The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism is Seducing America [Hardcover]
by Dr. Drew Pinsky and S. Mark Young
288 pages, $26.99
Andy Warhol certainly earned more than his "15 minutes of fame" as a filmmaker who helped pioneer and popularize pop art. Warhol venerated Hollywood by saying, "I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They're beautiful. Everybody's plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic." Certainly all would agree that it takes a special caliber of person to rise to stardom in today's media frenzied world. It might take someone who is pretty much in love with himself.
A few decades later life confirms that everyone is in love with celebrity - especially celebrities. In fact, celebrities demonstrate extremely strong narcissistic personality traits - which can be classified as a type of personality disorder known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). It is probably safe to assume that a strong desire for celebrity lurks within each of us. Is that a problem? Does the reality of various celebrity scandals which run rampant over the news wire set up increasing levels of narcissistic tendencies in those who are lured by such behavior?
Dr. Drew Pinsky, a board certified psychiatrist who has a lot of experience speaking with celebrities on VH1's Celebrity Rehab thinks so. He works with Mark Young to produce a detailed analysis to illustrate how celebrity narcissism is actually luring America into a vicious trap.
Since technology has given anyone with a video camera the ability to have instant fame through venues such as YouTube, being obsessed with celebrity can lead to dangerous mimicry of the worst celebrity behavior. Celebrities seem larger than life and can be especially unsympathetic to anyone hurt by their strange behavior. Copying celebrity behavior can lead to problems for everyone in society.
Who is most prone to ape such behavior? Teenagers...since they have the greatest exposure to and encouragement to acquire technological goodies. When teenagers see body-image obsession, sexual acting-out, drug use, and diva behavior they can be programmed to inadvertently impersonate bad celebrity behavior.
Pinsky's examination skillfully delves into a few well-known celebrity lifestyles to illustrate how vapidly this disorder is manifested. Rather than providing the negative aspects of this personality disorder exclusively, the author ends with expert instruction to illustrate how parents can raise their children to prevent narcissistic tendencies.
As a special bonus, the author includes the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) so the reader can see how narcissistic he truly is...
If you enjoy the intersection of science and celebrity - this book is for you!
Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd