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Last sync:2023-05-11 11:30
In which Hank dives into the mundane reality behind the bizarre reality of FLORIDA MAN!

Florida's open government laws:

Chescaleigh, who told me about this:

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Hank: Good morning John. I--you don't want to admit this necessarily but we are both, at least in part, Floridians.    And I wanna be clear, Florida has a lot going for it. It is home to two of my very favorite foods: the key lime pie and the Cuban sandwich. It also has manatees and Cape Canaveral and Disney World and really great thunderstorms.   It is the third largest state by population in the nation and has a huge amount of cultural diversity and diversity of wildlife and habitat and beaches and parties and the Miami Heat, who I hear do quite well.   But Florida is also weirdly kinda the laughing stock of the nation. It's uh...yeah.   Back when i was first on the internet, I'd spend a lot of time on because I was a teenage boy. And they have a bunch of categories on they categorize their outrageous headlines into like scary or fail or face palm.   One of those categories is simply, Florida. Because it seems, and is also objectively true, that there are just way more weird news stories that come out of Florida than any other state.   "Florida man tries to convince woman to buy, cook, and eat iguanas taped to his bike." "Florida man arrested for directing traffic while urinating." "Florida man refuses to get out of hotel pool; demands police tickle him."   The Florida Man headline has become a cliche. There is a Twitter account devoted to the adventures of Florida Man. And it's a good read. There seems to be something really odd about Florida Man or maybe about Florida.    I've actually read a bunch of different theories on this. Is it the party culture of Miami? Or is it the huge income gap between the wealthiest and the poorest Floridan? Or is that Florida is such a weird amalgamation of a bunch of different cultures that are all interacting with each other? Because no one is really from Florida?   And all these theories are wrong. There is actually a very simple and uninteresting reason why Florida Man is a thing. It's a law called the Government in the Sunshine Act. And it is part of Florida's almost unparalleled history of open government. If you work in the government in the state of Florida, every email you send is a matter of public record. Anyone can read it. The public has to be notified anytime two members of the government meet together to talk about something.   And most important to this video, every piece of police paperwork is available to journalists the moment they ask for it.    It is actually a fairly admirable policy, though it is questionable in regards to the rights of the person who has been arrested, but not convicted of a crime.    That you're just reporting on the thing that arrest report says before any of that has gone through any kind of due process. Which is one of the reasons why other states have different rules. But you combine that weird law with the fact that Florida is the third most populous state, and with the fact that journalism is in kind of an economically difficult place right now, and you're going to see a lot of sensationalist headlines about Florida Man.    Like if a journalist catches wind that a man in a Thor costume punches through a deli display case and starts eating handful of knishes. All he has to do is call the police department and they have to send him over ultra-detailed arrest reports with statements from witnesses and the police.    In other places, writing a dumb story like that would probably be more trouble than it was worth. Because they would have to jump through all the hoops that are necessary to get the arrest report.    But in Florida, thanks to a sometimes even troublingly open government, there are no hoops.    I have an additional theory pet theory that we didn't have a stereotype to stick on Florida like we did for Californians and New Yorkers and Texans.    So we had to come up with something and because our brains are super good at pattern-recognition, we noticed this thing where a lot of weird headlines were coming out of Florida and there it was. It stuck. Florida: weird news capital of America and possibly the world.   John, I'll see you on Tuesday.    I just wanted to say thank you to Francesca Leigh who told me about this weird fluke of history that's the reason why we think Florida is so weird. You can check out her YouTube channel over there.    I had to pre-record this one cause uh there's too much going on in Minneapolis with NerdCon. So if anything happened in the last few days and I'm not talking about it, that's why.    Thanks for watching.