What's not to self-love? - What's not to self-love? - click opera Page 2 — LiveJournal
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click opera
February 2010
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Sun, Feb. 7th, 2010 12:44 pm
What's not to self-love?

Am I a narcissist? The question itself is self-indulgent and self-absorbed, but I can't help asking it. Maybe my six years demanding your daily attention here at Click Opera have been nothing but "digital narcissism", a daily seduction, an attempt to put myself at the centre of the world, to spin myself into every story, to make myself the universal prism, the central aleph, the keystone in a grand facade. Has the motif behind every story (and almost thirty years of records, for that matter) really been "me, me, me"?

I think it's clear that I am a narcissist -- God knows, I love and believe in myself strongly enough -- but I'd say I'm also rather guilty about it. I'd say I diffuse my self-love out into so many other things that it becomes acceptable. It's not sticky and repulsive any more, as immoderate self-love tends to be.

Or does it? According to an article on PsyBlog, Why we love narcissists (at first), "despite being self-absorbed, arrogant, entitled and exploitative, narcissists are also fascinating... we are strangely drawn to their self-centred personalities, their dominance and their hostility, their sensitivity and their despair, at least for a while."

The article reports an experiment by social psychologist Mitja Back which found that narcissists make a good first impression because they look, sound and move better. They use charming facial expressions, have a more confident speaking tone, wear more fashionable clothes, have trendier haircuts and are funnier.

Wow, what's not to self-love? Narcissists sound like attractive hipsters! They must get laid a lot!

If they do -- and surely they do -- their relationships don't last long, Back found. Weirdly enough, it's the narcissist-hipster's entitlement and exploitative abilities which lure people in initially: "participants liked narcissists' sense of entitlement most -- of the four aspects of narcissism they studied (leadership/authority, self-admiration/self-absorption, arrogance/superiority and entitlement/exploitativeness) it was the last of these that most predicted liking". However, "narcissists are usually soon found out and shunned since few people will put up with a self-absorbed, authoritarian, arrogant, exploitative friend".

At this point my picture of the narcissist -- with his trendy haircut and funny comments -- became the image of a musician on tour, getting laid every night but exhausting sympathy just in time to move on to the next concert in the next town. But the digital dandy could fit the bill just as well: instead of sticking around long enough for real people to get the message that there's no place in the dandy's heart for anyone but himself, he can simply display himself digitally in the web's shop window.

"Behaving selfishly seems to bring them a rush of admiration which they get addicted to, while devaluing others when the inevitable rejection comes, covering it up by searching out new people to worship them. The reason narcissists fail to spot this cycle may well be that friends and partners never hang around long enough to tell them in such a way that they actually believe it and want to do something about it," the article concludes.

That almost makes it sound like narcissism is being made into a "cycle of abuse", a "clinical condition requiring treatment", and even a "disease". And it might well be a facet of the narcissism of psychologists that they see themselves as the universal prism, the central aleph, the see-all and cure-all. Do scientists have a grudge against artists? Do they want us to be as boring as them? It's certainly understandable that these science types would prefer to vest their own value in something other than cool clothes, immediate charm, and a nice line in chat-up patter.

So, therapy for narcissists. Would it remove their charm and attractiveness, or only their own exploitation and manipulation of it to seduce the easily-impressed? Would the trendy haircut, the nice voice, the funny remarks, vanish after a course of antibiotics? Would the narcissist become one of those English self-deprecators who proudly proclaims his complete inadequacy, stupidity and laziness at every opportunity (surely a kind of "inverted narcissism" even more egregious than the overt kind, since it often comes with a refusal to improve)?

Attacks on narcissists disturb me just as attacks on hipsters do. After reading the PsyBlog piece -- to get the astringent flavour of crushed aspirin out of my mouth -- I watched a lot of Prince videos: Kiss, Sexy MF, Alphabet Street, Cream. You can only watch them on dodgy offshore servers, because either Prince or the media moguls who own his material slap suits on anyone showing them (and I don't mean padded-shouldered, wasp-waisted numbers with peep-holes for chest hair).

The narcissism levels in the Prince vids were off the meter, way beyond the red. I loved them. I imagined that if I'd been born a girl (Sheena Easton, for instance) I'd willingly have served my time as a love-slave in the pimp-imp's harem. The idea of a "normal" Prince cured of his scandalous self-love... well, it's just plain fugly.


Sun, Feb. 7th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC)

it is strange that you say that - I had the same feelings about you! mid 80s listening to 'Closer To you' particularly. I had only ever felt the same about David Bowie - but when I heard you say 'damn the thin white duke' I was enslaved... I had never heard anyone being sexy and intelligent at the same time before. the next thing I did was go through the whole of 'what will death be like' and look up the books and people mentioned.


Sun, Feb. 7th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC)
Re: prince


In case there's someone here who hasn't heard it:

Closer to You

ReplyThread Parent

Sun, Feb. 7th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)

Momus you are not aa narcissist because precisely you do care or have caring toward reading of image of self on another level/ your relationship to your image is actually very demonstrative oent ,this is contrary to trulf imaginary proximitty to the symbolic (that is to the Other). Psychoanalysts still dont get that.
The disappointment of the young girls non gaze reflects your own disappointment to deal with trauma , that is the reaReal rejection of their non sensical formulations .....ocky milk is open..........................


Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)
non anonnon anon non

the whole anon issue has always been hilarious; when you click on half of the LJ people here and look at their blog they have very few if any posts or info about themselves at all! i always wondered why thinking of a clever name and getting an actual LJ account somehow made you a non-anon, particularly when your real name isn't used or any real pictures of yourself.

i mean does it really change things if you can say, "oh, BonSaiPussyKat made a snarky comment, but at least i know who they are..." LOL

Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
Re: non anonnon anon non

funny. Yes, no blog...but, out of respect for people writing blogs which I read, I'd like to formulate something of an identity. I like the word tampon, but come on. It needs another po.

As far as knowing anyone goes, even face to face, good luck.


ReplyThread Parent Expand

Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
off the meter

per·form·ance [ pər fáwrmənss ] (plural per·form·ances)



1. artistic presentation: a presentation of an artistic work such as a play or piece of music to an audience

2. manner of functioning: the manner in which something or somebody functions, operates, or behaves
a high-performance car

3. working effectiveness: the way in which somebody does a job, judged by its effectiveness ( often used before a noun )
performance-related pay

4. thing accomplished: something that is carried out or accomplished

5. accomplishment of something: the act of carrying out or accomplishing something such as a task or action

6. display of behavior: a public display of behavior that others find distasteful, e.g. an angry outburst that causes embarrassment ( informal )

7. linguistics language produced: the language that a speaker or writer actually produces, as distinct from his or her understanding of the language.
See also competence (sense 3) parolen (sense 5)

Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC)

Edited at 2010-02-08 04:33 am (UTC)


Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 06:49 am (UTC)

I predict you'll last about two weeks before you go into attention-withdrawal and start blogging again.

Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 07:27 am (UTC)

if you don't love yourself, why should anyone else love you? .. this should be everyone's mantra. i personally find people with low self esteem (or those who lack confidence in general) to be incredibly irritating, because they tend to be difficult people. they are excessively aloof, refuse to return phone calls, have 1001 neuroses and create idiotic rules.. a healthy amount of narcissism is important, if you ask me, and should not be confused with egotism.


Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)

I've never understood what on Earth people were talking about when they say this (you have to love yourself before other can love you). It's one of the most incomprehensible platitudes I've ever encountered.

What exactly do you do to love yourself? I suppose I can understand self-hate and self-absorption, but if you're cured of those then it seems to me that surely you don't even have to think about yourself particularly, much less go around loving yourself.

Well, it doesn't matter. It's just when people say this to me that I find irritating, they can go and love themselves as much as they like. I just find it to be gibberish.

ReplyThread Parent Expand

(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand

Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 09:56 am (UTC)
Bubble e Go!

Hello Momus.

Wondered what your thoughts were on this film which expresses nostalgia towards the bubble era?

Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 11:17 am (UTC)

wish Hisae well from us!


Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC)

I would pay to see you karaoke Prince, I really would. And - it's fine if you love you, because we all do too. I came here for the architecture, mainly, and the art and design entries, and the general LOHAS vibe - but what I've stayed for is this kind of thing: the pictures, the travelogs, the personal stuff, the endearingly daft mixture of brilliance / silliness / benign shamelessness. You, in short. I kind of want to kick you for being so goddamn irreplaceable. When you go, I'll be thrown back on art magazines with only the occasional tiny, apologetic, carefully non-libellous bits of snark (hello, Icon), or the odd holding-it-at-arm's-length flick through whatever pompous hipster-student blog happens to mention stuff that I'm interested in. And after this blog, how dry a cinder they will be. I could weep. Nearly had a sniffle just now, watching you doing Brel on youtube. Don't go away, don't go away, don't leave.


Mon, Mar. 1st, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)

A hipster is not a narcissist, a narcissist is not a hipster.

A narcissist's commitment is not to himself (he has no self as such) but rather to the continuous desperate veiling of his absolute state of non-being.

Whereas: A hipster's commitment is to the beyond that stands both behind him and ahead of him, the ancient, the futuristic, the permanent that lives outside of time.

Prince was/is not a hipster, but a narcissist might easily mistake him for one.


Tue, Dec. 14th, 2010 03:55 am (UTC)
Not likely

If you were a Narcissist, you would never have realized it; because that would mean that you would acknowledge the fact that you are not 'the best'. So you would only be one if you were not aware of it in the first place. Your best bet would be by going as a Histrionic Personality type.
But if you are actually a narcissist, then you will go through my comment and consider it to be wrong at all cases.