What Type is David Sedaris, Irreverent Comedian, Humorist?

David Sedaris

David Sedaris

David Sedaris, born in 1956, was brought up in North Carolina and lives with his partner in England. He was first brought to my attention in 1992 on National Public Radio with his SantaLand Diaries, describing the time he worked as Santa’s elf during Christmas at Macy’s in New York. I thought I’d never stop laughing.

Sedaris has been publishing essays and short stories since 1994. He’s sold millions and millions of copies of his books. He’s funny and familiar, outrageous, imaginative, and irreverent. So what Enneagram type is he? His type seems to jumps around the way a monkey jumps around… from the witty Questioner, for sure, to the quick Adventurer, for sure, to the comfortable Peace Seeker, who grew up in a family of six children and has a natural feeling for chattiness and a kind of homeyness. With an overlay of the Asserter for shock and surprise.

5-6-7-8 all in a row make up the anti-authoritarian right side of the Enneagram. He could be a 7 with 6 and 8 wings or an 8 with 7 and 9 wings. But he’s more likely to be a 6 with a 7 wing who goes to his 9 arrow (with the 7 and 9 leaking over into the 8). He’s prolific too, so perhaps he gets his ability to work hard from 6 going to his 3 arrow.

Enneagram figure

Enneagram figure

Sedaris was a contributor to Ira Glass’ This American Life and wrote several plays with his sister, Amy Sedaris.

Some quotes:

“It’s astonishing the amount of time that certain straight people devote to gay sex – trying to determine what goes where and how often. They can’t imagine any system outside their own, and seem obsessed with the idea of roles, both in bed and out of it. Who calls whom a bitch? Who cries harder when the cat dies? Which one spends the most time in the bathroom? I guess they think that it’s that cut-and-dried, though of course it’s not. Hugh might do the cooking, and actually wear an apron while he’s at it, but he also chops the firewood, repairs the hot-water heater, and could tear off my arm with no more effort than it takes to uproot a dandelion.”
― David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed in Flames

At the morgue, people were so desensitized that they would eat lunch in the glass walled room adjacent to the autopsy room. A viewing room. Because it had the best air conditioning in the building. So they would eat in there and maybe somebody would come in who had been found after being dead for three days and they would say: That is the exact purple I want for those drapes in the study. They didn’t miss a beat. They could eat through anything. DAVID SEDARIS, January Magazine, June 2000
In books and movies infidelity always looks so compelling, so right. Here are people who defy petty convention and are rewarded with only the tastiest bits of human experience. DAVID SEDARIS, When You Are Engulfed in Flames
I am a person who feels guilty for crimes I have not committed, or have not committed in years. The police search the train station for a serial rapist and I cover my face with a newspaper, wondering if maybe I did it in my sleep. The last thing I stole was an eight-track tape, but to this day I’m unable to enter a store without feeling like a shoplifter. It’s all the anxiety with none of the free stuff.
DAVID SEDARIS, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

For more Famous Types, see my list on my web site.

Carne Ross, from UK Diplomat to OWS Proponent

Carne Ross

Carne Ross

I don’t know his Enneagram type, but I like his story.

I think of him in a similar category to Richard Alan Clarke, former counter-terrorism czar, who tried to warn Bush before 9/11 and was ignored. Then he insisted Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 so we should not go to war against Iraq and was ignored again. He left the Bush administration in 2003.

Carne Ross (born in 1966) was one of only two British diplomats who resigned over the 2003 Iraq War. He left the civil service in Britain in 2004.

Naturally competitive, Ross dreamed of becoming an international diplomat. When he took the British foreign service exam he was one of 20 out of 5,000 who were accepted.  He joined the Foreign Office and worked at the UK embassy in Bonn, Germany, then as the expert on the Middle East for the UK in the United Nations.

Ross worked on the Security Council resolution rewriting the Iraq policy and establishing the weapons inspection body. He negotiated the resolution for the UK that established the security force in Afghanistan.

Now Carne Ross runs the first non-profit diplomatic advisory group, Independent Diplomat, from New York City. It advises governments and political groups.

As a member of the elite of the Foreign Office, Ross had been on his way toward his goal, ambassadorship, before he resigned. Once Ross had been a strong force for British policy. Then, he said, “I found myself seriously doubting the rightness of what we were doing—… above all the pretenses and disconnection from the reality of what we were trying to arbitrate. Because the one major absentee in all of our discussions was the Iraqi people themselves. I was the British lead on Iraq negotiating international law on hard-core issues of national security like how to deal with weapons of mass destruction or how to respond to Al-Qaeda after 9/11. I was catapulted to a position with real power, influence and status.”

Excerpt of Ross’ article Occupy Wall Street and a New Politics for a Disorderly World in The Nation on February 7, 2012:

“…This [OWS] is a politics of the many for the many, rather than that of a small clique of elected representatives, co-opted by the powerful few. It requires patience and work, as the Occupiers of Zuccotti Park have learned. The consensus principle is vital, and prevents the “tyranny of the majority,” but it must (and can) be engineered to allow fast decisions and discussions of complex issues. In Porto Alegre, Brazil, mass participation in decision-making has succeeded in deliberating the affairs of a city, and the results clearly indicate more equal provision of services, better environmental protection and an improved political culture, one that is open, nonpartisan and uncorrupted.

…Participatory democracy should be promoted for every public setting, from our neighborhoods to our cities and counties. As turkeys will not vote for Thanksgiving, politicians are unlikely to institute such systems. Instead, we will have to set them up ourselves, starting local—our street, our building, our school—and in doing so establish legitimacy from the ground up, a legitimacy that today’s politicians evidently do not enjoy.

The second element is equally critical: this is the politics of the personal. Our political goals must be embodied in everything we do, for this is the most direct way to produce necessary and urgent change. Despite its perpetual encouragement by over-promising politicians, the habit of asking government to produce the ends we seek is out-of-date. Given the way that Washington (and indeed London or Paris) works, there is zero chance that any politician, even one with the best intentions, will deliver a just society, where the weakest are properly cared for and where the earth that sustains us is itself sustained…

Self-organized, nonviolent action by the many, consulting all those affected: …you cannot have a fair, cohesive or happy society when a tiny few hold the vast bulk of the wealth and where companies are legally bound to maximize profits over all else, ignoring any un-costed effects to the environment or society.

… As Britain’s massive retail giant John Lewis has shown, cooperative companies can be just as successful, and can endure much longer, than the merely profit-driven. “Triple bottom line” companies give equal weight to their social and environmental impacts alongside the profit line… And we can support them by choosing them over more negligent businesses. In the OWS Alternative Banking working group, for example, we are building the elements of a new Occupy Bank, which would be democratic, transparent and egalitarian, and would offer better services than for-profit banks.

I would like to know Ross’ Enneagram type. Principled Perfectionist or Questioner? Maybe, but not enough to go on.

See my blog on Obama cartoons as the nine Enneagram types 5/8 and on my Psychology Today blog 6/19.

Obama as All 9 Enneagram Types – in Cartoons

Obama   As you may know, we have all nine Enneagram personality types within us, though we mainly express the viewpoint of one of them. So in 2008 when Obama was running for president I drew cartoons of him from all nine points of view. I believe Obama’s primary type is the Peace Seeker. We’ve seen that played out in his tendency to mediate and try to include all sides when promoting a program. Here’s a drawing of Obama and Michelle as Peace Seeker monks. The Dalai Lama is a Peace Seeker too. This represents their spiritual and humanitarian nature.

If you’d like to download these 9 cartoons to your web site or email, go to http://wagele.com/obama/index.html They come in 3 and 4 inch sizes.

Obama leans heavily on his Perfectionist wing (also called a “One”) for the ability to be organized, his skill speaking and writing, his self-discipline, and his idealism. I’m skeptical about the hand saying he’s on the left in this cartoon. He stayed with his conservative predecessor’s war policy and kept much of Bush’s economic staff. But he’s certainly to the left of Romney in most ways.

Obama as a Perfectionist

Obama as a Perfectionist


Obama as a Helper

The Helper image is portrayed by Michelle here, adoring her husband.

She’s playing the role of nurturer and lover.

I couldn’t put all the cartoons here because of problems spacing them on WordPress. My Obama Achiever cartoon has him looking in the mirror paying attention to how he’s dressed. Obama dresses well as do most Achievers. How they look and how others perceive them is important to them. They’re sometimes called Performers.

I don’t think Obama would be mistaken for the Romantic personality, the artistic type. Romantics tend toward depression or melancholy. Obama seems like a caring person, however, as are most Romantics. When Romantics use their Achiever wing they’re sometimes flamboyant, the way he’s dressed in my Romantic version of him.

Observers tend to be independent and are often nerdy. This could be the scholarly attorney part of Obama, the part that likes history and knows what’s going on in the world. Questioners are known for their loyalty and for watching out for what can go wrong. This is his protective side, trying to keep us safe.


Obama as Adventurer

This Adventurer woman would love to have Obama for president. She wants to elect an intelligent president. The Adventurer in Obama would be his good sense of humor.

He must use the Assertive part of himself to have made it to president. He has an Asserter wing and I’ve heard he can get very angry. If he’s elected again, I hope he uses more of his Asserter in dealing with Wall Street – to fix what’s wrong with the banking system. His administration hasn’t restructured it as promised three years ago.

 See my Psychology Today blog on the movie Carnage and wagele.com for Famous People’s types and more..