Dead fish are washing ashore. Maggots are wriggling in piles of washed-up garbage. Wildlife rescuers are weeping as they encounter lifeless manatees and sea turtles. And most obvious, Florida's waterways are clogged simultaneously with toxic green algae and toxic, choking, stinging red tide.
That's why you should visit the hell out of Florida, baby!
This is the dystopian world in which Floridians now live: Thanks in part to the deregulatory actions of Gov. Rick Scott and the right-wing Legislature, the state's coasts are clogged with toxic sludge. To celebrate the fact that many of Florida's beaches — the single biggest economic driver of the state — are closed because of poisonous flooding, Miami filmmaker Billy Corben today made his own "Visit Florida" tourism video to commemorate the crisis.
Corben is famed for his documentary series Cocaine Cowboys and is about to release Screwball, based on New Times managing editor Tim Elfrink's award-winning coverage of Biogenesis, the clinic that supplied illegal steroids to Major League Baseball players. Corben told New Times today that he made the 90-second clip to highlight just how dreadful Scott's tenure as governor has been for the environment.
"The reckless and greedy pro-pollution policies of Rick Scott have poisoned our natural resources," Corben said in a Twitter message. "He has put money over people, and Floridians are (literally) sick of it."
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For the video's soundtrack, Corben used Pitbull's "Sexy Beaches" — the song the state tourism board, Visit Florida, paid the rapper $1 million to perform even though he sings about visiting Miami all the time anyway. Orlando Weekly pointed out earlier today that the "Sexy Beaches" debacle cost Visit Florida's then-CEO his job. All credit goes to Corben for finally finding a proper use for the taxpayer-funded song:
After eight years of Scott, Florida looks like the hell depicted in the video. Scott and his allies in the state Legislature successfully chopped all sorts of water-quality regulations across the state over his past two terms as governor. Now Miami-area cops are patrolling closed beaches on ATVs while wearing gas masks. Poisonous red-tide algae might flood city streets in a matter of days, too, during the king tide.
Sexy beaches, indeed.