Florida Man

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Florida Man is an Internet meme, popularized in 2013, and then re-popularized in 2020, in which the phrase "Florida Man" is taken from various unrelated news articles concerning people who hail from or live in Florida. Internet users typically submit links to news stories and articles about unusual or strange crimes or events occurring in Florida, particularly those where "Florida Man" is mentioned in a headline. The stories call attention to Florida's supposed notoriety for strange and unusual events.[1]

The Miami New Times claimed that freedom of information laws in Florida make it easier for journalists to obtain information about arrests from the police than in other states and that this is responsible for the large number of news articles.[2] A CNN article on the meme also suggested that the breadth of reports of bizarre activities is due to a confluence of factors, including public records laws giving journalists fast and easy access to police reports, the relatively high and diverse population of the state, its highly variable weather, and gaps in mental health funding.[3]

Origin[edit]

The meme originated in February 2013 with the Twitter account @_FloridaMan, which quoted notably strange or bizarre news headlines containing the words "Florida man", such as "Florida man run over by van after dog pushes accelerator" or "Police arrest Florida man for drunken joy ride on motorized scooter at Wal-Mart".[1] The account referred to 'Florida Man' as the "World's Worst Superhero."[1][4][5]

Spread[edit]

Before the creation of the meme, the state of Florida had already garnered a colorful reputation on the Internet, with the social aggregation site Fark hosting a 'Florida' content tag in the years before the Twitter account @_FloridaMan appeared.[4]

After the creation of the account in January 2013, and its ensuing popularization on social media sites such as Reddit and Tumblr, initially through the subreddit 'r/FloridaMan' and the Tumblr blog 'StuckInABucket', the meme was featured in numerous news articles and stories throughout February 2013.[6][7]

'Florida Man' was also referred to in the opening episode of Season 2 of the FX show Atlanta as a sinister entity, referred to by Darius as an "Alt-right Johnny Appleseed" who commits a variety of strange crimes in Florida as part of a plot to keep black voters out, portrayed by Kevin Waterman.[8]

On November 1, 2018, Desi Lydic of The Daily Show filed a report comedically investigating the phenomenon of "Florida Man".[9]

A play titled "Florida Man" by Michael Presley Bobbitt premiered July 31, 2019, at New York's Theatre Row Studios.[10]

In 2019, a variation of the meme developed on social media, in which people were encouraged to look up "Florida Man" and the date of their birthday, typically finding a bizarre news report involving a 'Florida Man' on that date. The "Black Judas" who turns in the title characters for reward money in Queen & Slim (2019) and played by Bertrand E. Boyd II, is credited as "Florida Man".

On October 31, 2019, President of the United States Donald Trump was reported as changing his main residence from New York City to Palm Beach, Florida, the location of the Mar-a-Lago resort he owns and frequently visits.[11][12] Sources joked about Trump becoming 'Florida man',[13][14] including The Daily Show, which released an extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox that changed all instances of Trump's name to "Florida Man."[15] On October 24, 2020, during his rally for Presidential candidate Joe Biden in Florida, former President Barack Obama mocked Trump, saying, "'Florida Man' wouldn't even do this stuff", referring to Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his handling of domestic and foreign affairs.[16]

American classic rock band Blue Öyster Cult referenced the phenomenon in the song "Florida Man" on their 2020 album The Symbol Remains.

The maintainer of the Twitter account @_FloridaMan stated in 2019 that he had "retired" from creating tweets at that account.[17]

Reception[edit]

The meme has widely been seen as a confirmation of the association between the state of Florida and bizarre or humorous activity, and has been compared to the Darwin Awards.[18] However, the meme has also faced some backlash, with the Columbia Journalism Review calling it "one of journalism's darkest and most lucrative cottage industries", where "stories tend to stand as exemplars of the mythical hyper-weirdness of the Sunshine State, but more often simply document the travails of the drug-addicted, mentally ill, and homeless."[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Siegel, Robert (February 14, 2013). "'Florida Man' On Twitter Collects Real Headlines About World's Worst Superhero". National Public Radio. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  2. ^ Kyle Munzenrieder (May 12, 2015). "How Florida's Proud Open Government Laws Lead to the Shame of "Florida Man" News Stories". Miami New Times.
  3. ^ Lou, Michelle; Orjoux, Alanne (March 22, 2019). "Googling 'Florida man' is the latest internet fad. Let's explore why so many crazy stories come out of the state". CNN.
  4. ^ a b Lacapria, Kim (February 21, 2013). "Florida Man Is Twitter's 'Worst Superhero'". Social News Daily. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  5. ^ Alvarez, Lizette (May 11, 2015). "@_FloridaMan Beguiles With the Hapless and Harebrained". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  6. ^ Zimmerman, Neetzan (February 11, 2013). "'Florida Man' Personifies Everything That's Messed Up About Florida". Gawker Media. Gawker. Archived from the original on December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  7. ^ Davis, Lauren (February 10, 2013). "Florida Man is the nation's worst superhero". Gawker Media. io9. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  8. ^ FX Networks (March 2, 2018). Atlanta | Season 2 Ep. 1: Florida Man Scene | FX. Retrieved September 14, 2018 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ Comedy Central (November 2, 2018). Who is “Florida Man”? Desi Lydic Investigates. The Daily Show. Retrieved February 10, 2019 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ Cohen, Howard. "'Sunshine State has weirdness for everyone.' So he's taking 'Florida Man' Off-Broadway". miamiherald.com. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  11. ^ Haberman, Maggie (October 31, 2019). "Trump, Lifelong New Yorker, Declares Himself a Resident of Florida". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  12. ^ Axelrod, Tal (October 31, 2019). "Trump changes primary residence to Florida". thehill.com. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  13. ^ Hannon, Elliot (November 1, 2019). "Donald Trump Is Officially a Florida Man". slate.com. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  14. ^ Allison, Bill; Parker, Mario (November 25, 2019). "Trump, Now a Florida Man, Makes Home State Center of Campaign". bloomberg.com. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  15. ^ Darrah, Nicole (November 5, 2019). "'Florida man' browser extension pokes fun at Trump, Sunshine State". foxnews.com. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  16. ^ Fearnow, Benjamin (October 24, 2020). "Obama Mocks Trump at Miami Biden Rally: 'Florida Man Wouldn't Even Do This Stuff'". Newsweek.
  17. ^ Hill, Logan (July 15, 2019). "Is it okay to laugh at the Florida man meme?". The Washington Post.
  18. ^ Holt, Kris (February 8, 2013). ""Florida Man" is pretty much the worst person ever". The Daily Dot. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  19. ^ Norman, Bob (May 30, 2019). "Who Is Florida Man?". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved November 1, 2019.

External links[edit]