• U.S.

Letters, Nov. 2, 1942

13 minute read

Philology Among the Marines


I was very interested in your article in the Oct. 5 issue of TIME on Jap v. Marine struggle for the Solomon Islands. Only one thing puzzled me, and that is when the Japs broke into the clearing shouting “Banzai!” what did they mean ? Three marines were discussing the situation tonight after dinner. One suggested it meant “Screeno!” and another thought it meant “Backgammon!” and the last thought the Jap might possibly have meant “Where’s the head?” Do you think you could settle this dispute ?

H. P. WHEELER Lieutenant, U.S.M.C.R. Marine Corps School Quantico, Va.

— Banzai! Literally means “10,000 years” (ban: 10,000; zai: years). As Japs tell it to the Marines, it means “Long Live the Emperor!” or simply “Hooray!”—ED.

First Negro Namesake


In TIME, Oct. 5, page 25, an article under “Races” states: “First Liberty ship to bear a Negro’s name, she is the first to be christened by a member of the Negro race—Marian Anderson, contralto.”

In this connection we would like to advise that the Liberty vessel, S.S. Jason Lee, launched from the Kaiser Co.’s Oregon Shipbuilding Corp. on June 27, 1942, was christened by Mrs. Walter E. Harris, wife of Walter E. Harris, Negro swing shift porter. . . . HAL BABBITT Publicity Director Oregon Shipbuilding Corp. Portland, Ore.

> TIME gladly restores to Mrs. Harris her rightful honors.—ED.

On the President’s Tour


I have just read your story on the Presidency in your issue of Oct. 12.

If, as you have at times implied, what this country needs is a unified war spirit, why don’t you newspaper men who, like ministers, are always preaching at others—why don’t you set a proper example yourselves?

Every single time your integrity is questioned, you howl as if the sky had been plucked away from the earth. Don’t you see that that makes it look as if the thing were justified? Every single time the President or anyone else points out where you have been off the job, we get jab, jab, jab into our President who, whatever you may say about him, has a big job on his hands and really needs the help of all of us, just as much as the Army, the Navy and the war industries.

Not long ago you blasted Congress loud and long, and we all thought, “There is justice now and then, regardless of the old proverb.” When your turn comes, you howl like kindergarten kids, till the country is persuaded that that is what you are.

Newspapers are not always careful about their unbridled ability to sway opinion, and so sometimes yield to the temptation to shade the truth to their desires, PARTICULARLY AROUND ELECTION TIMES. In such times the public has little redress, but if the abuse goes too far, the liberty of the newspapers will one of these days likewise be curtailed. Democracy acts this way too.

I venture the whole country would like to see a few real men in Congress and in the fourth estate as well who could take it without howling like children, as well as dishing it out. In these days the red herring and such are of more value in the kitchen.



After reading your comments under “The Presidency” . . . following the President’s trip, I am of the opinion that he, at least, has realized a fact well known to many generations of citizens of this country:

The people of the U.S. can take it, but official Washington does not have the guts to dish it out.

ARTHUR C. BROWN Gainesville, Fla.

>TIME is well aware of the considerable public reaction to the general bad press the President received after the conference in which he criticized: 1) the Congress, 2) the Press, 3) his own Administration. But in the light of a fortnight’s calm retrospect, let Reader Parke reread TIME’S story and judge again for himself its fairness.—ED.

The Fold Case


You have written in regard to the recent western trip of President Roosevelt [TIME, Oct. 12]:

“When the train stopped at Billings, a railway clerk saw a Scottie out for an airing on the platform, read its identification tag. It was the President’s Fala. Soon all Montana buzzed with a rumor that Franklin Roosevelt was on his way to a mid-Pacific conference with Joseph Stalin, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Wendell Willkie.”

The inference is rather plain that the railway clerk immediately broadcast the tidings, which caused the buzz of rumor (which somehow confined itself to the State of Montana; never spilling over any of the State boundary lines).

For your information, the railway clerk not only kept the information about the dog to himself, but wrote the White House, suggesting that in future trips of this kind the name tag be covered to prevent such “buzzing” as mentioned above. . . .

E. G. ALLISON Billings, Mont.

>TIME’S correspondent reported the facts about a Montana rumor. Quite conceivably Reader Allison — the clerk in question — was not the only Montanan who identified Scottie Fala while he was being publicly aired.—ED.



I would like to comment on Mrs. Whipple’s letter in your issue of Oct. 19. …

I went to Noble’s myself, once, and thought it anything but “snooty.” Since escaping from the Boston educational system I have followed the lamp of learning through Iowa State College, the University of Chicago, and now Army Air Forces Technical Schools.

I have found, away from Boston, that eminently more satisfying society where status is based on merit, not ancestors’ business deals.

Noble’s may not be snooty to Mrs. Whipple, but it is to 95% of the American people.

PRIVATE CALVIN W. STILLMAN ist Technical School Squadron Chanute Field, Ill.



I used to think I’d rather take a physical beating than have a “favorable” notice in TIME. I must apologize for that; your review of my book, Lord of Alaska (TIME, Oct. 12), is very pleasant. The review is excellently done. . . .


Aleuts and Ice-worms


I am startled indeed to read in your review of my book, Alaska Under Arms (TIME, Oct. 12), that “Eskimos and Aleuts are rarely seen south of the Arctic Circle.” It is probably true for most of the Eskimos—but most of the Aleuts, as their name indicates, have always lived on the Aleutian Islands, far south of the Circle.

I didn’t make the mistake about the Aleuts in my book. But it would be hard convincing any Alaskan that I didn’t, because they expect writers about Alaska to make mistakes. Long treated to fantastic misconceptions of their country, the Alaskans have a kind of humorous annoyance toward snooping visitors from the States. They like to kid them and tell them tall stories—like the one about long, spaghetti-like worms-feeding off the ice in the glaciers.

I tried to keep any and all “ice-worms” out of my book*and now, somehow, one of them has managed to crawl into TIME’S review. It’s all very sad.


Black & White


Thank you for your excellent story, “Black and White” [TIME, Oct. 19], concerning the hospitality and kindness shown American Negro troops by the Britishers in their homeland. I hope your story will help bring about among the provincial-minded in our own ranks a greater sense of courtesy toward their colored fellow soldiers. Or that, at least, they will learn to permit others, who might wish to be decent to colored people, the privilege of so being. We are human, too, and try to have good manners.

LANGSTON HUGHES Saratoga Springs, N.Y.


Please allow me as a reader of TIME for the past ten years to express complete disgust over your article “Black and White.”

As the white and colored people of the South probably outnumber the English readers of TIME to a great extent, it seems to me you are throwing gasoline on a small flame. The colored people of the South are, I think, much happier than their brothers in the North. They have their own society and the white people have theirs. As long as the South exists there can never be any other arrangement and it is futile to try, while we are at war, to bring about racial equality.

It seems a shame that a bunch of damn Yankees who have never been in close contact with Negroes should try to destroy, as much as Talmadge did, a friendly, peaceful relation between two races.

My people came to Georgia from Virginia in the 18th Century and we have always had Negro servants whom we loved and respected. In my small business I employ about 15 colored women and we all like and respect each other. If one of them gets sick, or in trouble, I do my best to help her. If the company makes money I try to see that they get their share of it. I honestly believe that they are happier and better satisfied than I am.

The Negro community in this town has its own doctors, lawyers and insurance companies. The colored citizens are all a respected part of the town, so why in the hell do you have to try to stir up trouble among us. …

TIME, please let me say, as a person who has due respect and affection for Negroes, that you are stirring up a hell of a lot of trouble for no reason at all. . . .


> The facts in TIME’S story about the troubles in England between U.S. Southerners and U.S. Negroes pointed to the English handling of the problem as an example of democracy in action. Historically, democracy in action usually stirs up a hell of a lot of trouble. -ED.

The Education of McCain


I read with interest James Gordon McCain’s letter in the Oct. 12 issue of TIME in reference to TIME’S remarks about his father, Admiral John S. McCain, in the Sept. 28 issue.

… I would like to add my bit to Mr. McCain’s defense of his father. You’re damn well right the Admiral has a flying suit, and by all that’s good and holy he knows how to use it too! I was a student at Pensacola with Admiral McCain, and another oldtimer, Admiral Blakely, and there were never two students who pursued their course with such diligence and success as those two gentlemen. They took the entire course with the rest of us, including the instructors’ cussing when boners became too frequent, and were not spared the tough phases in “deference to their stripes.” They both passed with flying colors the hardest part of the course—the criticism by their fellow students, Naval Reserve cadets, who were merciless in their criticism of all and sundry of the regular Navy.

Later, after graduation, we all found it the greatest pleasure to serve under these admirals because we found that, regardless of the many years of “battleships” behind them, they were capable of “wearing their flying suits,” and deserving of their pay-and-a-half. . . .

AUGUST D. WATKINS Lieutenant (j.g.) U.S.N.R. Sea Cliff, N.Y.

Less Trouble


The tax story entitled “Double Trouble,” published in TIME, Sept. 14, contained serious misstatements regarding the Treasury’s proposal for the collection of income tax at source.

Your statement that the Bureau of Internal Revenue will require 50,000 additional business machines to administer collection-at-source is incorrect. Commissioner Helvering estimates that the Bureau would require less than 3,000 machines. The figure of 50,000 business machines included not only the estimated governmental requirements but also a liberal estimate of the machines which industry would require, based on what business men said they would need.

You say “The Government doesn’t worry about what private employers will do.” The truth is that before its plan for collection-at-source was finally formulated, the Treasury made an exhaustive survey by personal interview of more than 450 employers whose payrolls included almost 2^ million employes. . . . Only a negligible number expressed any serious concern about the problems that would be raised by the introduction of collection-at-source. Moreover, the Treasury put forth its revised plan only after it had the assurances of WPB that the machines necessary to both Government and business would be available.

Collection-at-source is of vital importance to many millions of taxpayers. I hope your misstatements will be corrected by a forthright retraction in the earliest possible issue of TIME.

RANDOLPH E. PAUL General Counsel Treasury Department Washington, D.C.

> To the Treasury’s Randolph Evern-ghim Paul, TIME’S thanks for a correction of a misstatement originating in faulty press reporting.—ED.

First Punch for Princess Juliana


Also sponsored by Princess Juliana, also for the benefit of Dutch war relief, the Baltimore Museum of Art’s exhibition of 35 paintings by Holland’s vibrant, passionate impressionist, Vincent van Gogh, beat the Duveen Galleries to the punch by three weeks. Although not of the scope and splendor of the Dutch Masters show, the Baltimore Museum’s exhibition is a comprehensive study of a Dutchman who loved, and painted for the little people of the world whose freedom we are trying to make a lasting fact.

However, this is not a plea for publicity, but a tribute to your story on the Dutch Masters [TIME, Oct. 2]. With your usual few deftly chosen words you have epitomized the spirit of 17th-Century Dutch painting, and outlined glowingly what must be an inspiringly beautiful show. . . .

PHYLLIS PITTROFF Acting Director of Public Relations Baltimore Museum of Art Baltimore, Md.

Tears & Joy


Your article on “Phyllis the Fortress” (TIME, Oct. 19) was read with a great deal of interest by the staff here at the Muskegon Y.M.C.A. Mrs. Bernice Pashakowski, one of our scrub women, is the mother of Lieut. Komarek, third from left in the cut.

The A.P. story appeared in our local paper along with his picture. Mrs. Pashakowski knew nothing about this until she opened the paper and saw the picture of her son. She cannot read English well, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that her son had been killed. It took almost two hours for her neighbors to quiet her down, and then she could not believe the facts, until she went to a neighbor’s house and had a high-school girl read it to her.

Now she is as proud as Punch concerning the exploit of her son, but still plenty worried because she knows he is over Germany or France practically every night when the weather is right.


General Secretary

Y.M.C.A. Muskegon, Mich.

*Scientists and explorers have actually found minute wormlike forms of life in glacier areas. But Alaskans don’t believe this, and if any of them should read this letter they will doubtless chuckle and chalk up two against me.

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