Vulture‘s Emma Rosenblum has called Cathy Horyn‘s Sunday Styles profile of Jersey Shore costar Snooki “a cheap shot.” Horyn’s descriptions of this elfin egomaniac are “shocking,” she writes, because one never reads anything negative at all about any celebrity these days, but at the same time the piece is “an unnecessarily nasty takedown of a somewhat oblivious target.”
Jersey Shore costar Snooki (as photographed by Michael Falco for the N.Y. Times).
Except honest observation is honest observation, and a profile writer who doesn’t dispense this probably isn’t worth reading. The better ones, of course, do more than offer sharp descriptions of an interview subject — they also convey their personal reactions. And if you’ve had any first-hand experience with the younger reps of New York and New Jersey’s Guido and Guidette culture, as I have, you’ll recognize immediately that all Horyn did was lay it on the line. It’s called being straight. Why would anyone have a problem with that?
In my eyes Horyn wrote a close-up variation on what I’ve been noticing and mentioning from time to time since I moved to the New York area in November ’08, which is that the Italian or Latino-descended Snooki types seem, from a certain distance, to be all of a cultural piece — coarse, loud-speaking, un-read, garishly dressed, decidedly un-curious, under-educated, seemingly indifferent to anything or anyone outside of their immediate ego-sphere.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Only a racist thinks this way (right, Devin?), get off my lawn, and all the rest of those knee-jerk p.c. spitballs that get thrown at me every time I unload along these lines. I can only repeat that it felt awfully nice and soothing to read an article that called a spade a spade.
In so doing Horyn is now a member of that small club of nervy writers that I profiled in a 1992 Movieline piece about the New Journalism glory days (mid ’60s to early ’80s) called “Ten Interviews That Shook Hollywood.”
The piece offered summaries of the juiciest celebrity interviews I could find at the time. Among them were Truman Capote vs. Marlon Brando (“The Duke in His Domain,” The New Yorker, November 1957), Rex Reed vs. Warren Beatty (“Will The Real Warren Beatty Please Shut Up?,” Esquire, October 1967), Robin Green vs. Dennis Hopper (“Confessions of a Lesbian Chick,” Rolling Stone, May 1971), Tom Burke vs. Ryan O’Neal (“The Shiek of Malibu,” Esquire, September 1973), and Julie Baumgold vs. David Geffen (“The Winning of Cher,” Esquire, February 1975).
Here are first four pages of the article, which doesn’t exist online: Page #1, Page #2, Page #3, and Page #4.