Our culture of narcissism

I must say I find your resistance to Facebook fascinating. Am I so narcissistic that I can’t see my own narcissism in my daily Facebook participation? Are all my Facebook “friends” narcissistic? These are the existential questions that your views engender in me. Particularly for someone (you) for whom connection comes so naturally. I will keep thinking, and perhaps a light will go on.

This is from Curtis, who rather ironically first introduced me to the prevalence of narcissism by lending me or even giving me Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism way back in 1979, when it first came out. I guess it’s been on his mind ever since, as it has mine.

Writing a blog is probably the most narcissistic thing one can do. Who really cares that I have a special Amtrak entrance, or that I hate shopping or had a bored drawer? And, if I look at how I’ve categorized all my 712 posts, “my so-called life” comes in second – nearly a third of all of them! You can’t get much more narcissistic than that. (“Politics and history,” fortunately, is first, adding at least a little depth to my character.)

So yes, we’re all narcissists, bloggers and Facebookers alike. The world revolves around us, locked in our own heads the way we are. But here’s the difference. WordPress doesn’t take my posts and pictures and make little movies about them. WordPress doesn’t sell my likes and dislikes to advertisers and, except for the little (I hope) problem of telling me below each new post that “an ad may appear here” (but not telling me when or why), WordPress doesn’t analyze my posts to figure out ads I might like to look at (maybe they analyze them to figure out ads you might like to look at, but I think they’d have to dramatically increase my readership to break even on that).

I am on Facebook, but I hardly ever tell it what’s on my mind or “like” anything. It just feels creepy, like handing over my cell phone bill to the NSA (or, wait – maybe I’m already doing that).

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One Response to Our culture of narcissism

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