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Haters gonna hate

Tori Roeck | Monday, April 18, 2011

I represent a persecuted minority at Notre Dame, a group subjected to malicious verbal abuse, endless unflattering parodies and immediate harsh judgment from fellow peers — Jersey kids.

Those unfamiliar with the redeeming qualities of the Garden State refer to it as “Dirty Jerz” or the “Armpit” of America, among other derisive sobriquets.

The blog “Things Notre Dame Students Like” even cites “Feeling Strongly about New Jersey” as a popular campus pastime.

Yes, I do feel strongly about my beloved home state.

My town is located within 45 minutes of the best city in the world, New York City, and 30 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. I feel lucky to have been brought up in an area with so much to offer.

The ocean region of New Jersey is the target of the most unwarranted ridicule because of MTV’s “reality” series Jersey Shore.

Snooki, Pauly D, the Situation and crew wreak havoc on Seaside Heights (called Sleaside Heights by many New Jersey residents because of its sleazy nature) every summer, drunkenly fist-pumping their way through nightclubs Karma and Bamboo (located across the street from each other) and “working” at the Shore Store t-shirt shop on the boardwalk (which patrons must sign waivers and wait hours to enter during filming).

Sleaside Heights is a Shore anomaly. Towns such as Spring Lake, Lavalette and Long Beach Island are fashionable beach destinations.

Ocean Avenue in Spring Lake, also called the “Irish Riviera,” is lined with Notre Dame flags while Oprah has a house in Lavalette.

Not to mention the countless talented celebrities who trace their roots to the Garden State. Frank Sinatra may sing about “New York, New York,” but he was born and raised in Hoboken, N.J., where the main street on the water is now called Frank Sinatra Drive.

Jack Nicholson, the most nominated male actor in Academy Awards history, is from Manasquan, a town down the shore to boot.

Meryl Streep, who holds the most Academy Awards nominations of any actor, is from Summit.

It is unfortunate that the media puts forth such one-sided portrayals of New Jersey through shows such as Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives of New Jersey and the Sopranos.

My fondest memories of home are of afternoons in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, day trips to the beach and long drives through the more rural towns, not Ed Hardy shopping sprees, Surf Club at Sleaside or interactions with the mob.

I’m tired of the pervading New Jersey stereotypes that seduce even the cream-of-the-crop students who attend Our Lady’s University.

The sage Teresa Giudice of table flipping fame once said, “Everyone makes fun of Jersey girls, but I think they’re just jealous.”

That’s right, Teresa. Haters gonna hate.

The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Tori Roeck at vroeck@nd.edu