Do not compare Snooki, Morrison
When it was revealed that Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi received $32,000 for "Inside the Nicole ‘Snooki' Polizzi Studio," people were livid. The most prominent reason given for the backlash is the fact that Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison is being paid $30,000 for speaking at commencement in May — $2000 less than the "Jersey Shore" star. On first glance, something seems terribly wrong with this. At an institution of higher learning, a well-respected author should be worth more than a reality show star, shouldn't she? However, this view does not take into account the entire picture. Once that is laid out, it makes sense that Snooki received more than Morrison.
First off, the booking of Toni Morrison marks the first time the University is paying for a commencement speaker. So, then, if we apply the same logic as the Snooki versus Morrison debate, we would have to say that, in paying Morrison, the University is suggesting that she is worth $30,000 more than every commencement speaker we've had in the past. No one would make that claim, because, quite frankly, it's absurd. Paying Morrison has nothing to do with the value of past commencement speakers, just as the price of Snooki has nothing to do with the price of Morrison.
Also, people have to keep in mind that when the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) booked Snooki, they were looking to schedule an entertaining event that students would enjoy. It is not as if RUPA was trying to pretend that Snooki's show would have an educational value. RUPA clearly succeeded in doing what they set out to do, because both of Snooki's shows sold out. The sad but true fact is that Morrison would never sell out two shows in one night at the University. This, of course, is not the University's fault — it is merely the social climate. You cannot be mad at anyone for that. In this sense, Snooki is worth her price.
The final point we wish to make is that many people have been throwing about the highly inaccurate statement that the University paid both of them. This is misleading, because it was not the University as a whole that came together and decided how much they were willing to pay for Morrison and Snooki. The money for both speakers came from completely separate funds — Snook's funded through student fees and Morrison's funded through PepsiCo. Not only that, but Snooki did not receive the entirety of the $32,000 — some of it went to her sidekick Adam Ace as well.
In the end, then, the entire issue has been blown completely out of proportion. There's no sense in comparing Morrison and Snooki's prices or in being mad at the University for the disparity. If you must direct your anger somewhere, direct it at the cultural climate. We live in a world where more people are willing to watch Snooki prattle on about nonsense than are willing to listen to Morrison deliver a speech.