The Lakelandist, a new satirical and snarky website/Twitter feed about Lakeland and Polk County has lots of people asking, “Who IS The Lakelandist?” We tried to find out — and failed miserably. (Actually, we think we know but were too respectful of her/his privacy to actually ask.) But we did land an interview through the anonymity of Twitter direct messaging. Enjoy:

Who ARE you?

This is a deep existential question. I can feel my whole sense of self unraveling just contemplating it.

No, really….

Here’s a clue… I’m bigger than a breadbox, but smaller than a VW bus. But only the new VW bus.

What’s it like to be Lakeland famous?

Less cool than being Tampa famous, but slightly cooler than being Winter Haven famous.

Has fame gone to your head?

Who said I’ve got a head?

Where do you get your inspiration?

Lakeland. It writes its own satire.

For the love of god, is nothing sacred?

God. But even he’s gotta watch it.

Since you’ve already taken on Mister George, can we assume there are no sacred cows or swans or whatever?

My mother. Nobody talks about my mama.

What’s your idea of an ideal date night in Lakeland?

Watching old people, hipsters, and teenagers pretend they like each other at First Friday.

If you could change one thing in Lakeland, what would it be?

That I didn’t have to wait 45 minutes to get 8 chicken nuggets at Chick-Fil-A at lunchtime

True or false: Lakeland needs more hipsters …

I choose a non-binary third option that exists in a state outside of the duality of true and false. Nevermind, true.

Any truth to the rumor you’re going to buy The Ledger and turn it into a humor magazine?

My lawyers have requested that I not speak on this issue publicly, but… *wink*.

Are you paying Chris Hardwick royalties for the name?

He can duke it out with The Lakelander to get my exactly zero dollars.

North side or south side?


Where do you go when your Publix is closed for reno?

I just sit in the rubble, searching for scraps of chicken tender sub.

What is Lakeland best at?

Pretending that it wants to be inclusive.

Worst at?

Hiding that it’s not really that inclusive.

Would you call Lakeland a “bedroom community?”

I don’t know what that phrase means, and I’m terrified I might end up on some kind of list if I google it.

What should the fate of the mall be?

The fate of all malls. To become a technical education center.

If you’re gonna drive on I-4, East or West?

I prefer both, simultaneously, and as erratically as possible.

Note to The Lakelandist: If I know you in real life, then you’re not who I think you are. Thank you for playing. And thanks to Matthew E. Wengerd for collaborating on the questions.


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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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  1. Glad this exists – extremely refreshing without being mean-spirited. Just finding humor in the truth.

    1. It was truly memorable the way I found out who wrote Empirical Polk. I believe the question was: What ever happened to Empirical Polk? Or maybe it was: Why isn’t Empirical Polk being updated any longer?

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