Pauly D., 50 Cent, and the legitimization of reality stars

The "Jersey Shore "star is courted by the rapper for a 3-album deal, leading us to wonder, who really needs who?

Topics: Reality TV, Celebrity, Jersey Shore, Television,

Pauly D., 50 Cent, and the legitimization of reality starsWhich one of these two men is more famous?

“Celebreality”: remember when VH1 coined that term to apply to their C-lister lineup where once-famous celebs debased themselves on reality shows? There was “The Surreal Life,” “Hogan Knows Best,” “Breaking Bonaduce,” and my personal favorite, ” Celebrity Paranormal Project.” The concept was as ingenious as it was voyeuristically cruel: by definition, anyone who tried to become famous through reality television was the lowest of the low – a “nonebrity” in Hollywood terms – and by having cameras follow these once famous stars as they tried to claw some back some modicum of relevance in popular culture, they captured the catch-22 of people trying to make themselves a household name again only as far as they were willing to become a “Z-lister.”

Meanwhile, reality stars were somehow becoming more legitimate than their actor counterparts. Whereas stars of “The Real World” once had to fight in order to make sure their flame didn’t die out the moment they stepped off-camera, today “stars” like Snooki, Spencer Pratt, and the Real Housewives make more money for just showing up at a club than they ever could “acting.” They’ve somehow transcended their Z-list status, or at least learned how to put the Z’s before the G’s. (That is a term for money, in hip-hop vernacular.) We saw last night Anderson Cooper’s faux-outrage over Snooki getting $2,000 more than Toni Morrison for her speech at Rutger’s University, but is anyone really surprised? We’ve just shifted “celebreality” to mean “realitycelebs.”

You Might Also Like

Consider the latest news, that rapper 50 Cent is actively courting “Jersey Shore’s” Pauly D. for a three-album deal. According to TMZ, 50 (aka Curtis Jackson) “wants to hammer out the deal ASAP … before Pauly jets off to Italy to shoot ‘Jersey Shore’ Season 4.” Now why would a legitimate celebrity like 50 Cent be desperate for Pauly D. to sign onto his label?

It all comes down to the fame game: while 50 Cent might be more “famous” in the traditional sense, Pauly D. has a broader cultural reach right now, something that Jackson is acutely aware of. (See his Twitter feuds or his rumored love affair with Chelsea Handler for more evidence.)

Pauly D. might be a nobody by the time “Jersey Shore” is over and done with; his DJ career might amount to nothing, but for right now he is worth his weight in pop culture gold. The symbiotic relationship between an actual celebrity and a reality show star works out nicely for both of them: lending an air of credibility to Pauly D.’s work while giving 50 Cent a jump on the MTV-watching youths who could watch that network all day without ever seeing a music video.

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>