Kids Today: More Narcissistic Than Ever? I Know, It's A Tough One...

Illustration for article titled Kids Today: More Narcissistic Than Ever? I Know, It's A Tough One...

Is the younger generation more narcissistic than we are? Well YEAHDUH, but here's something kind of interesting! See, two scholars are engaged in a hot dispute as to whether all the MySpace/Flickr/tumblr/silvr/U.S.AmericanTopModelChefFifthGrader shit actually causes people to be more self-obsessed. The champion of the conventional wisdom is a San Diego State psychologist who wrote a book called Generation Me and is working on another called the Narcissism Epidemic. But now a University of Western Ontario psychologist is about to publish research that suggests the youngs no more narcissistic than any of the generations that preceded them. Wait, is it kinda funny that the anti-narcissism epidemic side comes from Canada and the Generation Me author is in Southern California? A Yale professor thinks so, telling the New York Times that "exaggerated beliefs in social decline are widespread — largely because people tend to mistake changes in themselves for changes in the external world." So people who study narcissism tend to be narcissists? Crazy! But moreover, it's bigger than that:

Never before in this country has there been such an economic imperative to cultivating narcissism. "Build Brand You"! Start a blog! Advance Your Swagger! If you want a raise, dress better! Hit the gym! Assert yourselves! If you try to count on hard work alone, you'll never have any time to Make Yourself Noticed! And anyway, the immigrants and the Chinese and the Indians and the Romanians have the work ethic thing cornered. Oh what, you don't want to be the boss, the ruler, the editor-in-chief? You'd rather be a team player, and subscribe to the pitifully naive notion that the sum can be greater than parts or whatever? Did you not hear that cooperation is over? What has cooperation done for us lately? Lesssseeee...maybe designed us a really thin MacBook? Approved a half-trillion dollar war? If you've learned anything from the reality TV you watch it's that there can only be one Top Model, one Top Chef, one Celebrity Apprentice, one Biggest Loser. And yeah, you can say that's only TV. But good luck finding a decent job on an assembly line somewhere! You're better off shooting to be the next American Apparel model.


Generation Me Vs. You, Revisited [NY Times]

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It's so weird how teens today think it's all about them when back in MY day we thought it was all about us... and isn't it still?

I think the key to this apparent wave of notable self-involvement is that we now have overlapping generations of people who never stopped thinking it was all about them.

Baby Boomers? I'm looking at YOU.