Near Prophet by William Murchison

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Near Prophet

Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism
by William Murchison

We might suppose the plight of prophets to be entirely physical. Not by any means. Another kind of danger comes safety-pinned to the prophet’s mantle—that of being dimly understood, if understood at all. Consider Christopher Lasch.

When Lasch’s instantly famous The Culture of Narcissism came out in 1979, I asked our newspaper’s editorial cartoonist to illustrate my editorial page review of it. He produced a sketch of a blonde hunk preening and twittering in the bathroom mirror. It was a cute piece of art that illustrated what readers understood then and still understand by “narcissism”: to wit, self-adoration of the sort by which the original Narcissus came a cropper.

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William Murchison a syndicated columnist, is author of Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity (Encounter Books).

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