Final Word

By Jeff Girod

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Posted July 19, 2012 in News
An outrage, I tell’s ya! U.S. athletes are scheduled to parade through London to open the Summer Olympics later this month, but they’ll be wearing navy blazers, white bottoms and matching berets made in—gasp—China!

Oh no, anyone but China. They’re the country we’re supposed to hate most!

Ralph Lauren is the designer behind the un-American American Olympic uniforms and it should get a gold medal for synchronized do-overs.

“Ralph Lauren promises to lead the conversation within our industry and our government addressing the issue of increasing manufacturing in the United States,” the company released in a statement last week after Senate Majority Harry Reid called for a blazer burning.

In addition, Ralph Lauren said it would produce future Olympic American uniforms within the United States. But can anybody really trust Ralph Lauren, hmm? The founding designer’s real name is actually Ralph Lipschitz, and would anyone buy cologne or a jaunty scarf from a Lipschitz?

If anyone is complaining about fashion, start with the berets. How can we reassert our athletic dominance over the world when our best athletes are dressed like everyone’s favorite storybook schoolgirl, Madeline? Oh Madeline, what irrepressible adventure have you gotten yourself mixed up with this time?

In a letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee last week, Sen. Charles E. Schumer suggested New York’s male apparel company Hickey Freeman as a substitute to Ralph Lauren to clothe Team USA during the opening ceremony.

“I urge you to reconsider your decision to use a Chinese manufacturer for our Olympians’ uniforms and instead give your business to companies such as Hickey Freeman,” Schumer wrote in his letter.

I can only imagine the kinds of uniforms a company called “Hickey Freeman” would design—something involving hip waders, turtleneck dickies and plaid hunter flaps.

I’m as American as Shania Twain, Alex Trebek and Celine Dion baked into a cheese Danish—but I understand why Ralph Lauren manufactured its Olympic uniforms in China. Because China does it better, faster and cheaper. And isn’t that the American way—subcontract somebody else to do it for less, then pocket the profit?

If you want “quality handcrafted workmanship” these days, it’s either going to be performed by a heartless preset computer or a near-destitute 8-year-old. And all of it happens over the border.

There’s no such thing as “Keeping America American” anymore. This country is a big stew of every other country’s peas and carrots. So our Olympic uniforms are made in China. So what?

Every October, “America’s pastime” wins a World Series with a shortstop who needs a translator. Basketball was invented by a Canadian. We stole Einstein from Germany. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French.

Budweiser, Chevrolet, Coors, Levi’s and Ford are some of America’s strongest red, white and true American brands. They also have overseas manufacturing plants in places as far-flung as Brazil, Cambodia and Turkmenistan.

Are 300 uniforms designed in the United States really going to matter one cent to our economy? Is it in any way going to influence or dissuade your buying decision the next time you decide between a Prius or a Chevy Volt? (Careful with the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, cowboy, because Chevy assembles some of its vehicles in Silao, Mexico.)

So China made our Olympic uniforms. So what? I say, let the games begin! Hopefully their fingers will be exhausted from sewing during all of the events for weightlifting, gymnastics and basketball.

And it never fails, at every Summer Olympics some runner wins a medal while representing another country, then a TV announcer mentions that the winner lives in Houston or attended the University of Oregon. So why live here if you’re going to compete against us? Because this country is awesome, that’s why.

Our air is cleaner. Our medicine is better. Our training facilities are light years ahead of everyone else. Plus it’s way easier to get a Nike or Gatorade sponsorship if some government soldier back home isn’t chopping your legs off with a machete.

Let every island nation worry about what the label inside their undershirts says. We’re the U-S-freaking-A. We kick ass and take names—and we don’t worry where the pencil was made.

Contact Jeff Girod at finalword@ieweekly.com.


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