The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 2, 1940


Site Ed. Note: A couple of days ago, we had occasion to be on a ship bound for elsewhere. We only had an hour to lay over in port, changing ships upon the journey. It was a nice spring day in the port city, warm and sunny. We wanted to take a hike.

Oh, to have a little longer here in port this day, we thought to ourselves.

Oh well. We must press on. Business next day is pressing.

So, we sauntered to the counter to get our cabin assignment, which had not yet been given from our point of embarkation on this flying ship.

The person in line ahead, seeking likewise, seemed disappointed, as cabin assignments were at a premium. Ship was full.

Naturally, we said we would be glad to take a later ship in the afternoon. Time for a nice spring day hike.

Splendid, said the ship's ticket master. We have a ship leaving in five and a half hours. How would that be?

Splendid, we replied. We shall do that then.

Wonderful, said the ship's ticket master. We shall thus award you with a free trip on another ship to any destination within this great land of ours, at your choosing.

Even more splendid, then, said we. We had expected no such reward.

So, we sauntered into the sunshine for a trip on the magical bus to the city and, via the subway, under the river over which runs the bridge, to the mall in the city.

As we boarded the magical bus, we observed a priest sitting in a portable chair in the day’s sunshine. The priest caught our attention for he was enjoying what appeared to be a fine cigar.

We were envious. We had our cigars, but they were packed away, still onboard ship, and thus inaccessible of the moment. We would like one for our hike, but would have to wait until later for that, until such time as we reached our destination, such as now, as we write this, to enjoy one of our fine cigars.

After we boarded the magical bus, we observed further this interesting priest enjoying contemplatively his fine cigar. We could see that he was lost in deep observation, nobly considering some book he had open on his lap, reading it in no hurry there on the terrace below the bus’s window from which we peered, obscured by the tint of the window. We could not read the print of his book from our position but recognized the book nevertheless. For we had seen it before, and had even read it some, that same book. It was a book with red letters in it. The young priest was the perfect picture of a man at peace.

The magical bus hurtled on toward the subway. The subway train arrived just as we did and we hurtled on to the city. Deboarded at the mall where the museums of the city congregate, after stepping off the train for five minutes in confusion as to whether we were on the right train, orange. We were, but no matter. Catch red. Five minutes lost only. Time was kind, leaving over two hours to hike.

We sauntered along the mall on this sunny afternoon, the mall where all the equally fortunate, young and older, were able to ingratiate themselves to the midday sunshine, between the monument and the building where all important affairs of state are enacted and fall short of enactment or are merely debated and never brought to task to determine whether they shall be enacted or not. Or, as with this couple of weeks, where still others are sometimes pocketed or nay-sayed over at the Big House.

Once, years earlier, when much younger, we came here on a May afternoon, just to make a phone call to someone special. Long ago and far away. The monument this time is too far the other way to which to walk.

Eventually, after some period of about ninety minutes, after walking around the building where the affairs of state are held forth for the people’s praise or condemnation, and after seeing some stately limousine with one guard vehicle following in train enter the grounds--carrying whom we don’t know, for the tinted windows, but must have been someone very important to the affairs of state--, we sauntered on around the grounds of the mall to the museums.

Which one shall we visit? There is the air and space museum, as they call it, but been there before a couple of times, natural history, art, been there, too—so many therefore from which to choose to see again.

Art. That’s a fit subject. Shall we go there for a little while, though time grows short now as we saunter too long to dally long in a museum on a sunny May day. One hour now left.

Time enough. So, into the art museum did we.

You will need to take that bag to the check room, said the man at the entrance to the free museum. Your automated writing tablet, you may carry with you.

So, to the check room we went, where the elderly gentleman, in a quaint custom we seldom see anymore in this age of automation, patiently took up claim checks to match the stored bags of others as we stood in line awaiting our turn, watching the clock. We only had now about fifty minutes before we must disembark from our saunter and head back to ship for the trip to our destination for the day. We must be where we are destined to be by late tonight or else miss our turn for our business, important business, next day.

Finally, we reached our turn and handed over our bag and received our claim check. Hurtled then we on through the museum, chronologizing ages of time in art.

Fifty-five minutes—only time to cover, after all, Rembrandt van Rijn to Vincent van Gogh, and a few in between, impressionistically, in the mere space of fifty-four minutes of time.

No time to dally or linger too long on each piece of art. Besides, our legs are getting a little tired after all of this earlier sauntering two-thirds up the mall, around the building where all the affairs of state draw little or no attention each ordinary day, except when wars are being fought and funded or defunded perhaps, depending on the whimsy of the constituencies, or some other weighty business of state stops us once in awhile to take notice, then back down the mall halfway toward the monument, into the museum.

In the midst of our quick stroll through the art of about two hundred and fifty odd years, we came upon not only the aforementioned start and end artists, but also Manet, Monet, Cassatt, Cassini, Gauguin, El Greco, and a few others who had offered for the ages their pleasant tints of impression. We walked into one room and stood for a moment, caught with an eye for this picture of Diana, the huntress--a stunningly beautiful young woman, you would have to admit, in admiration. We were struck by her contrasts, her beauty on the one hand, her arched bow on the other, and at her feet, the deer she had just killed.

Why? Why is such beauty tainted with the desire to kill one of the living, harmless creatures? For food? She was a goddess, and thus did not need to eat, except perhaps of the golden apples. She had no cause for venison for sustenance.

Nevertheless, she killed, for he had seen her nudity by the lake. And thus, turned him to a deer to be killed for the slaughter.

Or, do we confuse our memory of Diana, the huntress?

Never mind. We shall let you determine it on your own.

We must rush along now or miss our destination. We just paused momentarily, to admire her, as we sort of liked that very large picture there in the middle of the museum on the mall in that port city.

She has a nice bosom, doesn't she?

Art museums are nice places to visit on a warm spring day in a port city.

Having finished our fifty-four minute browse of the museum, we retraced our steps, quickly now, to avoid missing our ship, as we had now only two hours until departure time, but with only the need of an hour to return to port, we had no problem in making ship.

Indeed, no problems with the subway or the magical bus schedule, despite one poor woman at the back of the bus yelling at the driver to wait for her friend. "He’s on the platform just now, just two minutes. Please wait."

"Sorry, ma’am. On a schedule. The magical bus must leave now. No time to dally. Other passengers, too, have ships to catch."

"Can’t believe you’re just leaving him like that. He's right there."

Life can be tough.

We returned to port within the hour, with fully 45 minutes left to make ship. No problem. We shall make our ship, get back for the important business next day.

As we rode the subway, we realized that we had missed the graveyard across the river, that we could have caught the subway to it easily enough, had we just another hour. Next time. We shall await next time for that visit. Haven’t been there in awhile. Maybe should have skipped the art museum and the mall and gone there instead. It would have been a good time of year for that visit, in late May. But next time. Catch blue train.

The line at port, awaiting boarding to ship was unusually long, it approaching holiday. Never mind that, twenty minutes, thirty at most, for the serpentinely coiling line to clear entry-check regulations. We shall make it.

Ten minutes went by, and the line was moving fast. Twenty, still moving fast. Twenty-five. Barely enough time, but almost through the check entry point. No problem. Maybe a small delay on ship’s departure will get us there easily enough.

Check credentials. Huh? "SSSS?" Not that Super-Secret Stuff Shirt again.

Now, came someone leading us elsewhere, to some line of others with the same mysterious marks on the ticket, standing before a machine, fifteen deep before us. Machine blew everyone’s hair and clothing a mess, as if Diana were there taking her archery lessons. We could no longer pause in admiration.

More time passing, waiting, waiting now, agitatedly waiting. Ten minutes until ship leaves, five minutes. Ship perhaps will be delayed, we hope. Can we make our business next day, still?

Art museum. Mall. Maybe we should not have risked so much time there. Diana, the huntress. Nice bosom.

Maybe we should have gone on ahead on the original voyage and not obliged with surrendering our cabin reservation to another. Time. Hurry. Please hurry.

Step to the line and let the jet of air blow over you, now, said the gentleman, annoyingly politely, standing to the inner side of the blowing machine, all ready if necessary with his rubber gloves—though for what we dare not think.

Now, you may put back on your shoes.

No rubber gloves. Praise be for that at least.

Let us check your automatic writing machine though to see that it writes automatically. Yes. That’s good. Now proceed to your ship and have a pleasant voyage.

Five minutes late.

Bus to shipside, seven minute ride. Too late. Gone, no doubt.

No, wait. Maybe not. Ship delayed thirteen minutes, two minutes to departure.


No, doors closed. Looks bad.

Too late?

Sorry, too late. Ship is closed; gangway raised. No swimming in port.

New voyage departing though in two and a half hours.

Should only we have known, we could have gone to the graveyard, again. Not enough time to go back though. Next time.

Tummy says time now to go to the Subway, for lunch.

Voyage time for the flying ship nearing; we see that it was delayed by ninety minutes. Ship out of order. New ship being readied--one they called "Ted". Could have gone to the graveyard after all if that had been posted two hours ago. Too late now though. C’est la vie.

Finally, though, onboard. Ship’s captain apologizes, says ship will cruise on good seas and make up for a half hour lost time. All offered free wine on him. We accept.

Watch a film about a bridge to a magical kingdom where children explore being. Nice film, but sad. In the end, however, hopeful, as life crosses the bridge to the magical place on the other side of the river.

Another, about a bacteriologist marrying a young lady with a very nice bosom, so nice that she could not remain faithful to her vows. The cuckold volunteers thus to fight the cholera epidemic in the countryside at the nun’s hospital. Woman reluctantly goes, after some cajoling by the cuckold. Chilly relations for a time, but cuckold ends cuckoldery. Woman now pregnant. No sooner, bacteriologist succumbs to cholera. Woman has baby, returns to London, lives on with young son, walks away from her life of unfaithfulness when chance encounter offers temptation. Nice film, but sad. In the end, however, hopeful, as life crosses the bridge to the magical place on the other side of the river.

Destination reached at midnight. Long day’s journey. Missed the graveyard. Next time.

Too late for subway trains. Have to take shuttle to bridge space across the expanse of water between here and there. Home at 2:00 a.m. Four hours sleep.

Business next morning. Up at 6:45. Out the door at 7:20.

Arrive right on time, just as expected. No undue delays.

Business, however, postponed to another day.

We enjoyed our day on the mall, fifty-four minutes of which we spent at the art museum, and most especially there, that picture, by Monsieur Renoir, of Diana, the huntress, and her very nice bosom--even if coupled with her arched bow to kill the deer, when its eyes crossed her bathing beauty with too much familiarity, from out the witchwood, by those thick as a brick, coming down by Lunnon, by Geordie, cigar smoking young priests contemplatively reading a book with red letters in it as we peered out from behind the tinted window at the pleasant and obscurely interesting scene on a May spring morning, and all.


Boss Lewis Treats Everybody And Everything To His Ire

In the course of his denunciations of everything yesterday Boss John Lewis of the CIO had to say:

"Not a single solitary suggestion is being made in America on how to provide Americans with work."

That is, of course, not strictly accurate. There are all sorts of suggestions. One crew says that if Government will give business a chance for a year or two, the problem will be solved. Another, the New Dealers, say it is the duty of capital to go to work, of business to hire every possible man, with Government continuing meantime to spend more, not less.

As for Boss Lewis, he, like Boss Green of the AFL, has practiced the belief that business just ought to be forced to hire more men, whether it needs them or not.

All these suggestions are very vague, certainly. There is no proof that any of them will work. Indeed, you can argue from the record that none of them will work, and that applies above all to the last plan.

If it is a suggestion so logical and so clear that it is certain to work, a suggestion which at once will convince all sane men; if it is this Boss Lewis wants, then it is to be said at once that he is right. Nobody has such a suggestion, including especially Boss John Lewis.

Bad Logic

Carried Out, This Would Land Us In A Pickle

Justice McGeehan's arguments, in connection with the Bertrand Russell decision, that freedom is not license and that Russell must be punished by legal penalties on the ground that his books propose what is contrary to New York penal law, are excellent examples of the kind of confused logic which is quite common.

The community does quite right, certainly, to think that freedom of the press excludes the right to circulate pornography without legal penalty. It does quite right, too, to resist attempts to put new ideas directly into practice until they have been shown to be superior to the old. Else we should spend our time in dangerous experiments and end in chaos.

But those are the only two rational limits. When you attempt to draw a distinction between freedom and license beyond these limits, you immediately come up against the question: who is going to decide? Simply another fallible human creature or aggregation of human creatures, of course.

If the justice's logic, that nobody must be allowed to say what could conceivably lead some foolish youth or some simpleton to break an established law or code, should prevail, it would be impossible for anybody ever to question any established law or code, and so impossible ever to change any established law or code. We should be frozen fast in the status quo. And to suppose that desirable, we have to suppose that we have already arrived at perfection--scarcely a tenable hypothesis for sane men.


Some Philadelphia Radio Men Find Out Something

The boys at that local radio station in Philadelphia ought to have known better. They had just got through transmitting the Jack Benny program, which features Orson Welles, who panicked the nation with his Martian invasion hoax.

To be sure, it was the eve of April 1, and no doubt they thought that when they announced, on the purported authority of the astronomers of the Franklin Institute that the world would end next day at 3 P. M., nobody in his senses would take it seriously--that it would be nothing but swell publicity for the new planetarium the Institute wanted to call attention to.

But by the record they ought to have known better. Thousands of Philadelphians were frightened out of their wits, 4,000 telephone calls descended upon one agency alone, and crowds went scurrying around town, intent on fleeing somewhere, anywhere, to get away from the disaster which they solemnly believed in.

Forty years ago, in his celebrated "Golden Bough," Sir James G. Fraser noted that the ideas of civilization really deeply affect only a relatively small proportion of the population, that millions are civilized only on the surface, and that beneath that surface the old superstitious inheritance from the childhood of the race still persists, making them easy victims for any kind of preposterous nonsense.

Mr. Welles found that Sir James perhaps knew what he was talking about. The radio boys in Philadelphia are probably beginning to suspect it, too, by now.


The Three Largest Fish Fetched By Nazi Bait

By common consent of the competent observers, the German white paper last week is a device for stirring up an isolationist uproar and dissension in this country--probably to head off the Administration airplane policy toward the Allies.

It is significant that the three men in Congress who have so far risen to the bait are:

Rush Holt, of West Virginia. A disgruntled politico who hates the Roosevelt Administration, and who has shown violent antipathy toward Britain.

Ham Fish. A professional partisan and smearer who brands everybody with whom he disagrees as a Red and a traitor. A man who has shown strong Fascist tendencies throughout his career, an intense dislike for the guarantees of the Bill of Rights. A man, who, having roared for years that we should absolutely keep our nose out of European affairs, suddenly took ship to Europe last August, hurried to Germany to hobknob at length with Goering, dashed to Norway, horned into a Scandinavian conference then in progress without being invited, attempted to stampede that conference into plopping for "peace" on the Nazi terms, was shown the door.

Robert Rice Reynolds. A play boy who for years has squandered the taxpayers' money, of which he is now suddenly very tender, touring the world and all other points east, south, west, and north. His first sign of seriousness appeared when he came back from a stay in Nazi Germany in 1938, when he was heavily played up to by Nazi understrappers, and announced that he greatly admired these Nazis and their leader, Adolf Hitler. He showed increasing signs of seriousness by defending the Nazis and Adolf Hitler greatly from the floor of the Senate. Who has since devoted himself to getting up an organization for the preaching of racial hatred, chauvinistic nationalism, and other ideas exactly or nearly identical with those preached by the Nazis. And who has done his level best to involve us in a bitter quarrel--perhaps ultimately war--with Great Britain by proposals to grab her island possessions in this hemisphere, on the claim that it was a just payment of the war debt, though the record shows clearly that he is perfectly aware that most of these islands are economic liabilities rather than assets.


But It Is Unlikely Russia Can Apply This Budget

Nominally, the Russian "defense budget" of 57,000,000,000 rubles comes to more than $11,000,000,000. Actually, it comes to no such thing. For the ruble is entirely worthless as a medium of exchange for dollars, pounds, francs, lire, marks, or any other important national currency. If Russia wants dollars or any of these other currencies, she must pay for them in gold or materials.

Nevertheless, there is a way of measuring just how staggering this budget is. That is, simply by observing that it represents nearly one-third of the anticipated revenues of the Russian state from all sources. And in estimating that, it is necessary to remember that the income of the Russian state includes practically all the wealth produced by the whole Russian people. Or in other words, the income of the state is somewhere near the total national income.

In relation to the comparative income of the two countries, it is as though the United States were to spend $20,000,000,000 on armament in a year!

But that suggests plainly that this "budget" is probably a phoney intended to impress and frighten foreign nations. Certainly, if it is put into effect it promises to make the systematic starving of 3,000,000 peasants under the original five-year-plan, by way of buying machines abroad, look like a mere warm-up.

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