Manufacturing Narcissism as a Marketing Device


Directed by Max Clifford (2009)

Film Review

Starsuckers is a disturbing British documentary about the deliberate creation of narcissistic personality by the corporate media as a marketing device. It explores scientific research showing that we (all of us) are hard wired to have an irresistible attraction to celebrity and how the media uses this to manipulate us.

The film particularly emphasizes the rise of reality TV over the last decade and its replacement of drama, comedy, variety and other formats. By endlessly making so-called “ordinary” people into celebrities, the corporate media convinces us (young people especially) that true happiness lies in the entertainment industry – but only if we purchase the right products.

Studies among teenagers show a clear increase in narcissistic traits that directly correlate with the amount of TV they watch. This has led a number of psychologists to call for a total ban on TV advertising to children under 12 and strict limits on advertising directed towards teenagers.

The filmmakers conclude that the best way to improve our mental health – and that of our kids – is to reduce or totally eliminate TV viewing.


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