Given that we're apparently still bickering about the border between North Carolina and South Carolina, INDY Week proposes the following list of 20 people, places and things from the Old North State to exchange with our neighbors to the south:
Pat McCrory for Mark Sanford
Sanford is really gross, we get it. But consider this: If McCrory were jet-setting all over the world to spend time with his mistress, he wouldn't be here. That would mean fewer bills signed into law, fewer government agencies being privatized and just generally less Pat.
Royal Palace Theatre for South of the Border
The massive $21.5 million public-funds sinkhole in Roanoke Rapids (formerly Randy Parton Theatre) is now a quagmire of Internet gambling and C-list entertainers. Sure, South of the Border once pleaded guilty to illegal video gambling charges, but they can also plead guilty to owning a lot of neon, several dinosaurs and the most endearing and/or obnoxious series of billboards on any side of the border. We'll take that bet.
James Taylor for James Brown
Yes, we realize Barnwell, S.C., native Brown is dead. We still think it's a good trade. Just imagine WUNC-TV's wispy "Carolina in My Mind" melodic signature replaced by a full-brass blast of "I Feel Good!" Plus we could call that span south of Chapel Hill the "Papa's Got a Brand New Bridge."
Charlotte Motor Speedway for Darlington Raceway
Charlotte has a fine track, especially when the roaring stock cars come racing through those dual doglegs at night, beneath the bank of overhead lights. But Darlington is the daunting Lady in Black, with its signature skinny and fat ends and its dependence upon high speed and heightened agility. South Carolinians are just too slow for it.
Lewis Black for Stephen Colbert
This swap of alumni from The Daily Show is a bargain, and we have a sneaking suspicion South Carolina doesn't appropriately appreciate the real Colbert, whoever he is. UNC grad Black's blow-a-fuse angry shtick is funny, albeit aging. But Colbert, who grew up in Charleston, is a once-in-a-generation satirist.
Bright Leaf Hot Dogs for Gullah Rice
Bright Leaf Hot Dogs don't resemble food. Rather, with their phosphorescent pink hue and bulbous ends, they suggest a young puppy's eager erection. The rice-high diet of South Carolina's endlessly fascinating Gullah population not only sounds more nourishing (and more like, well, food), it also connects the Gullah people to their West African homeland.
Nicholas Sparks for Pat Conroy
North Carolina's most successful author is Nicholas Sparks, whose 14 best sellers in 14 years have thus far yielded eight terrible movies, with at least two more on the way. Give us Pat Conroy, author of good books that became good movies: Conrack, The Lords of Discipline, The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides.
Carolina Panthers for Clemson Tigers
Call it a cat-swap. We realize we're giving up NFL value for NCAA, but college football has always been way more fun than the pros. This deal is contingent upon the stadiums being included, because where would you rather tailgate: a place called Death Valley, or a place called Bank of America?
Mike Krzyzewski for Steve Spurrier
It's time to send Coach K packing to Columbia and welcome Steve Spurrier back to the Bull City. Spurrier is the Great Duke Football Coach Who Got Away—his three-year, late-1980s stint ended with Duke's first ACC championship in 27 years. Now that Duke has announced plans to expand Wallace Wade to 44,000 seats, they're going to need a team that will sell tickets. Meanwhile, Coach K can spend his golden years on South Carolina's beautiful golf courses.
Greenville for Greenville
With its purple-and-gold Pirates prowling Fifth Street, Greenville, N.C., has a long-running reputation as this state's Sodom. Greenville, S.C., meanwhile, houses Bob Jones University, a school so staunch in its Christian fundamentals that Bob Jones Jr. once said Catholics didn't fit within his God's purview. As Billy Graham senesces, we'll need some good, crazy Christians to joke about. So howdy, Mr. Jones, and welcome to hell.
Cheerwine for Blenheim Ginger Ale
Granted, Salisbury's beloved Cheerwine is of greater cultural value to N.C. than the faceless giant that Pepsi became. But nothing comes close to the peppery snap that bubbles from a bottle of Blenheim Ginger Ale, born of a tiny (pop. 150) South Carolina town tucked between the stock-car meccas of Rockingham and Darlington. Though it's now bottled in Hamer the next county over, you can still visit the original mineral spring site in Blenheim.
Internet Sweepstakes for Fireworks
For a child on a family trip through South Carolina, the allure of roadside fireworks seems infinite. Then the mirage fades in the cigarette haze of a haggard old man sitting under a tent selling Dragon Farts and Atomic AfterGlows. Even so, nothing is more depressing (or exploitative) than Internet sweepstakes parlors. Fireworks are a step up.
Revolution for Army Wives
We're proud of some of the TV shows filmed here: Eastbound and Down, for example. And Homeland, too. But Revolution? You can count us out. We'll happily take Army Wives in return. To be sure, the Charleston-shot soaper is overlit and overwrought, but its feminist heart is in the right place.
Pigs for Peaches
As any good North Carolinian knows, we grow a mean peach north of the border. Yet our fruit-growing prowess is overshadowed by our hog industry, which has had a devastating impact on our rivers. From a symbolic perspective, it would make more sense for our neighbors to the south to be the keepers of hog shit.
Carolina Hurricanes for A Pass From All Real Hurricanes
Our local NHL franchise started strong in 2013, then lost all but four of their last 23 games, dropping the last by a hide-your-face score of 8-3. South Carolina can have the Canes and their obsession with excessively bright video advertisements and blaring music—so long as they agree to bear the brunt of all actual hurricanes henceforth.
Delta Rae for Hootie & the Blowfish
Hootie gets a bad rap, for a bunch of well-meaning guys with good taste and some hummable (if lightweight) pop tunes. Plus Darius Rucker has helped change Nashville for the better. As for Delta Rae: Well, their trade-value is high right now. Which may be the kindest thing ever said about them in these pages.
Rendition Flights for The Citadel
We offer the U.S. government's rendition flights—shipping terrorism suspects to foreign nations for interrogation and imprisonment—that operate out of Johnston County Airport. We'll begrudgingly accept The Citadel military academy and its history of sexual abuse and brutal hazing rituals. We think of it as a jobs program for lawyers.
Peachoid Water Tower for Flagpoles Sans Confederate Flag
The Peachoid—the landmark water tower in Gaffney that looms like a glorious peach moon aside I-85—might be the coolest public objet d'art South Carolina has. But, face it, the state really needs a pole without the Stars & Bars for its Capitol grounds in Columbia.
...AND TWO FREEBIES:
There's a dispute over whether the seventh president was born north or south of the border in Union County, so let's resolve it right here: South Carolina, you can take President Jackson. And his Trail of Tears. We don't need anything back in return. No, really, no problem.
We considered trading Mark Sanford for John Edwards and a philanderer to be named later. But since Edwards is a South Carolina native, we'd like to return to sender. You're welcome.
INDY Week staffers Peter Blackstock, Grayson Currin, David Fellerath, Will Huntsberry, Lisa Sorg and Billy Ball contributed to this list.