Florida Man is a whole mood.
We’re all used to the “weird news” coming out of Florida. A woman arrested for shaving her private parts…while driving. A man so desperate for a ride to Hooters he calls 911 for help. A dude who parked his smart car in his kitchen so it wouldn’t blow away in a hurricane (Is this whacky or brilliant? That call is up in the air).
It’s a late night show punchline at this point. As an aside, one of the reasons we always see these stories coming out of Florida is because they don’t enact the same restrictions on media when it comes to arrests and reporting. You get the most fun stories in Florida because they have the most liberty to report them.
And then there are the swamps, the alligator-wrestlers, and the mosquitoes. There’s a lot about Florida that lends itself to meme-ing. That’s okay. It’s all in good fun. But we should be careful to be too flippant about their unique attributes. The Sunshine State is well on its way to becoming the seat of culture and education in America.
The majority of the world and many Americans still consider that seat to reside in major locales like Los Angeles and New York, and for good reason. However, the pandemic has begun to shift the populations of those areas. The intellectuals, the successful artists, the cocktail party set..they are the people with the means to pick up and move when things get dicey, and they’ve been doing just that. Where have they been moving to?
Florida, of course! New York and California have lost so many residents they both lost congressional seats in the House. It was the first time in history for the state of California. We know Florida is one of the major destinations for fleeing families, not just because of the available statistics, but also because the Governors of both California and New York have been spending a lot of time disparaging Florida lately. New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul recently took the very somber occasion of a Holocaust education event to land a terrible joke on behalf of Jewish people against Governor DeSantis.
I just want to say to the 1.77 million Jews who call New York home: Thank you for calling New York home. Don’t go anywhere or to another state. Florida is overrated. I shouldn’t say this, but look at the governor. It starts at the top down.
Hochul is keenly aware that New York City in particular has been hemorrhaging its brain trust, and those people are not moving to Los Angeles for a better life. They’re moving to Florida for a bigger life, an easier life, a more prosperous life; and with them goes their degrees, their businesses, their taxes, their intellect, their children, their votes, their projects, their tastes…on and on and on. Culture is people, and people are moving to Florida.
In addition to the brain trust that is pouring out of the elitist environs of the coasts, so is education. While schools in major American cities were closed, Florida schools remained open, teachers remained employed and children kept learning. The education system has been so overwhelmed with new students that DeSantis has been actively recruiting veterans to come teach in his state, offering a sweet incentive package that includes temporarily waiving certification requirements so veterans can work while they earn those certifications. Florida kids are way ahead of the game in the United States, and it may take another five or ten years to really manifest itself, but it most certainly will at some point.
Even Disney is shifting many of their executives to Florida. Again, all those people are taking their tastes and culture with them. While the state hasn’t reached the popularity level of Georgia when it comes to welcoming the entertainment industry, they are well equipped to host more and more film and arts projects. Their weather is amenable, as is the tax structure, housing is more affordable for cast and crew, and Universal and Disney already have the studios available to accommodate filming at their theme parks and surrounding areas.
Even on the conservative side of culture, there is a huge shift in the brain trust. There was a time not that long ago that Los Angeles was a hub for big shot conservatives to visit and socialize, embedded in the glitz and grime of liberal Hollywood. Ben Shapiro of The Daily Wire, a native Angeleno, has made his home in Florida, and his organization is actively engaged in creating entertainment as well as news and culture reporting. He’s recently been joined by Dave Rubin (who brought his recording studio and growing tech empire with him) and popular (and wickedly intelligent) commentator Karol Markowicz recently moved her entire family there from New York City. Karol is Jewish, so apologies to Governor Hochul. Another one bites the dust, Kat!
While all of the apparatuses of cultural exchange were shut down in the traditional cultural centers of America — movies, restaurants, museums, public squares — Florida was raging on. People never stopped sharing ideas, meeting, creating, selling. Their culture surged forward while the rest of us lay dormant.
For now, we will continue to see our beloved Florida Man stories, and frankly, I hope they never go away. But don’t be so quick to laugh at our Sunshine State sidekicks. It may take a few years, but the results of pretty much all of America shutting down while Florida continued to welcome cultural activity could be shocking for the liberal elites soon enough. There may well be a time, quite soon, when Florida culture will set the standard for American culture.
Personally, I can’t wait.