I am not what I am: Paradox and indirect communication the case of the comic god and the dramaturgical self Academic Article uri icon


  • An exploration of the self in dramaturgical societies: This is the double, duplicitous, witty self, the one who communicates indirectly through characters and masks, the self who is a personality, who knowingly plays a role on the public stage, and who inhabits a wry, not to say awry, paradoxical world created by a mischievous comic God. A motley bunch of characters wander across the stage of this article. These include recusant Catholics, American sociologists, theologians of paradox, philosophers of comedy, Oscar Schindler, Mick Jagger, William Shakespeare, G.K. Chesterton, as well as various assorted epicurean puritans, inventive liars, elusive playwrights, pompous intellectuals, sleuthing heroes from detective fiction, ambitious pretenders, satirists of newspaper folly, media nitwits, boys playing girls playing boys, and, if you are really good, girls playing boys playing girls. All of them bearing testament to Viola's immortal line: I am not what I am.

publication date

  • June 1, 2010