American Narcissus – Thoughts on UCSB

The Greeks told a story of a man named “Narcissus.” Narcissus was very handsome, and he knew it. One day, he happened to peer into a river and caught a glimpse of his own reflection. Narcissus fell in love. He became so enamored with his own image that he fell into the river and drowned.

Our culture is constantly harping on Self. Self-esteem, self-help, self-improvement. We seek lovers, but we have no interest in loving, only in being loved. We seek food and drink, but we have no interest in satiation, only in satisfaction.

We consume everything. Clothes, food, television, each other. We consume as if consuming were the same as enjoying.

Maybe I should invest in a life-jacket.

Stay safe this summer, America.


Update (because this story just CONTINUES to piss me off):

There are people who, in the aftermath of the UCSB shooting, defended the actions of mass-murdering, misogynist psychopath Elliott Rodgers. These people exist. They ride the bus. They own swimming pools. They queue politely at the “Please Wait To Be Seated” sign at Chili’s.

This didn’t happen after Columbine. This didn’t happen after Virginia Tech. This didn’t happen after Therrell.

Let’s ignore for the moment that a shooting that left 5 Atlanta high school kids injured barely made the local news. What the heck is wrong with our culture that we’ll defend Rodgers but not that crazy Connecticut guy? What, because Rodgers was a victim? Oh, boo hoo. He couldn’t get a date and had to stay a virgin. Horror of horrors. Guess that justifies ultra-violence. No. It doesn’t.

Rodgers’s actions were indefensible. His videos are indefensible. His entire philosophy was a warm blanket of narcissism coated in a thick layer of hate.

I’m sorry to get this upset on a weekend. Rodgers ruined my Memorial Day, and the stink of him lingers. Rant over. Let us never speak of this again.



5 thoughts on “American Narcissus – Thoughts on UCSB

  1. No. Speak of this as much as you like, if you and others don’t speak of the raging narcissism devolving into violence these days, we will fail to construct narratives resistant to the thinking that produces this. I agreed passionately with the first part of this post and was comforted by the second part (rant). So please, don’t silence what needs to be said.



    • You’re right. We can’t afford to be silent. This issue upsets me to my core. Mainly because of the strain of misogyny within nerd culture, a failing it can be all too easy for a shy, nerdy guy to indulge in. I guess that’s the reason I said I didn’t want to talk about it anymore: it makes me upset. Which is exactly why we need to talk about it. Doctor can’t heal you if you won’t talk about your illness. Thank you for reading.


      • No. Especially men around men, because men listen to men on how to be men. Just like women learn from women, but contemplative smart folks who are able to leave ego behind to grasp the world at large (w/ the values of the opposite sex and the flaws of their own) are rare. Cuz we all just want to be the hero and assume we’ve ‘got’ it. However the ones who manage wisdom, without simply running with emotion and popular perspective have to challenge their own into broader thinking, otherwise the world is set to be a scary place.

        Plus yes, doctor can’t heal you if you won’t talk about your illness. That too!!!

        Thanks for writing!


  2. I am glad someone put their finger on the narcissism of today. Not only in America, I have to say. It is disturbing and in this case, frightening that people should be defending this.


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