Two-thirds of Floridians weren’t born here. We come to Florida to shed pantyhose, fur coats, and crazy relatives in hopes of finding a new self, whoever we thought we couldn’t be in the cloudier place we are from. We wear latex super hero suits, ride mattresses pulled behind four-wheelers, have pet snakes longer than our cars, put our faith in space aliens, and talk to our dead pets through mediums. Nothing seems impossible. It is a collective psychosis.
But in the eyes of America, Florida has become a punchline, the comedic meme du jour. Comedy Central’s “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” has been feeding from the trough of Florida politics since the 2000 hanging chad fiasco. Since then, Florida has replaced the Weekly World News as the world’s source of absurdity. Throughout the day news sites, bloggers and tweeters post bizarre stories lifted from Florida’s police blotters – Pink-clad pooch stolen from gay bar by man with Britney tattooMan says cocaine in his buttocks isn’t his and on and on.
But, as always, life is more complex than parodies and daily news oddities. The diverse residents who live on the fringes of the mainstream are the people make Florida truly special: Human ponies, nude bikers, furry fans, sideshow performers, and the millions who leave their inhibitions at the state line.
The book Fringe Florida: Travels Among Mud Boggers, Furries, Ufologists, Nudists, and Other Lovers of Unconventional Lifestyles goes beyond the salacious headlines and takes readers on a journey into the heart of Florida’s odd, and sometimes illicit worlds.
The accompanying blog includes Fringe Florida outtakes and other fringe news. Sign up to be notified of updates.