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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The unhealthy hunger for fame

From the September 29, 2006 issue of The Week magazine:

It's hardly a surprise, but a study now offers definitive proof that celebrities are the ultimate narcissists. Dr. Drew Pinsky, a physician and host of the long-running radio show Loveline, collected personality data from 200 of the celebrity guests who visited his studio, then tested them for narcissistic traits — such as the (unsupported) belief that they are smarter, more talented, or more worthy than other people. Pinsky found that male celebrities were significantly more narcissistic than average people, and female celebrities were even worse. Musicians were the least self-obsessed because their rise to fame had the most to do with actual talent, whereas reality-show stars — the least talented people in the limelight — scored highest.

"Female reality-show contestants are off the charts," Pinsky tells the Los Angeles Times. It's important not to confuse narcissism with egotism, or genuine self-love, Pinsky says. Narcissists actually have low self-esteem, due to abandonment, abuse, or other emotional traumas from their childhoods, and compensate by seeking fame. Though famous people often complain about the public never leaving them alone, Pinsky says, "their greatest fear is losing their celebrity status."

I think Pinsky's on the money here. While I don't know any reality TV stars — or really care to — I’ve known more than a few musicians, some of which are rather successful. For the commercially successful ones, any degree of celebrity they possess is simply a by-product of being good at their craft, which includes the successful marketing of their work.


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