This past week, Lena Dunham, Queen of Angsty Twenty-Something Hipsters, caused a bit of a local controversy by suggesting that New York’s high cost of living is causing young artists to leave for other cities, “even Tampa.” To further drive her point home she added, “we can’t have our generation’s Patti Smith moving to Tampa. That’s seriously going to fuck our shit up.”
This, of course, hurt Tampa Bay’s (don’t think she doesn’t mean you too St. Petersburg) feelings. You see it is no fun being the butt of everyone’s joke, especially when said “everyone” is a collective of extremely clever and successful comedic writers. Just turn on your TV, I guarantee at least one show will have a joke about Tampa, my personal favorite is “Tampa is not a place you go, it’s a place you end up.” (RIP Happy Endings)
Let’s face it, Tampa is like an “island of misfit toys,” you have dirty hipsters, clean hipsters, beer brewers, people who think they’re rich because the area is so cheap, moms with plastic faces, moms with plastic everything, strippers, pirates, strippers dressed as pirates, and so on. Only Tampa can produce a heartwarming family film about a rescued Dolphin, and then follow it up with Magic Mike and Spring Breakers. Tampa is not New York, Tampa never will be New York, and that’s okay!
Personally, I don’t think Lena Dunham has it out for Tampa, she probably is just a big 30 Rock fan. Lena has noticed a problem though, and instead of putting a bounty on Ms. Dunham’s head, Tampa should take notice. The conversation is really about a city losing its artists. Tampa is not just losing artists to cities like New York, it is losing artists to cities like Orlando. We need to be asking the same question. We need to be actively supporting local artistic events. We need to be passionately advocating for artists to stay. If we don’t, we might just lose our generation’s Patti Smith…to New York. That’s seriously going to fuck our shit up.