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NIAF sounds off on Washington Post article, "Jersey Shore"

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The cast of MTV's "Jersey Shore.

In today's Washington Post, NIAF President Joseph V. Del Raso, Esq. sounds off on Season Two of MTV's "Jersey Shore" and the Post's recent coverage of it.

For those of you who may have missed it, the Post's July 29 Style Section article about the show's second season -- titled "Jersey Shore' gang's trashy charm has us inexplicably coming back for more" -- dissected the show's appeal, with a heavy emphasis on the "trashy charm."

While examining the pop culture phenomenon that the show has become, writer Hank Stuever noted that:

"To fully appreciate the show, one must address some inner biases -- Middle American biases against the tri-state area, mostly -- which are timely, since the show has managed to anger Italian American groups and certain noble-minded Garden Staters.

The reason they object to "Jersey Shore's" extremes is because they know what stereotypes can do. They know what many of us think, deep down, of the horrible accents, the bravado, the filthy talk, the hitting, the threats, the steroidal physiques, the skanky orange skin, the loudness, the crassness, the endless badda-bing."

While undoubtedly correct in his assessment of negative stereotypes about Italian Americans, Stuever also gives the show a little too much credit, telling readers that, "As stupid as it looks, and as much as you can hate yourself for watching, it's a complex show about the nature of sin."

In today's letter to the editor, Del Raso notes that although Stuever's article did call attention to "the damaging effects of stereotypes" perpetuated by shows like "Jersey Shore," it "neglected to condemn them."  He adds, "[Stuever] saw an 'inebriating result on the viewer' that eliminated the past and future and focused on a present free of responsibilities."

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

"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."

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

What do you think about "Jersey Shore"? If you're a fan of the show, why? If you don't like it, what do you say about it when the topic comes up?