Saturday, August 10, 2013

These Days, Anyone Can Write A Book

I guess anyone can write a book, these days. The man who posted a photo of his murdered wife on Facebook also wrote a self-help book about marriage. Not sure if I want to skip ahead to the last chapter of that one. In case you missed the news, 31-year-old Derek Medina started the morning with a shout-out to all his Facebook friends: “I’m going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys, miss you guys take care Facebook people you will see me in the news.” He followed up by posting a photo of his 26-year-old wife slumped on the kitchen floor like a rag doll, bloodied and lifeless. Jennifer Alfonso, a waitress at Denny’s and mother to the 10-year-old girl left alone in their home with her corpse, had made at least one mistake in her life… his name was Derek Medina.

The bizarre crime took place, where else, but in Florida, of course. Since it was America, the weapon of choice was, naturally, a gun. Interviewed on CNN, Dr. Drew Pinsky, the modern-day answer to Dr. Joyce Brothers, opined as to why anyone would post a murder confession on Facebook and then photograph the crime scene and post it, as well. The TV doc blamed it on narcissism exacerbated by social media.

Narcissism is defined as an exceptional interest in and admiration for one’s self. Social Media, like Facebook, excel at promoting narcissism among the “Look at Me!” Generation. Christopher Lasch wrote in "The Culture of Narcissism": “Not withstanding his occasional illusions of omnipotence, the narcissist depends on others to validate his self-esteem.” I recalled my blog post last month, in which I wrote: “It occurred to me, everyone needs validation. We need it from another person – a lover, a friend, an employer. We need it from society. And finally, it  explains why people post all those inane or pithy posts on Facebook and wait for the ‘likes’ or comments to appear underneath: they need, and receive, validation online via the Internet.”

Welcome to the Age of Social Media, where an entire generation has conflated shame with fame. What the hell, they sound alike, so they must be synonymous. In an era when teenager Giovanna Plowman can become an Internet sensation by sucking her bloody tampon on YouTube, can we really be surprised by Derek Medina’s Facebook post? After all, it’s getting harder and harder to earn one’s 15-minutes of fame amid such fierce competition. But a true narcissist will find a way to place the spotlight on himself and one-up the competition. Medina’s grisly Facebook post garnered 80 shares in the five hours it was up before Facebook removed it.

Narcissism? Dr. Drew should know. After all, he wrote the book on narcissism. Or at least a book on narcissism -- “The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism Is Seducing America.” Hmm… irony? As I said, these days, anyone can write a book. In fact, I’ve written several. You should buy one today.

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