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Narcissism of Las Vegas Nowadays Essay

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Updated: Nov 26th, 2021


Las Vegas through the eyes of Twenge and Campbell can be seen as the epicentre of narcissism in modern day; its glamorous and flashy appearance is only the distorted reflection of narcissism’s truly destructive nature. The paper shall look at the symptoms and harm caused by this very phenomenon.

Excesses in Vegas and in the rest of the country

The excesses in Vegas epitomize this very concept because they represent what occurs throughout the entire country in a smaller scale. In fact, Twenge and Campbell (36) assert that narcissism is an epidemic which can be reflected in individuals and also in society at large. The authors refer to a series of statistics that support their assertions regarding the existence of a narcissistic epidemic in the country. For instance, they claim that studies carried after the year 2005 indicate that a tenth of all persons in the country who are below the age of thirty have encountered the narcissistic personality disorder –which is a psychological disorder emanating from narcissism. This clearly indicates that there is a problem within the population. Narcissistic individuals have overinflated egos and are too confident in themselves. (Theodore, 58) In the long run, they usually end up indulging in excesses that cause their ruin. (Golomb, 139) Such elements are quite visible in Las Vegas. One only has to look at the mortgage mayhem in this state to see how it is related to the general narcissistic trend in the entire country.

Recent reports indicate that Las Vegas has become a cause for alarm in the housing sector. Real estate analysts assert that it is largely because the loans applicable in Vegas were subject to much high rates once defaulted than the usual mortgage fixed rate loans. (Les, 9) Some zips in Las Vegas have recorded about seven hundred and forty one fillings while others about six hundred and sixty five. When all these foreclosures are added up then this translates into an overwhelming number of house losses. It is vey interesting to note that these high numbers were not propagated by poor economic conditions in the state (on the contrary, Vegas has a vey strong economic base) but the terms of the purchase were the problem. Most home owners wanted to take advantage of the rising housing prices. They thought that once they started paying up their mortgage charges for a few years, then the value of their houses would continue going up and this would allow them to change their mortgage loan to more affordable ones. Such individuals had overstretched their capabilities and when the house prices did not go up (they instead dropped very quickly) the home owners eventually lost their houses. This over ambitiousness and greed is a sign of an extensive belief in the self; a symptom that is exclusive to narcissistic individuals. Similarly, the rest of the US population is also undergoing the same. (Adler, 16) Studies reveal that in this year, one in about three hundred and fifty seven individuals was facing the danger of mortgage foreclosure. Like Twenge and Campbell (36) argue, the narcissistic phenomenon may seem positive at first glance but in the long run, its detrimental effects start showing. (Mitchell & Greenberg, 135) They explain that the US population is now grappling with foreclosures because of its easy credit regime. Here, people could live in fancy houses and pretend to be rich even when they were not. When reality sunk in, foreclosure became a huge wake up call on their part.

Plastic surgery and augmentation in the rest of the country can be likened to the extravagant designs prevalent within Las Vegas. In “The Narcissism epidemic” the authors claim that a substantial number of individuals within the nation are now resorting to plastic surgery in order to enhance their looks. The term Narcissism stems from the Greek myth of Narcissus. The latter was a river god who had been approached by several suitors but sent them all away. Narcissus one day felt very thirsty and knelt down to drink from a nearby pool. As he was doing so he saw his reflection and fell in love it. This individual became obsessed with his image and could no longer think of anything else. However with time, Narcissus realised that his reflection was not responding in kind. It could not reach out and love him back. Out of frustration, he decided to end his misery by committing suicide. (Lowen, 15) Tragically, many narcissists epitomise the trend of the Greek god; so many of them are so preoccupied with their looks that they resort to extreme measures in order to enhance themselves. The common citizenry can be seen going for breast implants, face lists, nose jobs and the like just so that they can fuel this obsession with themselves. Such symptoms provide testament to the existence of narcissism. (Roninstam, 204)

Similarly, these extreme measures can also be found in Vegas. One only has to look at its physical environments to see the similarities. Las Vegas is full of extravagant house designs. For instance, when one walks across a street in Las Vegas Nevada known as Rue de la Paix, one finds a series of structures that are synonymous with an extravagant lifestyle. For instance, there are buildings that have exteriors synonymous to a palace. Gondolas are prevalent to transport individuals from one shopping mall to another in water canals, some meeting joints have decorated gold leaf and marble on all surfaces. (Sway, 1)There is so much that denotes the ‘spectacular lifestyle’ in this City. However, when one critically examines the people that visit there or live there, one can find that there is excessive self indulgence. People spend extravagant amounts in order to make themselves feel below this testifying that narcissism is really at work here. (Lyon, par 13)

Negative effects of narcissism in Las Vegas are similar to those in the US

All the negative effects of narcissism in America can be compared to the negative effects of this phenomenon in Las Vegas as well. For instance the intensity of environmental degradation in Las Vegas is comparable to environmental destruction in the rest of the country. A study carried out in Macau – which is a City found in Japan but with traits so similar to Las Vegas that it has been identified by this name found that there were substantial levels of environmental pollution in this area. For instance, it was identified that solid waste disposal, water supply, noise prevention, air quality, environmental management and poor conservation were all common problems in this area. (Yu, 667)This was because of the excessive gambling and tourism that was inherent in the City. The latter study can be applied to the real Las Vegas because it has more or less the same characteristics; tourists tend to go to Vegas because of the gambling opportunities available to them and this overindulgence is harming the environment.

Similarly, the United States is also confronted with the problem of environmental destruction. In fact, recent statistics show that the country is the second highest emitter of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and is therefore one of the biggest contributors to global warming. (Adam & Vidal, 34) Besides that, it has also been shown that the country’s animal and plant species are diminishing. For instance the mega fauna, bald eagle and the passenger pigeons are just some of the tragic examples of this phenomenon of overconsumption and under preservation. Deforestation has been a cause for concern throughout the nation. Eighty six percent of all the fuel consumed in the country is obtained from fossil fuels. Also, the United States is regarded as the greatest emitter of hazardous solid wastes as it has been asserted that every individual is responsible for approximately seven hundred and sixty kilograms of waste. All these serve to cause pollution within the country’s perimeters as a substantial portion of the land is now being turned in landfills. Clearly, overconsumption results in production of greater pollutants and this will eventually harm the whole global environment. There is a need to acknowledge the fact that narcissism which causes people to want to purchase unnecessary things is the root cause of all these environmental degradation. (Grunberger, 139)

When looking at the negative effects of narcissism, the authors of “the narcissism epidemic” claim that this phenomenon often causes individuals to be so ruthless, or amoral in their day to day dealings that they will stop at nothing to get what they want/ on other words, a narcissist is a survivor who only thinks of short term pleasure at the expense of others. These individuals tend to change their personas depending on the situation at hand. (Vaknn (b), 34) For example, when one needs to be interactive in a social gathering, a narcissist will appear charming because this is what suits him at the moment. On the other hand, in the event that a narcissist requires a material item, then that person will engage in robbery, burglary or any other form of theft in order to fuel their self indulgent egos. (Vaknin(c), 205)

The United States has recorded some of the highest crime rates in the world because people tend to be interested in getting what they want even when this entails breaking the law. An examination of Las Vegas also shows a more exaggerated trend of crime. Las Vegas has an influx of about five thousand new people every single month. Most of these people come to Vegas in order to make fast cash and then go back to their original homes. The problem with such a mentality is that a number of people tend to rely on gambling for these overnight successes yet some of them do not necessarily think of the consequences of those actions. The criminal justice system in Las Vegas is overwhelmed by these reports and has therefore responded very poorly to some of the reports made by victims. In fact, some Las Vegas stakeholders have asserted that this could be the reason behind the alleged lower crime rates. (PRN, 54)However, the numbers are still quite alarming. Shown below is a summary of some of the statistics:

Theft Motor vehicle theft Burglary
Reported Las Vegas 29, 575 16,723 14, 320
Rate per thousand –Las Vegas 61.79 33.81 29.9
Reported United States 6, 777, 807 1,235,326 2, 154, 128
Rate per thousand in United States 22.86 4.17 7.27

As it can be seen, the rates in Las Vegas are much higher than the national average and this can been explained by overindulgence and narcissism within this federal state.

Narcissism is the trend and epicentre in Las VeGas

Twenge and Campbell (3) define narcissism as the process of having an inflated sense of self. This is usually witnessed when the concerned individual thinks of oneself as being unique and special and when that person assumes that they are entitled to all the good things in life even when this is at the expense of others. Sometimes, narcissists may deceive others by appearing more sociable and influential. However, after a critical analysis, it is possible to see why there is more to them tan meets the eye. More often than not, these individuals are usually after nursing their self esteem and when they realise that doing so may not be easy then they may resort to extreme measures – for instance, they can steal, hurt or lie to others to have their way. (Vaknin(a), 12)

All the latter traits can be witnessed within the Las Vegas scene and also in the rest of the country. For instance, mortgages had an initial appeal to narcissists at the beginning of the housing boom despite their enormous risks. Narcissists wanted to bask in the glory of owning their homes and appearing well-off to their colleagues. Eventually this culminated in a series of mortgage foreclosures as witnessed in Las Vegas’ high foreclosure rates and also in the rest of the country. Overconfidence and greed are critical components of both the subprime mortgage crisis as well as a narcissistic culture. Besides that, plastic surgery and extravagant house designs are aesthetically pleasing. Nonetheless, these benefits only serve to fulfil the inner desire to become more interesting or more special. (Guntrip, 34)This yearning can never be fully overcome and it eventually perpetuates a cycle of self destruction. Plastic surgery has caused a series of complications to well known celebrities such as the late Michael Jackson.

Issues of environmental degradation are also a result of self indulgence because overconsumption of resources leads to the creation of immense waste and this eventually affects the environment. All these negative environmental traits are epitomised in Las Vegas and they represent what goes on in the rest of the country as well.


Through the use of examples and statistics, it has been demonstrated that both positive and negative trends happening in Vegas are also happening on a much smaller scale throughout America. These comparisons exhibit the characteristics of Twenge and Campbell’s idea of narcissism. Therefore, we can say that Vegas is the epicentre of this modern shift towards a narcissistic society.


Twenge, J.M. and W. K. Campbell. The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. New York: Free Press, 2009

Sway, Roxanna. “Las Vegas: Extravagance personified.” Display and design ideas (2005).

Lyon, Lindsay. Why are there so many narcissists today?, 2009. Web.

Adler, Lynn. US foreclosures near peak record in late 2009, 2009 Retrieved 14th November 2009 from http://www.reuters.com/USTRE5890VR20090910

Christie, Les. Las Vegas tops the foreclosure list, 2008. Web.

FBI. US cities by crime, 2007. Web.

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Mitchell, Stephen & Greenberg, Jay. Objective relations through psychoanalytic theory. Cambridge: Harvard University press, 2003

Guntrip, Harry. Human interaction and personality structure. NY: International Universities Publishers, 1999

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