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By Joseph Glantz


​Oscar Wilde was born, in Dublin, October 16, 1854 and died at age 46, in 1900. A successful playwright and celebrity Wilde was tried and convicted for “gross indecency.”

So what do the British think of the American Revolution all these years later?
We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language (The Canterville Ghost; 1887)

And by that you mean?
The youth of America is their oldest tradition. It has been going on now for three hundred years. (A Woman of No Importance; 1893)

American Consumerism?
Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. (The Picture of Dorian Gray; 1891)

Thomas Hobbes remarked that a Foolish Consistency is the Hobgoblin of little minds – what say you?
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. (The Relation of Dress to Art," The Pall Mall Gazette . February 28, 1885)
Let’s get your take on a few current trends since you were known for being stylish.

Keeping up with the Jones?
And, after all, what is a fashion? From the artistic point of view, it is usually a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months (Literary and Other Notes I, Woman's World (November; 1887)

He is really not so ugly after all, provided, of course, that one shuts one's eyes, and does not look at him (The Birthday of the Infanta," The House of Pomegranates; 1892)

It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

Political correctness? 
If I am occasionally a little over-dressed, I make up for it by being immensely over-educated (The Importance of Being Earnest; 1895)

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. (The Decay of Lying)

Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one (The Picture of Dorian Gray; 1889)

Advice for our President?
Life is far too important to be taken seriously (Lady Windermere’s Fan; 1892)

And for the Loser?
In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. (Lady Windermere’s Fan)

If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out. (Phrases and Philosophies for the use of the Young; 1894)

Science can never grapple with the irrational. That is why it has no future before it, in this world. (An Ideal Husband; 1895)

The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility (The Importance of Being Earnest)

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing (Lady Windermere’s Fan)

What defines character?
To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. (The Importance of Being Earnest)

As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular. (The Critic as Artist; 1891)

What did you think of Jack Benny?
He knew the precise psychological moment when to say nothing. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

Advice for conservatives?
Hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do. (The Remarkable Rocket, The Happy Prince and Other Tales; 1888)

A poet can survive everything but a misprint. (The Children of the Poets," The Pall Mall Gazette . October 14, 1886)

Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it. (The Critic as Artist)

The oneuty we owe to history is to re-write it. (The Critic as Artist)

Anything you’d revise in your writings in light of the Internet?
It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information (A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the Over-Educated; 1894)

It is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read. (The Importance of Being Earnest)

Expressing one’s opinion?
In the old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press (The Soul of Man Under Socialism; 1895)

Copyright 2016 Joseph Glantz