Florida Man And Other Strange Political Cases

The question for our age may just be: What is WRONG with these people? What is it about science, tolerance, and ordinary common sense that sets them off?

What has set me off today is a Paul Krugman column about “Florida man” Ron DeSantis’ most recent departure from rationality. As Krugman explains:

It’s possible to grow meat in a lab — to cultivate animal cells without an animal and turn them into something people can eat. However, that process is difficult and expensive. And at the moment, lab-grown meat isn’t commercially available and probably won’t be for a long time, if ever.

Still, if and when lab-grown meat, also sometimes referred to as cultured meat, makes it onto the market at less than outrageous prices, a significant number of people will probably buy it. Some will do so on ethical grounds, preferring not to have animals killed to grace their dinner plates. Others will do so in the belief that growing meat in labs does less damage to the environment than devoting acres and acres to animal grazing. And it’s at least possible that lab-grown meat will eventually be cheaper than meat from animals.

And if some people choose to consume lab-grown meat, why not? It’s a free country, right?

Evidently Florida isn’t part of that free country.

DeSantis has now signed a bill that bans the production or sale of lab-grown meat in Florida. Evidently, other Red states are considering similar legislation. Evidently also, the fact that a a lab-grown meat industry doesn’t yet exist is irrelevant. As Krugman notes, Florida’s law is a “perfect illustration of how crony capitalism, culture war, conspiracy theorizing and rejection of science have been merged — ground together, you might say — in a way that largely defines American conservatism today.”

I am so old I remember when Republicans and conservatives championed limited government. A government that can tell you what you can and cannot eat–that can tell private enterprises what they can and cannot produce or sell– is pretty much the antithesis of limited. Today, when Republican candidates talk about “freedom,” they rather clearly mean “freedom to live a life in accordance with what we decree is proper.” Today’s GOP wants to define and constrain your life choices from reproduction to food consumption.

Krugman tells us that, ridiculous as it sounds, meat consumption has been caught up in the culture wars.

You saw this coming years ago if you were following the most trenchant source of social observation in our times: episodes of “The Simpsons.” Way back in 1995, Lisa Simpson, having decided to become a vegetarian, was forced to sit through a classroom video titled “Meat and You: Partners in Freedom.”

It seems that eating– or claiming to eat– lots of meat “has become a badge of allegiance on the right, especially among the MAGA crowd. Donald Trump Jr. once tweeted, “I’m pretty sure I ate 4 pounds of red meat yesterday,” improbable for someone who isn’t a sumo wrestler.”

Krugman attributes MAGA’s meat obsession to acceptance of various conspiracy theories, climate denialism, and the growing belief of GOP hardliners that “politics is a form of live-action role play.” We the People aren’t a polity; we’re an audience.

I have another theory. We live in the age of insanity. And it isn’t only MAGA, although that movement is surely the poster child for lunacy. Here’s a recent story from The Independent. The headline says it all: “RFK Jr says a worm ate part of his brain and then died inside his head.”

Anti-vaccine activist turned independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr has revealed that a worm ate part of his brain and then died inside his head.

According to The New York Times, Mr Kennedy made the bizarre admission during a deposition held as part of his 2012 divorce proceeding.

That worm explains a lot. At a minimum, this admission sheds some additional light on the recent endorsement of President Biden by the remainder of the Kennedy family.

Americans today are being subjected to performative politics in which a cast of wacko characters whose antics–however entertaining–are utterly divorced from the actual work of governing. Florida Man DeSantis pontificates about the dangers of “wokism” (which he evidently defines as anything that offends him); RFK spouts anti-science, anti-vaccine lunacies; Trump claims victimhood/persecution whenever things don’t go his way; Marjorie Taylor Green sees Jewish Space Lasers.

If this was a sit-com, it would be way too over-the-top.


  1. My first thought was of Dolly, the cloned sheep. How was she used and how did she end? Then it jumped to Ira Levin’s book and movie “The Boys From Brazil”. For some reason it moved on to the “uncured” meats in stores which is actually “cured” with natural products (primarily plants) rather than those which are “cured” with chemicals. Am I wrong to believe the “uncured” are a healthier choice?

    “Today’s GOP wants to define and constrain your life choices from reproduction to food consumption.”

    Does choosing “uncured” over “cured” meats show our political leanings to the left? Face it; politics now rule all aspects of our lives rather than being choice of leadership in government. More science fiction than a sit-com.

  2. That headline in V Fair – “RFK Jr’s Campaign Says the Worm that Ate Part of His Brain Won’t Affect His Ability to Serve as President” – confirms it: satire is dead. You can’t write this s***

  3. What hasn’t been questioned is RFK Jr’s claim that the worm is dead. In reality, the worm remains alive and has been controlling him for many years. It’s obvious from his behavior, including driving the anti-vaccine claims in an effort to prevent the development of an anti-worm vaccine. Those close to him have said that during quiet times you can actually hear the worm turning, as it acts to infect the GOP.

  4. I have to say that it’s not clear me how anything can affect RFK’s ability to do a job he will never have.

    It’s true that Florida Man is as looney as they come. Living here has been like living in a theater of the absurd play and I say that after spending the last few years of my working life in DC. I’m so grateful to Governor Dementis for protecting me from the imaginary monsters under his bed!

  5. A 12-year-old article about RFK, Jr., magically materialized in the NYT during a deposition. That couldn’t possibly be a planted article by the Biden administration, could it? Biden is losing support from independents and progressives by the boatload. Here is an article in CNN that doesn’t sound spooky at all:


    What I don’t understand with Krugman is he knows where the pro-meat, pro-coal lobby is coming from but doesn’t mention it. Charles Koch and ALEC have a major meat-packing and coal contingent. Like in Indiana, they fund red-state governors with incredibly protective bills to keep profits flowing.

    We need to stop looking at the performative measures shown in legacy media to attract eyeballs to consume ads and propaganda and start peeking behind the scenes so we can see who funds this nonsense.

    For instance, a Republican Rep from TN, owned by AIPAC, just presented a Bill that would send all the campus protesters (pro-Hamas!) arrested since 10/7/23 (yes, he backdated it) to Gaza and perform six months of community service. They seemingly try to outdo each other, appealing to their rabid base. Don’t MAGA parents send their kids to college?

    The media is a weapon in 2024. At this point, it’s almost all propaganda. Corporate support (ads) and investment companies like SoftBank and Blackrock keep them afloat. You will seldom see articles hurting their “sponsors.”

  6. Todd is right about corporations funding idiots like DeSantis, et. al. They’ll write ANY laws, tell ANY lies and make up ANY fantasy that the money boys and girls tell them to. This fact explains why we live in an age of insanity.

    And it’s not just Florida Man. There’s Texas Man who fondles his guns. There’s Missouri Man who tries to make women into house slaves. There’s Indiana Man who struggles with finding the difference between his ass and first base. Of course, all these “Men” can be lumped into Red State Man.

    To be fair there’s also South Dakota Woman. Yeah. Let’s blame the ghost writer for our insanity and fact-free corruption.

  7. “Performative politics” is a reflection of our “performative” culture. More and more everything is about “performance” – dress, speech, clothes, driving, etc. – acting out “ME”. Does anyone remember when yelling, jumping, bumping were considered “unsportsmanlike” behavior by players?

  8. DeSantis is an unfeeling, uncaring, inhumane, excuse for a human. When a lawyer in the armed forces, he approved the torture for which Abu Ghraib became infamous. When he performs for the public he has signs about freedom around him, but does mean “Free to be only as I want you to be.”
    He recently signed a law that prevents outdoor workers from taking a break from the heat, and humidity, in, Florididia. It is only early May, and the temp. has been at, or around, 890 degrees, here in central Florida, already!
    I will spare you all any commentary about our disgusting Sen. Scott supporting tfg.

  9. All humans have the same need to live consistent with who they are, and who we each are is widely different. We are a diverse species, which we sometimes picture as a species with unlimited potential. Left to our own devices, we expand out from the center of a circle (which represents the average human) in all directions. We can only do that if we are free and unconstrained.

    The right wants to constrain that circle so that they do not have to accommodate diversity; they want the government to be that constraint. The left wants a government that promotes rather than constrains what is natural in that regard.

    Every piece of political news currently concerns that fundamental issue between right and left. It’s not about Republicans and Democrats or conservatives and liberals. It’s the left versus the right-wing model of humanity.

  10. If you want to know what he and his legislature made this future possibility a law, when the real developments are decades away if then, follow the money.
    Sad to say, it isn’t much different anywhere in the U.S. Case in point, tfg soliciting a billion dollar bribe from the oil producers, telling them that he will reverse any regulations Biden has placed on the industry. Those same corporate “giants” are busy writing executive orders for him to sign IF he is elected.
    “Today, there are more than 886 thousand head of cattle and 15,000 beef producers throughout Florida. Currently, Florida ranks 13th in overall cattle numbers nationwide. The three top ranking counties for cattle are Okeechobee, Highlands, and Osceola counties.” …floridabeef.com

  11. As strange as it seems, RFK Jr.’s parasitic brain worm probably isn’t what is causing his strange thinking. It is unlikely that all the other conspiracy theorists have wormy brains. But I don’t want such a person in the Oval Office regardless of what is causing it.
    For insight into how wacko conspiracy theories get started, read today’s story on NPR News by Jude Joffe-Block about a dishonestly produced flyer urging asylum-seekers to vote for Biden. It was distributed by the Heritage Foundation and X. The story blows Todd’s claims about the reliability of X as a news source right out of the water. Talk about following the money! Elon Musk is promoting this propaganda.

  12. Lester nailed it. For decades we have seen the materialism and egoism produced by American culture, which of course are consistent with the goals of the money makers and the money takers, who are, I am afraid to inform dear old crazy-ass Ayn, the same people.

    Remember Robin Leach’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous? This preaching of the prosperity gospel has taken root among the poor and anonymous since the 1980s. Whether it is a rich white guy advertising his penis with his Porsche, hillbilly Jim-Bob his disrespect with his coal-roller, the black rapper his wealth with the heavy chains around his neck (oh, the irony), or the influencer her imagined worth with her million dollar body enhancements, it is all, in essence, Patrick Bateman and his business cards, the psychopathy of the American hustle and materialistic image-consciousness as a religion.

    Yes, Lester, I remember when half of our athletes were not constantly screaming “I want all the attention” and trash-talking their competitors. Average Americans have simply lost their virtue, their sense of community, and their inhibition against hurting others for personal gain. Trump is the living personification of this trend, and of course the cruelest and dumbest among us have followed.

  13. Over it – Thanks for your comments. Just saw this morning that the Met Museum of Art is going to feature an upcoming exhibit of jewelry worn by famous rappers. That should certainly have Tiffany, Cartier and Alfred Van Cleef spinning in their graves.

  14. Over It. “Average Americans have simply lost their virtue…” Let’s see you back up that mathematical statement with mathematical, rather than anecdotal, evidence. I don’t believe it because it doesn’t align with my personal experience. But if you can prove it, I’m open to persuasion. If you want to claim that there are people among us who fit your description, I won’t dispute it. I would only remind you that there have always been such people. Neither saints nor sinners are anything new.

  15. Sharon – read “Bowling Alone” – full of data and things have materially worsened since then.

  16. It seems the Maga American dream is to become rich so you can insure/buy your freedom whatever that means to you, including all other Americans
    accepting and standing back out of your way. TFG is their prime example, and they want to be like him and have those privileges, so they vote for him.
    Since the Marlborough man billboards are now banned, the current signs of macho charisma are gas guzzlers, guns, whiskey and red meat with a body enhanced young woman standing next to them. Signs of desired wealth prod people to go that direction and politics plays with that messaging and too bad it’s not real. It projects a false image of what being American means.
    Kennedy was a boy when his dad was assassinated in 1968? when he was running for President. I can’t imagine what affect that had on him, but certainly it did. He admitted on NPR of having been a drug addict for years and we therapeutically shouldn’t allow him to be anywhere near that kind of pressure. Although with all the problems Kennedy has I think he would do a better job than tfg.

  17. Sharon doesn’t understand how X works. It’s a social media platform that promotes free speech. The users don’t represent X or vice versa.

    I read her article, and the only people who follow the Koch-funded Heritage Foundation are right-wingers who appreciate their propaganda. Nobody else takes them seriously. Also, NPR confuses what 14K means for retweets. It’s not “MILLIONS” as the article states — it’s thousands.

    I checked on Elon Musk’s posts, and it is not there either. However, Elon is a right-wing Technocrat who believes the Democrats are letting in illegals so they can vote for Democrats. The only problem with this theory is illegals can’t vote. That further makes the Heritage Foundation propaganda foolish. The only people who think illegals are voting in elections are MAGA Kooks and, apparently, Elon Musk.

  18. Lester. So provide the data. The last time I bought and read a book you told me would support what you were claiming, it did NOT do so. Once bitten, twice shy.

  19. I don’t think it should be too surprising, and doesn’t really require a nefarious Biden power mover, that a great/crazy story about a presidential candidate claiming he has/had a brain worm would come out during an election year. I mean.. obviously, it’s going to come out.

    Besides, JR only claimed he had a brain worm and mercury poisoning (weirdly, not from vaccines as would track with him, but from eating 1000x the normal amount of tuna) because he was in the settlement negotiating portion of his divorce. So, if his income was likely to substantially reduce because his brain worm had damaged his memory and thus his ability to make future income – then the wife won’t be granted as much money in support.

    Amazingly, after she died, the brain worm stopped affecting him! Who could have seen it coming? It’s a miracle. He has no one to pay and thus can work again. Praise Jesus!

  20. Todd. Sharon does understand how X works. It’s kind of like the Bible. You can find anything there you want to find. And that means it is not a reliable source for news. It is not held accountable for lies and conspiracy theories distributed on it. So when you say I should prefer it to other media sources, I say, no way!

  21. Great comments today!!
    Sharon — you go girl! I’m with you – I’m average and I haven’t found the average person less virtuous — and anyway, how could you quantify that to create data?
    Mitch — 890 degrees in FL? WOW!! Things really are heating up down there! 😉
    Vernon — Love “Red State Man”!! LOL
    Richard W. — best comment ever! LMAO!!!
    And then a warning — Todd and Lester — please resume taking your meds!!

  22. Kathy M – so where you live, no “average people”, as compared to a few years ago:
    – Drive well over the speed limit
    – Run red lights and stop signs
    – Use the “F word” a lot more
    – Etc.

  23. So Lester — Drive well over the speed limit
    – Run red lights and stop signs
    – Use the “F word” a lot more
    These are measures of “virtue” in your book?????????
    Oy vey!!!!

  24. So Lester, Most of those I see doing those things are driving pickups with gun racks and tfg bumper stickers, many as old as dirt. Come down to southern Indiana and take your pick! They are everywhere!

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