Narcissism Expert Analyzes Trump's Tweets About the Oscars: He Wants to Be Respected by Hollywood (Guest Column)

Illustration by Eddie Guy

Along with "fake news" and "low-life leakers," the Academy Awards have been the target of some of Donald Trump's most withering tweets. The author of 'The Narcissism Epidemic' suspects that behind the bluster is a yearning to be taken seriously by Tinseltown.

Donald Trump is not an idiot. I know some people see him that way — sitting in the White House, firing off angry tweets because he's crazy. And maybe he is half crazy, but he's half genius, too.

When I began reviewing the tweets he's sent out regarding the entertainment industry, I expected they would be a lot of people tweeting "You suck" at him, and Trump tweeting back, "You suck more." But he surprised me. The narcissism and the ego are definitely there, of course, but I'm seeing Trump as a Hollywood geek. He's very into stagecraft. He has strong opinions about set design and production.

He thinks he has some expertise for putting on shows — maybe as a result of Celebrity Apprentice and the Miss Universe Pageant — and he's giving what he thinks is good feedback in his usual hostile and hyperbolic way. Like this one: "They should have allowed applause during the TRIBUTE to the departed — Really bad production. Bette Midler sucked!" I read that and thought, Did a teenager get hold of your Twitter feed? And yet, there's a precision to that tweet. He has a very strong viewpoint as to how that segment of the Oscars telecast should have played out.

This is pure speculation, but I get the impression that Trump feels he's not respected enough by Hollywood. He seems to be saying, "I've been doing this a long time. I'm in show business, too. Why doesn't anybody want my opinion?"

If you look beyond his tweets, he seems to look at the world in terms of production values — for instance, his comment that the generals in his cabinet are straight out of central casting.

The most surprising aspect for me, though, is that some of his tweets show a very human side. Remember the ones in which he counseled Robert Pattinson not to get back together with Kristen Stewart? He sounded like he was trying to mentor Robert. He actually seemed sincere. Crazy, I know.

Campbell is a professor of psychology at the University of Georgia and co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic.

See some of Trump's Oscar tweets below. For a full roundup, click here.