Law Office of Matthew Konecky - January 2020

THE KONECKY

JANUARY 2020

JOURNAL

561.671.5995 | 954.272.6187 | www.matthewkoneckypa.com 110 SE 6th Street, Suite 1700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 4440 PGA Blvd, Suite 204 Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410

Why Does ‘Florida Man’ Always Make National Headlines?

Across the country and around the world, “Florida Man” constantly makes headlines. It seems that every week, “Florida Man” is caught doing something out of the ordinary. Past headlines include these:

or some sort of crime. Florida Man, it seems, is capable of anything, which may be why he has captured

“Florida Man Attacked During Selfie With Squirrel”

the imagination of millions of people across the country.

“Florida Man in ‘No, Seriously, I Have Drugs’ T-Shirt Arrested for Possession of Drugs”

There’s a scene in the FX show “Atlanta” that showcases what much of the rest

• “Florida Man Says He Danced on Patrol Car in Order to Escape Vampires”

of the country sees in Florida Man. In the scene, Earn (played by Donald Glover) mentions his parents are driving to Florida. His friend Darius (played by Lakeith Stanfield) has a warning for Earn: “Make sure you tell them to watch out for Florida Man.” Earn responds, “What’s Florida Man?” Darius then explains, “Florida Man is responsible for a large percentage of abnormal incidents that occur in Florida. No one knows his true identity, date of birth, what he looks like. That’s why headlines always say ‘Florida Man.’” As Darius suggests, the headlines can often make it look like one person is doing all of these extraordinary things. Sometimes the stories are humorous, but other times they’re unfortunate, if not tragic. But that comes back to the nature of Florida Man — he, she, or they can be anyone. There is another reason why Florida Man makes so many headlines. Florida has freedom of information laws that are unlike many of the laws you find in just about every other state. Because of these laws, journalists, bloggers, and others can get ahold of a lot of information out of Florida, including arrests and police reports. Off-the-wall events happen in every state, but because so much of these stories aren’t made available by law enforcement, you don’t see them — with the notable exception of Florida.

• “Florida Man Charged With Assault With a Deadly Weapon After Throwing Alligator Through Wendy’s Drive-Thru Window” The list goes on. More recently, we had headlines not of Florida Man but of Florida Dog. A black Labrador named Max managed to drive his owner’s car in circles for about an hour as neighbors looked on in disbelief. The video started circulating in November and went viral. I have a theory on this phenomenon. People come from all over the country, and all over the world, to visit Florida. They come for the weather and our many great attractions. However, many people who come to experience Florida for a vacation end up staying. They love it here. This state brings together people from all walks of life. With our extraordinary diversity of people, anything can happen. Of course, when Florida Man makes headlines, people associate this person as the quintessential Floridian. It doesn’t matter if the person has been in Florida one week or their entire life; when they do something out of the ordinary or completely preposterous, they become Florida Man, Florida Woman, or Florida Dog. Florida Man also seems to capture hillbilly stereotypes. Sometimes an alligator is involved, sometimes there’s a loss of limb, and sometimes it’s both. A lot of headlines also involve shady dealings But why is this? Why does Florida Man, the so-called antihero of the Sunshine State, keep making headlines?

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And so, as Florida remains diverse and its information public, Florida Man will live on in headlines and in our hearts.

–Matthew Konecky

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