Sorry Lena Dunham, But You’ve Forced Me To Write Something Nice About Tampa

Lena Dunham Filming Girls season 3 June 2013

Well now Lena Dunham’s really gone and done it. Last night at some kind of political event that I am not at all interested in, the Girls star insulted my hometown. Just straight up called it out for absolutely no reason. The Atlantic Wire quotes her as saying the following:

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.”

At one point, Dunham spoke about growing up with her family in a Soho loft, where her the rent was “$350 a month, if they just hid their stove from Con Edison. Now, the building that I was born in houses a Victoria’s Secret and is next door to a Sephora. Anyway, we can’t have our generation’s Patti Smith moving to Tampa. That’s going to seriously fuck our shit up.”

Look, let’s get something straight. No one’s forcing artists to move to Tampa. All artists from all over the world have two choices. And when I say choices, I really do mean choices.

1. Pursue your artwork despite the fact that it might mean sacrificing some of the finer things in life. Which may range from eating out at nice restaurants to a living in an  apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the world.


2. GET A JOB! Love that you’re an artist, but if you can’t find a way to make that pay the bills, then it’s not your job, it’s your hobby. You can tell me all the live long day that it’s your calling, but newsflash, callings aren’t accepted as a suitable form of payment for rent. I love baking, but as of 12:48 PM today, no one’s offered me any money for my baked goods. So it’s a hobby that I pursue in my freetime.

Now let’s get something else straight. Tampa is not the worst place you can possibly be in the world. I’m from there. And while I no longer live there, I’m very confident that there are far more undesirable cities for artists to be exiled. You know places where the airports don’t have monorails. Yeah you read that right, we monorail to our planes there. Sure we have our stupid “Tampa socialite” and sure we have more strip clubs than strippers, but goddamit we voted for Obama in the last election. Despite what Lena and her (literally) poor friends may think, Tampa is not a slur. And the only thing worse than her thinking it is, is the fact that I’m now driven to defend it.

Oh no, the poor artists are distracted from their work by the constantly nice weather. How is anyone supposed to get any work done with the beach an hour away in one direction and Disney World an hour away in the other. Why just the other day, Theo the Watercolorist told me that he was just about to start his next masterpiece when a friend asked if he wanted to take a scenic walk along the bay. And he did and he liked it. And then — get ready for this — after taking that walk, Theo and his friend had dinner outside. IN JANUARY. Poor, poor Theo. If only New York had taken better care of their artists, he wouldn’t be stuck in Tampa.

Okay, rant over. Just had to throw this out there for a hot sec in case anyone’s actually spending any time worrying about artists being forced to move to Tampa.

(Photo: Lenny Abbot,

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    • CB

      You go! As a born and bred Chicagoan, I hate this “NYC is the besstttt, all important things happen therreeee, nowhere else could possibly be the site of anything interesting or important” bullshit that I keep seeing (and possibly exaggerating in my mind). You know what will happen if artists leave New York? They will live elsewhere, and make art elsewhere, and absolutely nobody will die from it.

      • Jenni

        Absolutely nobody is the key word. Also, don’t artists make better art when they’re suffering anyway? Wouldn’t being exiled be the best for their art.

      • abbeysbooks

        This is why we want to keep you suffering jenni. Your art here is better then.Cry some more and work yourself up please.

    • Katie

      First of all, I thought you were talking about the book “Tampa”.
      Second of all, how do you feel about the book “Tampa”.

      Ugh… privileged New Yorkers always think they’re in the epicenter of all culture and everything else is the boonies.

      • Jenni

        Wait, how did I not know this book existed? Just made it to the top of my list.

      • Katie

        That’s ok. It’s brand new.

        Be forewarned, it’s super duper explicit. But you’ll read it in like a day and a half.

      • Jenni

        SuperDuperExplicit was my first screenname…so that’s not a problem.

      • Katie

        I just laughed about 5x in a row at this

    • Dani

      I’m a born and raised Flordian and LOVE this!

      • Jenni

        Someone’s gotta speak up for those of us who aren’t horrid.

    • brad

      um, i thought actual real artists always gravitate to places where others are not, and thus, in turn, kind of render them cool. ergo, why not tampa? it’s cheap. it’s unfashionable. it’s full of rednecks. but it’s one of those places, like, um, well, soho (the real one, not south howard ave.) used to be back in the 50s and 60s. full of empty industrial spaces and even with a mostly vacant old downtown where artists could actually, you know, do art, as opposed to just look cool smoking cigarettes in the bars of chelsea and the lower east side while imagining themselves to be ‘creative.’

      • Jenni

        Nothing gets me more hot and bothered than when I’m home in Tampa and people refer to South Howard as SoHo.

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    • Mike V.

      As a South Tampanian, it really does suck to be able to wear shorts year round… Besides, she’s obviously not a real New Yorker if she doesn’t know that maybe half the Bay area is from New York, and that none of the

      • Mike V.

        … Yankees even live in NYC.

    • Naomi

      I lived in the Tampa Bay area for over 15 years and know a great many artists. In fact, some of the best artists I know still live there. Maybe they’re not Urban Outfitters enough for her taste, but at least they’re not pretentious.