Generous narcissism

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


In 2013, scholar Mehron Abdollmohammadi coined the phrase “generous narcissism” to describe a kind of self-expression they’d observed in online queer communities: “a generous practice of mutual and excessive attention that worries excess… a becoming-self, a care for the self that recognizes and celebrates the strength of the slippage between self, image, and other… fashioning, from the refuse of culture, tools with which to navigate the crippling distance between one’s sense of self and the vehicle of self, the body.”

I thought about generous narcissism last night, watching Lorde sing, watching 20,000 people quote the crushing chorus of “Liability” back to her. The comedian Rachel Bloom does a bit on her TV show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, where she strides out in a ballgown, greets a crowd of screaming fans, and belts out, “You ruined eeeeeeeeverything, you stupid bitch! Bitch! You’re a stupid bitch! And lose some weight!” Lorde doing “Liability” is, like, a hair’s breadth removed from “You Stupid Bitch,” conceptually; a kind of “self-indulgent self-loathing,” to use Bloom’s words. There’s this perverse sense of belonging and warmth and tenderness that comes from being driven back upon oneself, breaking the fuck down, and hearing me, hearing same, hearing big mood.

Post external references

  1. 1