I thought it was wacky, but it also made a lot of sense,” said the British newlywed, after saying, “I do.” To herself.
Yes. Melissa Denton took her own hand in marriage. It was “empowering.” Possibly stunning and brave. Guests in the hundreds flocked to enjoy the occasion. There, they devoured a vegan “feast” after raining petals over the solo bride’s head. It was the best day of her life.
Ms. (or Mrs.—this is not clear) Denton tells us that three weeks before her decision to marry herself, a familiar tragedy swelled. Receiving on Christmas Eve a text from her boyfriend of half a decade, it read: “I can’t do this anymore. It is over.” A veteran already of two divorces, the mother of two couldn’t eat, sleep, or smile.
Eschewing the familiar breakup cure of booze-laden sessions, and the pursuit of disposable lovers, Denton then decided to marry herself. Which is entirely normal for 2019, one should consider.
This alternative course of correction is apparently not a one-off. “Sologamy” is actually a thing. And countless women have hewn, hemmed, and hitched themselves to themselves.
What once perhaps would have warranted an extended vacation within the cushioned walls of an asylum, is now celebrated as an act of self-affirmation.
Her reasoning, to be kind, is fairly understandable. Kind of. Anyone familiar with the gummy trap of depression can attest to the disfiguring power of that brilliant black.
But to marry oneself (I can’t believe I have to say this) is an act of supreme self-adulation. And an extreme, though not entirely surprising feature of the generation educated in the 1990s. And a mere symptom of the malaise which permeates the cracks in the reality-TV West.
Growing up in the 1990s, my generation imbibed on the teat of self-help slop. All were brilliant. All were bright. Not one would be left behind. Indeed, the self-esteem culture rip-roared through that decade. Teachers even refrained from marking work in red pen, red being alarming. A soothing green somehow glossed over inflated grades.
Fostered by cotton-wrap parenting, grade inflation, social media’s instant feedback loop, generations after Generation X are suffused with narcissistic tendencies.
Never enough, it seems, is said about Millennial self-obsession. Our safe spaces. Our selfies. Every whim recorded. Every wallow rarefied. Everyone a victim.
Yet selfies are innocuous. Perhaps pretending to marry oneself is also. But the wider culture of narcissism has grave political implications. Take a swipe at the Democratic presidential hopefuls. The primary will resemble a circus of victimhood. The winner will be whomever promises best to soothe teeming cadres of enthusiastic victims.
American psychologists Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell, in their work The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement posited that the good intentions of the 1990s have bred a generation entirely cocooned within itself.
That work spurred further research suggesting that 59 percent of American college freshmen in 2014 deemed themselves “above average” in intellectual self-confidence, compared with 39 percent in 1966.
If you value freedom and self-expression, this isn’t good. To put it mildly. Researchers at the London School of Economics found that:
At extremes, narcissism undermines institutions that underpin a strong society, with links to shallow values, less intellectual interest and value on hard work, aggression and relationship complications, and lack of empathy and concern for others.
After all, the classic features of narcissism tend to represent those of a four-year-old child. But these children have a vote. Millennials are almost America’s largest voting bloc.
An entire generation schooled only in self-adulation is perfect fodder for the progressives. And they know that. All the narcissists want in return for their vote is protection from a reality which doesn’t charitably boost their grades. Nor tell them how wonderful they are.
Because that is what narcissism is. A bubble. Those ensconced are so hopelessly fragile that almost every effort is siphoned toward ensuring that bubble never glimmers against the intrusions of real life.
Which is why the relative sanity of Joe Biden won’t puncture the Democratic veneer of self-obsession.
Reeling still from 2016—that grave intrusion of reality—the Democratic base, frothier even than it was in the wake of that disappointment, wants more than the correction of Trump’s presidency. They want it—and those responsible—purged from the earth. Impossible though that may be, progressive narcissism steeps not in the injurious real world.
Perhaps they don’t want to win. To finally defenestrate their obsession would cut dead the supply of righteous indignation, their lifeblood. As for those who choose to marry themselves, perhaps the spectacle matters more than the substance.
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