Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Despicable Me (Generation): Why Are We Such Narcissists?

A worn out-looking Lohan in court last year. Scary that she was only 23 when this pic was snapped.

When Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail for violating conditions of parole a few weeks ago, the blogosphere was ablaze with condemnation for the downward spiraling actress. On Huff Po, Bonnie Fuller lashed into the former "Mean Girls" star with zeal:

"...Lindsay tweeted last night, July 7 a link to a Newsweek article about tragic Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, imprisoned in Iran since May 2006, already subjected to 99 painful lashes and now facing death by stoning, for a crime that her family insists she didn't commit.

And that's not the only insanely self-serving tweet by Lindsay. She also had the gall to imply that her human rights have been violated by her sentence of 90 days in jail and 90 days in rehab. "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," she quoted from Article 5 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights!

Wow! Lindsay is so delusional and self centered, she actually thinks that her "victim-hood" puts her on par with some of the world's biggest victims -- women and men ( many innocent) subjected to torture and execution.

It's clear now that she truly felt justified telling the judge and the court to F.U. with her fingernails and to reportedly call her sentencing judge -- Marsha Revel, "a f*****g b***h." Hey, Lindsay 's convinced she had a right to be in contempt of court because she's practically a political prisoner -- she's implied that on Twitter.

Lindsay -- you could be the world's -- no, let me say -- the universe's Biggest Narcissist. I'm surprised you haven't actually compared yourself to Jesus Christ, and your punishment for repeatedly drinking and driving, and then blowing off court dates and alcohol education classes -- to being nailed to the cross."

Ouch. But I have to agree with Fuller, Lohan is a narcissist. She's committed crimes, and always has a handy excuse as to why some horrible thing happened to her. Her passport was stolen, the drugs were her assistants', her Dad is a jerk... okay, so maybe her dad is a jerk. But at what point will she grow up? When will she see the world does not revolve around her?

As I sat thinking about LaLohan's latest exploits, I started thinking about how she wasn't the only person full of herself. Heck, who nowadays, isn't a little stuck on themselves? I'll admit it. I am.

On any given day, I log into my Facebook and Twitter accounts, to share pictures of ME, MY family, MY friends. I update Twitter to give MY opinion on current events or share links to articles I find interesting. And if you follow me on Twitter, and like my friend Carly, are getting sick of your Blackberry going off because of all MY appearances on your timeline, I apologize. I am a narcissist after all.

But it doesn't stop there. I still have a MySpace page which I rarely check, a Pandora account with MY favorite music and... well, this blog, a place where I record for all 6 of MY readers, MY deepest (okay, not so deep) thoughts, no matter how stupid.

See, the thing is, we, Generation Y, children of the Boomers and some of those X's who got started young, are totally and insipidly wrapped up in ourselves. We log on to overshare our "Likes" (bet you never thumbs-up'ed so much ever in your life until the past year) and to post inane videos of ourselves trying to sing, doing our make-up or embarassing our toddlers while they shake their pampered bottoms to "Single Ladies" on YouTube. By the way, they will repay us one day for that last one.

Seriously, some of you can't sing, no matter what your momma told you. She lied.

We watch television shows chock full of even more self-centered people on "Reality" shows who decide to live together, "seven strangers" in some major U.S. city, then fight and/or have sex. Or housewives in some major U.S. city who are mostly not wives, but live in big houses and fight with each other a whole lot. Or wannabe singers, many who do little more than screech, compete to be the top in the country. In the past, we would look to the Huxtables as examples of what we should be. Now we watch "Frankie & Neffe" believing we are great (or knowing we aren't,but dang, watching them makes us seem like Cliff and Claire). Even while vegging out in front of the boob tube, somehow, it's all about us.

How did it come to this? All this round-the-clock self-absorption? I'm not sure, but I can remember a number of after-school specials which trumpeted the theme that "You can be anything you want!" Um, no, not so. I wouldn't mind being able to dunk a basketball, but at 5'2, the only way that'll happen is on a kiddie hoop. The same thing goes for modeling, being a ballet dancer or singing. I cannot do these things. Well, I could, but it would be laughable (quite suitable for exploitation on YouTube).

Many parents also boasted to their children that they are the best, the prettiest, the most interesting. They hung on their every word, and showered them with praise no matter if they were barely passing in school or repeatedly flunking their driving test. "It's positivity," those moms and dads said, and the schools obliged, giving meaningless awards to every child and having faux-graduations after nearly every grade completed.

We grew up watching Ferris Bueller, Zack Morris and Will Smith talk, laugh and charm their way out of nearly every situation, and girls learned a similar lesson from Alicia Silverstone's Cher in "Clueless". Work hard? Nah, why do that when you can get by hardly working? And have cool clothes and a cell phone to boot.

Uh, not so much, Mr. Gekko. Twenty-plus years later, we now have Paris Hilton and the Kardashians as examples that your tag line, while catchy, is not so true.

Even our religion became self-serving. Mega-churches multiplied as young people filled the pews to hear how God wanted us to be happy, rich and successful. Some of us ditched God altogether and joined spiritual groups more concerned with developing our inner strength and power.

Filled with the desire for instant self-gratification, we hooked up with him, her and them. We got off, but couldn't get on the right track for a meaningful relationship. Many of us are children of divorce and in fear of repeating our parents mistakes, many don't even bother to marry. Why commit indefinitely? So instead we play house like the children we really are. For those who do marry, the wedding becomes a 5 star event worthy of a Diddy appearance. Three different gowns, 7 bridesmaids, three flower girls, all for a platinum wedding very few can afford. But many children do love to play dress-up...

And as we start to have our own children, there should be no surprise that coming from a spoiled seed, we are producing the world's greatest brats. So we dress them up in little $100 Nikes and put a DSi in front of them and wonder perplexedly why they have attention spans shorter than a gnat's.

And as the recession continues to drown us, we wallow in our debt, holding our half-working Iphone 4s, wrists' wrapped in chain bracelets emblazoned with "Tiffany's" and wonder, "Why?". Why are we broke? Why do our relationships fail? Why am I so miserable?

And Kermie thought he had problems. Generation Y: "It's not easy being me!"

Like Lindsay, we're blind to the consequences of our own actions. No, life is unfair. Ms. Ashitiani and her children can attest to that. We aren't all dealt the same hand in the poker game of life, but too many of us have bluffed ourselves right into a corner. We here in the U.S. especially should have noted we were given a chance at the PURSUIT of happiness, which is an opportunity, not a guarantee of happiness itself.

When I was 18, a full decade ago, I wondered about our generation being tagged with that letter "Y". "X" was cool, deep and mysterious. "Baby Boomers" had both a softness and an edge. But "Y"? It sounded like a question. I sit here now feeling we are appropriately monikered. One letter, so short, full of question and struggling to come to an answer.

We all might not be headed off to do jail time, but our generation is imprisoned, chained to our childish, self-serving ways, minions to our own short-sighted desires. Here's to hoping we'll grow up really soon.


Alan said...

very thought provoking

Don said...

Whatever Lindsay Lohan is abusing, it would do her justice if she decided to stop immediately.

Great points concerning Generation Y. I admit that there is something unique about the generation but I could never place a finger on exactly what it was/is. NBAer Allen Iverson is a perfect definition.

He pretty much walked onto the pro basketball scene and declared that it's all about him. Still, I wouldn't label his behavior as a bad thing. I personally feel the need for social evolution, no matter how self-centered the appearance.

Ferris Bueller - another perfect example, and a pretty good film, as well.

And as the recession continues to drown us, we wallow in our debt, holding our half-working Iphone 4s, wrists' wrapped in chain bracelets emblazoned with "Tiffany's" and wonder, "Why?". Why are we broke? Why do our relationships fail? Why am I so miserable?

Definitely truth being spoken here. I believe we all could stand to look at certain personal behaviors in our respective lives and connect the dots with other less-than-idea behaviors which play an important role in seeds planted that grow and grow ... to the point where the "plant" becomes unwarranted and out of control.

I know I can.

Loved the read. Again, I cannot really say that it's alarming (my generation had its own faults). But I will say that in twenty years Generation Y will probably reflect upon its years and discover the current baby boomers to be on a whole 'nother level. *insert laughter*

In the end, I believe it just goes to show that the best anyone can ever do in life is take the good with the bad.

Alisha De Freitas said...

@AJ Thanks. @Don, thank you for your well thought out comment. I do think our generation has a lot of strengths especially in the realm of technology. I even think our confidence is good. Its just when it devolves to cockiness that I want to slam on the brakes. Sometimes we whine too much as if we were the first group to face a recession. Try dealing with the Great Depression!

vonnie said...

awesome read! this is true social commentary, well thought out and on point. we are a "me" generation of whiners and utterly failing at the social/relationship aspects of life. sad fate

InnyVinny said...

Great read - plenty of perspective given considering that a lot of us think the kids today are being raised to think the world revolves aroun them...we kinda were, too. LOL.

mizChartreuse said...

So true. I'm a mid-20s girl and certainly a part of this Gen Y madness. I'd like to think I'm a bit more enlightened than most, given my age, but I have my crutches of my Blackberry, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, modeling, writing, self-promotion. They aren't all bad but can be taken to dangerous levels.

We are the NOW Generation, as the Black Eyed Peas sang. We want everything and we want it now, like Veruca Salt (or was it Violet?).

Frankly, it's kind of annoying, but it's going to take some serious conscious effort on all of our parts to not be so self-centered.

Alisha De Freitas said...

Hi Vonnie, InnyVinny & Miz,

Welcome to my blog. Great to see the comments. Really. As I am a narcissist, I truly believe people should want to read my writings simply because I'm me.

No, no, just kidding (mostly). I'm glad you stopped by. I'm also happy we can all acknowledge the fact we are a bit spoiled. Of course not all, but many of us. While I'll admit we are very tech-savy, some of our fellow Y'ers are um, how do I put this... are far more apt to be a Snookie than a Sandra Day O'Connor. Sigh...

But the future is not set in stone, so let's do something about it! Get informed! Like read a book or paper. On our Ipads, of course. ;-)

mizChartreuse said...

Absolutely, sweetheart! I found your site because Vonnie (@socialitedreams) tweeted a link to this post. It was a great read, and so very true. I agree that I'm certainly not on the Snooki level of intelligence (PRAISE THE LAWD), but all I (we) can do is try to raise awareness, right?

Thank you so so so so very much for your lovely comments on my blog! I really appreciate it and as a fellow blogger, I'm sure you know how much feedback/commentary means to the writer!

Looking forward to more posts from you! :)

Alisha De Freitas said...


Your blog is so awesome... I have a blog crush. I feel like the nerdy girl in the cafeteria who got to sit next to one of the popular girls at lunch... and it wasn't even a prank! *pushing my frames up my nose* THANKS!

mizChartreuse said...

I could say the same about your website! <3

I'll be back! You're officially on my blogroll reading list now! :)

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