Author and journalist Craig Pittman’s weekly podcast, Welcome to Florida!, has been added to the St. Pete Catalyst lineup. In each episode, he joins host Chadd Scott to discuss the state’s history, people, politics, environment, animals, current events … and weirdness.
Pittman’s Oh, Florida!: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country was a New York Times bestseller in 2016.
“This book,” raved Carl Hiaasen, “should be required reading for anyone who’s ever thought about moving down here, with or without a concealed weapons permit.”
According to Pittman, there are very logical reasons so much bizarre stuff happens in Florida. “In 1940, we were the least-populated Southern state, pre-air conditioning, pre-bug spray,” the award-winning chronicler of curiosities and said July 14 on The Catalyst Sessions. “And now we’re the third most populous state; we passed New York in 2014.”
Most of the population, he adds, is concentrated along thin slices of the east and west coasts, and along the Interstate 4 corridor, close to the big theme parks.
“You cram that many people together into that small a space, and they’re bound to start ramming each other’s cars, and chasing each other around with machetes, and who’s dog pooped on whose lawn … and then you overlay that with 100 million tourists coming every year, and you can see why we act kind of crazy. Plus, we’re out doing weird stuff all year long because the weather’s good.”
Pittman’s other books focus on the state’s fragile environment, and the sometimes tenuous connection between green reality and environmental politics.
He is a keen observer and wry commentator on the things that make Florida so unique; the podcasts are not always odd, or particularly funny, but they’re always very Florida.
“Our goal,” Pittman said, “is to educate the 800 to 900 new people who move into Florida every day, about the place where they now live.”
Existing episodes include Alligators!, Florida’s Civil Rights History and American Beach, Pythons!, The Villages and Classic Roadside Attractions (Weeki Wachee and SkunkApe Research Center). New episodes will be added weekly.