When Oscar Wilde’s Wit Couldn’t Save Him

In a way, this applies to the media, society, and laws still in 2015. Injustice or justice never seems fair either way once the media, public opinion, and depending on that, the punishment of the “offense.” It comes to mind, we want or believe the government is the answer to our own freedom and lives, yet don’t we all agree some parts of our lives should not have th e government involved?


It took guts for Oscar Wilde to take a man to court for calling him a homosexual — or maybe it was hubris, according to the English playwright David Hare, who wrote The Judas Kiss about Wilde.

“He may have thought there wasn’t a situation that he couldn’t talk himself out of,” Hare told TIME in 1998, shortly before the play opened.

But if Wilde really thought that, he was wrong, and he would have discovered so on this day, May 25, in 1895, when he was convicted of “committing acts of gross indecency with certain male persons” and sentenced to two years of hard labor. (His health declined in prison, and he died in disgrace three years after his release, at age 46.)

The Irish poet, playwright and novelist had long relied on his sparkling wit to win over crowds of all kinds, in all circumstances. On an…

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