportsmen objected strenuously and the bill made no progress.
What makes that curious is that the bill had nothing to do with sportsmen, save occasional pistol clubs. And it proposed to deprive none of them of the privilege of owning any kind of gun.
Rifles and shotguns, the types most used by sportsmen, would not have been [remainder of editorial presently unavailable.]
On the Spot
Greek Choice Is A Hard And Dangerous One
If Greece chooses to yield to Adolf Hitler's so-called "peace offers" at this time, nobody--including London--will be inclined to blame her harshly. She has put up one of the most magnificent fights in history.
She is confronted with a Nazi invasion. Britain has aided her to the extent of its ability, will continue to aid her, but it is doubtful that Britain can send effective aid in time to keep most of her territory from being occupied by the barbarian. Aid from Turkey is still dubious.
And so the Greeks may feel that they have done all they can and that the rest is now up to England. If Britain has aided them, then they have enormously aided Britain also--both in giving Wavell a free hand in Africa and in dispersing the Italian navy and air power so it could be more easily dealt with. In any case, Britain will keep her base in Crete, which dominates the eastern Mediterranean, until the end of the war--no mean gain in itself.
On the other hand, Greece knows well that Mussolini will not rest until he has avenged the ignominious defeat he has suffered--one of the most humiliating in man's story. If he is allowed to return to Greece's border, then the moment he thinks he is ready he will strike again in an attempt to carry through invasion and conquest, with harsh treatment for the Greeks if he is successful.
To have made the Italian soldier and Caesar himself the laughing stock of humanity is something which will not be lightly avenged if ever Caesar has the power.
Again, Greece and Turkey both know by this time that Adolf Hitler's promises are worthless. Apparently, Hitler wants just now to avoid a fight in the Balkans. And so it may be that he will refrain for the present from violating promises not to attempt forceful invasion. But the "economic" infestations by Nazis will begin at once, and it will be only a matter of time until Greece and Turkey are completely absorbed, as Rumania and Bulgaria have been absorbed.
Moreover, there is a good gambling chance that Salonika and the Dardanelles can be held if the Greeks stand fast and Turkey acts with sufficient dispatch. If so, then it will be of enormous advantage to the British, and so to the real hopes of the Greeks and the Turks.
First, it will keep Hitler heavily engaged in an attempt to drive Britain from this toehold on the Continent. And secondly, it will afford a base for a backdoor attack on Germany when the time comes.
That Washington is afraid that Greece will yield and is desperately trying to bolster up her courage to go on fighting is indicated by what happened in the Senate yesterday. The partisan obstructionists, who are not really frenetic isolationists like Wheeler or empty exhibitionists like Robert Rice Reynolds, incredibly wait until disaster is upon them, then they began to show signs of retreating to sense. And the Administration forces, which have been moving most sleepily, showed unprecedented energy in the way they steam-rollered the amendment offered by the opposition. Such energy in aid to Britain is always the result of the sudden chill of fear.
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