On Narcissism Essay

On Narcissism Essay-55
So there is so much telling, summary, which is painful for me to read.There wasn’t a reasonable progression of ideas, but on one axis, a progression of kinds of language, and then on the other, a slow panning out from the trapped, limited perspective of fearful, solitary, listicle-fueled diagnosis to a broader view, and poetry.The word was everywhere—this diagnosis of everyone’s ex, condemnation of the personal-essay trend, fear of the coming selfie apocalypse.

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And as a nonfiction writer, and a reader, I’m always puzzling over the mysteries of ethos, when and why we trust and distrust whom we do, in life and in writing. Malcolm’s perfect as a ghost text hovering behind your book, I think. I suspect some of the things we condemn as narcissistic in others might be more accurately defined as how everyone has to perform—in capitalism, or online—doing things formerly considered vain, things we feel guilty or anxious about.

But also Malcolm’s thinking about writing—the quote from she uses as an epigraph, about how when we believe an argument, we’re really trusting the person who speaks or writes it, and then her famous opener about what frauds writers are, when they tell others’ stories—“Every journalist who is not too stupid or full of himself to know what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.” Like the journalist she writes about, and the murderer, too, the narcissist is bad because he fakes an “I,” rather than you rather than being genuinely interested in you.

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In this case, the disagreement was narcissism is the opposite of human—i.e., a total lack of warmth, empathy, “human” feeling—versus narcissism is everybody.

Usually, what’s next is scene, where the language of the essay gets discovered, and the idea.is an important book, as much for what you are doing formally with the notion of an essay as for the materials you are exploring.I’m eager to ask you about the shaping and writing of the book, but maybe we should start elsewhere. DOMBEK I’m glad it’s out of my hands and in yours, then, because you are kinder to it.So it occurred to me to propose an essay on narcissism.I had been wondering why people who seem evil to us, or who break up with us or just disagree with us entirely, can begin to seem “empty” and “fake” and uncanny, even inhuman. INTERVIEWER You mean Malcolm’s account of Stanley Milgram’s Yale experiment where someone believed he was involved in a study of the effects of punishment but what actually was being surveyed was his own cruelty under pressures of authority?Arguably, nonfiction writers always fake an “I,” even if we don’t use the word, creating ethos, so the reader trusts the text.Maybe anyone who writes does, any Facebook poster does.INTERVIEWER When I talk to fellow nonfiction writers, I’m always interested in how they locate themselves along the prose or argument continuum.When you sit down to write an essay, are you primarily thinking prose—sentences, words, tone—or are you thinking argument, what you might wish to say about a subject?People lined up afterward to tell me about narcissists they knew, or joke that they were one, or tell me that the guy who read before me probably one.People started dropping the word casually into conversation when they were around me, as if they were worried I thought they were one, and so they wanted to show me they knew what the word meant.


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