Snooki, the figurehead from Jersey Shore, is getting a lot of heat from the media these days. But it's about time everyone shut up and stop harshing on how much money our dearly beloved Snooki rakes in.

Anderson Cooper took to the airwaves on Tuesday night (the video is below) to talk trash about our favorite guidette. Like everyone else these days, he is upset that Snooki makes $100,000 an episode for her show and made more money speaking at Rutgers University than author Toni Morrison. We've heard it all before, Anderson, and this rant just made you look older than your gray hair ever did.

Here's the thing: Snooki may be a wretched role model, but there's nothing that she is doing that the pop culture icons of earlier generations haven't done before her. In the end, it's not that old people are upset about Snooki in particular. They're upset with what Snooki represents.

A few years ago it was "Why is Kim Kardashian famous? All she did was have a sex tape!" And before that it was, "The world is going to hell because of Paris Hilton, who's famous for getting drunk and dancing on banquettes." Snooki isn't the first to make a lot of money being a professional partier or getting wasted and stumbling all over the place, she's just the most recent. This phenomenon dates back a lot longer than the past decade. Parents hated Elvis and the Beatles in their respective days. They hated MTV and rap music. As the Fresh Prince said, parents just don't understand. Snooki's antics aren't that different from Elvis' hip swivel—or his pill problem.

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Tuesday night's segment

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Wednesday night's segment

The problem is that Snooki—and the rest of her ilk—wouldn't be making so much damn money if they weren't so damn popular. Jersey Shore gets better ratings than some of the programs on network television. It is a huge success and makes lots of money. That means Snooki, as an entertainer, does her job and does it well. And the thing that makes Snooki especially awesome is that the things that critics make fun of—she's too tan, too slutty, too drunk, too stupid—are all things she's proud of. Sure, that doesn't necessarily make her an inspiration, but she's being true to herself, making a ton of money in the process, and laughing at her own joke. Isn't that the American dream?

Instead of getting the collective panties up in a wad about Snooki's salary, the best thing to do is ignore her. Once her behavior isn't scandalous anymore, the zeitgeist will move on and we'll have some new person who embodies our booze-swilling, sex-having, skin-cancer-inducing rebellion. And on that day, you'll be nostalgic for this little orange Heffalump. Finally she'll seem worth every penny.