I don’t think we should be so quick to judge Snooki for lying about her pregnancy last month. Sure, it’s getting to be old hat, celebrities hiding personal news until they can strike deals with entertainment tabloids (or drug companies). From Kim Kardashian’s TV wedding to Paula Deen’s belated diabetes announcement, fans are starting to feel unfairly manipulated. Now that it’s come out that Snooki is three months along—and has brokered a Us Weekly cover to announce the news—the general reaction has been cynicism. But there are legitimate reasons not to reveal a pregnancy right away.
The baby’s father is Jionni LaValle, Snooki’s boyfriend and Jersey Shore co-star—which has just made everyone more cynical. ”It is fortuitous that this is happening at a moment when ‘Jersey Shore’ has faced ratings problems as well as the growing sense that its days of pop cultural relevancy may be numbered,” writes Jen Cheney at the Washington Post. Pop culture writers have been atwitter about potential new directions for Snooki’s spinoff TV show, merchandising deals, and the photo deal with Us Weekly.
But why is Snooki under any obligation to tell the world about her pregnancy right away? It’s actually been recommended that pregnant women wait until the end of the first trimester to tell those outside of their close personal circle, because the risk of miscarriage is so high in the first trimester. If Snooki is three months pregnant, that puts her right at the end of her first trimeste. Maybe she put off announcing it to the whole gosh-darn world because really, that early, it’s none of our business. Snooki’s given reason for being less than forthcoming earlier is that she didn’t want to ‘jinx’ the pregnancy.
Snooki’s made a career of being an opportunist, so I understand why folks are cynical. She’s recently been shilling for crazy diet pills and tweeting swimsuit photos of herself. She’s also talked on “Ellen” about how she’d been exercising, eating healthy and drinking less. Seems like—opportunist or not—Snooki has been trying to do the right things for a newly pregnant woman.
Even if Snookie’s decision to hold off making the pregnancy announcement is motivated more by business savvy than superstition—should we care? The girl’s got a baby on the way! That costs money. If people are going to profit off your pregnancy anyways, why not make sure you’re the one that’s profiting?
It reminds me a bit like the hey-day of the Hollywood studio era, where the studios granted celebrity access to film fan mags like Photoplay and Modern Screen in exchange for puff pieces about whatever star the studio was trying to push. (This often involved placing articles about the studio-manufactured dating, marriage and domestic lives of closeted gay and lesbian film stars).
These days, B-list celebs like Snooki and Jessica Simpson get to control (financially and ‘artistically’) their own propaganda. I think that’s a positive development. Some, like the Kardashians, do it remarkably well; others, like Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, aim too high and fizzle out. It kind of makes the whole celeb-industrial complex seem a bit more like a meritocracy, only based on promotional pluck rather than actual talent. Being good at self-promotion is part of what reality TV stars do, and Snooki does it well. In other words: Hate the game, not the player?
Photo: Jeffrey Clark Grossman/WENN.com