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The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

As Hurricane Irma nears, Florida’s Publix Super Markets keep calm and cake on

Some laugh in the face of danger. Others bake cakes.

As Hurricane Irma creeps slowly toward South Florida, the most powerful storm in a generation, locals have done more than board up their windows and head toward high ground. Publix Super Markets, a Florida-based chain with stores throughout the South, decided this historic moment deserved its own cake. Or, to be more precise, cakes.

Twitter, that barometer for all human behavior, can’t quite figure out how to react. Floridians caking in advance of a deadly storm? How insensitive! Floridians caking in advance of a deadly storm? How perfect, like a character in a Carl Hiaasen novel!

Among the first to spot this acting out in Publix was Andy Slater, a sports-talk radio host in Miami. On his Twitter feed, he wondered if the cake was “in good taste?,” which seemed like a rhetorical device to say it was in poor taste without actually saying it (and making enemies with your local Publix baker!).

Others seemed to share Slater’s hesitancy at expressing full-on outrage.

But many others viewed the cakes merely as the latest example of Florida eccentricity, the same stuff that has fueled the writings of Hiaasen and Dave Barry for years. Craig Pittman, a veteran writer with the Tampa Bay Times, even wrote a book trying to explain what makes Florida so wonderfully weird.

I tried to contact someone in the media department at Publix for an official comment. But no one at the company’s headquarters in Lakeland returned the call, and the Miami office had already closed down in advance of the storm. Which is a relief: These Floridians apparently know when to pull the plug on eccentricity and point the car in the direction of a safe haven.

Read more:

Extreme Hurricane Irma closing in on Florida, posing dire threat

Hurricane Irma updates