The need to represent oneself is universal and has been implemented since the stone carvings of the cavemen until the invention of the photography and the cinema. We all know how the movie industry is an essential part of the American cultural history, like we know how prevalent it has been the world over for nearly a century now.
Like Narcissus contemplating his image in the water of the river, don’t the movies made in the
US act like a mirror which permits to reflect herself on the screen and offers the world the image of how she wants to be seen and perceived? This would then be an “illustration” of the miror stage of Jacques Lacan which enables the child to realize the unity of his/her body. America
This urge to represent herself is all the more enhanced with the quasi obsessional need to display the national flag in oh so many movies and TV series, like a transitional object, as if America had an existential need to permanently assert both her identity and her legitimacy.
Now, what is Narcissism but the inner conviction to be at the centre of the world? And is it pushing the barriers too far to suggest the strength of the American movie industry may have another, deeper and unavowed meaning, that of a fundamental insecurity regarding her very being?
The painting is “Narcissus” by Caravagio (1599)