Commentary: My hero Snooki and the American dream

The Kansas City StarApril 15, 2011 

In his remarks about the deficit the other day, President Obama reminded us that America is still the land of opportunity.

That thanks to the free enterprise system, “the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity,” any of us can become successful.

And as I listened to the speech, it occurred to me that he was talking in a way about my newest personal hero:

Snooki.

Yes, we all have our role models. For some it’s a self promoter like Donald Trump — though minus the strange creature he wears atop his forehead that looks like it could tear off your finger if you got too close. (Clearly it’s already eaten into his skull, judging by all the birther nonsense he’s been spouting lately.)

For others, a good role model might be someone smart, funny and impossibly talented, like Tina Fey of “30 Rock” and “SNL” fame.

But my new role model of the moment is “Jersey Shore” star Nicole Polizzi (aka Snooki).

Even those who’ve never seen the MTV reality show know all about Snooki, her poof and the other foul-mouthed layabouts she hangs out with — The Situation, Pauly D, JWoww and the rest.

What’s more, if you’ve been paying attention, you also know that Snooki has been in the news a lot this week.

She and other cast members will soon be making $100,000 an episode, up from $5,000 originally.

Rutgers University was roundly criticized for paying her $32,000 to speak to the student body last month.

But for some, perhaps the most startling thing to come out is that, as The New York Times reported Sunday, “Snooki can receive $25,000 for a couple of hours of drinking and dancing” at club appearances.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper nearly popped his cufflinks on air the other night while reporting on all the cash Snooki rakes in for just being Snooki.

This from a guy who makes millions largely because he looks great reading from a teleprompter?

But I don’t begrudge him any more than I do Snooki. Both earn an honest buck based on what the market will pay.

So what if Snooki can command 25 grand for slurping margaritas and jiggling her booty for a couple of hours at a club? Isn’t that more admirable than being some CEO who earns multimillion-dollar bonuses based, in part, on the number of loyal employees tossed into the street to please Wall Street?

It’s also not like she’s some juiced-up ballplayer who cheated his way into the record books. Or a politician who would sell out every principle he’d ever believed in if it would help him get re-elected.

No, I have to admire Snooki. She’s living the American Dream. Though I’d just as soon not watch her at it.

Gawd, I hate that show.

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