Editor's Note

Entertain Us - A Letter from the Editors

On canceling Spring Break, post-work American hierarchy, excess leisure, and why the future will be run by those who can enjoy it.

Grazie & Ginevra

Miami is a deeply daily city. The sun hovers overhead for what seems an unrealistic number of hours; the land is flatter and with it our distribution of time and focus. Days are rarely “memorable.” Indeed, memories from long times spent in Miami tend to blend together, a pleasant if indistinguishable mush, punctuated only by spontaneous meteorological extremes — hurricanes being a sort of binge for a sky tired of behaving. The longer a conversation continues about Miami, the closer one approaches a reference to drugs, but the main narcotic here is sunshine.

If the future is supposed to be post-work, post-instrumental, post-scarcity, then Miami offers an example of what such a society might look like. That isn’t to say our citizens are not industrious, or are work-shy in any capacity. On the contrary, we’ve built lives in other countries, dismantled them, brought the pieces over and built them anew, rather beautifully, with great verve and all the material equivalent of duct tape. We’ve made art museums and strip clubs that serve breakfast and everyone is a hustler with four income streams. And yet we do not have capitalism, in the style of New York. We have never really had it. No one graduates in Miami with the expectation of being absorbed by a corporation, or an institution, only to disrupt it in an extended project of the ego. So many jobs in this country function as elaborate symbols; this firm means that, or that magazine means this, and this gallery, and so on, a shared vernacular. And some of the highest paying jobs are peculiarly ungrounded, financial derivatives nobody can picture or touch. Miami’s most palpable businesses handle sweating, breathing people: tourism, real estate, prostitution, nightlife, and increasingly, content creation. The banks here are international; spiritually, we let them stay far away. No one wants to plant useful seeds, in the Protestant style, for future generations to reap discretely. Instead, we sow our wild oats, we make money for the purpose of spending, assuming the future will sort itself. We also do other normal, meaningful things. We are not speaking about what Miami actually is, merely discussing its national symbolism. But the richest people in Miami have come here, not to work and get richer, but to figure out what it means to live before they expire.

In other major cities in the United States, your whole life can be defined by your career, segmenting how and with whom you can socialize. Conversations are a stand-off until the right names are dropped. In Miami, your career is at worst just one component of your persona. At best, it is irrelevant. 

When a great number of transplants came, from San Francisco and other similarly changed cities, to Miami in the early 2020s, they came looking for better weather and a tax break on their capital gains. What they perhaps did not expect was to find a culture which had little care for the signals of instrumental value they had honed so carefully in their previous lives — their degrees, their “network,” their nuanced opinions on sufficiently avant-garde cultural events — and instead asked that they merely enjoy themselves, and more complexly, entertain other people. Locals experience this dilemma as an overdressed (from NYC) or under-dressed man (from San Francisco), forcing a conversation which does not interest them and avoiding eye contact. Transplants drink kava; try cocaine, ketamine, whatever is lying around, to numb the over-active organ they can’t believe their new neighbors don’t care about — their brain.

In Miami, you are judged mainly by your capacity to engender fun. It’s like that song from Nirvana. Here we are now, entertain us.


For all that Florida is less culturally work-centric than other states, it still struggles with excess, and as a result, with excessive leisure. It is a volume problem. It is a bender more frenzied than any recorded hurricane. We call it Spring Break.

Florida is still embedded in one of the most capitalist, leisure-hostile countries in the world, and as a result it is taking all of America's recreational overflow. For many vacationers, the mere mention of “Florida” is a proverbial hall pass to do all of the things that you insist you don’t want to do in your regular life, but are actually quite curious about. It is the extracurricular equivalent of “slumming it.” You will not run into your boss here. You will not run into your wife, unless you were stupid enough to invite her, or she was stupid enough to invite you. Of course, all business is good business; all press, even the infamous “Florida man,” attracts eyeballs and tourist dollars. When Carl Fisher promoted Miami Beach as a tourism destination in the 1920’s, he did it by putting up billboards announcing it was “June in Miami” in blizzardy New York. Clever. But it feels bad to have a nation's pent-up fantasies unloaded on you once a year.

Excess leisure in America reached intolerable levels in 2020, mid-pandemic. The problem compounded until 2023. After years of lockdown, all of America’s pent-up energy had nowhere to go, except to Miami Beach — which stayed open during lockdowns, and then “open” in the cultural imagination for the years that followed. The fun poured in, to the tune of 40,000 revelers in 2021, and the city was like a glass that got too full and the party splashed out onto the streets. Because suddenly, Miami Beach did not have the room for it anymore. The social infrastructure. Since the pandemic, demand for South Florida land had driven up rents; bars and music venues shut to make way for developers’ condos. In 2017, the closing time for public beaches shifted from midnight, which was early enough already, to 10 p.m. And the few “designated” places to party — clubs-with-tables, cocktail bars, cover-charging rooftops — already prohibitively expensive, were not exempt from inflation. As for the daytime, less wealthy neighborhoods in Miami have less tree canopy, which is a prerequisite here for any sort of outdoor socializing. Only 7% of Miami’s land is apportioned for parks and recreation, compared to the national median of 15%. Amusement parks were shuttered. Recently, Lolita the whale died. She hadn’t been invited to join any of those new “members’ clubs” either. Spring Break spill-over from 2021 to 2023 looked like: packed bodies down Ocean Drive; packed bodies down Collins; packed bodies dancing on any available surface, including the lids of passing cars; open-air flirting; confiscated firearms; making friends on the beach; deadly shootings, including a point-blank execution; heady music cut with police sirens; street fights, joyful singing, and accidental stampedes; and in response, over one thousand arrests; SWAT trucks; emergency curfews; and sound cannons and pepper balls viciously aimed at mostly young people of color whose main crime was partying not in the precise way we wanted them to party and doing so publicly. And yet: hadn’t we made it so that they had nowhere else to go? 

When you grow up, when you think you are ready to shed the identity which has defined you and presumably self-improve, one obvious move is to shed your first love. To cut short the romance you once considered grand and re-style it as having been below you. In Miami’s case, to turn serious, to put your foot down when you have always put your feet up. In 2020, then-mayor of Miami Beach Dan Gelber launched a 12 point plan to rebrand Miami Beach’s entertainment district, entrenched since 1986, and encourage “live-work-play,” despite play having been the whole point of the neighborhood from the start. In 2024, the city launched a viral “break-up” campaign to rid the city of annual Spring Breakers once and for all. The resulting info-tainment video features a selection of tastefully-diverse, athleisure-clad twenty-and-thirty somethings explaining that Miami is now “done” with Spring Break. It currently boasts 369,000 views on YouTube. 

“This,” says the male lead, relaxing on a bench by Ocean Drive, “isn’t working anymore.” 

“And it’s not us, it’s you,” adds a cross-legged picnicker from the park. “We just want different things.”

The actors go on to list the new Miami’s idea of a good time: “relaxing on the beach,” “hitting up the spa,” or “checking out a new restaurant.”

In conclusion: “We’re done.” 

In shifting away from the language of might-makes-right — of cops and dogs and barriers — the city seems to have finally found a line the Spring Breakers won’t cross. Consent. The message stuck with would-be Spring Breakers, who have largely stayed away this year. One cannot, in practice, reject a breakup.


It’s not us, the video says. It’s you. But what if it's not us, or you, but America?

Spring Break was once a Greek and Roman rite, marking the start of the season of flowers and fertility with an orgiastic frenzy in homage to the god of wine, Dionysus. Somehow, improbably, it was exported to Fort Lauderdale in the thirties. Fort Lauderdale, Miami’s outshinable younger sister. The first Olympic-size swimming pool in Florida was built there, in 1928, and by 1938 more than 300 collegiate male swimmers were traveling there to compete each spring. The girls followed the boys, the non-athletic boys followed the girls; in 1960, the first Spring Break film came out, and over 50,000 college students followed its advice, descending on Fort Lauderdale. By 1985, that number was 370,000. Sometime in the years between, students started “balcony-diving,” clambering into each other’s rooms, heavy petting all over the place. The Mayor broke up with them, using other words, on live television. The fun moved to Daytona Beach, where MTV immortalized it. It moved to Panama City, which banned public beach drinking in 2015. By 1990, hostels in Miami Beach welcomed Spring Breakers with at least partly open arms. This year, it pushed them away, leaving them nowhere to park, policing them ruthlessly, rifling through their bags, banning their short-term rentals and any accouterments of fun on the beach. We pass partiers around, as if in a game of hot potato. 

Much of what the Romans considered “fun” was not the tame sort we try to promote now. They enjoyed copious amounts of opium, orgies, gladiatorial competitions, chariot races in which participants were apt to get crushed, and something called “The Animal Game” (imagine what you will). Fun has always involved risk of death, injury, of embarrassment — to mind and spirit. Letting go means embracing the consequences of not being so aware; “turning your brain off,” as so many Miami newcomers struggle to do. Many cultures since the Romans have seemingly mastered the art of lower-risk leisure. In Europe, an aperol spritz by a river can produce enough good-feeling to fill an afternoon. The key, it seems, is to embrace little pleasures: a café in the morning, a long lunch, the bend of well-made shoes, a whisper of silk, a good DJ.

In America, however, we never learned how to microdose on fun — a little here, a little there. Instead, we binge on it. Better yet, we purge. For the record, we are not endorsing binging, but rather its opposite. Beginning in the 1970s, while the rest of the developed world largely worked less as they got richer, our elite 10% doubled down on an ethos which equated paid labor with value. Vacations here are rare, enjoyed with guilt, and often more heavily-scheduled than a work-week, weeks of leisure packed into a furtively arranged three-day weekend. The whole appeal of the Hamptons is its proximity to the office. Like college binge-drinkers, Americans are eager to make a free night distinctive by any means necessary. Of course they lack the practice to do so, and resort to cheap thrills to get the message across: sex, drugs, violence. Even the ultra-wealthy never learned how to party; that’s how they got that way. Their taste for expensive-but-miserable activities was parodied in Season 1 of Succession, when the nouveau riche Tom takes the plus-nouveau riche Greg out to the “VIP section” of a club, the whole appeal of which is its separation from other club-goers. Greg asks why one would pay $2,000 to go out, only to “come to, like, this other part where the club sort of isn't?” When they made infrastructure for clubbing, they came up with tables. Tables, where you are not required to dance, embarrass yourself, or reveal your lack of recreational talent. Is that what scares some people about Spring Breakers? What makes them use adjectives like “rowdy,” or “violent,” aside from racist motives? Are they scared of the sight of dancing — of male dancing, in particular, most shocking of all for North American eyes? 

There’s literally nothing less Miami than talking about Nietzsche, and yet any mention of the Dionysian prompts mention of the Apollonian. Uncontrolled chaos balanced by order; swirls by smooth, straight lines. Spring Break; Spring Semester. Traffic; traffic control. To recoup the cash lost by canceling Spring Break, Miami is considering a music festival, a fitness festival, a financial conference, a motorsports rally. What makes those kinds of fun acceptable, while partying in the street is not? Because the participants are white? Because they cost something, so the attendees have demonstrated they deserve it? Why is nothing organized for the Spring Breakers, after all? Why are there no ticketing tents, no refreshment stands, no DJs hired, no neon wristbands passed around? It would be easy enough. “Dangerous chaos” in the streets is only one or two social accessories away from the most appropriate thing in the world: a block party. The truth is, we’re threatened by young people who can have fun, amuse themselves and each other, without all of our acquired hang-ups, coping mechanisms, and constraints.

We suspect, in future, they will dominate.


In Miami, the coolest person has never been the one with the best job. Rather, he is the person most in tune with where the party is, who is hosting it, how to gain entry. His name is on the list. Every list, all of them.

When we do all of our work, our innovating and efficiency-finding, we like to imagine that it is for the future. A future of what? More rest, more leisure, more joy. That is, a future without the chronic stress, lost time, and back pain that characterizes life in the most ambitious and productive metropoles. In the past few decades, a certain kind of worker, of power-broker, has ascended rapidly in social status. The math-nerd, hoodie-wearing symbol-controller. He might be a trader, a coder, a researcher at OpenAI. He is, almost certainly, now very rich. Call it Zuckerberg chic. Nerds, we are told, will rule the world, computer-fluent enough to commune with the AIs who are poised to take over.

“Take over” is terminology of invasion, but given that AI is meant to take over labor, shouldn’t we be using the language of unburdening, of relief? Of off-loading, or of palming off onto machines the work we resent in the first place? The point of all this work, after all, was ostensibly to free human minds from scarcity, bad feelings, stress and deadlines. Those are the givens which have shaped our values. When we lose them, our values will change. If you do not believe that some deity requires us to suffer, or prove our love through labor, then humans after work will be free, at long last, to have fun, and organize a society around fun-utility alone. 

After he announced the “Death of God,” Nietzsche suggested we follow, instead of scripture, the will of the Übermensch, a kind of optimal person who transcends industry, worries, morality. The Übermensch is optimized for life in a meaningless world, a world which is not going toward anything. Übermensch just is. It is good because of what it is — like a walk on the beach, like the first sip of a Diet Coke, like those long, faded afternoons that you could be happy to live on repeat.

Post-work, post-name-dropping, post-office, wouldn’t the optimal person be the one who helps while away the time? Who provides levity, stimulation, entertainment? Who can dance, without tables, or bottle service, on the street even, without any of your help? Isn’t the real Übermensch just the opposite of nerdy, tortured Nietzsche? Isn’t he just the Spring Breaker, swirling his hips until time runs out? Isn’t he from Miami?


Grazie & Ginevra

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