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‘Jersey Shore' kicks sand in the face of a great heritage

Tuesday, August 3, 2010; A14

Hank Stuever's July 29 Style article, " 'Jersey Shore' goes south; hasn't it always?," previewed the second season of the reality TV show "Jersey Shore," in which the characters spend the winter in Miami's South Beach.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) commends Mr. Stuever for underscoring some excellent points but wishes to emphasize the negative impact of the show on its audience and popular culture. Mr. Stuever noted the damaging effects of stereotypes but neglected to condemn them. He saw an "inebriating result on the viewer" that eliminated the past and future and focused on a present free of responsibilities.

The characters' activities -- gym, tanning, laundry during the day, "drinking, gyrating, brawling -- with intermittent, carnal baptisms in their roiling hot tub" at night -- are described as "a complex show about the nature of sin" rather than a cultural example that promotes debauchery and bad behavior to young viewers.

The NIAF has gone on record since the show's debut condemning its depiction of a false "reality" in which people make a living by disrespecting their great heritage and demeaning themselves.

We implore MTV to focus on responsible behavior and stop promoting cultural stereotypes. People are watching only in disgusted fascination.

Joseph V. Del Raso, Washington

The writer is president of the National Italian American Foundation.

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