The initial inspiration came years ago, from a political book by Ann Coulter poking fun at liberals. Tor Ramsey figured that if a conservative commentator could write a book entitled How to Talk to a Liberal (If you Must), he could do something similar to give voice to his feelings about the University of North Carolina and the fans who favor light blue.
Ramsey is a proud graduate of NC State, having served as a student manager for the basketball team when he was led by Jim Valvano. So he was intrigued by the notion of a book that poked fun at UNC fans like Coulter’s book had done with liberals.
So over the course of the next few days, Ramsey jotted down all sorts of ideas for such a book. And then he lost his notes, when an airline misplaced his luggage on a flight home for the holidays. That was in 2005, and Ramsey didn’t work on the project again until problems started cropping up in UNC’s football program a few years ago. He thought that UNC was getting off easier than NC State had when the basketball program had problems under Valvano.
“It seemed like Carolina got a pass,” says Ramsey. “I’m not a vindictive guy. I am a comedic writer…I like looking at the warped slant on things. I didn’t want to get too personal, but just state the obvious. It was not difficult coming up with material. I got material every time someone at Carolina made a statement about the scandal.”
Ramsey is quick to note that he is simply trying to have a bit of fun with a longtime rival, and that he largely spared UNC student-athletes from the barbs in his book (“My real beef is not with the student-athletes,” he says. “When you’re young like that, people do stupid things. NC State has had its fair share. My problem is with the adults who are either the enabler or they make excuses.”)
The book’s primary targets are obvious from the cover, with cartoon renderings of the likes of former UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp, former athletics director Dick Baddour and former football coach Butch Davis. The book includes chapters on “8 Simple Reasons to Hate Carolina” and “Reasons Not to Hate Carolina (or the shortest chapter in this book).”
Ramsey offers up tongue-in-cheek advice on what to do if a Carolina fan sits next to you in a restaurant or, horror of horrors, if your child comes home one day and tells you that he or she is a Carolina fan.
Last year, Ramsey finished another longtime project when he released a serious documentary, Running With the Pack, on the history of NC State basketball. The book project, he says, was a completely different sort of project. The book can be purchased through the website for “Running With the Pack.”
“I was writing with a certain reckless abandon,” he says. “How far can I go? How much fun can I have? It was a form of free-fall writing.”