Full disclosure: I grew up in New Jersey. I even pumped gas for two summers in the Jersey Shore town of Wildwood. And I’ve only seen the revolting and reprehensible “Jersey Shore” once. It was the premier episode in 2009. I was so appalled by what I saw and heard that I’ve never seen it again. Some train wrecks just shouldn’t be looked at or watched. But my self-imposed exile came to an end when I learned that Rutgers University shelled out $32,000 so that 1,000 students could hear Snooki to tell students, among other things, “Study hard, but party harder.”

But, wait, it gets more twisted. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison will be the Rutgers commencement speaker on May 15. But her speech will be a bargain by comparison when you consider that she’s being paid $30,000 to speak in a 52,000-seat stadium.


(Peter Kramer/AP)

The value of Morrison gracing the state university’s campus is undeniable. All those smarts and life experiences in the rarefied world of those who are both a Pulitzer Prize winner and a Nobel Laureate. Whereas Morrison’s world is head-of-a-pin small with glass smudged by the rest of us eager to peer through, Snooki’s world is overpopulated with “reality TV stars” who are famous for doing or saying something stupid to achieve said status. According to the Star-Ledger, Snooki (nee Nicole Polizzi), “spent an hour answering questions, teaching students the signature ‘Jersey Shore’ first pump and styling a student’s hair in her iconic ‘pouf’ hairdo.”

Japan? Libya? Egypt? Yemen? Bahrain? Syria? Jordan? The students had no interest in a different kind of “pouf” that could come from these places, apparently.