Archive - Feb 2010

February 8th

Contain The Outbreak

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Memo to the Jersey Shore audience: WHAT THE FUCK?

OK, I thought we had a deal here. You could all watch Jersey Shore to your heart's content, because the identification and public humiliation of moron subcultures is good for society. In return for my tacit approval, I would get the benefit of a comedy cultural touchstone, plus an assortment of short clips on "The Soup" that would tell me all I needed to ever know about the care and feeding of the Jersey Guido.

But you all appear to have crossed the line. I suppose it's not entirely your fault. You live in a society where popularity is indistinguishable from comedy, and attention is indistinguishable from merit. But I do not need to be flipping through my news feed and seeing sentences like this. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"They're fist-pumping. They're doing their hair like us now, dressing like us. We obviously did something right." - Pauly D, on the Today Show.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! You're not doing anything right. That's the whole fucking point. You're doing everything wrong, which is why everyone is watching you. Or was watching you. Because your lives are a nightmare spectacle of horrible decisions - decisions made even more horrible by money and cameras and MTV producers.

But then the show became a pop-culture phenomenon, and all the rules went out the window. For example, Pauly D. was on the Today show. I mean, the last time I was at the zoo, I saw a couple of monkeys fucking, and it was funny, but I didn't want to have a conversation with the monkey afterwards about how much he enjoyed us watching, or what his motivations were. Plus, I'm pretty sure actually inviting them onto TV shows and interviewing them is some kind of violation of the Prime Directive.

I learned about Pauly D's quote from an apocalypse-heralding HuffPost article entitled "Jersey Shore Spawns Style Following", a sentence in which only the first 60% of the words make any sense together. Writer hoping for something better Michelle Smith tells us about Zach Vajic, a fifteen-year-old from Stoney Creek, Ontario (which, while technically in Canada, is close enough to the border to count as Upstate New York white trash) who spends fifteen minutes a day replicating Pauly D's hair.

"I've noticed now when I go places with the haircut, people just stop and look at me. No one else has it."

Vajic is fifteen, and therefore doesn't know any better. But many others who should know better are following suit. And while I hate to be the voice in support of stylistic conformity, there's a REASON no one else has it, dude. A reason you, and all the other guid-fauxs will realize in months if we're lucky, and years if we're not. Nothing good can come of this. All you'll end up with is a bag full of stuff for Goodwill, a memory card full of digital photos that will haunt your dreams for decades, and a vague sense of shame you'll carry with you always.

It's like a tanned, poofed, Shroedinger's Douchebag on steroids. Not only does the act of observing affect the observed, it affects the observer as well. It's like opening the box, seeing a dead cat, and instantly dying of a brain aneurysm. Or, more appropriately to Jersey Shore, you see the dead cat, and another dead cat is spontaneously generated on top of your head.

If this proves anything beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's that there is no subculture so repellent that it can be filmed and viewed while maintaining its detached sense of irony. And I hope future reality show producers keep that in mind, especially if they're considering shows about, oh, Alabama truck stop hookers or something.