I believe there is an essay by Alan Tate in which Dostoyevsky's gambling is described as an attempt to at last go one-on-one with society, and perhaps even the cosmos -- to cut through all the insulation and face off with "the house," win or lose. And if the odds are stacked against the player, so much the better. The gambler's triumph was not in winning, but in finally getting one clear shot.
I can relate, can't you? But I also despair. The amoeba-like societal organism in which we all find ourselves has a million ways of making itself unassailable -- which isn't even really necessary, since so many sentimental and simplistic leftist or liberal "critiques" only give the house an even greater edge. Still, there was some satisfaction this week in seeing the gears start to come flying out of the machine, as finally happens to the elaborate torture contraption described in Kafka's "Penal Colony."
Consider, for example, this television commercial for AIG insurance -- a company that appeared to be "hoist on its own petard" this week (and still might be):
I'm sorry, I'm sure it's just me, but the combination of "cuteness," fear mongering, and the slight whiff of creepy suburban sexual innuendo here really makes my gorge rise. Yes, I'd like to get my hands on whomever is behind this -- but of course nobody is really behind it, or maybe everybody is, or maybe it's my neighbor or my cousin. The whole thing is just too complicated. So it was good to see the underlying mechanism go kerbleweee all by itself, even if we are the ones who will have to pay for it in the end. Of course by the end of the week AIG had been bailed out, and was actually congratulating itself on its good fortune, and was probably producing another soul-numbing commercial.
I like surfing Youtube because I manage to find things that for the moment at least seem to be outside the grand plan. This fellow, for instance:
In my opinion he's really an excellent singer! He's obviously very emotional about it, and his voice is sometimes so deep that he sounds like a diggereedoo or like those recordings of Tibetan monks that the FBI boomed at the Branch Davidians during the Waco siege. Anyway, here he is. I hope he doesn't work for AIG: