by Julian Spivey
“Florida Man” has been an Internet meme for a few years now because there’s an awful lot of weird shit that goes down in Florida that people do, get arrested for doing, get killed for doing, etc.
We’re not even three full months into 2019 and Esquire has already compiled a list of the 69 Wildest Florida Man Headlines of 2019 So Far. Some of these headlines are: “Florida Man Who Drove Ferrari Into Water Said: ‘Jesus Told Him To’” and “Florida Man Threatens to Kill Man With ‘Kindness,’ Uses Machete Named ‘Kindness”.
Now, most of these headlines that are so wild you’d expect to see them on satirical articles published by The Onion, could take place in any state in this country. But they always seem to come out of Florida. Maybe it’s because ‘Florida Man’ has become a part of our zeitgeist or maybe Florida is just the shithole of The Twilight Zone.
‘Florida Man’ took the Internet and social media by storm this week when a fun addition to the meme became to Google: ‘Florida Man’ and your birthdate and see which headline you got (the first one that pops up in the search engine). There literally seems to be a ‘Florida Man’ headline for every day of the year. For example, mine was (September 7): “Florida Man, Drunk and Naked, Allegedly Set House on Fire in Failed Cookie Baking Attempt”.
The ‘Florida Man’ craze that took over this week reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from my favorite television series of last year, the second season of FX’s critically-acclaimed and award-winning dramedy “Atlanta,” created by the all-around genius that is Donald Glover.
In the first episode of the season titled “Alligator Man,” Glover’s Earn is riding in a car with Lakeith Stanfield’s Darius when he mentions to Darius that his parents are driving from Georgia to Florida to visit a dying relative. Darius tells Earn to notify his parents to, “watch out for Florida Man,” which is already a belly laugh for folks in the know of the meme. Earn doesn’t know what Darius is talking about. The scene really gets great when Darius starts giving examples of Florida man, which the show brilliantly captures in vignette fashion. The show turns ‘Florida Man’ into a horror villain with Darius claiming him to be responsible for a high number of abnormal incidents in the state, but in the show’s version ‘Florida Man’ is like an “alt-right Johnny Appleseed” with the villain being a white guy intent on scaring African-Americans from visiting the state and registering to vote in the state by doing wild stuff like beating flamingos to death and eating people’s faces.
This scene is one of the best in the show’s first two seasons at capturing its unique sense of humor and sense of subversion. And, now I’m back to being sad because there’s no telling when a third season of this excellent show is going to air with Glover being one of the busiest men in Hollywood these days.
Here’s the ‘Florida Man’ scene, but be warned it includes profanity, violence and nudity if that’s the kind of stuff that turns you off: