The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism Is Seducing America
by Drew Pinsky
An insightful book on the influence of celebrity narcissism on the attitude and behavior of the broader culture. Dr. Drew clinically analyzes the professional Hollywood culture and the reality TV celebrities who exhibit behaviors that are praised by the media but indicative of psychological problems that need treatment. The outrageous acting-out that indicates a need for treatment is praised by the celebrity and mainstream media then emulated by those in society who are vulnerable to such behavior by a desire to mirror the actions of the stars they admire or their own psychological fragility.
Drs. Pinsky and Young spend a great part of the book explaining narcissistic behaviors that are healthy and detrimental, personality disorders, factors that might be involved in the development of narcissistic personality disorders, and treatment suggestions. They also highlight the dangers of narcissistic culture on teens and adolescents and advise parents on how to prevent narcissism in their children.
Written in 2009, before the Miley Cyrus meltdown, Dr. Drew was very prophetic about how her life might develop if she did not receive treatment for this condition. He also discusses his objective in creating his own show, Celebrity Rehab to show the human side of the celebrities being treated for addiction and the trauma that often started them down their chaotic and disastrous path. He wanted to provide the knowledge and need for treatment associated with these behaviors that was missing in shows that glorified dysfunctions such as Real World and The Anna Nicole Show. I watched Celebrity Rehab because such treatment interests me and was moved by the story of Dennis Rodman, whom I disliked for his behavior, and in the end was hoping for his recovery and appreciating his humanity. I realized I had been caught up in his persona and forgot the humanity of a person, struggling and hurting on the inside, who was the victim of his own creation.
Until reality TV passes from the landscape, Dr. Drew’s book serves as a reminder that there is little real about this edited, produced, and scripted fantasy world and much that is unhealthy in the lives of those who parade across our screens. Until society quits praising and mirroring such dysfunction and seeks a healthy life that brings positive value to others we must try to help those we can escape its downward spiral to self-destruction and prevent others from being seduced by the siren song of uninhibited passion, alcohol and drug abuse, and destructive behaviors into a trap that feeds self-loathing and emptiness.
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