When did narcissism become such a widespread problem? Seems like it used to be confined to a few "beautiful people" but more and more i see it turning into a more mainstream ugliness.
Is it because in the late 20th century, American child-rearing practices became so fucked-up? "Entitled" children whose desires direct their entire households have been existant before, but they seem epidemic now. When parents don't want to behave like parents, but rather be their children's FRIENDS, it shouldn't be a surprise. Is it the gag-worthy example children have been seeing on television for the last couple of decades, on the Disney Channel and its imitators? My daughter doesn't agree with my hypothesis that the shallow and overpriviledged characters on television are a big influence on behavior in children -- she says that as a child she always had an appreciation that people in sitcoms etc. were not real-life role-models for behavior, but i have to wonder about others....
It's not that attention-seekers and human deraillieurs haven't been around a LO-O-O-O-ONG TIME -- of course they have. Way back in my youth, every year in gradeschool had its class clowns trying to attract the notice of their teachers and fellow-students. There was always one kid whose hand shot up and waved around when a question was asked or solicited, even if their input was off-topic. In later years, always someone who droned on and on while time ran out for others who needed questions answered too.
Did these people, as children, get too little attention at home or too much? Whatever the cause, i see more and more people in public and online, making every subject ALL ABOUT THEM. They are incapable of objectivity. Every discussion HAS to include them, relevancy be damned. If they aren't the center of attention, there is something wrong with the situation and the human wallpaper around them.
These people have no respect for others, and their own self-esteem is inflated to an anti-social degree. I wish more venues would ban their trolls, because correcting and arguing with them is counter-productive -- they're merely sucking up the attention they've solicited for themselves, whether it be positive or not. Simply ignoring them leaves them free to pollute and clutter; taking away their power to distract is a far better solution for their victims.
(On a related note, check this out: http://www.totalityofbeing.com/FramelessPages/Articles/BaronofVampires.htm )