New Jersey Is Squandering Its Moment in the SunS

A new poll shows that one-third of New Jersey voters think the Jersey Shore guidos act out because they're from New York. Will the Garden State leave this issue alone? The state clearly has bigger image issues to worry about.

A new study by Quinnipiac University finds that one in three New Jersey voters think that the residents of the Jersey Shore misbehave in their state because they actually hail from New York. (Sammi "Sweetheart"—possibly the most detestable of the lot—is the only person on the show who is actually from New Jersey.) The poll also found that more than half of the state's residents hate the show, and only 11 percent said they were cheering on the hard-partying antics of these modern day clowns.

The people of New Jersey really need to lighten up. First people started pushing the "these kids aren't even from New Jersey" defense, which didn't make much sense since the show is not called People from the Jersey Shore, it's just called Jersey Shore and, like it or not, these guidos—who hail from from New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island—are good examples of the kind of people who go to Seaside Heights every summer. Now some people are suggesting that the cast is being intentionally destructive, foolish, and crass in an effort to malign New Jersey. Well, that's silly! The eight guidos were just as destructive, foolish, and crass during the show's second season in Miami as they were during the first season. So that argument is just worthless.

The other problem with blaming Jersey Shore for besmirching the state's good name is that New Jersey doesn't have much of a good name to begin with. For better or worse, each state in this great country of ours is saddled with its very own stereotype, no matter how unfounded it might be. Connecticut is a land of stuck-up country club snobs in huge houses, Utah is a conclave of rabid Mormons, Florida is the white trash mecca ruled by an evil mouse, Iowa is one giant cornfield that occasionally has high school football games.

What do we associate with New Jersey? Chemical plants, highways, strip malls, pollution, gangsters, Atlantic City and other falling apart places, rest stops, denim jackets with fringe, full service gas stations, above-ground swimming pools, muscle cars, girls with feathered hair, foul odors, and all-around general suburban ennui. All of which suck. And Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi ain't gonna make up for all that. But hey, it could be worse: Just look at Arizona, which went from being a nice place for old people to die to being a racist hellhole where residents chase out Mexicans with torches and pitchforks.

There are now at least eight reality shows set in New Jersey, including Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jerseylicious, Jersey Couture, Cake Boss, and Garbage Moguls. Residents of the Garden State clearly have the nation's attention at the moment. And yet they're squandering it by looking like a bunch of whiners. Why not do what the good businessmen and women of Seaside Heights have done and embrace the state's image and make a whole ton of money off it in the process? In fact, tourism is up in the area thanks to Jersey Shore. So take advantage! While the out-of-towners are visiting, instead of bitching about how Snooki ruined the state for everyone, use it as an opportunity to show the tourists what a nice and wonderful state New Jersey is. Maybe if they say it often enough, people might actually start to believe it.