Thursday, January 12, 2017

Who mourns for a narcissist?

A 1967 Star Trek episode (circa Kirk, not Picard) finds the Enterprise crew confronting a super-being who claims to be the ancient Greek god Apollo. Capt. Kirk quickly determines that Apollo is a narcissist who thrives on worship and adulation. Kirk advises a crew member:

Michael Forest as Apollo, Leslie Parrish as Carolyn.
Star Trek, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" 1967.
"He thrives on love, worship, attention ... We can't give him that worship, none of us can. Especially you ... Spurn him. Reject him."

Maybe that's a way to deal with another narcissist who seems to crave constant attention. The 45th president of the U.S. insists on such glorification, linking his name with any economic uptick, whether or not he's actually deserving of credit.

And, as we've seen, he's just as quick to lash out and childishly ridicule those who point out his inconsistencies.

Worst of all, the news media seems unable to decline covering the smallest of the incoming president's online tantrums. Perhaps they can't, since it's really their job to cover the head of state's every public utterance. For better or worse.

Most of us aren't media professionals. We needn't retweet every pre-dawn boast or criticism coming from Trump Tower. We're not required to provide commentary or links to published news accounts. We needn't post photos of him, whether flattering or otherwise.

So, I've chosen to spurn the 45th president in my digital feed. He won the election, but not the social media platforms I use. I don't need to devote my Facebook timeline to his every utterance; there are many other positive topics to share. And, I'll try very hard not to post links to stories about him; if I have to, I'll try to delete the photos that feed his narcissism.

In short: I will spurn him. And if more of us choose the same course, he will have less to rant against, and less of an audience to captivate.

If we're fortunate, it may marginalize his caustic effect on our civil discourse.

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