Sunday, December 10, 2006

narcissistic celebrities

from today's New York Times Magazine:

You wouldn’t be alone if reading that made you think, Well, duh! Everyone knows that. But you’d be wrong. Until recently, no one had studied celebrities to determine whether they’re truly narcissistic. Why? Because celebrities are shielded by public-relations people and managers who reject requests for things like personality questionnaires. Unless you’re Drew Pinsky, the University of Southern California psychiatry professor and host of “Loveline,” a syndicated radio talk show.

Pinsky has celebrity guests on his show who talk about their latest projects while he answers questions from teenagers about love and sex. Over the years, during commercial breaks, he and his colleague Mark Young, a professor of sports and entertainment business at U.S.C., have surveyed 200 celebrities using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a widely respected questionnaire that measures narcissistic tendencies and ranks individuals on a scale of 1 to 40, with 40 being “extremely narcissistic.”

Pinsky and Young found that on average, celebrities scored 17.84 — about 17 percent higher than the general public — with females ranking significantly higher than males. Interestingly, celebrities with the most skill (musicians) were the least narcissistic; those with no skill (reality-show stars) were, as Pinsky says, “off the narcissism charts.”

When Pinsky and Young published their data, people said, Whoa, celebrities love themselves— what a shocker! But in fact, that’s not the case.

“Narcissism is not about self love,” Pinsky says. “It’s a clinical trait that belies a deep sense of emptiness, low self-esteem, emotional detachment, self-loathing, extreme problems with intimacy.”

Narcissistic Celebrities, Published: December 10, 2006, By REBECCA SKLOOT, The New York Times. Click here to go to the original article.
Three remarks about the article above:

1. Isn't it nice when scientists decree that something blatantly obvious can now be called true because they have tested it in a scientific study, as if there is no other form of knowledge? On the other hand, I also think these studies are fascinating and I think they are important because they can just as often challenge commonplace ideas we take for granted as true.

2. The study may have something to say about the difference between the contestants who have more or less skills than the others. Or the ones that are more or less insecure about their skills.

3. Everyone on that show has a desire to be a celebrity, which signals their likelihood of being narcissistic. By definition the show is going to attract people acting out various symptoms of their "deep sense of emptiness, low self-esteem, emotional detachment, self-loathing, extreme problems with intimacy." Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Keith, Vincent, Jeffrey.

My point is that they don't need to select the most obviously narcissistic of the applicants -- the ones who are at some level ugly and sad. Project Runway is going to end up with a group of people who are good at attracting attention to themselves. Why not pick the ones who do it through humor? As well as talent, of course. That's a given.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if ProjRun contestants are more narcissistic than fashion designers in general?

I like the image of Dr. Drew casually sliding the diagnostic tool over to his celeb guests. "You wouldn't mind filling out this questionnaire, would you? ...What does it measure? Oh, just your general awesomeness."

kora in hell said...

lol tuffy.

Anonymous said...

Dec 17

trixie b, please please please do a post on Miss USA Tara Conner. Pretty please with sugar plum fairies on top?

Your coverage of this (I have a list and I'm checking it twice: "beauty"; beauty queens; boobs in history. Miss America vs Miss USA". ad infinitum...)


Happy Holidays and much love to you for your awsome blog.

--- desertwind

Anonymous said...

Do you know some celebrity sites where I can pick up some more information about that?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes we can learn good things from celebrities - eg - celebrity beauty tips. They are really fond of their beauty!

Anonymous said...

It seems to a prerequsite for celbrities to be a bit dumb. It makes for good entertainment though.

Anonymous said...

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