The Mel Gibson tapes reveal that once-adored actor is the absolute definition of a narcissist, writes David Brooks. His "self-love" is all that matters, "the holy center of all that is sacred and right." In listening to Gibson rage at his girlfriend, who dared to not revere him, "it is striking how morally righteous he is, without ever bothering to explain what exactly she has done wrong," Brooks writes in the New York Times. "It is striking how quickly he reverts to the vocabulary of purity and disgust."
The bigger problem, however, is that Gibson is not alone. We live in an increasingly narcissistic world, an age in which "self-branding is on the ascent and the culture of self-effacement is on the decline," he writes. So keep listening to those tapes. "These days it pays to be a student of excessive self-esteem, if only to understand the world around."