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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In defense of Snooki

I may be late to the dance on this one...  but can we please get off Rutgers and Snooki??  I understand the irony and utter lunacy of the Snookster getting 2 grand more to appear at our State University than poet (and ok Nobel Prize winner) Toni Morrison.  It is a clear and damaging sign of what is valued at our institutions of higher learning.  More telling, it is what is more valued as a culture.

We have become a culture obsessed with fame, however fleeting.  I know more about what underwear (or lack thereof) Britney Spears is wearing than what poet Morrison has written.  And I am someone who graduated with an English major!!!  Problem is we do not see poetry as a way to achieve the American Dream.  It is a nice exercise and worthwhile art form for the select few who, is extremely lucky, will get published and/or teach.  10th grader sees that path and wonders, ok, is that good for 6 figures or not???

Now Snooki's path is far more attractive.  Let me get this straight, 10th grader ponders, I get to spend a summer at the Jersey Shore, get loaded and laid, and you are going to pay me???  Where do I sign?

Never mind the world will think of you as a punch line.  Never mind this brief moment in time will pass faster than you can say gonorrhea.   The spotlight and need for fame, attention, is so compelling in our culture we cannot look away.  So, I know Kirstie Alley fell on her fat ass last night.  I have not seen the show or tape.  I know someone from Teen Mom fought and sold the tape.  No idea who she is or what that means.  I know the Real World is in a new season.  Celebrities are apprenticing.  Chef are vying for trophies.  Families are fighting to lose weight.  Sober houses are looking for clients.

Reality is not reality unless its televised.  And that brings us to Snooki.  What are her overall skill sets?  Acting like a drunken fool and smushing?  Ok, so why can't she judge some sort of talent show at Rutgers?  They wanted her there.  And I am certain thousands of students know and adore her show.

Tell me how many have read "Beloved"?  And no, I am not counting those who WATCHED the Oprah produced movie.  But I am sure if you combined the figures it would still be less than those who enjoy Jersey Shore.  In fact, I am willing to throw the administrative folk and professors to the mix.  Like they don't watch???  And now we act so outraged that 20 somethings want to pay to see someone entertain them, like she does every week.  And let's be honest, how many students at our fine State University are going to be the next Toni Morrison?  Even if Ms. Morrison taught there for several years, maybe even personally tutoring the most gifted undergraduate poet on campus, there is no guarantee another Toni Morrison would be born.

Now, if MTV/Viacom happened to turn their cameras on an RU tailgating event...  chances are they might find another reality star.  Drunken, stupid and classless behavior sells these days.  Why else do I know Lindsay Lohan?

So let us not pretend and get on our high horse about this disparity of pay.  We need Snooki on that stage.  We want Snooki on that stage.  Cause if we didn't, we wouldn't know who the hell she was.

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