27 October 2018

Florida Is Strange

Florida is strange because so much of our population comes from someplace else.

Rare is the Floridian, seemingly, who was born within hour's drive of where they live now.

Before Florida became a destination state and God's Waiting Room it was already possessed of multiple personalities.

The Panhandle has often been referred as "South Georgia".

Tampa and Miami are distinct from The Panhandle and from each other.

The interior of the state has long been rural and agricultural, changing significantly only when some obscure guy you might have heard of started buying up land near Orlando.

As God's Waiting Room we get retirees from diverse places.  People who are living on a fixed pension from places that tax their pension checks and cost more to live in and have shitty weather.

We've gotten their kids who want to live closer to their elderly parents.

Tampa got a ton of Cubans, but a different kind of Cuban than Miami and because of different circumstances.

Many people move to Florida because it simply suited them better.  Lower taxes, lower costs of living, better weather (except for hurricanes and brutal humidity; but those aren't year-round problems).

We have the descendants of retired mafiosos.

We have old money and new.

We're diverse!

Things are strange here because of the mix and the fact that winter doesn't kill the crazies like it does up north.  We're a meme generating zone.

You've heard of Florida-Man, ever hear of Minnesota-Man?

Because of all this, our politics get downright strange and because of it things you'd think were as insane as the typical Florida-Man story are just the lay of the land.

To us it's normal.  To you it's insane.

Yet... for the most part... it's not really any worse than where you are.  It's just different.  Perhaps more open and in your face than what you're used to because we've got to hammer it out in more than one version of The American Culture to get the point across, and that means finding a common language to say it in.

A person who moved here from Detroit is not going to be reached by the same message as someone from New York.  But a politician has to say the same thing to both people the same way, or be accused of being two-faced.

Unlike many high-population states we are not dominated by a single city, though Miami and The Holy Mouse Orlando would like that to be otherwise.

What works, what doesn't and how to tell is difficult to explain to people who aren't living here.

That sounds wonderfully trite, but we don't get YOUR politics either.  Even if we started where you are.

Where else could you go from homosexuality be banned by law to a tiny, upstart pro-gun LGBT organization merging with the oldest pro-gun LGBT organization in a few years?

Where else could a Republican super-majority pass a massive anti-gun bill and then try to claim it was not.

Where else could a blogger note that the sky was not, in fact, falling because people open-carried AT the notoriously bad police of Miami-Dade be treated as if they had organized the whole thing solely to promote more gun control?


  1. Thanks. I try defending RealFlorida and get made fun of all the time. Yet we're first in concealed carry. Pretty good for such a diverse mess.

    People up north seem to think we're the size of Delaware or NewHampster. They don't understand that, from Gainesville, it's 5 hours to Mijami, or 5 to Pensacola (if you don't speed and get caught at the two speed traps FHP have on either side of Tallahassee.) That's not including another 560 hours to go from Mijami to Key West. It would be surprising if we weren't a total mashup of cultures and mores.

    And, well, this is Florida. Love it, hate it. It's Florida, baby.

    1. "It's the climate that does it. That, and the infernal distances." E. Bob.

  2. Don't forget people running from society and/or Family who didn't want to deal with Alaska winters. "Daddy Left and moved to Florida" is almost as much of a meme as Florida Man.

  3. Rare is the Floridian, seemingly, who was born within hour's drive of where they live now. As Beans says (in other words) in Florida you can be a native Floridian and live a day's drive from where you were born.

    My parents moved to Miami when I was 3. At my age, pushing 65, I say I'm "all but" native Floridian.

  4. As long as you live on the I-75/I-95/Turnpike, you have quick access to most of Florida. I-10, well Civilization is spread out like little habitable planets in an empty arm of the Galaxy.

    Trying to go side-to-side in Florida, West-to-East or vice-versa, is an adventure in bad traffic, horrible roads, and constant violations of the Einsteinian Universe.

    Friends in Texas have an easier time travelling around their state than going from, say, Daytona to Cedar Key. No major roads (freeways, that is.) Speed traps lurking around every corner (Bunell, I'm looking at you!) and just bad traffic.

    Curiously, the better part of the State is located amongst these lesser roads. Hmmm.

    And don't call me a Cracker. There are actual Crackers, descendants of Floridian Cowboys who rode Cracker Horses (big ponies) through Loblolly Pine and Palmetto forests and scrub, using their whips to drive the cattle. Thus, "Cracker." Not red-necks. Crackers, real honest to God crackers. Few and far between.

    As far as Florida being a state if immigration, same can be said for most of the states west of Texas before WWII. California is the eternal State of Immigration. Arizona and New Mexico are the retirement capitals for old people who don't want to live around mosquitos. And, as I constantly say on Wirecutter's site, well, if the north would quit sending us their rejects, we as a state would be a lot better off.


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