Gabe Gudding, like many personalities of comic bent, has an alter ego - the scold, the judgemental moralist. His recent & much-noted post on the dynamics of Narcissism is insightful, but maybe it doesn't go far enough.

Proust is more radical. In the Recherche, self-regard (taken to comic extremes) is not so much a personality trait as a symptom of social dynamics generally - entire societies devoted to pecking orders & vanity. The narcissist is not merely acting out in an autonomous isolation chamber. S/he plays a community role, as representative clown, victim - as an exaggeration of what is the norm.

"All is vanity, & a striving after wind," spake the Preacher.

No comments: