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January 02, 2003
A State Matter

Dear South Carolina,

You are getting on my nerves. Lacking an identity of your own, you have become like that pathetic kid in Tenth Grade who thought he would be cool by getting a red Eddie Murphy leather suit and driving a Trans Am, but whose acne and breath were so bad that he simply became the school laughing stock. I first noticed this years ago, when many of your students started declaring that they attend "Carolina." It quickly became clear that in their feeble little minds, this was an appropriate appellation for the University of South Carolina.

Of course, anyone familiar with the much finer educational institution on the other side of your northern border recognizes that "Carolina" has long belonged to the University of North Carolina, if not to the entire state. If you folks ever get cable, watch ESPN during basketball season, and you'll see what I mean. Or ask James Taylor.

What's that? Hootie and the Blowfish? Puh-lease. Don't be bringing that weak stuff in here.

To be sure, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but now things have gotten out of hand. I noticed a few weeks ago, during a University of South Carolina football game, that many students were wearing "Carolina" sweatshirts. Apparently tired of mimicking another college by wearing "USC" gear, someone in their student store is now orchestrating full-fledged identity theft.

This is small potatoes, however, compared to what I saw while watching yesterday's Rose Parade on HGTV. The Lexington High School marching band, from Lexington, South Carolina, representing you in the parade, marched down the street playing, I shudder to think on it, "Carolina in the Morning."

Now, the sentiment expressed in this song is true. But they weren't playing it as an homage to their superior neighbor to the north. They were playing it as if it were written about South Carolina. Please don't remind me yet again that Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson had never been to either state when they wrote the song, and trot out your tired little bit about how that makes it fair game for either of us. Get real -- nobody pines away for South Carolina except Clemson fans, and they can't even pronounce their own school's name properly.

Well, South Carolina, I'm serving notice. Cut it out, or else I'm bringing a much-deserved smack. In case you are wondering what that might look like, let me remind you of the following: Strom Thurmond (R., C.S.A.), Fritz Hollings (D., Milliken & Company), and those annoying little "South of the Border" roadside fireworks stands. Don't test me, South Carolina, because I will bring it. We were nice enough to give you folks our prisoners a few hundred years ago, and today you get our garbage. Don't start getting uppity.

Yours truly,

North Carolina.

Update: Oh good Lord. It seems I've agitated some folks down in South Carolina. To be fair, most correspondence I've received has been cordial. Some less so. Feel free to insult me in the "Comments" section, but understand that if you lapse into profanity, I'll edit your comment to make you look bad, just like the last piece of trailer trash who said something vile there.

As for the post, it was a joke, people. Watch how it works:

Q: Who was the only person ever to hold Michael Jordan under 20 points in college?

A: Dean Smith.

See -- nobody got hurt, nobody died. It's called humor. Deal with it. Otherwise I'll take to mocking you on a daily basis.

Posted by Woodlief on January 02, 2003 at 08:52 AM


Just a coincidence that the capitol of SC is considered to be geographically in the "armpit of America"...

We should have a little compassion for those poor Univ. of S. Car. students. What would you rather have on the front of your shirt, Carolina or Gamecocks? I guess Gamecocks is a better name than Palmetto's, but it still makes me chuckle to hear the cheer, "Go 'Cocks!" during a football game.

For now South Carolina is enjoying siphoning the money out of their North(ern) brothers by selling them lottery tickets.

Posted by: MarcV on January 2, 2003 01:06 PM

Hey now...I live down here. Hell, I work in the electrical engineering department of USC.

Granted I don't have any rebuff to speak of, especially given that I don't watch or keep track of football or basketball. And given that I was born at the UNC campus hostipal...and grew up in North Carolina...and go there every month or so...my non-argument looks even worse now.

In politics, you guys have John Edwards, the pusillanimous Clinton wannabe. And I've read in local papers that Fritz (who put the Conferedate flag on the capitol in the first place) is thinking of retiring at the end of his term.

Hey, Marc V, what we do have are the cheerleaders wearing daisy dukes with the word "Cocks" written across their buttocks. "C O" on the left buttock, "C" in the middle, and "K S" on the right buttock. Slutty? Yes. Eye candy? That too.

Posted by: addison on January 2, 2003 02:04 PM

I'll admit, I did go to Clemson, but hey, I was chasing tail at the time. I never claimed to be too bright, thus making me the perfect Clemson student.

Anyway, let's put South Carolina in its place, shall we? The last time SC ever led in anything, several Americans were killed. North Carolina had to follow because SC, VA, and TN had already seceded from the Union. (Tony, I know geography is not your strong suit: NC was surrounded.) Four years later, NC had chalked up over 20,000 casualties. No other state came close. SC lost less than 5,000.

So we have 'First in Flight' on our license plates. What should SC have? 'First to Secede'?

BTW: The words 'secede' and 'idiot' share a common Latin root.

Posted by: Shawn Small on January 2, 2003 03:03 PM

Did you know Ft. Sumter was built with sand imported from Maine?

Posted by: hbchrist on January 2, 2003 04:45 PM

Folks in South Carolina have so little else, can't you just give them this one?

Besides, you spend more riding the metro than South Carolina spends on education in a year. I'm not sure that your target audience will understand your point.

Posted by: Gary on January 2, 2003 07:09 PM

Ha f-ing ha, Gary. Anyway, remember Georgia is last in schools, not South Carolina. Of course, South Carolina does have the honor of being behind Mississippi in public schooling...and Arkansas is somewhere down there in the bottom.

Posted by: addison on January 2, 2003 09:19 PM

Yes, us Clemson folks do know how to pronouce it, but please don't confuse Clemson and the upstate with the rest of the state, especially the Hell - lumbia area. The Upstate has more in common with Atlanta and Charlotte than the rest of S. Carolina.
Remember that all of the 'smack you were talking about for South Carolina is mostly in regards to South Carolina University (even "Hootie" -Augusta National and bad rock band versions) are former South Carolina students. There are reasons why many homosexual groups claim S. Carolina paraphanalia as the clothing of choice. Yuck!
Please don't tar the rest of us with the black hole that is Columbia. Believe me, many of us are more embarrassed of that place than you can imagine.

Posted by: Jason on January 3, 2003 02:09 AM

I thought the column was mildly amusing, but I think I have a better basis for comparison. I grew up in Columbia and went to undergrad at USC (which is older than UNC, by the by, though it depends a bit on how you reckon the respective foundings) and to grad school at UNC. Through the farsightedness of its leaders, NC does have a rather more diverse economic base and prestigious higher (and lower) educational system, but these are both mid-to-late 20th century phenomena. For a long time, from the earliest colonial times up to that unpleasantness in the middle of the 19th century, SC and Virginia referred to the state between them as the "slough of despond" between the "two peaks of pride". North Carolina is now more successful, in many respects, than its Southern neighbor, but that does not obviate the many charms of South Carolina. I've also lived in Alabama and I think both Carolinas are in better shape than it. I now live in Virginia, and, truth be told, prefer it to both Carolinas.

Posted by: Gene on January 3, 2003 08:45 AM

Virginia has to be one of the most schizophrenic states. Are you talking about the prosperous northern part that borders DC, the struggling chicken farms in the Shenandoah valley (where I lived for a year - gorgeous but poor), the military complex at the southern coast, the "trying to be high-tech" corridor around Blacksburg, the mountain panhandle, or part of the Delmarva peninsula? And to think they had West Virgina as part of their commonwealth not too long ago!

And to Addison: yes, I may have been a little harsh on the good people to the south of me. Just don't keep giving away the secret of our treasure here - those Southern belles that cause men's knees to grow weak. Married one sixteen years ago, and she's still a peach!

Posted by: MarcV on January 3, 2003 09:57 AM

Shawn Small - If you are going to disparage the fine state of South Carolina, get your facts straight...

South Carolina lost approximately 16,000 lives due to the Civil War. And lest we forget, NC came right along with the rest of us, bearing no political independence of its own.

And did any of you Tarheels catch this year's Clemson game?

All of you N. Carolinians can talk about South Carolina's image, but when the rest of the country thinks about the beach, they're thinking about South Carolina.

Posted by: SWL on January 3, 2003 12:02 PM

SWL, if that's your real name,

On me getting my facts straight on casualties during the Civil War:
Source: "The Civil War, Strange and Fascinating Facts," by Burke Davis
Casualties are typically defined as battle dead and wounded. If you're counting disease, I'll admit I can see another 11,000+ South Carolinians dying from the clap. OK, we'll call it dysentery if that makes you feel better.

You wrote, "And lest we forget, NC came right along with the rest of us, bearing no political independence of its own." I think my point is that NC had no choice, since all states around it seceded. If it makes you feel better, NC voted unanimously to secede. But not everyone felt such confederate pride. NC created eight units that fought for the Union. (SC formed five -- all African-American freed slaves, formed by occupying Union troops.)

"And did any of you Tarheels catch this year's Clemson game?"

"…when the rest of the country thinks about the beach, they're thinking about South Carolina."
Did this come from the same source that you used to quote the 16,000 SC dead?

Posted by: Shawn Small on January 3, 2003 01:24 PM

Shawn- Did your mom buy you that book as part of the monthly book club in elementary school? South Carolina's Civil War loss goes far beyond its heroic military.

It is a shame that Clemson wasted its time with you.

NC had a choice just as much as SC did. Both had their backs up against a wall with a majority of the Union states threatening each's economic livelihood and political well-being.

And if 'confederate pride' also means love of one's homeland and a willingness to defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic, then I'm the proudest of them all.

And all SC and NC units that fought for the Union are traitors that turned on their families and hometowns. If you feel differently, so be it.

And I'll ignore your last two comments. They are almost as meaningless as your first ones.

Posted by: SWL on January 3, 2003 01:52 PM

For all of you non-Southerners reading these comments, understand that none of us men can argue without it getting really personal. In a little while, SWL and Shawn will meet in a Wilco parking lot and have a fistfight, after which they'll rejoin to a local Hooter's and down $2 pitchers while comparing rebel yells.

Posted by: Tony on January 3, 2003 02:07 PM

Tony- Actually I was thinking Waffle House, but Hooters would definitely work.

Posted by: on January 3, 2003 02:10 PM

If it's okay with you, I'd rather skip the Wilco parking lot and go straight to Hooters.

Posted by: Shawn Small on January 3, 2003 03:17 PM

When Myrtle Beach is one of your strong points... Well, That's just sad...

Posted by: Tony Hooker on January 3, 2003 03:21 PM

That sounds good to me, Shawn. I think Hooters is (are) universally accepted.

Myrtle Beach is certainly not one of our strong points. However, it makes us a lot of money.

Posted by: SWL on January 3, 2003 03:34 PM

Wait, you all have to give Clemson some credit. Hooters was founded by a Clemson grad.

Posted by: j on January 3, 2003 03:49 PM

And that's Clem-son, not Clemp-son or even worse Clem-zen.

Posted by: j on January 3, 2003 03:51 PM

North Carolina,
Before your head becomes too big, remember that your state is the one that most of us equate with the classless guilty pleasures of tobacco and NASCAR.


South Carolina and the rest of the nation.

Posted by: SC on January 3, 2003 04:31 PM

Webmaster's Note: Don't leave profanity on my site. I'll only belittle you for it, and ban your IP address. Take the edited comment below, left by a half-wit who is, thankfully, not nearly the best South Carolina has to offer:

____ all of you ___ ____ Lovers in North Carolina. Clemson will beat all your ____ in any sport, YOU ____

Posted by: Borderline Retard on January 3, 2003 06:38 PM

NC is full of a bunch of wussies. Scared to fight in civil war. chappel hole is aschoolful of homos, Rtaling bad about Columbia? have you everbeen to the Raleigh area??LOL. ARMPIT! I could go on...not worth my time.

Posted by: JC on January 3, 2003 06:39 PM

My my, if you people could hear yourself. How old are you guys anyway, six? "You're stupid", "am not", "are too", "am not am not", "are too are too" Geesh, grow up would you!

Posted by: Tom on January 3, 2003 06:42 PM

You guys having fun knocking South Carolina. I hope you liberal pansies NEVER figure out where the good life really is..... we don't want ya'll (that's right, YA'LL) down here in any case. By the way, I'm very familiar with The University of South Carolina and UNC..... . They both are fine institutions.... too bad that UNC turns out so many communist, liberal, pinko, TFUBAB people like you. Why don't more of you show class like Dean Smith or Frank McGuire. You all seem to be like the vast majority of North Carolina people i have been in contact with lately; arrogant-for-no-reason, and full of un-substantiated crapp. Why don't you guys knock your single wides off the blocks and drag that MFr north of the Mason-Dixon line........ See if those guys will like you more than we do.

Posted by: North Carolina - A Joke on January 3, 2003 06:58 PM

Take away Charlotte, which by the way is extremely close to SC, and you have one of the most ass-backward states in the country. I don't understand how you North Carolinians come off with the pretentious attitude. If SC is such a worthless place, then why do you see tons of NC license plates up and down the SC coast during the summer? Last time I checked, NC had a plethora of beaches to visit. I went to USC and now live in Raleigh. I would move back to Columbia in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Gamecock in Raleigh on January 3, 2003 07:50 PM

(puts on asbestos suit)
Discussions like this put the arguments in favour of bombing the .... out of the Iraqis onto a higher intellectual plane and confirm my faith in human nature. Just for a moment back there I thought that talk of Waffles and Hooters would spoil it but I was wrong.
(enters bunker, checks supplies, think King George got it about right 200 years ago, takes cyanide pill, closes door and mind)

Posted by: Malcolm on January 4, 2003 10:48 AM

From the opposite side of the country, I note that North Carolina's new senator was the woman who gave the country mandatory seat belt laws. While SC's new guy is an ex-boyfriend of Laura Ingraham.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on January 5, 2003 06:05 PM

Am I just the only one ignorant on the subject or does everyone here know who in the world Laura Ingraham is and why it matters?

Posted by: SWL on January 6, 2003 08:31 AM

No, SWL, I have no idea who Laura Ingraham is.
By the way, I read what Borderline Retard wrote before Tony edited his comment. It was really bad and quite uncalled for. But I sympathize with you, my friend, because we have the same ignorance all too prominently displaying itself in NC as well.
To prove the higher standards that you and I and most others have shown on this site, I want to now tell you about all the things I like about South Carolina:
1) Death Valley at Clemson. Football fan or not, it takes your breath away.
2) The fact that the girls don't carry purses on the Clemson campus. Of course, I graduated in '92, so that may have changed.
3) The dam just 15 minutes away from CU that you can slide down. Makes for a fun summer afternoon.
4) Five Points in Columbia. I'll admit that my favorite dish is CONFEDEERATE fried chicken from Yesterdays. Also, I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but I love being able to order a sandwich called the Bloated Pigeon.
5) The fact that I know how to pronounce Huger Street.
6) Hymans Seafood and Tommy Condons in Charleston. Hell, all of Charleston.
So to whomever Borderline is, you matter so little in this world. I think it's safe to assume that you can't reproduce becasue nature usually takes care of these things.

Posted by: Shawn Small on January 6, 2003 08:52 AM

Just when I was thinking you were a bad guy, man...you go and totally redeem yourself.

Charleston is a great city. History, culture, and cuisine.

Posted by: SWL on January 6, 2003 10:22 AM

And you guys are Southerners!


Don't forget to click on the photo gallery.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on January 6, 2003 11:57 AM

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preceding the annual Yuletide celebration, And
throughout our place of residence,
Kinetic activity was not in evidence among the
possessors of this potential, including that
species of domestic rodent known as Mus musculus.
Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward
edge of the woodburning caloric apparatus,
Pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure regarding an
imminent visitation from an eccentric
philanthropist among whose folkloric appelations
is the honorific title of St. Nicklaus ...
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