David Brooks’ column in today’s New York Times, “The Gospel of Mel Gibson,” uses Gibson as an example to highlight the pervasiveness of narcissism in our culture today. Towards the end of his piece he cites recent studies that show that self-love is on the rise.
And the sad fact is that Gibson is not alone. There can’t be many people at once who live in a celebrity environment so perfectly designed to inflate self-love. Even so, a surprising number of people share the trait. A study conducted at the National Institutes of Health suggested that 6.2 percent of Americans had suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, along with 9.4 percent of people in their 20s.