It’s only August and I’m calling it. 2017 is the year of the narcissist.
Whether it’s our actual POTUS tweeting on the toilet at 2 am or learning that Joss Whedon is a misogynistic asshole IRL, 2017 has been a perfect storm of narcissists. (Buffy would so kick your ass, Joss.)
I mean, I don’t think I even need to go over all the ways Donald Trump matches up with the traits of narcissism. As I’ve said before, Trump is a master class in narcissism. Remember, narcissists are incapable of feeling empathy (that’s a big one), they must make everything about themselves, and they will gaslight the shit out of you until you believable everything they do to hurt you is actually your fault. (See a full list of narcissistic traits here.)
Now I know some of you are thinking. Whedon is clearly a dick, but is he really Trump level? Let’s review.
Whedon doesn’t deny years of affairs and mansplaining adultery to ex-wife Kai Cole, including this nugget, “When I was running ‘Buffy,’ I was surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women. It felt like I had a disease, like something from a Greek myth. Suddenly I am a powerful producer and the world is laid out at my feet and I can’t touch it.” Read Cole’s full account here — including years of gaslighting and intentionally publicly parading their marriage as proof of his “good guy” status. There at the bottom, Whedon says he won’t comment “for his kid’s sake,” but he never actually denies any of it.
For the sake of transparency, I will say I’ve been a Whedon fan for the most part. Minus the bad Wonder Woman script he wrote. And the relative lack of women in The Avengers films. And Dollhouse in its entirety. But I’ve been vocal about those things before. I don’t know that this is Bill Cosby bad (no one has implied that the affairs where coerced), but it’s going to be hard for many of Whedon’s fans to look at his work the same way. Indeed, fan site Wedonesque ended its 15-year run within 24 hours of Cole’s piece publishing. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty worried about Batgirl right now, especially since she’s my seven-year-old’s favorite superhero.
But that’s just two rich, white guys. Everybody knows truth comes in threes. Ok, how about Tina Fey?
By now we’ve all seen the Weekend Update segment with Fey “sheet caking,” making bad drag queen jokes about black bodies, and remaining pretty safely ensconced in her white privilege bubble. (I will admit I’ve been a fan of hers, too, and I did like her name-checking Standing Rock, Hillary, and the hundreds of armed militias that are part of this Neo-Nazi garbage on parade right now.) This was definitely one of those times when I really wanted better from not just Fey specifically, but white feminists in general. Remember: to be an ally is a verb, not a noun. There was a better way to do this. There are better comedians to call on (Leslie Jones can’t do a one-off? W. Kamau Bell? Chris Rock?) Truly, the optics were terrible. Nobody noticed it looked a bit Marie Antoinette up there? I know food humor is Fey’s thing. I love cake. I stress eat. I get that. Still, that was a bad way to create a punchline. We don’t need people yelling into cake. We need people calling their representatives, counter-protesting, and yes, maybe even subtweeting POTUS, because fuck him.
It turns out narcissism is only funny when it’s a Kardashian. And even then it sucks.
Photo by Sarah Brockett via Buzzfeed.