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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