“Native Tongue” by Carl Hiaasen, 1991
This book makes relentless fun of the bastards behind the corruption and destruction of Florida’s natural and social environment. Greedy real estate interests cover the landscapes with overbuilt skyscrapers, absurd theme parks and golf courses with the help of local capitalist governments. Alligator farms, snake pits and exotic animal cages desecrate a natural environment slowly being paved over from shore to wetland, from barrier island to orange grove. Mangroves, cypress swamps, panthers, birds, fish and Seminoles better get out of the way of the money machine.
|No More Talk...|
To oppose this circus of greed is a strange group of compadres – similar to Abbey’s The Monkey-Wrench Gang of the southwest desert. They ultimately don’t believe in using reason or logic to persuade the despoilers - because it doesn't work. Instead, sabotage! A former governor hiding in the woods on North Key Largo with a panther collar around his neck, guns and gasoline in tow. Two greasy redneck burglars with hearts of gold. A rich old lady that plots to stop a shore-line golf course and condo development, sometimes using her pistol. A dark-skinned cop that sides with them secretly. A theme park actress who burgles her boss. A former journalist and flak who tries to protect the environment with reason and bad publicity, then endorses different tactics. And a dolphin that kills with love.
This book, like other Hiaasen books with similar themes (“Sick Puppy” for one...) will make you erupt in chuckles so that people in coffee shops stop and talk. One target of Hiaasen’s humor are overweight, pale tourists shelling out too much money for the junk that can be Florida. His lead dickhead is a ex-Mafia snitch who becomes a successful theme park entrepreneur, aided by a steroid-sucking security thug. The ex-Mafioso lies, cheats and steals in building his money-making tourist trap, while fabricating two ‘rare blue-tongued voles’ in order to extort money from the EPA and tourists. This crude, golf-playing, obnoxious boss could be Donald Trump. He is the familiar model of the unrestrained, sociopathic capitalist, a hyper ‘Scrooge’ whose only interest is lucre.
Hiaasen was a reporter in Miami in south Florida, so he’s familiar with the types that run the state. He has nothing but contempt for what they have done.
Other reviews on Florida or sabotage below, use blog search box, upper left: “The Monkey-Wrench Gang,” “Hayduke Lives!” (Abbey) “Blockaders, Refugees and Contrabands,” “Sick Puppy,” (Hiaasen) “Florida Will Sink,” “99 Homes,” “Back to Blood,” (Wolfe).
And I bought it at Chapman Street Books, Ely, Minnesota, USA.
The Kulture Kommissar
May 31, 2019