May 27, 2009
Narcissus And Echo: Obama And The Mainstream MediaBy Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr.
It is troubling that our president is a pathological narcissist caught up in the thought patterns of Darwin, Marx, and Alinsky. Even more troubling is the fact that the Mainstream Media (MSM), suffering from an Obama-inspired narcosis, shirks its duty, refusing to publish or even explore any aspect of Obama's dark side. There is room for much optimism, however. If the ancient story of Narcissus and Echo plays itself out as Ovid recorded it, and Obama and the MSM are their contemporary counterparts, both will fade away in the not too distant future.
Narcissus did not fall in love with his own reflection by accident; he was thus cursed by Nemesis for his audacious mockery of others. As for Echo, it was her dishonesty and deception that caused Hera, queen of the gods, to curse her so that her body would dwindle away to a mere voice able only to echo the words of Narcissus.
Comparing the particulars of the original Narcissus and Echo tale to Obama and the MSM will spotlight for us the unnatural patterns of feeling and thinking currently operative in the latter pair, and help us see that they are similarly cursed. You can read Ovid's original story here, wherein you may glean some insight I may have missed.
Let's begin by comparing the curse on Echo with the curse on today's Mainstream Media.
Echo protected Zeus, as he ravished mountain nymphs, by lying to and distracting his wife, Hera. Echo's actions amounted to contrived deception.
The MSM has for years failed to report reality honestly, preferring instead to shamelessly promote the liberal agenda. Think of Dan Rather's classic contrived deception: his use of phony documents meant to undermine the character of President Bush.
Echo protected the immoral, self-serving appetite of Zeus. Caught presenting to Hera a false picture of reality, Echo drew down upon herself this curse: she lost the ability to initiate speech of her own.
The MSM, for protecting and disguising Obama's self-glorifying agenda, has drawn a similar curse upon itself. As part of the Fourth Estate, the MSM's duty is to act as an independent watchdog of the government. The power of a free press lies in its ability to disseminate truth and protect the public from government tyranny. But the MSM has become a mere public relations arm of the Obama administration, and in the process, has lost its powers of independent news presentation and analysis.
Echo, the curse of Hera upon her, became inflamed with a love for Narcissus akin to religious devotion. She yearned to "make soft prayers to him."
The MSM has likewise become Obama's adoring flatterer. Here we think of Chris Matthews feeling a "thrill run up [his] leg," as he became inflamed with passion for Obama. The curse on the MSM compels its members to report only on Obama's glorious, shallow image. The curse forbids them to report on his history, his associations, or his revealing gaffs. In short, the curse forbids the MSM to examine and report on the real Obama.
Echo, when she could contain her obsession for Narcissus no longer, came forth from the woods. Narcissus fled at her approach saying: "Hands off! embrace me not! May I die before I give you power oe'r me!" Echo, cursed for her deceit, could repeat only the last words of those who addressed her. She responded to Narcissus: "I give you power oe'r me!"
The MSM has echoed the same submissive sentiment to Obama, abandoning all claims to even a modicum of journalistic integrity. Cursed for its deceit, the MSM says to Obama, "I give you power oe'r me!" Narcissus is from the Greek, Narkissos, meaning narcotic or benumbing. That is the effect Narcissus had upon Echo, and that is precisely the effect Obama has on the MSM. Like Echo, the MSM no longer has a voice of its own.
Now let's compare the ancient curse on Narcissus with the modern curse that has made Obama a pathological narcissist.
Narcissus was a mocker, mocking Echo, other nymphs, and "the companies of men."
Obama is a mocker. His political career began in the home of America-mocker and domestic terrorist, William Ayers. He sat for twenty years under the tutelage of an America-mocking preacher, Jeremiah Wright. In Obama's mind, America was an immoral nation until he took over.
Narcissus, because he mocked others, drew upon himself the curse of becoming obsessed with his own reflection. Nemesis, goddess of retribution and enemy of the proud, led Narcissus to "a clear pool with silvery bright water." A thicket grew over the pool "that would never suffer the sun to warm the spot." In the shadows, Narcissus was smitten with his own reflection in the pool, a pool that lacked the direct light essential for his change and growth.
Obama may be clever, as all Narcissists are, but he is not an enlightened man. The enlightened man seeks truth. Obama craves adulation, his essential narcissistic supply. His cleverness and charm operate in the service of his pathology's foremost commandment: See me in the same grandiose way I see myself. The intertwined artificial thicket of atheists Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Saul Alinsky blocks the essential light that comes down from above, "from the Father of lights, in Whom there is no mutation or shadow from revolving motion" (James 1:17).
Narcissus, love-struck with the beautiful form he sees, "admires [that] for which he is himself admired. Unwittingly he desires himself; he praises, and is himself what he praises."
Obama, as a mocker, has drawn the curse of Narcissus upon himself. While he continues to mock America abroad and at home, he disassociates himself from what he mocks. America is bad. Obama, by his own self-proclaimed contrast, is good. America was bad for using harsh interrogation techniques on terrorists. Obama condemns it, and in his words, "takes the moral high ground." Obama thus "praises, and is himself what he praises." A sane president seeks to keep America safe, free, and prosperous in a dangerous world. Obama's impossible goal is to make the world one, to change it, to have its leaders and peoples join him in admiration for his shallow reflection.
Narcissus, cursed for his mockery, gazes into the pool of his vanity, and beholds there "a reflected form [which] has no substance of its own." It is also a backwards image. His right eye becomes his left eye, his left arm becomes his right arm, etc. He is not in love with himself, but with a backwards, two-dimensional reflection of himself.
Obama adores his own backwards reflection, and he sees the world through those backwards eyes. He should rebuke the two-bit dictators of Nicaragua and Venezuela; instead, he suffers insults from the one and embraces the other. He should meet the Saudi king man to man; instead, he bows to him. He should allow inefficient and corrupt businesses to fail; instead, he bails them out. He should protect national security secrets; instead, he reveals them to our enemies. Instead of affirming the importance of America's Judeo-Christian tradition, he marginalizes it. Obama's "hope and change" mantra "has no substance of its own."
Those are some intriguing parallels, are they not? The most important part of Ovid's story is Narcissus's statement that he would rather die than give Echo power over him. Narcissists bristle at the thought of subjection to anyone or anything other than the grandiose idolization of themselves, and they cannot tolerate criticism.
Our cause for optimism is in the story's ending. Echo wastes away until she becomes but a faint, hidden voice. If our present story works out the way it should, the biased MSM will all but waste away as well. Journalists true to their profession's principles will replace the Obama-enchanted ones. As hard economic and political realities hit home, those duped will snap out of a spell-binding curse that, in the end, even Ovid's Narcissus recognized as a charm and a delusion. The echoes of Obama's empty rhetoric that remain will be barely audible, drowned out by demands for truth and accountability.
What of Narcissus? Abandoned, without an Echo, he becomes distraught and pines away, utterly consumed by his passion for his image. Those who search for his body can find only his namesake Narcissus flower. Obama will also disappear from the scene, a pretender caught in a trap of his pride's own making. Those who search for his substance will not be able to find it. He will become the symbol and memory of a time when too many Americans lost their moral and spiritual bearings, abandoned foundational principles, and all-too-eagerly embraced "a reflected form which has no substance of its own."
Mr. Johnson is the author of "The Parthenon Code: Mankind's History in Marble," "Noah in Ancient Greek Art," and "Sowing Atheism." His Web sites are welfaregame.com and solvinglight.com.
Image by Richard Terrell. Visit Richard Terrell's website.