Girls star and generational lighting rod Lena Dunham made her big debut in New York City politics yesterday by speaking at a fund-raiser for comptroller candidate Scott Stringer (her real-life BFF works for Stringer's campaign, natch). Apropos of nothing she decided to throw some major shade at Tampa.
"Recent college graduates, she said, are 'struggling to find jobs and pay the rent and if they struggle for too long, they're leaving New York' for other cities, 'even Tampa,'" reports Capital NY on Dunham's remarks.
"We can't have our generation's Patti Smith moving to Tampa," she continued. "That's going to seriously fuck our shit up."
We secretly suspect that if our generation's Patti Smith moved to Tampa she'd eventually realize that since she's already in Florida she might as well just move to Miami, but, hell, even if this hypothetical millennial Patti Smith did decide to stay in Tampa, what's wrong with that?
Long gone is the New York City of Smith's youth, the kind of place where it wasn't uncommon to be able to rent a cheap place in the Lower East Side and scrap out a living as a struggling artist. Today, the kids who move to NYC either luck out in the job lottery, can rely on mommy and daddy's money and connections, don't fully understand the implications of credit card debt, or don't mind sharing a place with four roommates in a part of Brooklyn that isn't even close to the L.
Gone are the days of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" NYC when "Holly came from Miami, F-L-A. Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A." Today Holly might have stayed in Miami, or at the very least plucked her eyebrows along the way to LA, where all of Miami's cool kids are now relocating. Hell, Cat Power's Chan Marshall, who you could consider a Patti Smith of a generation, makes her home base in Miami. Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, perhaps another Patti Smith of another generation, lives in St. Augustine. Why not a Patti Smith of a generation for Tampa, too?
We're not really Tampa-boosters, but we wouldn't begrudge them or any other Florida city with a burgeoning youth culture scene. At least hypothetical millennial Patti Smith would play shows in Miami pretty often.
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Sadly though, Miami has barely figured out how to really sustain and expand on its mid-00s art scene/youth culture-burst. Rising condo prices and construction of new high-rises are already pushing younger creative types out of the neighborhoods they frequent, and it's not like we've done a good job of attracting businesses that hire straight-out-of-college types (or, well, anyone at all, really). Florida cities like Tampa and Orlando aren't doing a better job either.
Maybe a candidate in Florida's upcoming governors race can make it a part of her campaign: "A Patti Smith of a generation for every major Florida city!"
That being said, future Patti Smiths, we are still more affordable than New York City, and people here are a lot less insufferable than Lena Dunham.