My mini-essay on Pelé as Tom Bombadil boils down to a semantic discussion of Tolkien’s eucatastrophe — a sudden, piercing moment of joy and rightness — in relief of the more widely known deus ex machina.
I’m not sure that I ever came to any conclusions, but I’d be willing to place Brian Phillips — whose writing germinated, after a fashion, my entire line of thinking in the first place — in the eucatastrophic camp:
Pelé strikes me as a comedy, or better, as a comedian: not as a stand-up comic or a satirist, but as the opposite of a tragedian, the author of the kind of classical comedy that always ends with a wedding, the kind that revels in turning the order of things upside down so that it can give you the giddy satisfaction of seeing them turned right-side up again. This kind of comedy is in the business of reconciliation: The king turns out to be wise, the lovers love each other, and the villains reveal themselves to be failures, however things look for a while. When Titania is in the forest with Bottom, everything is wonderfully backwards: the queen of the ideal is enslaved to clumsiest physicality. Then Puck flies through, Pelé scores his goal, and all the faculties go back to their right places.