In dealing with Disch’s work, there was so much I had to leave out. I finished the article with an even greater respect for Disch’s achievement as well as a sadness that the rawness and brutality of his work perhaps confined him more to the generic ghetto than some of his peers. Certainly the quality and erudition of his writing matched any of his contemporaries. So here is an appendix of miscellaneous points that I didn’t have space for, in the hopes of pointing people to assorted other spots in his oeuvre.
There is a form of Monopoly called Rat in which the Banker, instead of
just sitting there and watching, gets to be the Rat. The Rat can alter all the
rules of the game at his discretion, like Idi Amin. The players elect the
person they consider the slyest and nastiest among them to be the Rat.
The trick in being a good Rat is in graduating the torment of the players,
in moving away from the usual experience of Monopoly, by the minutest
calibrations, into, finally, an utter delirium of lawlessness.
I think Disch felt that if he did not subject his characters to such rules, he would be creating an improper fantasyland from which no one could learn anything.