Exploiting My Baby* *Because It's Exploiting Me

Jon & Kate + 8 = schadengosselinfreude

General StuffTeresa Strasser36 Comments


Look at me, look at me, look at me.

Dr. Drew says Kate Gosselin is nuuuuts.

Ok, he has no comment on Kate, but it’s fun to connect the dots. More on that later.

At first I thought our communal obsession with Jon & Kate was just a simple case of schadenfreude. They put their lives on display and now it’s “Ha, ha. Little Miss post your husband’s favorite biblical verses on your website is in a little imbroglio.” She wanted us to watch her every move, she needed us to soak up her lectures on raising a brood of baby miracles, she craved our gaze, needed us to validate and celebrate her gauzy, TLC-ified daily life of maternal heroism. And now we get to watch her fall. Sweet.

Because we are human, I theorized, we simply delight in her pain. Now I’m thinking all of this probably hurts so good.We may relish the suffering of others and thus embrace Jon and Kate hate, but that doesn’t mean that where Kate is concerned, there is any actual suffering.  I’m starting to wonder if in the bang-covered eyes of Kate Gosselin, Jon’s alleged cheating and the country’s newly intensified obsession with her, just turns up the heat on the saucepan of spotlight to which she probably feels she is entitled. And the bubbling feels just about right.

In their 2006 study on narcissism, Drew Pinsky and Mark Young found that celebrities from reality television score the highest on the Narcissistic Personality 
Inventory (NPI). Pinsky posits that reality show producers purposely select subjects with psychological problems, because they will bring extra crazy to the proceedings. You combine a possible pre-existing mental condition with multiples, and you’ve got a massive cable hit that mingles the thrill of observing someone with a personality disorder with American’s new favorite genre, fertility porn.

So, based on Dr. Drew’s findings about reality stars, it’s likely that Kate entered her reality TV life as a full-fledged narcissist, a state not so much characterized by self-love, he says, as by self-loathing and emptiness (wait, remind me to take that NPI thingy). And in that context, being on the cover of every tabloid and weekly magazine is probably not as jarring for her as it might be for say, Elizabeth Edwards.

To see one frame of Kate is to recognize that attention is her oxygen, and that as unpleasant as this infidelity scandal may be, it is filling her lungs with a full breath of the good shit.