Genius and Madness
Bobby Fischer is about to be extradited to the United States for violating U.N. sanctions against Yugoslavia by going there to play chess in 1992.
It's always sad to me to see the all-too-frequent correlation between genius and madness. It always seems a terrible waste of a precious gift. Maybe there is an element of madness in genius -- genius being an extraordinary, unconventional intelligence. Maybe in order for a mind to be so transgressive, it needs to be just a little unchained from barriers that the rest of us run up against all the time.
Yes, Bobby said some bad things. Yes, violating U.N. travel sanctions is a bad thing. My instinct is still that he should just be let go -- his madness seems to be of the harmless crank variety, and his chess is so brilliant.
Or maybe the correlation between genius and madness is just a literary trope that I have taken too much to heart.
UPDATE: Here is a great 2002 article about Bobby Fischer.