So, here's the kind of news that you happen upon and think, "Oh, I didn't realize I was reading The Onion." And then when you realize that you're not reading The Onion, you shudder silently, take a long sip of brandy, and hold your children tight. The end is near.
The state of New Jersey decided to award Jersey Shore $420,000 in tax credits in return for its contribution to the state's economy. According to politicians including Seaside Heights Mayor P. Kenneth Hershey, the reality show's "branding" of the area has earned it a massively accelerated attraction, both to locals and visitors, which has resulted in a great economic boost.
This is a hard bit of news to swallow. On the one hand, it is understandable how the show could have had such a profound impact on the Jersey Shore area economically; the series has advertized a lifestyle since its inception that, whether ironically or not, people have taken to immitating. On the other hand, it's insane. A good deal of people already take issue with the level of popularity Jersey Shore has gained, and to the "messages" conveyed by the series' cast members. Those are probably the same people who are lighting up their torches right about now.
Still, anything to get the economy going, right? If Jersey Shore is what it'll take to save us all, then so be it. Are we too proud to concede to the MTV series, and allow it to rebuild our crumbling economy? Would we rather just sit in poverty, taking pride in the fact that we only watch Frasier?
I know, I'm sort of going back and forth on this. But that's the effect Jersey Shore has on my psyche. Fortunately, I'm only a short drive from Seaside Heights. I hear therapists are starting to charge less there now, for some reason...