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Root of All Evil: Offshoring v. Clemson

(Although MaconDawg has more than taken up the slack, I promised you fresh content today, and here it is. As you may know, Lewis Black’s "Root of All Evil" returns tonight with an all-new episode, so, since it went over well the last time I did this, I figured it was time to trot out another college football installment of "Root of All Evil." Remember that the key to enjoying what follows is to read it in the characters’ voices. If it’s still not funny even then, well, I probably wrote it poorly. That’s always a possibility.)

All I promised you was fresh content; only my son can offer you fresh fish.

Lewis Black: Oh, how I love the summertime! Why, there’s nothing better than going on vacay to the sandy beaches of the Carolinas with the fam in tow for a little rest and relaxation by the seaside . . . as those little monsters I use for tax write-offs bury me in the sand like I was the Ark of the Covenant and the wife rolls her eyes at me when I try to convince her that the cheap beach house I forced her to settle for has historic value as the setting for the exterior shots in "Summer Rental." Unfortunately, traveling to my favorite vacation destination only reminds me of my troubles, since being by the shore in the state of South Carolina puts me in mind of two of the greatest sources of trouble here in the land of the free. Now that I’ve teed it up for tonight’s contestants with that clever little tease, it’s time to introduce the only Harvard Law graduate you’ll ever meet who’s roasted both Pamela Anderson and Flavor Flav. You’re up, Greggles; give us your opening statement. What is . . . the Root of All Evil?

Greg Giraldo: Thank you, your honor . . . and thank you for being the only living stand-up comic ever to use the phrase "clever little tease" in reference to anything other than Sarah Silverman. I’m here today to convince you that offshoring is the Root of All Evil. If you’re like me, all you really know about offshoring is what you learned from 60 seconds of skimming the unbelievably outdated book reviews of Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat that you Googled on your iPhone shortly before taking the stage for this second-rate waste of air time that you agreed to do only because your stupid agent couldn’t book you for a gig that would get you paid better than scale. But, until I somehow manage to sign a three-picture development deal or at least get a sitcom pilot picked up for twelve weeks by a network you can get with an antenna, I’m stuck doing this garbage, so here we go. What is offshoring? It’s outsourcing with a funny accent, folks. It’s taking good old American jobs from right here in the U.S. of A. and exporting them to foreign countries so you can take your mind off of getting laid off by having an aneurysm while you’re trying to explain the problem with your long-distance bill in plain English to a customer service representative in Bangalore who wants you to believe he’s in a call center in Wisconsin. Ladies and gentlemen, my father’s from Colombia and my mother’s from Spain. As the product of an immigrant family, I proudly take a bold stand against the immoral exporting of crappy jobs that rightly ought to be reserved for the millions of illegal aliens who cared enough to break the law so they could perform those crucial, crummy, menial, back-breaking, thankless tasks right here at home. Thank you.

Lewis Black: Nicely done, Skippy. That’s the finest vocal work I’ve heard you do since "Underwear Goes Inside the Pants." Now, however, we turn to the other contender for the title "Root of All Evil," that Palmetto State scourge of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Clemson University. Let’s hand it off to former football coach, radio commentator, and chicken-finger franchise entrepreneur Ray Goff. Take it away, Ray.

Ray Goff: Thank you, Lewis. I appreciate being here. You know, I’ve never really been one for comedy, unless you count the running joke of having Richard Bell for a defensive coordinator, but I’ve been working on my sense of humor, and I feel like I’m getting better and better. Anyway, my experience with Clemson goes way, way back, Lewis. We played Clemson every year when I was a player at Georgia, and, when I became the head coach, I had to tussle with those suckers four times. Now, we were fortunate to go 3-1 against ‘em when I was coaching at Georgia, though a good part of that was due to the fact that Tommy West was basically me with a place on Lake Hartwell instead of Lake Oconee. Anyway, we went up to play at Clemson in 1990, my second year, and we were 3-1, and, Lewis, we were getting better and better, except we had 131 yards of total offense that day and our only scoring drive actually lost four yards after Willie Jennings fell on a fumble at the Tigers’ 27. That durn Chris Gardocki kicked four field goals that day, most any Clemson kicker had had in one game since David Treadwell did the same thing to us when I was an assistant back in ’87. They beat us bad, Lewis, beat us 34-3. Afterwards, Scott Reid wrote that the last time anybody rolled through Georgia that easy was Sherman on the March to the Sea. I didn’t think that was very funny, Lewis, but, yeah, Clemson’s the Root of All Evil. Man, I still can’t believe they beat us 34-3!

Lewis Black: Thanks, Coach. Based upon your lucid articulation, it’s almost hard to believe the University of Georgia went more than 200 years without producing a Rhodes Scholar. All right, we’ve established that offshoring and Clemson are both evil, but what will happen if they’re allowed to continue unchecked? Where will it all end if we don’t rise up and stamp out the twin threats of exposing multiple sectors of the economy to foreign competition and allowing inbred rednecks to use Auburn as the fountainhead from which to swipe all traditions except the use of toilet paper? Greg, give us your Ripple of Evil!

Greg Giraldo: Be glad to, Lewis. Offshoring places steady downward pressure on American wages, forcing U.S. workers to adapt their skill sets by acquiring additional job training and increased technical skills. You know what that means, America? That’s right . . . more education! If we’re going to revive our economy, we’re going to have to send kids to school until the 20th grade! As we send more and better jobs to India and China, it’s going to force us to get smarter over here. Speaking as someone who has appeared on Comedy Central roasts for William Shatner and Jeff Foxworthy, I can’t get behind the idea of living in a more intellectually upscale country! I don’t want high-brow, I want low-brow . . . or, in my case, uni-brow! If we continue to allow the threat of overseas competition to force us into an escalating battle of the brains, we’ll all get so smart that we develop huge heads like the aliens on the "Star Trek" episode with Captain Pike in the electric wheelchair and chuckle at political ditties by Mark Russell like we were Wayne Brady in the "30 Rock" episode about the Source Awards! A smart America is an unhip America that enjoys classical music more than potty humor, in which we can all see the veins in one another’s temples move when we communicate through mental telepathy. That, ladies and gentlemen, is an ugly and uncool America . . . sort of like Dave Attell with technical skills more advanced than undressing a department-store mannequin.

Lewis Black: You paint a terrifying portrait of a future in which all students graduate from high school with the ability to read and hold down a job that doesn’t involve wearing a name tag. Now I throw it over to you, Rayford. What is your . . . Ripple of Evil?

Ray Goff: Lewis, I don’t disagree with anything Greg has said. I don’t mean that at all. It’s just that, as bad as it would be for everybody to be all smart and stuff, just think how much worse it’d be if we went altogether in the different direction. Instead of us all being too smart for our own good, I’m talking about being so dadgum dumb that you think wearing orange pants and purple jerseys doesn’t make you look like you lost a bet or something. In my neck of the woods, we say "I.P.T.A.Y." stands for "it’s probation time again, y’all," ‘cause them Clemson people, they just can’t stay out of trouble. Now, I had a run-in or two with the N.C.A.A., but they always knew I couldn’t have been up to nothing real bad, else I’d have won more games. Up at Clemson, though, they got put on three years’ probation back in my junior year, couldn’t go to bowl games or be on T.V., then they got caught for recruiting violations in 1982, got busted for giving out cash to players in 1990, the same year they beat us so bad, and they got hit with a lack of institutional control in 1992. Greg may not want everybody to be too smart, and I can see where he’s coming from, but at least smart people can figure out how to cheat and get away with it. Being dumb and cheating, though? All that gets you is caught. That’s your Ripple of Evil right there, Lewis.

Lewis Black: Coach Goff, you make a compelling point for a man who hasn’t held an actual job in over twelve years. All right, I’m nearly ready to make my final verdict, but, before I do, I’m going to take a brief break so I can shove a mechanical pencil in my temple, then it’ll be time for closing arguments. Take it away, Greg.

Greg Giraldo: In December 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization, which gave multinational corporations the opportunity to move whole factories to a new market full of cheap labor and low taxes. Yeah, it means the junk you don’t need costs less at the local Wal-Mart, but it’s not like you can afford it, because your job’s been sent to China and you’re working at Wal-Mart! America went from producing nine-tenths of what it consumes in the mid-1990s to producing three-fourths of what it consumes by the end of 2004. Now, I’ll admit to being bad with fractions, but that seems like less. Plus which, it’s not like offshoring only goes in one direction; believe it or not, there are actually countries out there crazy enough to outsource their production here, of all places. In 1993, when the decision was made to build the first Mercedes-Benz passenger car factory outside of Germany, some genius decided to plop the plant down in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Tuscaloosa, Alabama? What, do we want to be driving around the Capstone in a Mercedes with a hound’s-tooth hat in the hope of seeing Snake Stabler’s latest D.U.I. arrest? No, thank you. You keep your job over there and I’ll keep mine over here, you make finely-tuned luxurious precision automobiles and I’ll tell smart-aleck jokes, and we’ll all be one big happy inefficient unresponsive unimaginative hidebound underachieving stupid Luddite world.

Lewis Black: Greg, if I didn’t know you better, I’d swear English was your first language. All right, Coach, you get the last word. You’d better make it count.

Ray Goff: Well, first of all, Lewis, I just can’t say enough about the effort I’ve seen out here today. Maybe it wasn’t always disciplined or smart or well-coached, like when Ronald Williams went 51 yards untouched for a touchdown just because our defensive back took the quarterback instead of the pitch man, but I like the intensity and I like the effort and I feel like we’re better than we’ve showed here tonight. I just can’t say enough about our effort, and I think we’re getting better and better as we go. Now, let me get back to Clemson. These are a simple people. They rub a rock, they run down a hill, and they worship a guy who always wore a baseball cap and chewed tobacco on the sidelines ‘cause he won football games and had the same last name as their favorite brand of pickup truck. But, man, I tell you what, they can flat take the wind right out of your sails. Yeah, we got the better of ‘em up at their place in ’95, when Torin Kirtsey went for a buck ninety-five against Clemson---he was the fifth different starter we’d had at that position in five games that season, Lewis---but you wouldn’t believe the grief I took after we lost to ‘em 34-3. Even gave up a two-point conversion in the last five minutes when they were up 25-3 after Tracy Huzzie spiked the danged ball to give ‘em a doggone first down at the six yard line. I mean, what did he think was going to happen? They’re just evil, Lewis, they’re just evil, is all I can say. Yeah, O.K., so maybe I should’ve given Garrison Hearst more than just three carries in the second half when we were still in it after two quarters, but, durn, Lewis, they’re just evil, is all I can say.

Lewis Black: I am left genuinely speechless by the thought that you managed to last seven years as the head coach of a major Division I-A college football program. Nevertheless, you make a compelling case that the Root of All Evil is planted in the ag school overseen by burnt orange bumpkins who pronounce the last name of John C. Calhoun’s son-in-law as though it had a "p" in the middle of it, thereby narrowly edging out people who say "helmet" like there was an "n" near the end as the perpetrators of the most annoying mispronunciation outside of "miss-cheev-e-us" and "nuke-you-lure." On the one hand, we have the risk of seeing America’s productivity and prosperity shipped across the Pacific one increasingly cushy job at a time. On the other hand, we have the threat of a return to national prominence by a football program that hasn’t won an A.C.C. championship since 1991, which would set off a fan frenzy in trailer parks from sea to shining sea. Admittedly, I would hate it if all that was left of our country’s economy were reality shows, the adult film industry, those insufferable hockey teams they keep sending us from Canada, and worker-bee drones whose only purpose in life is to ask one another, "Do you want fries with that?" When all is said and done, though, I am a University of North Carolina graduate, so I can’t stand seeing the good name of our conference’s many fine academic institutions sullied by our association with this bunch of redneck refugees who somehow managed to be deprived of their rightful place in the S.E.C., which went to those lunatics from Arkansas instead. Before the whole thing makes me mad enough that I begin trance-channeling Houston Nutt, the only man in America more mentally unstable than me, I’d better dispense with the pleasantries and declare that Clemson University is the Root of All Evil. I sentence Clemson to be coached by Tommy Bowden . . . oh, wait, they already are. O.K., then I sentence Clemson to have Tommy Bowden as a head coach . . . and Jeff Bowden as an offensive coordinator. That’s all we have for tonight, everyone. Be sure to join us next time, when that British guy from "The Daily Show" will go head-to-head with Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh to settle whether the mortgage crisis or the East Coast bias is the Root of All Evil. Good night!

Go ‘Dawgs!