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NARCISSUS

Egotism is a trait of Norman Boutin that comes out very clearly in his interactions with people online, especially towards critics of his book. While there is nothing wrong with an author taking pride in their work or abilities, Norman's delusions go well beyond acceptable limits.

Narcissism Edit

According to the DSM-5,[1] traits of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder include:

  • "Ego-centrism; self-esteem derived from personal gain, power, or pleasure."
  • "Goal-setting based on personal gratification..."
  • "Lack of concern for feelings, needs, or suffering of others; lack of remorse after hurting or mistreating another."
  • "Incapacity for mutually intimate relationships, as exploitation is a primary means of relating to others, including by deceit and coercion; use of dominance or intimidation to control others."

Pathological traits include utilizing manipulation and deceit, and exhibiting callousness and hostility.

Many of these traits are seen in Norman Boutin's handling of critics, as well as his statements towards people elsewhere.

Perfection Edit

As the page regarding Norman's handling of criticism plainly shows, Norman Boutin believes that he is above any and all criticism and correction. He has openly called Empress Theresa the "greatest novel ever written,"[2] and has asked: "Can any novel measure up to a title like Empress Theresa?"[3] He even said to one critic, "Now, acknowledge that you couldn't write a book as original, complex, meaningful, and inspiring as Empress Theresa if you spent the rest of your life on it."[4]

Many professional authors find it hard to read their finished works because, in their mind, there is still much to change. In Norman Boutin's mind, however, he has surpassed any need for changes. In one instance, when a critic was reviewing the dialogue in one scene from the book, Norman replied: "I wrote that scene exactly as it should have been written, as always."[5] Another critic said to him, "You think you know it all and no matter what you believe you know everything and everyone else is wrong." Norman replied, "All of which is true. What's your point?"[6]

Norman has also applied this level of perfection to those readers who show an interest in his work. In an Amazon comment, he said of his readers: "I assume the reader is intelligent. He must be to have chosen my book to read."[7]

Self-Importance Edit

Norman Boutin often exhibits beliefs that he has greater reach or power than he truly has. For example, he once said in an Amazon comment, regarding facts about his book: "I may put them on my website sometime where thousands of people will read them, unlike this place where nobody comes."[8] Norman Boutin truly believes that his website has greater coverage than Amazon, one of the largest websites on the internet.

Even more astounding is how Norman Boutin presumes that his book is greater than many literary classics that have stood the test of time. He's openly stated that a teen would prefer to read Empress Theresa than Animal Farm,[9] as well as other classic books like Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Gone With the Wind.[10] He's gone so far as to suggest that Empress Theresa should be part of high school English classes:

I've noticed that on lists of books assigned to high school English classes, lists collected by academic services,  among the books read in class are such stories as George Orwell's 1984, Orwell's Animal Farm, and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. A 16 year old high school girl a few miles from here read 1984 in her school. Really?  I'm astonished!  How infinitely more interesting and entertaining the students would have found Empress Theresa.[11]

Norman has also drawn parallels between Empress Theresa and more well known books or works of literature. For example, he compared the ending of Empress Theresa with the beginning of the Gettysburg Address and the concluding lines of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.[12]

Norman Boutin will even criticize published and well recognized authors. For example, he regularly puts down Stephen King's books and has called them "trash."[13] While it is perfectly fine for someone to have a negative opinion of a popular author's work, it's quite clear that Norman Boutin intends to bash Stephen King while at the same time praising his own work, hence suggesting that the author of several best selling books is a hack compared to Empress Theresa.

Norman has also claimed that Charles Dickens[14] and William Shakespeare,[15] had they read Empress Theresa, would have loved the book. Even more interesting is Norman's use of the past tense in one of those posts ("...as Shakespeare would say when he read and loved my book..."); this use of the past tense and present tense together is often employed by God in regards to His eternal being.[16]

In addition to writing, Norman Boutin has spoken highly of his artwork, considering it far better than the artwork of others. This was seen in his exchange over at the website Lousy Book Covers.

Nathan, That is not the latest cover. It is the KINDLE edition cover which hasn’t been updated yet ( except in the KINDLE Store ) The latest cover can be seen in the Paperback version. The sky is a darker blue than in the version you showed. In any case, you didn’t put it up at the head of the thread where it should be and where it would be seen by people. I knew you wouldn’t. It would make your sad cover designs look ridiculous. Latest cover design can be seen on empresstheresa.com,[17]

One strange incident showing just how important Norman seems to think of himself involved a brief post on Catholic Answers Forum. In the post, he quoted from Psalm 23 (the famous "The Lord is my shepherd" psalm)...and attributed it to Empress Theresa.[18] This would be like Ray Bradbury referring to the original quote "Something wicked this way comes" and attributing it to his book by the same name, rather than the original line from Shakespeare's Macbeth, from which he got the line. Hence not only does Norman falsely attribute that quotation to his own book as the original source, but, inadvertently, he places the Bible on the same level as his book. It doesn't help that in another situation Norman said "all wisdom is found in Empress Theresa"[19] - a trait that Christian faithful apply only about the Bible.

Delusions of Grandeur Edit

As seen above, Norman Boutin has stated that he believes Empress Theresa deserves to be part of required reading at all high schools. He has told others with absolute certainty that their daughters would read Empress Theresa, as it would be required reading in Catholic high schools everywhere.[20]

He has likewise claimed there would be an "Oscar-winning Empress Theresa movie."[21] Not only that, but he believes it will have "multiple Oscar nominations," not only for best picture but for best actress, best supporting actor (two characters will be nominated, in fact!), best screenplay, best set design, best cinematography, and best special effects.[22] Norman has even stated that his "real objective is that the book be made into a movie," which he believes will be "an instant hit, an eye popping spectacle," adding, "If the movie is made and made well I don't care if nobody but the movie producer reads the book."[23]

In response to critic TL Knighton, who had been publisher of The Albany Journal, Norman replied: "So you took a dying newspaper out of print and put in on the internet? Well, that’s a great accomplishment! Who will remember it twenty years from now? Empress Theresa will be remembered forever."[24] In the same response, Norman states that "quotes from the book will be part of the vernacular."

Omniscience Edit

A common criticism against Empress Theresa and Norman Boutin's rants is that he covers a wide array of topics (religion, politics, government agencies, etc.) and yet exhibits very little working knowledge of how they operate, or how they would work in a certain situation. A variety of situations are full of plotholes when compared to how such situations would actually operate in real life (eg., guards permitting Theresa to lug a bag of coke bottles around up to her execution), while the solutions given for certain dilemmas make absolutely no sense (eg., all of Israel leaving their homeland).

Whenever questions of definitions or technicalities come up, Norman almost always defers to himself as the expert, and his self-imposed standards as the be-all-end-all. This ties in very closely to his loose grip on reality.

All of this is especially interesting given that Norman admitted in an interview that he did barely any research in writing the book:

I didn’t have to do research. It was all in my head. Of course I looked up a few facts like the amount of gold in Fort Knox, the tectonic source of Antarctica, and the density of xenon, but 99.9% of the story came out of my memory.[25]

Omnipotence Edit

Norman believes that he has a power to defeat his enemies, or bring about their destruction. He often makes subtle threats or promises of vengeance, backed either by a plan he has, or some accomplishment he thinks he's achieved. Oftentimes he claims his constant responses to critics are in fact victories against them, saying he is trashing internet trolls.[26]

On Catholic Answers Forum, Norman mentioned a "university curriculum coordinator" who supposedly liked the book, and declared to three critics "your days are numbered."[27] He said to one of the critics in a follow up post: "Next Fall, the next school year, all the trash you've written here, on TVtropes, and on Amazon will exposed for the trash it is. You credibility will go down the toilet."[28] This was written in April of 2014 - needless to say, nothing happened, the story of the curriculum coordinator has since been called into question, and nobody's reputation has been harmed, save for Norman Boutin's.

In an Amazon comment, Norman declared that he had "a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious idea," and that when his idea was implemented it would "be a sad day for internet trolls." He then quoted The Shawshank Redemption with "His judgement cometh and that right soon."[29] This turned out to be nothing more than an "author's review" posted on his website,[30] which constituted little more than a rehash of things he had said on Amazon and elsewhere. Despite the fact most people just laughed at this, Norman declared that his review had "made this Amazon page the house of pain for the internet trolls."[31]

Inability to Understand Other People Edit

Norman Boutin also illustrates that he has a lack of understanding about humans, seeming to believe that one's occupation is the sum total of a person. This is first apparent in his contrast of University Curriculum Coordinator and Janitor Woman, where he matter of factly notes that these are two women with very diverse backgrounds, while actually providing nothing regarding that background.

A short time later, while defending the idea of a low-income individual being a reader, Norman recounts a story of a "human resources worker" having difficulty with big words as proof that even intelligent people could have difficulty with large words.

These assertions was then followed by comments following a critic mentioning that Theresa was not an easy character to relate to. In this matter, Norman responded by saying:

Theresa is not a prima donna ballerina, real estate mogul, billionaire's daughter, Secretary of State, Olympic gold medelists, or any other of those walks of life that litter romance novels in order to give the book glamour. Theresa has no job at all. She's a student. People can relate to that.[32]

Once again, Norman Boutin points to a person's occupation (Theresa being a student) as the sum total of an individual, as if all students can and should be able to relate to one another.

These instances combine to give a picture of Boutin as someone who doesn't understand humanity in any meaningful way. By giving various characters different jobs, he may feel that he's creating new and unique characters, while readers who recognize the various differences individuals can bring to the exact same role in society see the characters as two-dimensional.

Unfortunately, it's essential that a writer understand people. They must understand their motivations, their reactions, when they act rationally and when they act irrationally in order to craft a story that resonates with people. Norman's inability to do so may explain many of the criticisms of Empress Theresa.

Norman was challenged on this and asked a direct question as to whether he sees people solely as their occupations. After repeatedly dodging the question, the critic said that failure to answer would be taken as an affirmative[33]. Norman followed up with an accusation that the critic was trying to deflect away from an argument he "won".[34]

References Edit

  1. http://www.psi.uba.ar/academica/carrerasdegrado/psicologia/sitios_catedras/practicas_profesionales/820_clinica_tr_personalidad_psicosis/material/dsm.pdf
  2. http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=10397351&postcount=27
  3. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx5SH5QID420O3&cdMsgNo=611&cdPage=62&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx5SH5QID420O3
  4. https://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx27OO0EYCA8VTO&cdMsgNo=6048&cdPage=605&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx27OO0EYCA8VTO
  5. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx32GSLCTZYM6Q6&cdMsgNo=886&cdPage=89&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx32GSLCTZYM6Q6
  6. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx2PRPGFQVAXSF8&cdMsgNo=932&cdPage=94&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx2PRPGFQVAXSF8
  7. https://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx3UKGXDEBED01N&cdMsgNo=6095&cdPage=610&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx3UKGXDEBED01N
  8. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx1RUQXDOIRY6D8&cdMsgNo=6&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx1RUQXDOIRY6D8
  9. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=MxCYJ48UOOXMZO&cdMsgNo=19&cdPage=2&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#MxCYJ48UOOXMZO
  10. http://tlknighton.com/?p=4972
  11. http://empresstheresa.com/
  12. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx254ZL9FGX1WUA&cdMsgNo=691&cdPage=70&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx254ZL9FGX1WUA
  13. http://www.hashkafah.com/index.php?/topic/71924-empress-theresa-helps-israel-evacuate/page-13#entry1642510
  14. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx32AHCG3A8H8BM&cdMsgNo=509&cdPage=51&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx32AHCG3A8H8BM
  15. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx194KQX1EQIUS7&cdMsgNo=513&cdPage=52&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx194KQX1EQIUS7
  16. John 8:58
  17. http://lousybookcovers.com/?p=11633#more-11633
  18. http://50.22.108.14/showpost.php?p=8864734&postcount=4
  19. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx254ZL9FGX1WUA&cdMsgNo=691&cdPage=70&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx254ZL9FGX1WUA
  20. http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=11853819&postcount=66
  21. http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=11855188&postcount=72
  22. http://www.writingforums.com/threads/137382-Empress-Theresa-it-s-on-Amazon-KINDLE?p=1612827&viewfull=1#post1612827
  23. http://www.writingforums.com/threads/137382-Empress-Theresa-it-s-on-Amazon-KINDLE?p=1612944&viewfull=1#post1612944
  24. http://tlknighton.com/?p=4972#comment-596
  25. http://www.catholicfiction.net/blog/there-s-a-world-to-save-an-interview-with-catholic-novelist-norman-boutin.php
  26. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx254ZL9FGX1WUA&cdMsgNo=691&cdPage=70&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx254ZL9FGX1WUA
  27. http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=11857306&postcount=73
  28. http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=11858837&postcount=75
  29. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx2G4DD50E4UI7C&cdMsgNo=572&cdPage=58&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx2G4DD50E4UI7C
  30. http://www.empresstheresa.com/authors_review
  31. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx3HK519CXDPMUP&cdMsgNo=622&cdPage=63&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx3HK519CXDPMUP
  32. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx3UFO6WX013EOA&cdMsgNo=718&cdPage=72&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx3UFO6WX013EOA
  33. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=Mx17A6YONS80889&cdMsgNo=737&cdPage=74&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#Mx17A6YONS80889
  34. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1U460R88DR2E2/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00MJPIX26&cdForum=Fx32NQR1MUHPCVO&cdMsgID=MxAKX5H5H1N6U0&cdMsgNo=738&cdPage=74&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQA03WM82RZXF&store=digital-text#MxAKX5H5H1N6U0

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