Sunday, November 30, 2008


In today's Guardian Oliver James laments that the 'youth of today' "are getting much more self-centred arrogant and disrespectful". His evidence is an American study that measures narcissism through surveys from 1979 to 2007. Apparently there was an increase of 30% during that period!!!!
James ends his article with the time-worn cliche that we'd better watch out lest "the egos of our youth have not been falsely inflated to the same degree as our American cousins."
THAT IS THE TIREDEST JOURNALISTIC CLICHE THAT GETS WHEELED OUT IN THE BRITISH PRESS WHEN THEY WANT TO GIVE THE NATION A PAT ON IT'S AGING BACK. It is a simplistic polarising of British versus American moral states; always used as a scare tactic, in that smug British fashion that just makes me want to leave the country.
He suggests also the increase in narcissism is "much greater in women than in men".
Oh dear Mr. James, women getting above their station, eh?
As he describes it, "There is an inflated self-estimation, imagining yourself to be cleverer and more attractive or powerful and compelling than is truly the case."
A bit like the over-inflated opinions of those lucky enough to be on The Guardian payroll perhaps Mr. James?
I would just like to offer the esteemed gentleman an alternative explanation. As a hardened adult narcissist myself (blogging, and indeed compiling a book about "me, me, me". Indeed, obsessed with my own love-life and the weaving together of all those everyday details that make me who i am.) For the record i am neither an "unreliable romantic partner, aggressive, prone to commit assault and white-collar crime, anti-social or selfish". But then perhaps that's my "distorted perceptions of my own abilities" to paraphrase.
My explanation is that perhaps the youth of today have been lucky enough to grow up with nurturing parents (again, as i like to think of myself). Parents who have learnt that the most important thing to a child's development-unlike those who grew up in the 70's and 80's- is it's self-esteem, and who have spent the first years of their child's life telling them that they can damn well be anything that they want to be, and that to love yourself is an absolute pre-requisite for being loved in return.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Children in Need

I'm a victim of my own over-indulgence in Radio 2.
Listening to Terry Wogan's 'Things that Money Can't buy' auction to raise money for the above on my way to work.
It could perhaps (more truthfully) have been called "Things that only money can buy.'
I'd like to know, just who is it that can afford to pay TEN THOUSAND POUNDS to take part in an episode of the BBC's Springwatch???
TEN THOUSAND POUNDS?? It takes me about eight months to earn that. I want to know, who are these people who've got that kind of money spare? Not even spending it on a round the world trip, or an extension on your house, or a small car....just spending it on a day out with Bill Oddie????
My social circle must be really limited, because no-one i know has that kind of money just lying around to give to charity. I want to know how they got it, where did it come from, and where did i go wrong? Is it something to do with where i live? Are the other half all huddled up in some secret location in the Cotswolds, keeping their money making secrets to themselves?
And that indulgence was modest. Someone paid about (was it 30 or 50 grand?) for a guitar lesson with Mark Knopfler.
For fucks sake. I must be really naive and i'd like to stay that way, otherwise the worlds imbalance between rich and poor would be just too much for me. I need to go live in a teepee because it's all wrong isn't it?
I heard someone say that giving to charity is a substitute for actually doing things in the world. So nurses, teachers and social workers, keep your wallets tightly shut. You've done your bit, let the other half do theirs.