“Study hard, but party harder.”
These aren’t the words of the latest Bud Light or Bacardi campaign, but those of Rutgers University’s most recent guest speaker, Nicole Polizzi.
Better known as “Snooki,” a moniker made popular by MTV’s The Jersey Shore, Polizzi visited New Jersey’s largest university to speak to young Rutger’s students about the important things in life: You know, hair, fist pumping, and most importantly, keeping up with GTL—gym, tanning, laundry.
The reality TV star was paid $3200 to share her words of wisdom last Thursday, $2000 more than what Toni Morrison will be receiving to deliver Rutgers' commencement address in May.
This discrepancy in payment has earned the university’s Programming Association more than a few raised eyebrows, and begs the question, “are the words of a reality TV celebrity really worth more than those of a nobel-prize winning novelist?” For most of us, the obvious answer is “NO.” But in a time when younger generations are more likely to pick up a TV control than a book, this question is unfortunately one worth considering.
In 1992 when MTV released The Real World, I doubt any institution, especially not one of higher education, would have even considered inviting a reality TV star to speak to a group of students. But back then, a novelist had more respect than a D-list celebrity, and a nobel-prize was considered a bigger accomplishment than a fake tan and teased hair.