Reality Stars: How Society Rewards Bad Behavior


Reality StarsCredit: Stylemom & NVS_Inc's photostream

How did we go from a society that at one time rewarded hard work, education, self-respect and trustworthiness to a society that seems to have turned its back on these traits? How did we get to the point where women like those on The Real Housewives or the “characters” of Jersey Shore somehow earned the right to have TV shows that can pay around $30,000 per episode when they seemingly have nothing to contribute to society except really bad behavior?

For example, what was going through the minds of the administrators of Rutgers University when they agreed to pay “Snookie” $32,000 to give the 2011 commencement speech? What words of wisdom did she bestow upon the students of Rutgers? "Study hard, but party harder” and "When you're tan, you feel better about yourself".

Isn’t a commencement speech supposed to be a bit more inspiring? Especially at a time when unemployment is high and college grads are having difficulty finding jobs? I think they deserve better advice other than to party harder don’t you? Snookie is a girl that hasn’t figured life out for herself yet, but Rutgers thought it would be a great idea for her to bestow some words of wisdom upon their graduating class. Mind you, her only qualifications at this point in her life is that she impressed a TV executive with her “confused” personality enough to land her a spot on The Jersey Shore where she and her friends are exploited for big bucks. Oh, and it seems she’s mastered tanning and partying as well, can’t leave that out.

Rutgers invited Toni Morrison to the commencement speech as well. And yes, her speech was inspiring, as a commencement speech should be. That shouldn’t come as a surprise given the fact that she’s been writing since 1970 and has over 15 literary awards under her belt including the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes. However, though she’s well respected, the administration of Rutgers felt her life’s work wasn’t going to be as inspiring as Snookie’s “party hard and tan speech”, and so paid her $2,000 less for her time. That’s a great message to send to students graduating from an institution of higher learning.

The Real Housewives are winners as well. They don’t do much except accuse each other of absurd nonsense, curse each other out, pull each other’s hair and talk behind each other’s back while their suspiciously wealthy husbands look on. It’s been reported that they’re paid about $30,000 per episode. Nice, seeing that the only thing these women do is act like spoiled nine-year-old rich girls.

When did hard work, common courtesy and self-respect become old school and out of style? Is the message now, “Act like a chucklehead and you’ll go places kid”?  What are your thoughts? I'll check back later, but for now, I have to go work on my tan.