Sunday, January 4, 2009
intervention leads to insanity
From Wilfrid Sheed's 1968 review of Coover's Universal Baseball Association: "The trouble with being a game-playing God is that, although one is all-powerful, one is still in the employ of the dice. Zeus stuck with his scales. If Waugh intervenes personally, the players will sense it and just give up, life will leave the game forever. But the dice keep favoring the Evil One (the pitcher who did the beaning), and the league is slowly dying of sorrow and bewilderment. Waugh is beside himself and stays up all night throwing, allowing his real life to go to hell in the process. Ultimately, Waugh does intervene and fix the dice, and in doing so, appears to descend into complete insanity. The players go their own way after that, found private religions and stage reformations, and proceed to talk like 17th-century parsons and death-of-God theologians. Is there really a Henry Waugh? Who knows? One continues to play for the sake of the game -- whatever that is. It is impressive to realize that all this is going on in one man's skull."