Narcissism Nation

Posted: Aug 26, 2013 12:01 AM

We have become a nation of relentless self-promoters. Every day I check my email inbox and find it full of messages like “my media availability this week is…”, “I will be on TV or radio…”, “I am available for interviews,” or “my new book is available…” The onslaught of people promoting themselves makes it extraordinarily difficult for editors, funders and media to sift through potential talent, there is simply too much. Everyone wants to be a star, and the advent of YouTube and social media has made it appear to be readily attainable. The Internet’s democratization of access to publicity makes everyone feel like they are on the level of a celebrity; able to tweet their favorite stars, put up a website about themselves, and post photos of themselves on social media.

Many of these self-promoters don’t have real jobs, but live on welfare so they can spend all day long promoting themselves. Many have no real resume or accomplishments to speak of. Even some that make it onto television, like Octomom, can’t figure out how to make money from their embarrassing fame. These self-promoters brazenly ask others to help promote themselves - apparently blissfully unaware that publicizing themselves is costly and there is an entire industry of public relations firms that charge thousands of dollars for this service. Asking others for help promoting yourself has become the new norm.

Because of this increase in self-promotion, it has become much more difficult for those who do have talent to become successful in media, Hollywood or related fields. Unless you can afford a PR firm that will relentlessly promote you to news outlets and key businesses, or are willing to do outrageous things, you probably won’t be “discovered.” This explains why many of today’s stars aren’t the standouts like stars of a generation or two ago. Talent plays less of a role and mediocrity is present everywhere. One prominent news anchor was turned down repeatedly attempting to get on television, but she kept applying until a network finally accepted her.

People used to design websites with creative names. Now? There is an increasing trend to have a website with just your name. Many of these self-titled websites allow no way to contact the supposed “star” unless it’s from the media or a request for an interview.

The onslaught of reality shows reflects how far the narcissism trend has gone. People are willing to put up with intolerable conditions just for 15 minutes of fame. Others who have done ridiculous things such as sex tapes achieve fame when the sex tapes go public, like Kim Kardashian. The upside is occasionally some real talent, that would not otherwise be discovered, rises to the top. Sean Duffy and Rachel Campos from MTV’s Real World got married and went on to become active in politics; Duffy as a Congressman from Wisconsin and Campos as a political commentator. Elisabeth Hasselbeck from Survivor went on to star on The View for several years, where she frequently put her feminist co-hosts in their place.

YouTube is exploding with self-created videos of wannabe stars.There are millions of videos by teenagers and young people devoid of skills or talent, but desperate to shake their hips, attempt to sing, and cake on makeup. Once in awhile someone with real talent will rise to the top through its more than 200 million videos, like Colion Noir. Noir, a black self-described “urban gun enthusiast,” started creating witty YouTube videos about guns a couple of years ago. He was so funny and clever the NRA snapped him up earlier this year and hired him as a video news host.

Facebook and Twitter reflect some of this narcissism. There is a fine line between entertaining your friends and annoying them by barraging them with self-promotion lacking in talent. Many have succumbed to the addiction of spending all day posting photos and engaging in clever debates, instead of working full time. Do not be lured into long debates with the unemployed, because they have all day long to win.

This trend has come about due to parents over the past couple of generations constantly praising their children for well, nothing. The most common phrase teenagers say nowadays is “I’m awesome.” Instead of parents - as well as teachers and programming on television - giving children praise when they’ve earned it, today’s society tells kids they’re smart and wonderful all the time. It is all being done under the guise of improving self-esteem, but the reason children have low self-esteem is likely due to parents letting the television babysit their kids.

This developed out of an effort by the left not to offend anyone. Since rewarding kids for real achievements would make the other kids “feel bad,” instead everyone must be praised. It is also part of a decrease in discipline, mainly caused by lazy parenting. Instead of being consistent with discipline, parents praise their children when they’re upset in order to get them to calm down. The left doesn’t want to judge anyone - except those on the right and their values - so lazy parenting now gets a free pass. The left has also contributed to this problem by expanding welfare so much that almost half the population is on some kind of government assistance. They’ve made it easy to obtain and removed much of the stigma.

Trying to promote yourself when you have no discernible talent is no better than the Kardashian’s. Actually worse, considering they’ve at least figured out how to make millions from showcasing their lack of talent.

So, “awesome people,” instead of taking photos of yourself all glammed up for social media today with nowhere to go, here’s a simple suggestion: why not volunteer at a veterans’ center, ask your church where there is a need to serve, or assist a handicapped person in some way? They may not be able to take photos of themselves. If you don’t have a regular job and are an able-bodied adult, pound the pavement. We have a lot of people in the country who don’t produce anything anymore. If you’re not able to convince people to promote you enough in order to make a real living from modeling or prancing around on social media, keep your day job. Truly awesome people support themselves and help others. Otherwise we will all end up mindlessly watching each others’ YouTube videos all day long.