The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 24,1941


Site Ed. Note: Sometime during this day in history, somewhere in Riddle, Missouri--or was it Riddles'more, North Caroliniana, Riddlemeree, Minnesaqua--we forget--, was born into the world a young lad who would meld the art of poetry with the rhythms of the music of his day as few if any had before him, certainly with broader impact than anyone before him. His music became, whether he chose it so or not, along with that of those who preceded him, some of the new marching anthems of the fresh age stretching before the bright landscape of modernity coming on after the end of the war and in the face of tensions the postwar world had produced, East vs. West, and whether that tension would coalesce ultimately and meld itself into understanding, or disintegrate and lead on to chaos and potentially the final battle on the field at Armageddon.

And, as we pointed out a couple of years ago in February, as we read his book one day, being moved by the rhythm conveyed within it, once one rainy night in March, 1991 we sat down and found the paper responding to our pen with words comprising a few verses. That, as we built a spiral staircase of cherry wood, spiraling toward the sky, nearby a large pine tree, which then two years later, through the inadvertence of someone else distracted, wound up serendipitously catching fire, along with our house, albeit surviving, along with the tree, though as we look at it out our window even now, still bearing the smoky bark of its past, even these 15 years after that Christmas night.

Sometimes, we think it must be the angels who speak to us in these rhythmic ways. We don't know from whence it comes or to whom it pays or where it goes when its time is done. Whether it's a communicable fad or phase or even stuck to the bottom of the chaise, someone else's twice-chewed gum.

In any event, happy birthday to the singer, songwriter, song and dance man, for many a contemplative hour past and many more hopefully to come, who took it down as he saw it, and sang it just the same, though often as not differently, as no riddle adds together like a riddle that's subtracted from the multiplication of the divisions of the past to equate to what is finally to be, simply, yet without tenuity, stated poetry.

We never had heard the album by the singer, songwriter, song and dance man, sometime riverboat gambler, and rambler of the back pages from Riddle's Bluff, Arkennessee, the one whom you and the rest of the world know as simply Alias, shortly thereafter released in March, 1991 when these verses, among some others, came to us then. But there it is, even now the pages still smoked by that fire of the not so long ago here in Riddlesalotte Township, Tierra del Faraway--

Binges and greed, lusts and seed
Disgust breeds robust fists which hit the bleeding field
And damned the life which gave them to think
Or held them to others and themselves thus linked
Which led them to leave and enmesh in the glory
To which they gave flesh for the unremitting story
And exchanged it in token for a moment's thought
Of being not just a cipher whose soul was bought

Whether they were of conscript made
To feel the distemper of the blooded blade,
Or being too old on the field to fight,
Found fallen and shot, memory's unrequite:

The hat, once staid, is rent and caught
The wagon bears that which once gave love,
Where all grief's gremlins
Were neither sent nor sought,
Now open wounds dumped out the dove,
And laid ice-still on the family step,
A corpse which once his wife's kiss he kept
Gone now to where the pages' list lees slept

The soldier's last trail aroints his passing
We see it in pictures, poems unmasquing

No Trespassing

NC Democrats Turn Back the Attack of the New Dealers

There it is again--that amazing contrast between the conservative nature of the Democratic Party in North Carolina where internal organization is concerned, and the unblinking allegiance of the State organization to the national organization despite the radical turn it has taken under the New Deal.

Don't kid yourself that the contest between Governor Hoey and Dick Reynolds for the Democratic National Committee was merely a personal scrap for an honorary position. It wasn't that any more than it was an impulsive joust between age and youth or experience and inexperience, or even Winston-Salem and Shelby.

To the contrary, Dick Reynolds' fight for the place represented a deliberate and concerted (and well-financed) effort by the New Deal element of the Democratic Party in North Carolina to wrest control of the traditionally conservative management of the party. It lost. Grover Cleveland Democrats held the day against the FDR Democrats.

The State at large is better off therefor, we think. Although we may not always approve the methods and the philosophy of the old-line Democrats in North Carolina, the fact remains that they have consistently governed ably and honorably, and that able and honorable government in Southern states is the exception rather than the rule.

They'll vote for Roosevelt every time he comes up, to be sure, for to politicians organization and regularity are bread and meat. They will even excuse his newfangled notions and profess some sympathy for his policies. But when it comes to home consumption, they'll have no truck with New Dealism. They affirmed as much in Raleigh yesterday.

Quick Retort

Collett's Move Is Bitter Commentary on Darlan

The action of Colonel Collett in going over to the Free French forces from Syria yesterday gave the lie to Darlan even as he spoke.

The sly little Admiral, who got his title by political chicanery and pull rather than by any great naval distinction, denied that Hitler had demanded any territorial concessions or the French Navy. And went on to babble about his honor making it impossible for him ever to yield that navy to the Nazis.

Events in Syria had already proved that he was juggling falsehoods. And elsewhere the evidence was the same. Weygand had certainly been winking at the passage of Nazi troops through Tunisia and the fact that the Nazis were busily fortifying North Africa. Moreover, the Nazis were known to be at Dakar in considerable force, and to be using other French North African ports as submarine bases. And the grim warning of Eden showed plainly that England knew well that Darlan planned to allow Nazi troops to pass over unoccupied France to Spain, an attack on Gibraltar and an attempt to seize the Azores, Canaries and Cape Verdes.

As for Darlan's honor, it was worth even less now than when knowledge of the man led the British to judge it necessary to paralyze the French fleet at Oran.

The whole speech was simply a typical Nazi effort to further muddy the waters in order to raise frenzied cries of "treachery" when Britain found it necessary to strike Vichy--and to try to lull the United States for yet a while longer.


S. C. Politicoes Successfully Duck Dangerous Issues

In the typically devious way of politicians was that prohibition question "settled" in South Carolina Thursday by the Legislature.

Last Summer, in an advisory ballot, the people of the state, (the Democrats only) had voted by a substantial majority in favor of a return to total prohibition, including beer and wine.

The wisdom of that was plainly questionable.

But if you grant that the majority in a democratic state have the right to attempt to do anything not specifically forbidden by the Constitution, then the duty of the Legislature in this case was inexorably plain.

South Carolina, however, was already in such financial straits that the Legislature was torn by a bitter fight over an attempt at diversion of earmarked highway funds to the general treasury. And her budget was to be increased this time by a raise for school teachers, etc. To give up the revenues from the legal sale of liquor would be sure to wreck the budget.

And so on that point politicoes, wet and dry (save for a few fanatically honest ones), found a way to avoid decisive action. Thursday they passed a bill by a whooping oral vote from both sides which ordered a return to prohibition provided a sufficiency of revenue to replace the liquor taxes was found by July 1, 1942. That left the baby in the lap of the next Legislature, enabled the "drys" to claim loyalty to their promises and still escape the responsibility for wrecking the State finances.

A Backfire

Flynn Unwittingly Lights Up Lindbergh, Wheeler Speeches

At the Madison Square rally of the so-called America First forces last night, John T. Flynn, chairman of the New York chapter of the outfit, resorted to an old and silly trick in an effort to smear the Administration's foreign policy and its backers.

Pointing to Joe McWilliams in the audience, he bawled:

"What he is doing here, how he gets in here, whose stooge he is I do not know, but I know the photographers of these warmongering newspapers can always find him when they want him."

Mr. Flynn knew very well that McWilliams is the founder of the Christian Front and the American Destiny Party, a stooge of Coughlin and one of the chief native agents of Fascism and Nazism in this country. And he knew well, too, that McWilliams was whooping that Roosevelt was a warmonger, whooping for appeasement, long before Mr. Flynn took up the cry.

It was merely a trick to try to suggest that McWilliams was really a secret stooge of the New York newspapers and ultimately of the Administration, and so to transfer the onus to the enemy.

Unfortunately for Mr. Flynn, the trick backfired. As he spoke a great chorus of boos and denunciations of Flynn broke out over the hall and eventually drowned him out. Whatever Mr. Flynn desired, the audience made it amply plain that its own sympathies lay with McWilliams, with Fascism and Nazism.

In view of that, it is interesting to observe what Lindbergh and Wheeler told this audience.

"Lindbergh," says the Associated Press, "drew a parallel between the foreign policy of the American Government and that of the Hitler regime in Germany..." Wheeler was bolder.

"He said he believed that the President can demand that the war-makers, the Hitlers in Germany, the Churchills in England, and the Knoxes and Stimsons, step down and out."

Observe that Churchill, Knox and Stimson are all linked with Hitler as being equally responsible for the war. You have to go only one step beyond that to have Churchill, Knox and Stimson totally guilty of the war and Hitler a great apostle of peace. Hitler, Churchill, Knox, Stimson--all men of a common character and purpose.

And this from men who shriek "smear!"when somebody suggests that they might be admirers of Hitler.

Observe also that the audience is told, the American people are told, that Roosevelt can force Hitler out whenever he chooses, make peace. If Wheeler believes that, he is a fool; and he is not a fool. He is merely resorting to the same kind of demagogic trick by which he has kept himself in office for most of his lifetime.

With the motives of these men we are not here concerned. The simple and clear fact about them is that they are standing up night after night before audiences which they know to be largely made up of un-American and pro-Nazi elements and by deliberate falsehood whipping them up to new frenzies of hate for the American Government--that night after night they are preaching appeasement to the American people without ever admitting what it is they preach, and so, regardless of their motives, doing their level best to paralyze the American will in time of peril and thereby aiding Hitler more than ten million Bundists could aid him.

Site Ed. Note: The rest of the page is here. The fathers of America, you will note from the letters to the editor, responded in contradistinction to the isolationist mothers of America residing on Clement Avenue from a few days back.

Eastward Hoe, incidentally, the source of the daily quote, is here.

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