Mickey Mouse, creationism and I-4 Corridor culture

Four local perspectives on the phenomenon of Orlando

Who the hell are we?

In the post-primary haze of political ramp-ups and rhetorical navel-gazing, it's easy to allow the glow of the national spotlight to cast its own shadows on what has affectionately been referred to as the I-4 Corridor. In those shadows, we are what we aren't – well-educated, well-informed, well-paid or even registered to vote – and yet it comes down to Florida's traversable midsection in nearly every broad generalization made about national politics. You don't win America without winning Florida; you don't win Florida without picking up the pothole votes of our equatorial interstate. It might be hilarious if it weren't so sad: The lowest common denominator that determines the direction of a whole nation is a sad stretch of highway from Tampa to Daytona Beach, with Orlando smack in the middle of it all. Who needs a flyover when you can settle for a drive-by?

As confounding as I-4's dubious national distinction may be for others (OK: us, too), we went ahead and pulled together four local perspectives – ranging from sociological observations to political theater, new urbanism to creationist dinosaurs (?) – in an effort to wrap our heads around the decidedly non-phenomenal phenomenon of us. The verdict? It is sometimes possible to be everything and nothing at the same time. Just ask that stripper on the back of a dinosaur headed to a political convention wearing nothing but Mickey Mouse ears. Absurdity is power, apparently.