anne_mikolay_120I am no fan of MTV's reality show, Jersey Shore, but I have to hand it to Snooki, its most popular star. She sure knows how to make something out of nothing.

On April 1st, Rutgers University Programming Association paid Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki, $32,000 for a speaking engagement on campus. According to The Star Ledger, 1,000 Rutgers students attended the event. I laughed when I heard this. Hardly a healthy role model for young women, Snooki is a foul-mouthed fad in a mini-skirt, and it's rather disheartening to realize that so many college students are captivated by her antics. Why do young people admire a trash talking girl admittedly addicted to “bronzer, boys, and alcohol”? My first reaction to Snooki's Rutgers speaking engagement was that this empty-headed, wayward girl should be ashamed of herself for promoting a promiscuous lifestyle and spreading the “F” word everywhere she goes.

On second thought, Snooki might not be as empty-headed as I thought.

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi sat in a chair answering questions on a stage at Rutgers University and walked away with $32,000. While it pains me to think that Snooki benefits financially from her trashy lifestyle, I have to applaud the girl's savvy. Surely she has other speaking engagements and personal appearances on her schedule that will similarly fatten her wallet. And let's not forget the sale of her first book, A Shore Thing. At a book signing in Brick earlier this year, 700 fans waited in line for Snooki, positive proof that the pint-sized phenomenon has a definite audience, and she knows how to play them. Snooki may be crude and less than cultured, but she is no shrinking violet. Nicole Polizzi has hit a gold mine and is cleverly capitalizing on society's questionable admiration for the tasteless.

What attracts people to Snooki? What talent does she have? What enlightening comments has she made? What has she added to our society? What can young people learn from her? Wait...don't answer that. We all know what is to be learned from Snooki, and it isn't good.

All things considered, however, Snooki's welcoming audience at Rutgers University is a bit disconcerting. According to the Star Ledger, Gregory Kassee, vice president of the programming association's comedy and movies committee, was looking for a speaker who would appeal to Rutgers students. “Snooki fit that mold very well,” Kassee said. That's a scary thought! Does that mean that these college kids are also addicted to bronzing, the opposite sex, and alcohol? Does it mean that our future business and community leaders will be as rough around the edges and as morally ambiguous as Snooki? If so, our society is doomed.

But, again, I have to hand it to Snooki. She parlayed a whole lot of nothing into a very lucrative career.