Get Snooki

Vulture‘s Emma Rosenblum has called Cathy Horyn‘s Sunday Styles profile of Jersey Shore costar Snooki “a cheap shot.” Horyn’s descriptions of this elfin egomaniac are “shocking,” she writes, because one never reads anything negative at all about any celebrity these days, but at the same time the piece is “an unnecessarily nasty takedown of a somewhat oblivious target.”

Jersey Shore costar Snooki (as photographed by Michael Falco for the N.Y. Times).

Except honest observation is honest observation, and a profile writer who doesn’t dispense this probably isn’t worth reading. The better ones, of course, do more than offer sharp descriptions of an interview subject — they also convey their personal reactions. And if you’ve had any first-hand experience with the younger reps of New York and New Jersey’s Guido and Guidette culture, as I have, you’ll recognize immediately that all Horyn did was lay it on the line. It’s called being straight. Why would anyone have a problem with that?

In my eyes Horyn wrote a close-up variation on what I’ve been noticing and mentioning from time to time since I moved to the New York area in November ’08, which is that the Italian or Latino-descended Snooki types seem, from a certain distance, to be all of a cultural piece — coarse, loud-speaking, un-read, garishly dressed, decidedly un-curious, under-educated, seemingly indifferent to anything or anyone outside of their immediate ego-sphere.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Only a racist thinks this way (right, Devin?), get off my lawn, and all the rest of those knee-jerk p.c. spitballs that get thrown at me every time I unload along these lines. I can only repeat that it felt awfully nice and soothing to read an article that called a spade a spade.

In so doing Horyn is now a member of that small club of nervy writers that I profiled in a 1992 Movieline piece about the New Journalism glory days (mid ’60s to early ’80s) called “Ten Interviews That Shook Hollywood.”

The piece offered summaries of the juiciest celebrity interviews I could find at the time. Among them were Truman Capote vs. Marlon Brando (“The Duke in His Domain,” The New Yorker, November 1957), Rex Reed vs. Warren Beatty (“Will The Real Warren Beatty Please Shut Up?,” Esquire, October 1967), Robin Green vs. Dennis Hopper (“Confessions of a Lesbian Chick,” Rolling Stone, May 1971), Tom Burke vs. Ryan O’Neal (“The Shiek of Malibu,” Esquire, September 1973), and Julie Baumgold vs. David Geffen (“The Winning of Cher,” Esquire, February 1975).

Here are first four pages of the article, which doesn’t exist online: Page #1, Page #2, Page #3, and Page #4.

  • Ulysses

    She looks like the Travelocity gnome’s sister.

  • Hip Hop Homey


  • Krazy Eyes

    The only thing I’ve seen Snooki in was that 5-second clip of the dude punching her in the face.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    Wells to party animals: Didn’t I ban you yesterday? “People who watch this are dumb beyond caring”? Beyond whose caring? Their own, or beyond the caring of those who listen to them or read their comments? I said it yesterday, am saying it again — explain what you mean in some detail and with a certain effort, or you’re not welcome here. You write like someone who dropped out of junior high-school.

  • George Prager

    I guess Rosenblum didn’t run into many Snooki-types in the rarified environment that she surely grew up in.

  • George Prager


    Snooki types in Brooklyn never leave Brooklyn. It’s really bizarre. I lived there for 10 years, and I never saw people in my Italian neighborhood on the L train going to Manhattan, ever. (The Polish, Hispanic and African-Americans in my neighborhood did travel to Manhattan).

  • Carl Kolchak

    I take great pride in saying that I have no idea who this person is or anything about this show. Life is too short.

  • JackBurton2

    We all have litmus tests for people, things that they have to have an opinion on for us to consider them decent, reasonable, intelligent, etc. We don’t have to agree with those opinions, we just have to know that the person we are engaging with has considered the data and come up with a conclusion. Then we can determine how to proceed with them.

    One of my litmus tests? I absolutely, immediately and irrevocably lose respect for anyone who watches this show. And it’s double for the people who claim to do it ironically. They are no longer allowed to have a valid opinion, in my eyes, on anything in the world of entertainment.

  • Who cares about her heritage, really? She’s an easy target simply for her own revolting personality. She’s symptomatic of a culture that celebrates its own worst impulses. She just another in a long line of self-absorbed, shallow, brainless nobodies who become celebrities for no reason at all.

    Paris Hilton, meet your new Latino sister.

  • Rich S.

    Back in the Miley Cyrus thread when I asked your opinion about Snooki’s wardrobe, you do know I was joking, right?

    But as long as we’re here, what do you think of Justin Bieber’s haircut?

  • Helms Deep

    MTV’s programming slate is Eloi chow. For covering this, and going this in-depth on the topic, you are yet again showing your Eloi credentials, Wells. That or just a blatant attempt to drive site traffic. Go haunt a Starbucks or something.

  • Rich S.

    By the way, when people like Snooki get older, don’t they become the mob wives Lorraine Bracco was complaining about in Good Fellas? The ones in the double knits?

  • Zach

    “Gentlemen of the court, there are times that I’m ashamed to be a member of the human race and this is one such occasion.”

  • Floyd Thursby

    A week ago I was blissfully unaware of Jersey Shore, Suicide Girls, and Justin Bieber. Now they’re everywhere. Maybe it’s time to make an arrangement with the crematorium.

  • Wrecktem

    One thing I respect about the whole Guido thang in the NY area is that it is an example of regional culture that really only exists in one particular area. You don’t see NJ guidettes hanging out at Mall of America or walking down the street in Seattle or Santa Monica. From an sociological and cultural perspective, it’s nice to know that regional flair like this still exists in a homogenized society.

  • corey3rd

    Snooki is an Orange Face performer. She’s not Italian. Her relatives are from Chile. But in her career of being a famewhore, she latched onto a stereotype and pushed it hard till she achieved famewhores – like her Jersey Shore castmate that’s ancestors are from Spain and Ireland. Yet they both push the “we’re Italian women” narratives to collect $25,000 to host fist pumping parties.\

    This is a well deserved hit job on someone who’s only talent appears to be getting drunk, making out in hot tubs and getting punched by drunk gym teachers. This woman makes Miss Miller sound talented.

  • a1

    Nice photo. At least all the other garbage in the picture is composed to give an image of beautiful decay, like in a Terrence Malick or David Gordon Green movie. You just have to get past the Day Glo totem pole in the center.

  • Abbey Normal

    Floyd: Suicide Girls are “everywhere”? I haven’t heard anything about them for at least 6 or 7 years now. Do they still have a website?

  • Jeffrey Wells

    Wells to Zach: That’s funny.

  • Science Adventure

    Boy, you guys take MTV really seriously.

  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    Only thing is, Cathy Horyn is not part of your crew of celebrity take-down artists or truth-to-power types simply because she knew there would be no long term fallout for going after such non-entity as Snooki.

    Snooki will be a punchline that elicits a “Oh, man, I totally forgot about ‘Jersey Shore.’ Wonder what happened to those douchebags?” in 5 years. Just ask Sarah Purcell how long that reality limelight lasts.

    As others keep pointing out, for someone who keeps insisting you are all about the higher culture, there does seem to be some sort of excuse every day on HE now of posting about strictly Eloi matters.

  • LexG

    Some Lexian points:

    1) I am sick of Jersey Shore and people who watch it “ironically” or otherwise. Unlike probably many hear, I watch tons of reality TV, have auditioned to be on several reality shows, and respect and enjoy the genre. But the Zeitgeist vibe of “Jersey Shore” is mystifying to me. Ooh, they have tacky hair and mook accents and the guys wear Affliction shirts? Wow. Other than that, there is NOTHING on “Jersey Shore” that hasn’t been seen for 18 years on “The Real World” — it’s the SAME FUCKING SHOW! Now, some of my fellow Xers here may have tuned out to Real World or Road Rules back in the halcyon, benign days of Jacinda and Eric Nies, but for at least the last five, ten years (since roughly the Trishelle/Steven notoriously sleazy Vegas year), it’s basically been one big meathead hook-up-a-thon. The only novelty of Jersey Shore is the stupid wardrobe.

    2) Yeah, yeah, yeah… Snooki is tacky, she’s annoying, she’s stupid, she isn’t really hot, she clearly has 15 minutes of fame…

    And I’m JEALOUS AS FUCK. As Jeff Wells can attest now, I’m a doughy, pasty wannabe Baldwin Brother with the hair of 1982 Robert Loggia and not a melon-racked Jersey vixen, but I’d still sell out friends and family alike to have even fleeting, trashy, undeserved SNOOKI FAME.

    I really can’t believe– and I’m repeating old material now to some degree– that so many of you guys won’t just man up and admit it, but SNOOKI HAS A BETTER LIFE THAN ANY OF US. Because she IS FAMOUS.

    Yes, we all know it’s going to last, but for the time being, she’s on magazine covers, she is worshipped, she has fans, she has validation, she probably has a SCREEN ACTORS GUILD CARD, she got to appear at the MTV Movie Awards, she met the cast of Twilight (including Kristen and Dakota) on MTV and on Kimmel. She is LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM.

    One of the things that frustrates me about “smart people” is everybody thinking they’re all above such things. “But it’s shallow and fleeting and won’t bring you happiness, blah blah” TOTAL BULLSHIT. FAME brings you INSTANT HAPPINESS, and in the Darwinistic, Fascist, Nietschzean sense, Snooki is a BETTER than us. Do smart people ALWAYS have to be so detached and intellectualize everything to SUCH a degree, that they can’t admit they’d be happier in the spotlight, they’d be happier as a millionaire, they’d be happier MEETING AND BANGING CELEBRITIES??????

    To some degree, bashing Snooki — and she IS an idiot and thus not the best example for my argument — is a way of bolstering one’s one shaky confidence. Sort of this faux moral superiority, like “I don’t make much money and my wife isn’t that stunning and my office job kinda blows and I drive a shitty car, BUT AT LEAST I’M NOT SNOOKY!!!” What, you mean, at least you’re not a MILLIONAIRE TV STAR RECOGNIZED THE WORLD OVER?

  • erniesouchak

    Wells, I’m not sure you can put a takedown of this dumb twat in the same category as the great (and comparatively courageous) takedowns you listed. How about an honest profile that actually requires guts, one about a famous person with an army of image-control experts at his/her disposal?

  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    No, Lex, I think it’s a testament of just how shitty you perceive your life (no judgments from me) that elevates theirs to such heights. Maybe on summer break when I was 19 I might have loved to go out, have hot women in my bed every night and spend the days hanging out at the beach.

    But without mental stimulation, I bore really fast. Whatever is the opposite of preaching to choir, you are doing it with these rants in praise of shallow celebrity happiness. I think many here might enjoy the trappings of that “success” for few days/weeks/months. But it gets old. It’s akin to what some celeb once said on Howard Stern 15 years ago: you show me a hot woman and I’ll show you a guy who’s tired of fucking her.

  • LexG

    Fuck that shit. Fame is GOD, the only thing I have wanted for 18 years. I’m pissed at myself as I type this that I didn’t apply for Big Brother THIS year, as I have for the past four seasons, because they’re currently stuck with a boring cast, and it would sure as shit be livened up by some 37 year old rage case who hasn’t gotten laid since Bush’s first (and only) term, boiling with rage at all life and looking for any excuse to start some shit, all rockin’ a sideways ballcap and reliving my early-wigger days and attitude when I was in a DANCE CREW dancing to ABC-BBD, roaming around that house ogling all the chicks’ tits and bare feet and talking to the cameras about my awesome philosophy. I can try auditioning for SURVIVOR next, but I’m kind of a fat guy and thus not very outdoorsy, but at THIS POINT, I don’t distinguish between legit acting and Snooki, because she’s as famous as any actor,

    And because half the cast of THE REAL WORLD has now crossed over into legit movies… Jamie Chung was on REAL WORLD a la Snooki and is now in that Zack Snyder movie and is in TONS of legit movies. The stigma is GONE. Reality rules. If I can lose 20 more pounds, I might audition to be on the next Bachelorette as one of the dudes, They’ll be all “Lex is a 37 year old drunk from Toluca Lake with extreme narcissism, rage issues, and hasn’t had a first date since 1998.”

    THAT is TV GOLD.

  • LexG

    “But without mental stimulation”

    Also: THIS IS BULLSHIT. I see women ENTIRELY in sexual/desire terms, and have ZERO INTEREST in ANYTHING they say, EVER. Unless it’s a special case like Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning or Taylor Swift, and then I’d sit there grinning and at RAPT fucking attention (above and below board), listening to all their LITTLE WORDS and LITTLE STORIES, all LOOK HOW CUTE, THEY CAN TALK AND SAY LITTLE WORDS. But really, hit it and quit it.

  • Jeff, I consider you a friend and an excellent writer. But, man, I have to make a huge effort to avoid being upset when I read you making these kinds of generalization about Latinos.

  • bmcintire

    Lex, I greatly look forward to the day your wish of Snookie-level fame is granted so that a drunk Phys Ed teacher can punch you in the face on national television.

  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    It’s very, very telling that I was talking about mental stimulation in general…

  • LexG

    Every person on this planet wants to be famous. They want to be an actor, an athlete, or a rapper. It’s only going to get worse. The next generation doesn’t WANT to be doctors, lawyers, or teachers. They want to be Paris and Snooki or The Situation.

    Can you blame them? Why would ANYONE want to be a workaday sadsack instead of a famous celebrity?

  • zombiestrike

    “…like in a Terrence Malick or David Gordon Green movie.”

    a1, please never ever put Terrence Malick and David Gordon Green in the same company again. Thank you.

  • CitizenKanedForPostingThoughts

    “Also: THIS IS BULLSHIT…Every person on this planet wants to be famous…They want to be Paris and Snooki or The Situation.”

    One of the few things that genuinely irritates me about you — and unfortunately it’s not an insignificant thing — is the way you assume that the total sum of your experiences in life directly mirrors — if not outright equals — everyone else’s. I have a feeling this tendency of yours comes from your years at the open mic — as a standup, you’re naturally always trying to find middle ground with the audience. The problem is, you have an almost Patrick Bateman-esque obsession with self-navel-gazing. To be fair, it’s not just you, it’s the entire culture now.

    But no, not everyone I know wants to be Paris fucking Hilton or Snooki or Carrot Top or Kathy Griffith or that tall dude from Phantasm who may or may not be dead yet. Quite frankly, I think being any of these people would really SUCK. You get none of the real benefits of being famous (huge paychecks, travel around the world for free, work with great directors/artists), yet still inherit most of fame’s pesky problems (lack of privacy and anonymity, creepy phone calls/paparazzi, feel the pressure to always “be on”). In fact, you are the single only person I’m aware of that has even so much as implied that he/she would actually want to inherit these C-listers’ lives (then again, you do live in L.A., and admittedly I pretty much only know a handful of people that reside there).

    I know the vast majority of the stuff you write is just fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, off-the-top-of-your-head power riffs on the way you view the real world, and I can certainly appreciate that. But calling someone out as a liar when they say they genuinely need a little mental stimulation in their life…what is that about? That response strikes me as both insecure and belligerent in about equal fucking doses.

    Isn’t it time to grow up a little bit and learn that there are other people with various perspectives on a lot of different subjects that might be worth considering (or even absorbing) so you can at least make a half-hearted attempt at growing a teeny bit wiser each and every day, as opposed to just hammering home the same old “YEP YEP” mantras and wheeling out the tired tropes each and every day?

    Your experiences are just that, your own…and just because you can turn a clever phrase doesn’t change that fact one single bit. Is your ego so fragile that everyone must feel exactly the same way that you do about everything?

  • LexG

    “Is your ego so fragile that everyone must feel exactly the same way that you do about everything?”


  • Jeffrey Wells

    Wells to Pablo Villaca: You wrote, “Jeff, I consider you a friend and an excellent writer. But, man, I have to make a huge effort to avoid being upset when I read you making these kinds of generalizations about Latinos.”

    Reply: In the above passage I referred not to Latinos in general but the Guido and Guidette culture of New York City area (including parts of neighboring New Jersey).

    If you’re also alluding to my two-month-old post about New York-area Latino having an annoying tendency to speak loudly & obnoxiously in cafes and whatnot (i.e., “Loud Latinos”), I’m afraid this is simply true. It’s a class thing — i.e., lower-born, less-well-off Latinos and Italians seem to have this thing about speaking in mixed company at levels 8 and 9 when 4 or 5 would more than suffice. And keep in mind the New York-area flavoring. I made a point of saying in the “Loud Latinos” piece that in my travels to Europe as well as to Central and South America I HAVEN’T noticed this kind of loud speaking among Italian and Latino conversationalists in cafes and whatnot in Rome, Palermo, Sevilla, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, etc. In my personal experience this has largely been a New York-area thing, for what that is worth.

  • CitizenKanedForPostingThoughts

    lol. Doesn’t even seem possible for me to hate that kinda honesty…

  • Floyd Thursby

    Two Latinos were trying to decipher the departure board at Penn Station yesterday. Even though they were standing face to face in an area with little noise, they were shouting almost at the tops of their voices. Passersby kept looking at them like they were expecting a brawl to erupt.

  • Josh Massey

    Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. I live a half goddamn mile from a Hispanic-centric apartment complex, and can hear them “talking” at night.

    And my God, the fireworks.

  • Josh Massey

    And I say “Hispanic,” but it’s not Hispanic. It’s Mexican. There’s a difference, as any non-Mexican Hispanic will tell you. (One of the more fascinating aspects of dating a few Colombian/Brazilian/Honduran girls over the years was learning how much they absolutely loathed Mexicans. The Hispanic class system is brutal).

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