Engaging Culture

Celebrity Narcissist Update:

When shocking behavior becomes normalized...

Recently I was looking at Dr. Drew Pinsky’s book:  “The Mirror Effect:  How Celebrity Narcissism is Seducing America.”  Pinsky’s thesis is that stars become addicted to celebrity because they’re career narcissists.  He says, “The behavior of today’s celebrities is much more dysfunctional than it was a decade ago.  Provocative and shocking behavior becomes normalized, expected, and tolerated in our media culture.”  He includes a 40 question test that focuses on narcissistic tendencies.  It’s no surprise that stars score significantly higher on the test than civilians.

Considering how badly some people want to be a celebrity, the question becomes – Are they born that way, or do we make them that way?

What do you think?

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4 Comments

  1. I would be inclined to think that a big part of it is that we make them that way with our adulation. I think in the upper levels of ministry that may be very noticeable. Men or women who begin in ministry, sometimes in humble beginnings,  having a great gift and passion for God, wind up being the center of attention receiving rock star treatment.  The corrosive effect that has on them gets played out before our eyes. Especially in the charismatic church the treatment these ministers receive sometimes has a very toxic effect on them and it leads to the ruin of what in the beginning were some very good people.

    When Jesus said that the greatest would be the servant of all instead of the greatest would be served by all, He may have been saying that as much for the protection of those called to lead as much as anything else. In the church hierarchy, the higher you get on the food chain the more people serve you. Maybe Jesus was warning against that. We then watch these leaders flame out and berate them for lack of character, but it may be our adulation that the enemy used to corrode the character of some good but flawed people. 

  2. Everybody KNOWS it’s the producer’s fault!:~o Pander me this and pander me that…and many stars pull that stuff just to see if they can get away with it. I’ve seen it up close and it ain’t pretty! Most of them just want what everybody else wants…to be loved…a lot…with money…lots of it.

  3. A few years ago I worked at a major Christian tv network. My job was to shoot promos with the guests in the green room before, during and after their on-air talk show segments. Hundreds of pastors and ministry leaders came thru. Name virtually any well known minister or artist in Christendom, they grabbed a mike, looked into the camera and did a promo.

    My experience overall was that the secular people (who had come to Christ) were far easier to work with than the "sacred." TV and film stars knew the importance of promotion and 99% of them were sweethearts. Professional, easy to work with. Very few tantrums. Plus, with their experience on camera, they could knock out 3-4 promos in 5 minutes.

    Conversely, some of the pastors, evangelists, musicians and artists – God bless them – had big egos. Not all, but enough to be troublesome. Especially the tv evangelists and mega church pastors. Entourages, assistants, body guards (some of them packing guns, honest), "armor bearers." One of the couples was a nightmare for the limo drivers with their demands and rudeness. Not long after, that couple went through a very messy, public divorce. On the air they were one way, but behind-the-scenes – not so great.

    Fame is often intoxicating. Adoration, perks, ego strokes, private jets (or first class). Despite the Lord’s call to humble ourselves, ministry leaders are not immune from narcissistic tendencies. Hard to keep your perspective when you get used to living in a fancy fishbowl.

  4. The irony to me is that Dr. Drew is one of the world’s few celebrity doctors.  So, I wonder how high he would score on his own test?

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