The other night I watched the movie Welcome to Me on Netflix. I’d never heard of it before, but it stars Kristin Wiig (I love her), and the premise sounded right up my alley: “When Alice Klieg wins the Mega-Millions lottery, she immediately quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show” (from IMDB).
What a good choice this was for me! Notice, I did not say what a good movie this was. It had a simple plot with little to no character development and was basically a chance for Kristin Wiig to do and say outrageous things… and I enjoyed every minute of it.
In the movie, Alice Klieg has an extreme version of borderline personality disorder, which makes her inappropriately emotional, impulsive, and narcissistic. She buys her own talk show with her lottery winnings and calls it “Welcome to Me.”
“I come out in a swan boat,” she says, explaining her vision to the producer (played by Wes Bently). “And then I talk about myself.”
The talk show includes cooking segments, dog castrations, and re-enactments of injustices that have happened in Alice’s life such as “Someone’s Been Tampering with My Make-Up Bag.” It is a magnificently awkward, insane, and self-absorbed spectacle.
Of course, the funny thing about Welcome to Me is Alice’s never-ending narcissism. She honestly thinks that viewers at home want to watch two hours of her eating meatloaf cake, arguing on the phone with her mother, and re-enacting the time she pretended to drown. “Come with me,” she says, riding a bike across the stage, “into another time that happened to me.”
“Oh my gosh,” we think. “Who would do that? She’s so crazy.”
But is she? Don’t we all do this?
Because I got to thinking, wait a minute, I sort of have my own “Welcome to Me.” For over three years now I’ve been writing a blog about things that happened to me. Oh sure, I throw in some stuff about writing, just like Alice does her cooking segment, but really… isn’t this entire blog just me talking about myself?
The Internet and social media have made us into a society of narcissists. Or, more likely, we always were narcissists and now we have the means to indulge in it. I wonder sometimes if I should stop indulging — get off facebook and Twitter, stop writing my blog. If I stopped, would anyone miss me? There are thousands of other blogs out there in which people talk about themselves. I’m not special. (Or, as I’ve heard it said, “I’m special, just like everyone else.”)
Anyway, in the movie Welcome to Me, Alice’s talk show does better in the ratings than expected. And though my blog is nowhere near mainstream, I do have readers. I guess if you put yourself out into the world, there will be at least a few people who want to hear the special things you have to say.
I’ve been listening to a ton of new podcasts lately, and a lot of them, like StartUp, Radio Diaries, and How to Be a Girl, are essentially “Welcome to Me” podcasts because they are people talking about themselves. But I enjoy them because they are interesting people with interesting things to say. In StartUp, Alex Blumberg chronicles the humbling process of starting his own business; in How to Be a Girl, a mom describes having a transgender daughter.
On the one hand, I worry that we’re all being too narcissistic (myself certainly included). But on the other hand, isn’t it wonderful that we now have ways to share our thoughts and experiences, and hear the stories of others?
I guess I’ll keep my blog. But I’ll hold off on the swan boat for now.