There is a line, fathers tended to warn their sons and more recently their daughters, between getting an edge and getting in trouble with the law. In his books about the rich, the late Dominick Dunne used to say that warning was really about the dire consequences of getting caught. So, kid, don't wander across the line.
Well, two American strivers Lance Armstrong and Rajat Gupta did wander across the line and did get caught. In a flash they become American anti-heroes, those who risked it all to gain something that is usually beyond the scope of the less ambitious. They didn't have to do that. They just did.
Forever, they will be in that same category as others who got lost through their ambition. The most compelling recent example is one-time mediocre high school science teacher Walter White. On "Breaking Bad," he struts, pontificates, and kills like the archetype of the American anti-hero. For him, viewers know there is no way back. He will be gunned down by the law or commit suicide.
However, what's next for anti-heroes Armstrong and Gupta is more ambiguous. Like so many anti-heroes they are enigmatic. Why did they do what they did and why are they remaining so defiant? For exactly those reasons we can't stop deconstructing them. Perhaps we question if, with just a bit more push, we could have attempted what they did and wound up in the same pickle.