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THE OPEN SPACES

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Now that Mr. Jim Tully has out-lined the finer points of vagrancy and Mr. Vachel Lindsay is reviving the custom of wandering poets, the National Association of Hoboes, meeting in convention at Omaha, has come to the realization that its members are gradually being admitted into the fellowship of respectable citizens. In order to separate the sheep from the goats it announces a difference between the hobo and the lowly bum, defining the former as "merely a migratory worker who travels to participate in construction work and to help with the harvests": a bum, on the other hand, is "a local fixture in almost every instance" and usually is intensely reluctant to perform any sort of labor.

One grants that a violinist is more than a fiddler, that an artist ranks above a painter of pictures, that a poet is superior to a rhymer, but these distinctions are based on certain gradations of value. Would the Association classify Sliding Billy Watson as a hobo of a bum and would Bozo Snyder qualify as either? The fine fraternity of the open road and box car is threatened with the caste system when one wandering gentleman calls himself by a sweeter sound than another. Neo-classicism is raising its head bums must beware the genre as well as critics: it is devastating.

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