Photo: Wikipedia commonsOh, Jersey Shore. After a long day dealing with the scary realities of the world, I crave this divorced-from-reality show. Curling up with some DIY Junk Food and DUI junk television helps me take my mind off downers like global warming and Sarah Palin as president. It’s mindless television, but that doesn’t stop my mind from wandering and starting to apply green values to the show. (Pesky noggin, I wanted to relax!)
Short in stature, but never in spirit (or spirits), Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is my favorite cast member. That’s why I need to offer Snooks a little unsolicited green advice. But I’m no Angelina. I freely admit I’m about to talk some shit:
1. Voting on orange issues, not green: This little snookit caused my skin to burn:
I don’t go tanning anymore because Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning. McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning. Because he’s pale and would probably want to be tan.
Now I’m not claiming Obama has been perfect on environmental issues. Far from it. Or that Snooki likely votes. But Jesus Christo, can you think of a more shallow swing issue? And besides, judging by her income and burnt sienna shade, Snooks still hits the tanning salon all-too-frequently.
Tanning has obvious health implications, none of them good. Tanning beds are on par with cigarettes for cancer risk. And then there’s the environmental concerns. Most tanning lotions ranked by the Environmental Working Group received a 7 or higher (on a scale of 10) for high levels of toxins. Bulbs contain heavy metals such as mercury, and consume 100-160 watts every hour. The sunlight that hits the earth in just one hour is enough to power the world for a year. There’s no reason to believe it couldn’t power guido and guidette‘s mega-tans too.
Snooki, your greenest (and healthiest) option is to forgo tanning altogether and embrace your natural hue. Since I somehow doubt that will happen, I advise opting for a green sunless tanner instead.
2. Taking hair to new un-green heights: Thumbs up for ditching the giant hair bump, Snooki. You look better and are obviously using much, much less hair product. But I’ve noticed your hair has a new red hue, which means it’s time to check out Umbra’s advice on hair dye. And please, let Pauly D know that his beloved Spiker Gel contains vinyl. As Umbra says, “No on vinyl and that’s final.” There are many, many green hair products out there — some truly eco-friendly, many green-washed — so check the ingredients at the aforementioned Environmental Working Group site.
3. Making no one want to vacation in Florida: OK, so this is a stretch. But hear me out: the gang’s absurd antics even had New Jersey politicians clamoring to distance themselves and the Garden State from the show. While their, um, rowdy style might be good for MTV ratings, no state wants to be associated with them.
In season two, they relocate from Seaside Heights to the Sunshine State. Florida’s tourism industry is worth $4 billion annually and employs one million people, making tourism a vital part of Florida’s economy. The state has been mighty worried about all those haunting images of oily, dead sea life prompting families to cancel their beach vacations. Thanks to Jersey Shore, they now have oily, dead-drunk Seaside Heights life to deal with.
My girl Snooki even got arrested at a Jersey beach for annoying her fellow sunbathers. I can’t say Snooki directly caused any Florida vacation cancellations. But she can’t have helped.
That said, Snooki is stumbling in the right direction. She recently auctioned some of her personal items on eBay to benefit the Gulf cleanup. So keep up the good work, Snooki, and Florida might proudly adopt you. OK, so THAT is a stretch. But if you tone down the guidette stereotypes and use your fame for good, heck, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist might even give you tanning tips.
4. Falling drunk off bikes instead of riding them: While I appreciate Snooki’s attempt to get up on something besides a guido, she should do it more often — and sober. Plus, with the recent disappearance of the giant hair bump, there’s no reason a helmet wouldn’t fit.
5. Birth control: This really is none of my business, but, oh well … Grist doesn’t have an official stance on casual sex. It’s a fairly alien concept to us environmental journalists. But we do have a strong opinion on birth control.
When the gang was interviewed on The View, Joy Behar asked them about condom use. Snooki, Mike (who calls himself “The Situation”), and Pauly D all said they use them (hooray!). But the following exchange casts some doubts on their birth control know-how:
Behar followed up by asking if safe sex extends to the hot tub and Sherri Shepherd suggested it was unnecessary because “hot water kills all the sperm.”
“It’s really hot water,” The Situation agreed. “It takes care of business.”
Bad Situation. Especially since the crew tends to hook up with one another. So, memo to Snooki: when you’re splashing in the hot tub with Mike, USE PROTECTION. When you’re smooshin tipsy Vinnie, USE PROTECTION. If you spin with Pauly D, USE PROTECTION. And if Ron ever stumbles into your bed, run, Snooki, run!
un-green antics make me quite sure you’re not a GINK (Green Inclinations, No Kids). But as an avid partier who can’t keep a job, I pray you remain a DINK (Drink Inclinations, No Kids). There are no official estimations on how much your carbon footprint would climb with the addition of a Snooki cookie. My best guess is more MTV shows and the end of the natural world as we know it.
Despite being made of rubber, using a condom is still a greener choice than not using one. But if you want to keep the planet clean while getting down and dirty, there are a growing number of eco-friendly sex toys and forms of protection out there. Like vegan condoms and lube, or condoms that benefit endangered animals. Poke around, Snooki. You’ll find an eco-fit.
Word to the wise (who don’t watch Jersey Shore): If this memo to Snooki seems out of character for Grist, or perhaps a little too much like a shameless ploy to boost page views, let me be perfectly clear: these musings and the need to share them are entirely my own. I’m sure you have your guilty TV habits too. Speaking of, what are they? Do you ever cringe at the habits of your favorite characters? Or are you surprised to find hidden green values?
Get Grist in your inbox