One of the best ways to describe a narcissist is to think of a not-very-nice 13-year-old kid housed in an adult body. You know the type of 13-year-old I’m describing: anger issues; impulse control issues; selfish-ness; a self-centered world view; chronic insecurity marked by cruelness and swagger; and the gnawing, nagging the sense that you have to hang with cool people because only they can reflect the true (cool) you. The adult narcissist is able to refine, control, and disguise many of the less pleasant aspects of the adolescent mind, but if the narcissistic adult relaxes or is very angry, that immaturity leaks out.
The pictures making the rounds showing the Obamas’ behavior at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service perfectly illustrate the loss of control that narcissists suffer when they’re angry or too relaxed. Keep in mind as you look at them that Barack and Michelle are not at the memorial in their individual capacities. They are there as the living embodiment of the American people. If that embodiment is anything to go by, we Americans are selfish, ill-mannered, and petty.
The first picture to make the rounds showed a relaxed Obama and an angry Michelle both forgetting how to behave at a memorial service. He and British PM David Cameron found themselves on either side of Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and one of them obviously said “Hey, guys, let’s take a selfie.” The three of them, blind to their status as representatives of their country, happily complied. Meanwhile, Michelle turned her eyes straight ahead and glared angrily:
I am not saying that memorials have to be relentlessly grim, solemn affairs. Indeed, they can be very joyous celebrations of the deceased person’s life and of life itself. That joy, however, shouldn’t devolve into unseemly exhibitionism and selfishness, which is exactly what happened when this trio of world leaders whipped out the smart phone to memorialize . . . themselves.
As for Michelle, it’s insanely rude for an American representative to have a temper tantrum like that. Most people, when they saw that picture, assumed that Michelle was aware that Obama was engaging in rude behavior, and used her own ill-mannered behavior to set herself apart from that display. A subsequent series of pictures, though, might have shown that what really piqued Michelle was that her husband was sitting next to a laughing, pretty blonde, and was clearly basking in her attention. When Obama left his seat to deliver his political attack on Republicans . . . oh, sorry, his memorial address, Michelle moved to interpose herself between Barack and Helle.
It is a very sad day for America when this vulgar, exhibitionistic, narcissistic couple stands before the world as our representatives. It is what it is, though. Those who hate America will still hate it. And those who love America will feel sympathy for her sufferings.
UPDATE: Brilliant headline at Drudge: