26 Comments
Sep 8, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Very nice read, would definitely visit if I ever made it out of EUrope (not bloody likely though) on some trip or other. Your description of Florida Man and the prevailing attitudes made me feel right at home.

"The conversations one has with near strangers, which can seem mystifyingly involved to Yankees, are to the end of intelligence gathering, fortifying social norms, and furthering feuds, all of which hold Southern society together."

This is identical to the swedish countryside, especially the really far off parts like my literal neck of the woods (up to 70% of Sweden is forested nowadays, the rest is farmland or cities); "att slänga käft", literally "to throw jaw" meaning to be able and interested in having a chat with anyone is virtually a commandment. Feuds, non-violent most of the time, also exist. Some - between villages - have been ongoing since before the advent of king Vasa I five hundred years ago. Nowadays it's jeers and jokes 99.9% of the time but get them drunk and onto the dance-rotunda and you might see punches thrown.

Don't take this the wrong way but 50 people per square mile? That's clustered compared to here: fewer than 1 person per square kilometer (2.5 sq kilometers equals 1 sq mile) There are more moose than people out here in the foothills of the fjells. No 'gators though, but plenty of Northern Pike in the lakes, some growing close to two yards; taste like a plank of pine at that size, usually turned into fish-mush and baked as fishballs served with potatoes, fresh ground horseradish, green peas in butter and a white pepper sauce with a light lager to drink.

Anways, where was I? Oh yeah, right here! ;)

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The map is a bit misleading, in that it’s by county, and you can get the impression that it’s consistently that dense throughout. In an area like Daytona everyone is clustered near the beaches at high density; when you get further inland it thins out greatly. There are some very rural places in Florida. Still, nothing is so remote as parts of Northern Europe, or even parts of the American West. Even the emptiest areas of Florida are a short drive from the busiest. It’s an interesting contrast and has to do with its history. The rural parts are Old Florida, that Southern agricultural society. New Florida is the colonization project of the 20th century. It’s all quite new; when my father’s family moved there, there weren’t even highways yet.

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Main reason the remote areas here are remote, are central planning made in the 1950s-1970s period; the modernist/futurist ideal was still in full swing among the Capitol-based decision-makers, meaning they've consistently tried to make the entire countryside into one huge natural resource-deposit with some tourist spots thrown in (if I'm to put it with an emotional twist).

The tide is turning though. With the cities becoming "shit-hole coutries" due to migration from Africa and Middle East, swedes in the 30-45 age bracket are moving to the country-side in increasing numbers. The political situation is like a bunch of snakes having an orgy in a bowl full of rotten spaghetti.

I'm sure the US is rife with similar stories.

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Sep 8, 2023·edited Sep 8, 2023Author

I live in a mostly rural area (farms a few miles up the road from a good-sized town). I trust my neighbors and I have little doubt that were trouble to begin in the metro area, we would come together fairly smoothly to prevent it from spreading. There were riots in that metro in 2020; none got this far, save one store slightly vandalized. Rural and small town elites are going to become a new power hub once the talented are fully shut out of GAE jobs in the managerial state. I discuss this somewhat in my articles about teaching. I suspect the same is true of Sweden as well.

Be ready to teach (if you are willing and able).

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Now do one for all the other states. I double dog dare you.

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I would happily write on other states, but I am only closely familiar with the Deep South and the Carolinas. Perhaps if there is a state that several people want to know more about, I will write a piece.

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I think it's your job to do one for your state.

The Librarian is a hard-working man. I suggest following his example.

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Sep 27, 2023·edited Sep 27, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I gave this a deeper dive. The gross caricature of Florida Man is most certainly a reaction to non-natives. I love the way you have reclaimed the term and created a sense of pride and identity among our local population. In a city known for tourism, real estate scams, and corruption… we are in need of a real identity that unites us. I was born here and have no intention to stay long-term as a resident due to the slow pace of life and prominent anti-intellectualism, yet when I return to see family (my current situation) I want to feel like I’m part of a genuine local culture. You have set the stage for this very well. Also, I deeply love the Everglades and St. Augustine. There is nowhere else like these places in the rest of America. They are truly Florida. We need a True Florida.

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It makes me happy whenever people read my work, but it makes me far happier still when people re-read it.

I don't know that I would say that Florida is anti-intellectual, at least not more so than any other place in America. People who love art and literature are outliers in our society as a whole, and finding groups of people who share one's interests along those lines can be difficult anywhere, as I'm sure I don't need to tell you. My interests range from Ancient Greek Drama to Vaporwave and I am wholly alone in that regard everywhere I've ever been so far as I am aware. However, I am conscious that I am perhaps not being fair to my neighbors in that assumption. It's not as if I've actually gone around and asked them all what they read; perhaps a good number of them have a deeper intellectual life than I realize. Perhaps I'm too inflexible in my idea of what constitutes intellectual life; perhaps they simple go about philosophy in a different way. I try to be open, but I am hindered in that I am not especially social and have limited time for such in any case. As you have neither of those difficulties (based on what you've written) you could perhaps do better in experimenting with what constitutes an intellectual scene.

What sort of art and intellectual life are you looking for specifically? How might the people you are looking for know you are looking for them? Florida is the definition of a giant open network, a flood of new people and new money in a great churn that will eventually settle into some sense of authentic identity. As an artist you have a great chance to enter into that world and influence it (and be influenced by it). I highly recommend IM Magazine's second issue, the one I reference my essay, especially Bog Beef's piece "Weird Forida." I wholly agree with his take. I think you might as well.

At any rate, I am still planning to meet up in November. As a teacher my schedule is very demanding, but I should still be able to pull it off. I will be posting more specific plans in October. I still don't know what is wrong with the Telegram channel.

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I’m a consultant, and am usually posting while working. It’s complicated. I actually think I haven’t lived here long enough to form a good intellectual or art scene, whereas in NYC and SF I was always the one organizing the events. I like the parties that occur after Art Basel, but am not into Art Basel itself since it is way too crowded and full of artificial people. I love swimming and going to the beach, which makes me a Floridian to boot. Yet I went to school in Savannah (SCAD) and NYC. Nevertheless, Florida is my home now. Your outlook about the people here is very mature and humble. I appreciate the nuance in which you view things here. As for the Telegram group, I am happy to help out. It’s just an issue with the settings. You can email me at theculturalfuturist@gmail.com.

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

As a native I approve! Seriously bro, nailed it! Bad ass read. I’m still smiling.

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Sep 8, 2023·edited Sep 8, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

"My classroom features portraits of Robert E. Lee and Andrew Jackson; dip bars, a pull-up frame, and heavy steel clubs sit next to shelves stocked with Evola, Guenon, Gomez-Davila, and an inviting biography of Yukio Mishima. Looming over me as I type is a deer skull, taken from a huge buck that ran off the road and crashed against my mother’s house some years ago. Construction paper paeans to 'believe and achieve' are not part of the aesthetic."

That remark about construction paper paeans is particularly incisive, in my opinion. So many of the schools I have entered, even at the secondary level, are festooned with pointless scraps of paper proclaiming the type of banal, inoffensive and uninspiring platitudes which have never compelled anyone to meaningful change.

Administrations are so afraid of taking risks with their messaging, it ends up achieving no point whatsoever. Thankfully for us, the artwork of the political "minds" (I use that term reticently) behind those bureaucratic hierarchies is similarly devoid of higher ideals.

A classroom bookshelf occupied by Evola and Mishima would be a sight for sore eyes, indeed in such a cultural wasteland.

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Jan 4Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Thanks. Another side we don’t often see.

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Jan 1Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I'm not sure why this just appeared on my Notes feed now (Notes works in mysterious ways), but I'm so glad it did. I grew up in Florida, and while I'm also too white collar to be a true Florida (wo)man now, I think that's where my appreciation for chaos agents like Trump and Musk - people who enjoy a bit of mayhem - comes from. I also share your thoughts about how Florida is a utopia, not a place, but one that resists our attempts at projection. This might be too trashy for your tastes, but it reminded me of a very funny Carl Hiassen novel where a Florida woman kidnaps a landscape developer to try to open his eyes to real Florida - unsuccessfully.

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Florida Woman is its own very unexplored topic. I would love to see someone address it...

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Dec 31, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I'm reading this on the lanai, no clouds, sun filtering down into the tress and native vegetation. I've been here 26 years but felt this. My soul longs for the hills of my state of birth like it does to be on the water, so I stay near the water. My tattoos all have breaking waves my whole left ribcage armpit to hip is covered in waves trust me I get the call of being on the water here. I was thinking this last week I can't wait till it warms up to be able to take my son kayaking or canoeing or down the crystal river with its seagrass. The biggest mistake people make in my opinion too is that the stuff for tourists, while fun, or beach party life is what it's about here and it's anything but that. You only get to play if you work hard and stay out of the way of the party crowd. Loved this missive.

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Thank you very much. This was one of my favorite pieces and I’m glad people are finding it again. And it does sound like you’ve got Florida written all over you in a characteristically Floridian way. Enjoy the sunshine.

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Jan 1·edited Jan 1Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I don't think all over me. I think there's a lot of people from places I've lived before with me as when my Dad got promoted we moved, after Carter, they left WV due to how the declining steel industry and coal industry was affecting the local economy and he went corporate instead of running the family business with two kids and a wife in tow. He's such a good guy. Super blessed to have the parents I have. He instilled hard work and determination and lead by example in that regard as did my Mom. I am glad they moved even though I love the state I was born in I lived a fuller life than my cousin with priceless memories and the amazing stuff I've been able to do. Even if my life seems mundane to some my life to now has a ton of stuff in it that a lot don't even with degrees and stuff don't get to ever do, so all in all I hated it here due to having just grown up primarily in AL and FL and have grown to love it and see the positives I didn't see before, used to be, that as long as there was an airport close then we can go anywhere. I've made peace at least today, with the Stockholm syndrome I have with FL. Lol

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I never knew I could feel a kinship with Florida Man.

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Sep 15, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I keep meaning to come back and comment on this, but every time I think I have some profound addition or insight on the topic, I find that it's not as profound or insightful as I thought. But this piece has been stirring in me for the past week or so. Forgive me if this sounds a bit slavish, but this really is a beautiful reflection that only a native son can write about the place they call home. It makes me want to do one for my own state, as we have a very similar situation as Florida (i.e. a distinct culture, masses of immigrants both foreign and domestic, the slow erosion of the old ways and the struggle of new ones to form), but you and I have very different writing styles and I'm not sure I could be so poetic in my prose, as it's just not my strong suit. Point is - this really is great work, here.

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Thank you very much for the kind praise. I for one would love to see your take on the culture of your home state. I look forward to reading it.

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Sep 16, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Thank you. I'll have to wait for the muse to get back from vacation. Unfortunately it seems she's abandoned me at the moment, as she is wont to do every now and then. She always returns at the most unpredictable and inconvenient and times, but when she does... it'll happen.

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Sep 12, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

You can tell that this is written by a native son of the Sunshine State, the whole essay oozes with that easy familiarity and love of even the darker aspects of the state that only growing up there can provide.

It makes me want to write something similar about my own home state (that sunshine state of the west, California)

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

"the indisputable symbol of success is the boat, be it motor, pontoon, sail, or other, which serves as the center of recreational life."

Please tell us more about airboats, which even outlanders can easily identify as the highest form of boat.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airboat

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Sep 8, 2023·edited Sep 8, 2023Author

Archer can explain the appeal better than I can. Note that this takes place in Louisiana, and Cajun Man is by no means the same thing as Florida Man.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTJbcFQHTAY

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I sort of want Alabama Man and Mississippi Man to appear and weigh in here.

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