February 29, 2016

EP. 111 — Why Narcissism Is Our National Mental Disorder

If you go back one hundred or even fifty years ago to ask kids what they wanted when they grew up, they’d say they wanted to have families and to have good jobs. Now when you ask that question to kids the resounding answer is, “to be famous.” Not to be a famous actor or a famous musician or athlete, just to be famous. And in our culture being famous is an easy reality. There are real Twitter and Vine and Instagram celebrities, but in a way we’re all the star of our own curated reality show, broadcast over Facebook updates and Snapchat stories. We have a word for this kind of self-aggrandizing behavior-narcissism-but sometimes we use that word to mean “asshole” or “jerk” when there’s an actual clinical meaning behind it that’s much more complicated than the informal insult. Narcissism is a diagnosable condition that statistically only 1% of the population has. But why does it seem people are becoming more self-obsessed, more vain, more arrogant? In this week’s episode, Jack O’Brien and Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) flesh out the theory that narcissism has become our cultural status quo. They discuss the differences between clinical narcissism and our colloquial version of the word; how Hitler, Trump, Jobs and countless other celebrities were certified narcissists; and how narcissism plays a part in Harry Potter and the new Star Wars.

Articles Referenced in this Episode:

The Last Psychiatrist on narcissism as a generational pathologyhttp://goo.gl/AsODT

David Wong’s article on the Monkeyspherehttp://goo.gl/x15H

Pictures of Hitler in 1925 rehearsing his speeches in front of a mirrorhttp://goo.gl/Iqz8UQ

Tony Zhou on ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’https://goo.gl/307L9G

The full version of ‘My Dinner with Andre’ on YouTubehttps://goo.gl/mr8YFm

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