A Party Culture Becomes a Media Spectacle
This chapter looks at two related subcultural developments in the present period. One is the diffusion of Guido from the outer boroughs to the periphery—the suburbs and beach resorts on the Jersey shore and the Hamptons. The other is the absorption of Guido within the popular culture as a commodity to be merchandised. The key event is the MTV reality TV show, Jersey Shore which showcased in the public discourse as hedonistic party culture. If SNF offered the promise of inclusion, JS transformed Guido into a commodity for “the new symbolic economy of fashion, entertainment, and the media” (Zukin 2004: 173). Ironically, pop culture validation elicited public disrespect inside the ethnic boundary from organizations representing Italian American political and cultural elites. Rubbing salt in a historically wounded ethnicity, JS was at odds with their identity politics—a construct that emphasizes traditional values centered on the hard working and virtuous immigrant family and notable contributions to American life.