Friday, September 25, 2009


Michael Narcissieff?

Narcissist. Ignatieff. Narcissieff. Nar-sissy-iffy. Whatever.

My own sense is that he'll make a seriously bad candidate, due to what I'd call his narcissism. This isn't so much about adoring yourself, as being so self-absorbed that your sense of how others react to you goes missing. A therapist I know says it usually involves “a great deal of self-referencing. A real other doesn't exist except as an extension of themselves.” This won't be useful when you're asking for people's votes, against other candidates.

Sounds to me like Narcissieff has a mental disorder, is delusional.

It's not the same as egomania, which can work in politics. Egomania requires you to be aware of others in order to dominate or manipulate them. With narcissism, you barely notice them, you bask in your own presence and assume everyone does. Even St├ęphane Dion didn't seem narcissistic. Just arrogant: a guy who felt so superior, he was sure everyone would follow his lead. But narcissism blocks the reality of others, hence the stream of off-putting remarks.

Narcissieff himself seems to have a sense of this. “What is it that a great politician knows?” he asked Adam Gopnik. “I'm trying to learn that.” You might expect him to have had a clue before running to be PM, but at least he's asking. Trouble is, a narcissistic makeup can stand in the way of finding an answer. It cuts off the natural ability to pay attention to others. He looks, someone said recently, as if he's Voguing a politician.

Narcissieff has this in common with Obama.

Ah, but then again, what do we expect of liberals?