Segments in this Video

Meet the Panelists (01:28)


Host Ritula Shah explains the format of the debate and introduces philosopher Simon Blackburn, historian Suzannah Lipscomb, and politician George Galloway.

Suzannah Lipscomb: The Pitch (03:26)

Lipscomb brings up "hubristic syndrome" where leaders have distorted views of themselves and their roles on earth, seeking glory and the opportunity to exercise power rather than to help others. She says Henry VIII was the epitome of narcissistic.

Simon Blackburn: The Pitch (04:32)

Blackburn distinguishes between self-esteem, conceit, and vanity, maintaining that self-esteem and confidence are good and necessary for completing life's tasks and that vanity is excessive need for applause from other people. The conceited person is so certain of his skills or status that he does not seek applause.

George Galloway: The Pitch (04:02)

Galloway has a film soon to be released that features the narcissistic personality of British politician Tony Blair. Politically, Galloway says, ego is part of the identity, and that everyone has an ego and that politics require a large ego, though it is not sufficient for being a political leader.

Theme One: How Can Narcissism Benefit Ourselves and Others? (10:40)

Shah brings up “Vanity Fair,” and Blackburn says that large amounts of self-belief are required to possess the amount of charisma evident in political leaders like Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and Tony Blair. Lipscomb agrees that self-belief and narcissism are different.

Theme Two: Does Our Culture Reward Narcissism? (09:05)

Shah asks if because of the selfie obsession, culture has become too self-absorbed; Lipscomb responds that yes, people are blinded to everything except to images of themselves. Shah asks why everyday people should not have large senses of themselves like political leaders, and the panelists discuss marketing preying on self-esteem to convince people to spend money.

Theme Three: Would a More Narcissistic Culture Leave Us Happier? (10:22)

Lipscomb says that the market uses ploys to make parts of physical appearance "economically unacceptable" in order to find new niches to advertise to people, like the whiteness and straightness of teeth in America. Galloway thinks that narcissistic leaders are dangerous, but that George W. Bush was neither narcissistic nor charismatic, and was still an imbecile of a president. Lipscomb thinks that narcissism is self-obsession, whether good or bad, and does not necessarily mean that there is self-confidence.

Credits: Vanity Fair: Is Narcissism a Virtue that We Need More Of? (00:0-22)

Credits: Vanity Fair: Is Narcissism a Virtue that We Need More Of?

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Vanity Fair: Is Narcissism a Virtue that We Need More Of?

Part of the Series : Institute of Art and Ideas: Cutting Edge Debates and Talks from the World's Leading Thinkers
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



With more photos taken every two minutes than in the entire 19th century, the Selfie generation would make Narcissus blush. Yet from Napoleon to Steve Jobs, self-absorption is often a trait of leaders. Should we celebrate self-promotion to create a more confident outgoing culture, or is British understatement a treasure? Philosopher Simon Blackburn, broadcaster and NCH historian Suzannah Lipscomb and politician George Galloway examine the value of vanity.

Length: 44 minutes

Item#: BVL115768

ISBN: 978-1-63521-120-7

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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