Home as Seen on Television

Florida gets talked about a lot during an election year. It also tends to get mentioned in any article about serial killers.

I’m from Florida. Born and raised in the middle of the state by a single dad from Rhode Island. Out in the boondocks, an only child, it was like growing up in another universe. Florida was out there. I could see it. I walked around it. But somehow, I was never really there.

Or at least when I hear people on TV talk about Florida, I feel I’m not from there at all.

Do you find the portrayals of your home true or describing a place you’ve never seen?


6 responses to “Home as Seen on Television

  1. The closest thing to that is when I lived in the States for a few years, the perception of England that people had there was very different than the England I knew as my home! Mostly people seemed to think of it as a tiny little place where everybody knows everybody. I used to have to say “There are 50 million people living there, it’s not THAT tiny”.

    • That reminds me of when I used to work for Rail Europe selling Eurrail passes. I got a call once from someone who wanted to know if he could take the two-hour train from Dublin to Rome. And he was shocked, shocked!, that there was no such thing. Yes, Americans tend to think the UK and Europe are the size of a stamp.

  2. Well, Florida is — technically — my home. But it doesn’t feel that way, even after 20 years.

    “Home” to me will always be NJ. Most of us from there have gotten used to and even enjoy the stereotypical media portrayals, which focus on the heavily populated northeastern part of the state, the industrial areas around the northern half of the NJ Turnpike, and — more recently — the Shore. But really, they are SO far from most natives’ experience, I think. Especially for those who (like me) grew up in the southern half of the state, i.e., the reason the state nickname is The Garden State.

    I was using Google Maps (satellite view and Street View) just the other day to “wander,” remotely, around different areas of NJ. Night and day, I’ll tell you. When you look at its size, it hardly seems possible that it could vary so much in terrain (and “character”)… but it does.

    I’ve always figured if it’s true of NJ, it’s probably true of other places, too.

    Btw, there’s a good movie based in FL, called Sunshine State. Stars Edie Falco (Mrs. Tony Soprano, coincidentally). The Missus grew up in the Jacksonville area, where it was filmed, and was impressed by how accurately non-stereotypically it represented the areas (and kinds of people) she knew well.

    • Yes, Jacksonville is very different from central Florida too. Where I was growing up in Winter Haven, Jacksonville may as well have been another planet. Well, in truth, WH was probably the other planet.

      And when I read about anything you say about your Florida experience…it just isn’t like the Florida I knew. Yet I know people who love WH and don’t see it as I do…

      Maybe I’m the crazy one.

  3. Oklahoma is usually portrayed more hickish and backward than I see it, but maybe that is how we are and I’m just too close. I guess our museums and office jobs are just like other urban areas and so they are not interesting to outsiders. They usually focus on the Indian stuff (in a hollywood way), or the cattle/rancher stuff (which is a small percentage, really) or the Grapes of Wrath-type struggle of the poor, portrayed by a woman hanging her laundry on an old clothesline as dust blows across her grassless yard and dirty children. Even in modern day. Sigh. Stereotypes, yes, but I know why they use them. I would love to see a show set in the lush greenery of Oklahoma that I know. There’s so much natural beauty in the state that no one but natives ever get to see.

    I’ve always assumed the portrayals of other places, like New York, for instance, are different from the experience I would have if I were to visit.

    • Well, since I live in Texas, the view of Oklahoma isn’t that great. 🙂 Everywhere is different when you actually get there. Rather like how people are actually different when you meet them.

      Then we look at things through our own filters. When I was in the Peace Corps, some volunteers learned and changed from their experience and a few volunteers didn’t learn anything, they had the same preconceptions of the country they had before they got there.

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