AuthorsDen.com   Join (Free!) | Login  

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
   Services MarketPlace (Free to post!)
Where Authors and Readers come together!

SIGNED BOOKS    AUTHORS    eBOOKS new!     BOOKS    STORIES    ARTICLES    POETRY    BLOGS    NEWS    EVENTS    VIDEOS    GOLD    SUCCESS    TESTIMONIALS

Featured Authors:  Jeff Mason, iGrant Dickinson, iC.G. Richardson, iDavid Seaburn, iD.L. Carroll, iWilliam Pusey, iJill Eisnaugle, i

  Home > Psychology > Articles Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Jonathan Foster

· Become a Fan
· Contact me
· Books
· Articles
· News
· 2 Titles
· Save to My Library
· Share with Friends!
·
Member Since: Jan, 2006

Jonathan Foster, click here to update your pages on AuthorsDen.




Featured Book
The Sins of Boggy Creek
by P Lewis

The new preacher is young and naive, but the forces coming against him and his town are as old as time and sly as a serpent...  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members


Featured Book
Glorious Autumn, Love In Maturity
by Delma Luben

Special lyrical poetry about lasting love.... Target audience: Seniors. Various recountings of true love and personal philosophies about life, death, and eternity. Divide..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members





Culture of Narcissism" Still Culturally Relevant
By Jonathan Foster   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, January 26, 2006
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2006

Share    Print   Save    Become a Fan


Book review originally published at http://autobiography-of-a-narcissist.blogspot.com/






The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations

Christopher Lasch. W. W. Norton & Company; Revised edition (May 1, 1991), 302 pp. $10.85

 

The trick to writing social criticism is to focus on patterns that run deeper than the exterior of a society, so that its tenets cannot be tossed aside after a few years of discussion. Find the core composition, not the trends. Christopher Lasch was able to do this with The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations. He struck a cultural nerve at enough depth that the book is commonly referenced some twenty five years later.

 

Originally written in 1978, and clearly in response to the tumultuous 1960s and its aftermath, the book explores the clinical definition of narcissism and applies it to the world around him.  At times his tone is pessimistic; at others, ironic. He often references directly the era in which it was written. But overall, his observations of  various aspects of American culture - parenting, obsession with celebrity, consumerism, ageism, moral permissiveness - enable him to make direct connections to the symptoms of the individual narcissist. Lasch’ lasting success is demonstrated in how these observations resonate into the 21st Century. Here are a few examples.

 

Consumerism

 

“The propaganda of commodities serves a double function. First it upholds consumption as an alternative to protest or rebellion... In the second place, the propaganda of consumption turns alienation itself into a commodity. It addresses itself to the spiritual desolation of modern life and proposes consumption as the cure.” (73)

 

This is distinctive to the social critique of the last 100 years, with the rising influence of advertising and the growing power of the corporate media. Today, society is so inundated by the call to consume that it transcends propaganda; consumerism is now successfully integrated into self-identity. Protesting it simply doesn’t occur. Gap and Ipod advertisements represent modern rebellion and individuality with conformist fashion and dance moves; political activism has no place (allowing a peace during war time on university campuses, the historical birthplace of political protest). All of it attainable through the mere spending of disposable income, an expenditure that has increased per capita over the last thirty years.

 

Aging

 

“The denial of age in America culminates in the prolongevity movement, which hopes to abolish old age altogether.” (217)

 

The American revulsion towards aging, expressed in everything from cosmetic surgery to the promise of age-related gene modification, is as pervasive as it has ever been. Lasch goes on to say that “the prolongevity movement expresses in characteristic form the anxieties of a culture that believes it has no future.” Fear of aging and death, as well as hypochondria, are fundamental to chronic narcissism. This is also symptomatic of our world today.

 

Celebrity

 

“The media give substance to and thus intensify narcissistic dreams of fame and glory, encourage the common man to identify himself with the stars and to hate the ‘herd.’” (21)

 

According to the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders, the narcissist believes he is special or unique and can only be understood by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people. There is little denying that contemporary popular culture, born from American media, feeds upon and is perhaps obsessed with lifestyles of the rich and famous. To add an enigmatic twist, he says:

 

 “The only important attribute of celebrity is that it is celebrated; no one can say why.” (47)

 

Certainly one can argue that applying such a broad interpretation of narcissism to the troubles of American culture makes for an easy diagnosis - just as anyone raising a child might become convinced they are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It also may be suggested that his secret to success is in the subject itself; it positions him to speak directly to the narcissist in all of us (and the narcissist loves such acknowledgment, particularly from a bestselling author). Keep in mind that this is not a manifesto; it is pop-sociology at its best. As such, it is an important work that is engaging, entertaining and comprehensive, if not a testimony to the idea that narcissism is the collective malady of our time.


 

 

 
 
 

Web Site: The Autobiography of a Narcissist



Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!


Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!





The Changing Face of Sex by Wayne Anderson

This book presents the latest information on human sexuality, including topics such as homosexuality, abortion, rape, and marriage and gender issues...  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members


P Point Management by William Cottringer

This book helps managers focus on doing the little things that get the biggest results with the least side effects...  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

Authors alphabetically: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us


Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen
© AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.