The ego: A person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance. Also known as a personality trait or characteristic required of celebrities, politicians, and any more-famous societal leaders to succeed in getting ahead of their peers and colleagues. Look around at the most buzzed about figures in the media today, famous or infamous, and the one commonality these popular figures share is a sizable ego. But of course there's some obvious self-obsession taking place with these glorified beings; establishing a dominance in one's playing field is a necessary evil in surpassing those who came before, and will continue to come long after you. Believing in oneself, or playing a damn good game of it is the surest way in getting others to believe the hype too. Is it possible though, in modern times where the famous are cherished more than they're abhorred for displaying tremendous amounts of self-love to eventually have that praise backfire, due to an insurmountable ego?
Type "egomaniac" into Google Images and there's an overwhelming number of Kanye West and Donald Trump photos. The first, a musician/fashion designer (the latter still pains me to credit him with, as I haven't yet deemed him worthy... #sorrynotsorry) and the second being a Businessman/Presidential Candidate (difficult here too...). Two different soapboxes yet equally matching ungodly egos and figurative stances. The more these guys put down others who so much as balk at their "accomplishments" or "artistry" in order to demand the respect and praise they so blindingly "deserve" the more rabid their fans become. Has humanity always been this disenchanted by humility? I honestly don't recall a time when we weren't so obsessed with self-obsession. Are people so down on their own lives that they get off on watching others riot for personal praise? More importantly, does it age me tremendously that I find this behavior vile and insulting to creative professionals everywhere?
To each their own but for me, personally, I don't ever want to be force fed. A rebel at heart, I'll hear your pitch till the day is long but you'll lose me for good with aggressive insistence. I don't want you to believe I'm the best writer that ever lived because I simply don't want the weight of that pressure. I don't need validity that extreme. It's also wholly unfair to all of the greatest writers who've come before me, paving the way for other diverse players in a very large pool of equally skilled talent. In my dreams I'm able to lace together prose in the most lyrical format like Nabokov. In reality I know I'll never surpass him because we aren't two in the same, and honestly I don't want to deny him any iota of that heavy title in being "one of the best". I also don't want to live in a world without Lolita, or anything of its caliber of writing. That's the problem with an overgrown ego. Any room for personal growth, human emotion, and beautiful failures are obsolete. The buck stops at you, and only you. Where's the art in that?
Why do we continue to uphold the pedestals for overinflated egomaniacs, and when, where--if ever--does it end. I find few things more beautiful than the act of creating a movement or art piece simply for the love of doing it rather than the self-gratifying praise in getting it done. Don't force me to believe you're the better candidate or artist by insulting my judgement or taste when I don't immediately comply. If you truly want to be considered the best in the world at what you do, stop verbally insisting upon it and show us that you are by actively changing the game for the better. Far too many people with authority use fear as a tool in getting others to champion for them which is the most pathetic method in advocating for acceptance and praise. Bullies go after those who don't worship them. How are these over-served celebrities nursing huge egos any different. Why are so many of us contributing to this. Are we that starved for entertainment?
When I think of The Greats, many diverse icons come to mind for different, yet equal reason. Oscar de la Renta, David Bowie, Lincoln, Roosevelt, MLK, Beck, Nina Simone, Salinger, Hopper, Basquiat, Baryshnikov, Misty Copeland, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Yves, Saint Laurent, Harper Lee (RIP Today), Nabokov, Janis Joplin, etc, etc, etc. All of these tremendous talents and more, whether stricken with addiction, personality afflictions and intolerable inner demons never had to repeatedly stomp their feet and demand the world recognize them as the greatest living thing that ever existed. Granted, some of these influencers never had the chance but even still, they leant us their gifts and we followed suit, or not. Without having to be shamed in doing so. Don't tell me you're the greatest artist or anything that ever lived. Allow me the chance to decide that for myself, or else it's inauthentic and where the hell is the honor in that, genius. You're allowed the occasional tantrum as a child--not when you're a grownup. The fact that you never outgrew those terrible-twos speaks volumes far louder than anything else you're so desperately trying to sell me.
Call it a "brilliant marketing move" or not. You egomaniacs have us all talking, sure. Kudos to your publicist and/or your unflinching confidence and outspoken self-worth. But it takes a real man to relish in a bit of sincere humility.