BEARD | Heading South: Reflections on the Sunshine State

Like Canadian geese in the winter, Cornell’s student body shed their thousand dollar Canada Goose jackets and fled south for some vitamin D rehabilitation and much needed rest and relaxation away from prelims, deadlines and CHEM 2090: Engineering General Chemistry. Many decamped to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, California or anywhere that a sunburn would be possible. In a similar vein, my fair skin and I left New York and made for warmer waters in the state of Florida — Tampa specifically. In the space of 10 brief days in the Sunshine State, I saw some things worthy of the famed “Florida Man” headlines, learned a few important life lessons and returned to Ithaca with my skin a few shades redder. 

Our Florida odyssey began as we made our way south on I-75 towards Tampa. When you think of Florida, your mind tends to conjure up images of beaches and sunshine.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: “Where Do the ‘Florida Morons’ Go for Their Apology”

To the Editor:

As a Floridian who spent last semester at home due to Florida’s placement on a COVID-19 travel advisory, I feel compelled to respond to Matthew Samilow’s column, “Where do the Florida Morons Go For Their Apology?” 

Part of Samilow’s defense of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-F.L.) asserts that he’s a victim of unfair (liberal) media. Media criticism and scrutiny of DeSantis is dismissed as “hysterical”, while Samilow ignores why DeSantis’s handling of the pandemic is so unpopular in Florida. During the pandemic, DeSantis has argued against science itself by listening to the anti-mask advice of the infamous conspiracy theorist Dr. Scott Atlas more than epidemiologists. He modeled poor leadership by appearing at public events like the Super Bowl without a mask. DeSantis’s crusade against science extended to basic arithmetic, when he argued in July that Florida’s positive case count had stabilized –– it hadn’t.

SAMILOW | Where Do the ‘Florida Morons’ Go for Their Apology?

About a year ago, with the coronavirus pandemic in its infancy, my fellow columnist Andrew Lorenzen ’22 penned a column criticizing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), former Governor and current Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and, indeed, the entire Florida Republican Party as a collection of “morons” leading the state to the brink of ruin. 

Describing himself as an “ashamed Florida Man,” Lorenzen portrayed Florida as a hellscape, with criminally stupid leadership causing mass death. At the time, I thought this was an unfair judgment. In hindsight, it is abundantly clear that DeSantis and my home state are owed an apology. As a fellow Floridian, I feel an obligation to set the record straight.Few things have been more detached from reality than appraisals of DeSantis’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Their only rivals are reviews of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D-N.Y.) Emmy Award-winning performance.

TEST SPIN: Chester Watson — Past Cloaks

Stoned teenagers are responsible for some of the best hip hop ever made. The wise sages of today were the blunt-rolling kids of 10 years ago, and by that logic precocious Chester Watson could have a great album in him someday. His new tape, Past Cloaks, is not an album proper, but it’s pretty great nonetheless: woozy and dense, hyperverbal and unintelligible, simple yet complex. But Watson himself is a terrifically wordy millennial who compiled Past Cloaks from his recent run of mixtapes. He hails from Florida, but his music bears little resemblance to the trap music that dominates Southern hip hop.