Is It (All, Always) Just Me?

Is it just me or are there more narcissists than there used to be?

I suppose it is a which-came-first-chicken-or-egg-or-frying-pan? question to try to sort out whether blogging and tweeting have simply released our inner mirror gazers, or whether social media have become popular because there is a narcissism gene, or whether social media are causing a rapid mutation in humans to develop such a gene.

Overall, I must say that I find narcissism more becoming in cats.

P.S. I would be interested in hearing your experiences. I work with a supreme narcissist so I have always got stories to share…

Blogging Feels Wrong

Warning. This post won’t be fun to read.

December 14, 2012 was a terrible day for the human race. It feels wrong to blog about it, to tweet or plurk or Fb it. Sure we all need to talk about what happened in Connecticut (and in China) but I am finding our social narcissism so disturbing. Worse though are those who keep blithely updating profile pictures or talking about weekend eating plans. I understand I have no right to judge how another handles stress. Grief.

I am mad at everyone but especially, perhaps, myself. I feel no hope that the United States can make the changes in societal attitudes that will reduce the number of such killings. Intellectually I’m thinking I should be out organizing for change. The rest of me retreats to a dark private corner where I can pretend I am not involved.

So many kids die all the time at the hands of adults with guns, but they die one by one and largely unnoticed, the car crashes to yesterday’s plane crash. If I were the parent of one of those other kids my usual sorrow would explode with the new distant grief yet chill with resentment that my own child died with so much less attention.

Every time there is a terrible public gun tragedy I think surely now- after this -it will be impossible for them to deny the connection between easy gun access and gun tragedies.  Every time I am wrong. 

Maybe we could start small. Maybe we could ban ammunition.

Gun advocates, please don’t point to the knife slayings in China as some kind of twisted indication that guns are not the problem.

On the internet I savor the opportunity to meet and get along with all sorts of folks and so I usually avoid discussion of politics or religion. Today that feels hypocritical: I can’t avoid mention of gun control to sidestep discovery of who is pro or con.

I am a Populist and This is My Time

I have always been a populist.

Populist: represented or connected with the ideas and opinions of ordinary people. (Cambridge)

Populist: a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people. (Merriam-Webster)

(Actually those definitions seem distinct and different to me – and there is a separate issue about how I balance populism with curmudgeonry – but don’t let me distract myself.)

How do I know I am a populist? As a film student, I wrote my thesis on Frank Capra’s populist masterpiece Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Watching an interview, I’d rather hear from the man-on-the-street than a celebrity.  And so forth.

This is such an exciting time to be a populist – consider just these few examples of ways that populist movements are changing our world:

  • The Occupy kids started discussions that now infuse mainstream politics.
  • The Arab Spring is still toppling governments.
  • Self-published books have an escalating share of the publishing industry.
  • Open-source software expands coding in so many directions.
  • Popularity bred by browser clicks has become so important that people now tout their expertise with “viral marketing”.
  • And – sustaining all the above and more – social media give voice and influence to everybody.

I can’t wait to see what comes next.

P.S. What else should be on my list?