How Florida Became a Punchline

July 10, 2013 10:49 PM

Considering that the state entered modern times from humble beginnings as a real estate scam (if only Ponce de Leon could have sold timeshares at “Fountain of Youth Golf and Country Club), current events have led to all kinds of fun being poked about us down here.

Sure, some of it we bring on ourselves with residents calling 911 more than once to complain about not getting sauce for their McNuggets at the drive through or taking “animal husbandry” to new dimensions.

On a more serious note, we have gone through some very public displays of Florida through the criminal justice system. Once, I would have thought that the Casey Anthony case or now the George Zimmerman case were major news stories but only in the local market. Here in the Orlando media market, I’d expect heavy coverage and regular updates, much more than in the north Florida media.

To have saturation national coverage along with the hyperbolic hypotheticals in the news analysis just makes me wonder if Florida is that interesting or is the rest of the country that dull. Already, we are making plans for potential post-verdict civil disturbances and I expect that I will be commuting right through it just as any such thing starts happening.

What concerns me more, and I predict this, that there will be the same sort of media disappointment (riotus interruptus?) if there ISN’T some street violence after the Zimmerman trial at least on par with celebrating a pro sports title.

I have already seen hyperventilating weathercasters preparing us for the zombie apocalypse every time a tropical depression forms within 500 miles of the coast. It matters little that Atlantic storms seem to have found a groove up the Gulf Stream to go plague the Carolinas and beyond. It seems as though we got “cheated” of our summer blockbuster reality show when we don’t have a storm. I also wonder what happened to all of the generators and plywood people bought before the last storm and the one before that. Plywood doesn’t have an expiration date …

It may be that down here in God’s Waiting Room, we have an unhealthy need for excitement, if only to reassure us that our hearts are still in good working order.

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About drronthomasjr

Dr. Ron Thomas, Jr. teaches journalism at Full Sail University in Orlando, FL. Dr. Thomas also heads Thomas Consulting Group, a consortium of professionals in leadership, crisis management, and media relations.
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