I Dare Say – Parrygraphs (9-16-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 16, 1941)




By Florence Fisher Parry

Shooting war or no shooting war, interventionist or isolationist, New Deal or razorback Old Guard, no one in his right mind could deny the fact that President Roosevelt’s ultimatum to Mr. Hitler is his best job to date as a feat in public speaking. Not since his historic national emergency speech when he first took office, did his voice boom forth such conviction, sincerity and purpose.

Oh, to be a cartoonist! Oh, to have his succinct gift of satire. Just as science makes its greatest stride under the whiplash of war’s gangrene, so do our cartoonists rise, under its lash, to their most consummate accomplishment.

Not unmindful of the World War and its magnificent cartoon output, from Cesare’s devastating drawings down through George Bellows’ terrrifying lithographs and Bairnsfeather’s “Better’ole” hero, nothing has equalled the performance of our present day cartoonists.

In proof of this, one needs but look at David Low’s book on the war, which contains what I believe are some of the greatest cartoons ever drawn. Some of these cartoons have in them a hint of the same genius that produced the economical drawings of da Vinci, Goya and Michael Angelo.

In two strokes of the pen he can evoke a lost broken child, limitless ocean, a yawning hell, a monstrous lunatic, a bombed cathedral. But quite aside from his masterful draftsmanship, his cartoons have the impact of thunder.

Of all the cartoons included in this one volume on the war, the one which seems to me to be the most devastating is that which shows a huddled group of maniacs standing in attitudes of contorted and fearsome irresponsibility, in the middle of an asylum cell. The bars of the cell window have been broken and on the sill is a paper on which are drawn the words:

Fed up. Have cleared out.


The little group of frenzied lunatics are whispering together:

He must be mad.

In this one drawing is epitomized the whole nightmare of Hitler’s monstrous regime.

The Senate hearing on the movies as warmongers has had its farcical as well as its shameful moments. The personal attacks upon Wendell Willkie by his isolationist hecklers reached a new low in sarcasm. I believe that this Republican candidate of 1940 is more hated by the diehard Republicans than is the President himself!

This is too bad. It’s too bad for the Republican Party. I am a Republican and I hate to see my party losing ground. Every attack that its leading representatives make upon Wendell Willkie loses it one more valuable, needed inch of that ground; and by the same token it gains that ground for Wendell Willkie.

We have a dearth of great men in this country. Try to name five… try to name three… Three years is normally a short time, but not today it isn’t. Its pace is accelerated to the delirious tempo of a cyclone, and it is not impossible to imagine, in three years more, an American Party with Wendell Willkie at its head. And magnetized to him as the constellations to the sun, millions of voters from both our present parties drawn to him.

Yes, times change, fealties change, men change. What crystal-gazer of ten years ago would have dared believed his own eyes if in his crystal ball he would have seen beyond the flight of the lone eagle – beyond the Hauptmann trial – the man whom we today call Charles A. Lindbergh!

The apologists, the psychologists, the sentimentalists are at the end of their vocabularies now. There is no explanation left for Lindbergh’s last speech, coming as it did right upon the final words of Mr. Roosevelt’s ultimatum.

Oh, what a falling off was there… and one man only could find adequate words for it. They were put in the mouth of young Hamlet of Denmark against his king by William Shakespeare three centuries ago:

Look here upon this picture and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow?
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,
A station like the herald Mercury
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill —
A combination and a form indeed
Where every god did seem to set his seal
To give the world assurance of a man.
This was your husband. Look you now, what follows.
Here is your husband, like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother.

And I wonder: Am I alone in being possessed of a still added reason for living. It may be called a bloodthirsty reason, but we are driven into a corner of violent thinking these violent days.

My added reason for wanting to live? That I may hear, that I may read, these two world-rocking words: HITLER DEAD.