Aug 222011
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

Yo, bro, I hate to tell you, but you totally smushed that grenade last night. Yeah, you did. And with that sweet blowout you’re rockin’, you coulda’ done so much better.

If you understood that, you’re a guido, guidette or a regular viewer of the MTV series and modern cultural phenomenon, “Jersey Shore.” (Or in my case, you have an otherwise intelligent dad who regularly watches the show as the result of a mid-life crisis).

And you know, as much as I’d like to make my father proud, I can’t say that I’ve ever watched an entire episode of “Jersey Shore.” It’s not because I’m an elitist T.V. snob. I’ve found many hours of entertainment watching a guy eat seven-pound doughnuts or Heidi Klum tell people their dresses are ugly.

No, I think I don’t like “Jersey Shore” because it represents everything that makes me ashamed to call myself part of the modern youth culture in America.

Sure, “Jersey Shore” portrays the exaggerated extremes of a twenty-something lifestyle. And yeah, not everyone “smushes” or gets hammered as much as The Situation and Snooki. And OK, maybe a lot of people just watch the show because it’s funny. I know my friends don’t watch weekly because they aspire to one day be as orange and STD-ridden as the cast members.

I understand all of that, but I also realize that “Jersey Shore” airs on MTV, a channel that’s mostly watched by teenagers, young teenagers — kids who shouldn’t even know what smushing is yet.
And that makes the inner, Lifetime-watching grandma in me concerned.

So while watching a talk show earlier this summer, I was surprised to hear the Snooks (as my dad calls her), while promoting her Pulitzer Prize-winning book “A Shore Thing,” ask to be called her real name, Nicole.

It just felt wrong.

It seems that even Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, that pint-sized party animal, may be starting to realize there’s more to life than getting black-out wasted and punching some guido in his juiced-up pecs.

But as much as she tries to class-up her image, and no matter how many tasteful, calf-length dresses she wears in interviews, Snooki will never be able to escape the caricature of herself: a trashy, sassy, pickle-loving guidette from the Shore.

A few months ago on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” NBC cast members, including Tina Fey, performed in a hilarious skit spoofing the “Jersey Shore” characters. Fey, normally a classy, funny lady, was dressed as a Snooki look-alike.

During the same time Snooki was pretending to be classy, Tina Fey was pretending to be trashy.

From watching the cultural melding of two very different women, I’ve come up with something I think I’ll tell my daughter one day, and before then, propose to the thousands of freshman women beginning their college career: Be a Tina, not a Snooki.

Instead of writing a book filled with inspirational quotes such as Snooki’s “I love my body, especially my badonk,” write a book like Fey’s “Bossypants.” It has her witty, sarcastic sense of humor, but it also sends the message of working hard and developing a successful career (one that doesn’t involve fist bumping).

And instead of spending years trying to clean up your image — one tarnished from excessive sloppy partying —  be like Fey and have the freedom to dress up like a prostitute sometimes and have people know it’s just for some skit, or Halloween.

If Snooki dressed up like a “lady of the night,” everyone would just assume her “Jersey Shore” contract was up, and she needed some extra cash.

I know it’s so easy for young women to get pulled into a lifestyle that glorifies overt sexiness and excessive partying because, well, it gets them attention. And occasionally, everyone likes attention, whether it be from guidos or anyone else.

But as Tina Fey so wonderfully demonstrates, it’s possible for women to get attention for something other than their “badonk,” or their skill in taking body shots or even their flawless keg-stand form.

Tina Fey shows that women can get recognized for their mind.

So ladies (and gentlemen) build up an honorable reputation this year. That way, when Halloween rolls around, you can pretend you’re Snooki and people won’t ask, “Where’s your costume?”

Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. Letters and feedback can be sent to

 Posted by at 3:33 pm

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