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  1. #1
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    American Narcissism

    I am reading this book by Matt Taibbi called the "Great Derangement" in which he goes undercover in Hagee's evangelical church and the 9/11 conspiracy movement to make sense of the current political climate in the US. Great book and highly recommended. The author was a expat in Russia who later returned to the US. As part of his evangelical duties, he had to talk to strangers at a shopping mall. I found this excerpt about that experience damn funny and spot on.

    "I could scarcely even start my rap with half of these people before they started reading back to me the transcripts from their latest group therapy sessions. It was like none of these people had ever had a friend before. No creature on earth is more inclined to public verbal diarrhea than a modern American, whether it's the AA culture, or the post-Me Generation emphasis on "finding yourself", or all of those neo-Woody Allens confessing to their therapists, or just too many damn people fantasizing about telling Oprah what influenced their latest album ("In the fourth track, I am trying to share the sacred message of His Holiness the Dalai Lama..."), we live in a country where people believe implicitly in their right to bore the living shit out of absolutely everybody within haranguing distance with tales of their miserable, lonely, and inevitably self-deluding searches for personal fufillment in the emotional desert that is our crass commercial culture ... That is why it is always dangerous to ask a stranger in America about himself, because the likelihood is that he has been practicing his 'Ralph Knobshultz Reveals All!' interview in his head for years."


  2. #2
    Banned Muadib's Avatar
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    " As part of his evangelical duties..........."

    Didn't have to read past this line, but did anyway...

    Seems a bit hypocritical to lambaste people for sharing of themselves as you are trying to shove religious mumbo-jumbo down their throat... Especially Buddhism which focuses on inner enlightenment...

  3. #3
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    I have just read this after wading though the dribblingfarce tirades in MKP - the author might be on to something

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    Quote Originally Posted by njdesi
    we live in a country where people believe implicitly in their right to bore the living shit out of absolutely everybody within haranguing distance with tales of their miserable, lonely, and inevitably self-deluding searches for personal fufillment in the emotional desert that is our crass commercial culture
    Quote Originally Posted by baldrick
    I have just read this after wading though the dribblingfarce tirades in MKP
    yep, exactly that sprung to mind!

    I used to think that it was only Canadians that suffered from this. I also thought they had a good reason though - there are so few of them that when they actually meet another human, they have the need to talk a lot

  5. #5
    I don't know barbaro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njdesi View Post
    I am reading this book by Matt Taibbi called the "Great Derangement" in which he goes undercover in Hagee's evangelical church and the 9/11 conspiracy movement to make sense of the current political climate in the US. Great book and highly recommended. The author was a expat in Russia who later returned to the US. As part of his evangelical duties, he had to talk to strangers at a shopping mall. I found this excerpt about that experience damn funny and spot on.

    "I could scarcely even start my rap with half of these people before they started reading back to me the transcripts from their latest group therapy sessions. It was like none of these people had ever had a friend before. No creature on earth is more inclined to public verbal diarrhea than a modern American, whether it's the AA culture, or the post-Me Generation emphasis on "finding yourself", or all of those neo-Woody Allens confessing to their therapists, or just too many damn people fantasizing about telling Oprah what influenced their latest album ("In the fourth track, I am trying to share the sacred message of His Holiness the Dalai Lama..."), we live in a country where people believe implicitly in their right to bore the living shit out of absolutely everybody within haranguing distance with tales of their miserable, lonely, and inevitably self-deluding searches for personal fufillment in the emotional desert that is our crass commercial culture ... That is why it is always dangerous to ask a stranger in America about himself, because the likelihood is that he has been practicing his 'Ralph Knobshultz Reveals All!' interview in his head for years."
    Classic quote, njdesi.

    Thread and post of the year, here for us Americans.

    Hope you stick around and visit us more here, njdesi.

    Cheers,


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by njdesi View Post
    "... we live in a country where people believe implicitly in their right to bore the living shit out of absolutely everybody within haranguing distance with tales of their miserable, lonely, and inevitably self-deluding searches for personal fufillment in the emotional desert that is our crass commercial culture .
    America has got to be the loneliest country on earth. There is something going on that isolates us from each other and I certainly can't explain it. But for some reason I wouldn't recognize some of my American first cousins if they walked by me on the street. I can barely remember the names of my next door neighbors or people who work 20 feet down the hall from me. I feel much closer to my relatives who live in Southern Europe and even my in-laws in Thailand. I've personally experienced both in Europe and Thailand how enriching and psychologically healthy it is to be part of a large extended family. Extended family is the best cure for narcissism, loneliness and depression that there is. It's also the best social welfare system ever devised. I've even thought of raising my children in Thailand simply to give them the positive influence of an extended family.

  7. #7
    I am in Jail

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    Quote Originally Posted by njdesi
    o creature on earth is more inclined to public verbal diarrhea than a modern American
    55555

  8. #8
    I am in Jail

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    and well titled as well.

  9. #9
    I am in Jail
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    nice summary, quite well put

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GooMaiRoo View Post
    America has got to be the loneliest country on earth. There is something going on that isolates us from each other and I certainly can't explain it. But for some reason I wouldn't recognize some of my American first cousins if they walked by me on the street. I can barely remember the names of my next door neighbors or people who work 20 feet down the hall from me. I feel much closer to my relatives who live in Southern Europe and even my in-laws in Thailand. I've personally experienced both in Europe and Thailand how enriching and psychologically healthy it is to be part of a large extended family. Extended family is the best cure for narcissism, loneliness and depression that there is. It's also the best social welfare system ever devised. I've even thought of raising my children in Thailand simply to give them the positive influence of an extended family.
    That's what made me start this thread. I could never imagine my Thai wife opening up to complete strangers llike this. A few weeks ago, we went to a Mexican restuarant where they had a promotion on Smirnoff vodka. I asked the waitress what Smirnoff goes well with, and she said she wouldn't know because she doesn't drink. I made the mistake of asking her why she didn't drink and got a five minute rant on how she is taking Paxil and couldn't control herself before. I thought it was a little strange, but my wife was horrified.

  11. #11
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    Try talking to a UK National Health Service patient after they have been'cured'of a nervous breakdown. They are so aggressive : freaky freaky

  12. #12
    I don't know barbaro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njdesi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GooMaiRoo View Post
    America has got to be the loneliest country on earth. There is something going on that isolates us from each other and I certainly can't explain it. But for some reason I wouldn't recognize some of my American first cousins if they walked by me on the street. I can barely remember the names of my next door neighbors or people who work 20 feet down the hall from me. I feel much closer to my relatives who live in Southern Europe and even my in-laws in Thailand. I've personally experienced both in Europe and Thailand how enriching and psychologically healthy it is to be part of a large extended family. Extended family is the best cure for narcissism, loneliness and depression that there is. It's also the best social welfare system ever devised. I've even thought of raising my children in Thailand simply to give them the positive influence of an extended family.
    That's what made me start this thread. I could never imagine my Thai wife opening up to complete strangers llike this. A few weeks ago, we went to a Mexican restuarant where they had a promotion on Smirnoff vodka. I asked the waitress what Smirnoff goes well with, and she said she wouldn't know because she doesn't drink. I made the mistake of asking her why she didn't drink and got a five minute rant on how she is taking Paxil and couldn't control herself before. I thought it was a little strange, but my wife was horrified.
    But on the other extreme, East Asians tend to be very secretive.

    I prefer openness.

    But I agree with your OP, and the quote from the book you're reading.

    I hope you keep us informed of it more.
    ............

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milkman View Post

    But on the other extreme, East Asians tend to be very secretive.

    I prefer openness.

    But I agree with your OP, and the quote from the book you're reading.

    I hope you keep us informed of it more.
    East Asians can't keep their mouth shut when it comes to their family or close friends. But with strangers, they never reveal more than is necessary.
    I'm no better than any other American. When I am really drunk, I don't filter my thoughts as well as I should.

    For Milkman:
    An Atheist Goes Undercover to Join the Flock of Mad Pastor John Hagee | | AlterNet

    And a hilarious piece he wrote about Sarah Palin:
    Mad Dog Palin | | AlterNet
    Last edited by njdesi; 18-05-2009 at 08:46 AM.

  14. #14
    I don't know barbaro's Avatar
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    [quote=njdesi;1057110]
    Quote Originally Posted by Milkman View Post

    But on the other extreme, East Asians tend to be very secretive.

    I prefer openness.

    But I agree with your OP, and the quote from the book you're reading.

    I hope you keep us informed of it more.
    East Asians can't keep their mouth shut when it comes to their family or close friends. But with strangers, they never reveal more than is necessary.
    I'm no better than any other American. When I am really drunk, I don't filter my thoughts as well as I should.

    Thaniks, Desi!



    Good comments, and good links:


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