Flohioda; observations on the characteristics of American absurdity and depression

Tw: Americentrism

Lately, I’ve found myself mulling over the dichotomies between Ohio and Florida as they exist within the memeosphere(I don’t have another word for this)

From personal observations, it appears to me, within the context of American culture and it’s relation to its individual states, that these two polities hold a unique position of elevation relative to others. While states like Texas, California, New York, and many others have their associations (Ala alambama and incest), Florida and Ohio(henceforth referred to as Flohioda) stand apart from the rest in that they call to the mind of the observer commentaries on the more myopic aspects of American life.

However, it should be said, that the entities and the dolor with which they contend with are of notably different flavors. The salt to one’s msg, or the coke to one’s Pepsi, if you will.

In Ohio, representative of the Midwest region, we see the general malaise of a landlocked people. The ire of being the ‘flyover’ state. ‘Here lies dust’. This in part perhaps stems to deindustrialization and the rise of neo liberalism. Where thousands of jobs that once held up a prosperous economy were shipped to overseas labor in pursuit of ‘free markets’ and globalization. One wonders what the taste of the state might have been prior to 1971, but as it is now, it holds in the place of American consciousness as the beholder of dread and despair. Memes concerned with this subject oftentimes call to bewilderment, dejection, at a realization perhaps of ‘I am here, in Ohio.’ Near Equidistant from the new poles of finiancialized and tech based capital, one sees in affect the anignorosis of being in the ‘middle of nowhere’.

Whereas Florida, on the whole, seems to be the resting place of American absurdity. Here is a locus of anti communist formation and soon to be focal point of climate change. Here is a concentration of a well to do retired populace, the final resting place of reactionary boomers.
The sunshine state in which the sun shines on all aspects of its depravity.
Editorializing, sure, but where we find the origins of the effusive ‘Florida man’, we reveal its lax reporting laws, where by the nature of it, the crazy crimes that can and do happen anywhere, aren’t sold off for headlines in some degree of protection to the privacy of alleged parties.

Although, how much of it is just a meme, ie not reprasentive of true reality? To what degree is it more a ‘nickelback is bad’ of modern times (the author has no opinion on nicleback and has never heard a song). Can it be said it’s reputation is a holdover of testimony and not aqquaintenship to the state itself? If you’ll allow the author to insert themselves; I can say having lived in the state for a time in childhood that is in fact crazy and does suck.

Perhaps in the case of Florida, it could be the heat. It drives some people crazy, and in observation of reports of crime and it’s increase in the summer time, we see in effect how the geography of a locale might affect the character of its inhabitants(if I used those wrong I stg).

One wonders how these phenomena developed. In my estimation, the flashpoint of Florida weird began or was greatly exacerbated by the bathsalt zombie incident. Where in the ‘aughts, a crazed man high on bath salts ate the face of a man in public. News of this was sensationalized and after the fact cemented an image in popular consciousness of what the state was like. Immortalized in the show ‘Atlanta,’ of Childish Gambino fame, where it was commented on directly by name. And in its follow up finding a sort of, brinksmanship of absurdity as progressively weirder headlines coincided with some of the wildest shit u ever seen dog.

These are things that interest me. And as sea levels and temperatures rise, and America enters what seems to be a new recession, we can find a preview of what’s to come in these two states, as they are already there. The Ohioization of America is seemingly inevitable, and without intervention the scenario of an astronaut looking down on a large squarish continent might not seem so far fetched.

What do you think?




2 Likes

Great write up! I personally think some of the stereotypes for these locale based "vibes" we get (HIppy liberal Californians, New Yorker's being mean, cowboys in Nashville) can be kind of misconstrued as there are plenty of conservatives in California and plenty of city slicker nerds in Nashville (or whatever opposite of your stereotype is I am blanking on alternatives).

I will suspend my inner skeptic though to pontificate because its fun :slight_smile: . If you really think of it, each state with cultural impact often bleeds into its neighbors somewhat. Like if you think about the flordia crazy stereotype or dreary ohian, these are containers for a real subset of people even beyond the arbitrary lines of a state.

There are likely a great deal of people who feel the "ohian" dismay in the deindustrailized areas near ohio. They may not have even been geographically close and merely went through similar experiences as what happened to the rust belt. I am sure some areas in the deep south and coasts had similar impacts from neoliberalizing trade deals (NAFTA, TPP), offshoring, and the overall movement of production to the "periphery" (for lack of a better term).

These micro "ohios" will be spread throughout the entire country, obviously, some being hit harder than others. Ohio in this case isn't referring to the land within the state lines, but rather the emotions and experiences we are allowing the container of Ohio to hold. Language is weird like that, we cannot fully express ourselves so we can use symbols and ideas to hold the vast amount of information coming in (emotions included).

Now the question is why Ohio? I don't really have an answer but I assume the way it was devastated by the de-industrial wave and its resulting diaspora. The dream of the Ohio stereotype is to leave. I am curious if Ohioans economically migrated for jobs more often than other states. Resulting in Ohioan migrators spreading the horrors of Ohio and the urge to leave. Cementing this stereotype on second and third-hand sources.

Totally have no clue.

As for Florida crazy is just a different container for the communities ravaged by poverty, drug use, and general social alienation that creates these desperate pleas to do anything.

Now the question is why Florida, of course, reporting laws allowed it to go viral, and the bath salts launched it. I would say in general it is the lawlessness ingrained into Florida legislation as well.

People know Florida not only for its free-wheeling residents but its loose governance. So many boomers migrate specifically because they feel they won't be governed as aggressively and the lack of enforcement of building codes is applauded.... That is until its natural consequences collide. We have seen an upsurge of infrastructure collapse and mismanagement of construction in Florida.

This isn't just building codes either; its gun laws (whatever your preference), financial schemes, pharmaceutical drugs, and anything you don't want to be regulated is often stereotypically thought of as Floridian. This leads to people playing fast and loose with what's in people's interests.

I like to think these Florida man incidents while happening everywhere, were only able to happen due to the ripe soil laid down by these kinds of decisions. People wouldn't be in the position to rob a liquor store with a spiderman costume (or whatever silly Florida man thing) if they weren't sold out by legislators. Heck, the headlines that created the Florida man archetype were only allowed to blow up due to lax reporting laws.

This again is not a Florida-specific thing, but rather there are micro Florida throughout the country. Certain counties have their own local baron who dictates ways to make things de-regulated and ripe for exploitation.

To be honest I could totally be spouting BS but I do think there are captured symbolic emotions and experiences contained within these state stereotype memes. I could be wrong about the content, but my gut feels there's something to it.