Jun 26, 2015

Jun 6, 2015

Ruminations on Ireland, Oscar and Jahar

Been neglecting this blog of late, since I'm running two other blogs at the same time, but that doesn't mean I haven't kept a keen eye on all things gay and LGBT, including the historic vote in Ireland, which was so uplifting - whether you agree or not that human rights issues should be decided by vote. A close gay friend, history teacher of mine, does not agree. What if Uganda were to hold such a referendum? I see his point, but even he conceded that Ireland had just done something truly remarkable. 

Part of the historic significance of this vote was its (intended, I'm sure) slap in the face of the homophobic Catholic Church, signifying that it no longer holds a vice-like grip over the moral consciences of Irish people. Most people can see through the ruse, with the Catholic Church coming down so hard on gay people and their civic rights as a psychological defense mechanism in light of their public shame over the sex abuse crisis. "Please don't think we're gay, please don't think we're gay, see how much we 'hate' gay people?" This begs the question as to whether the abuse crisis is primarily a 'homosexual' crisis at all. The question is how it is perceived by the outside world, and since it is so perceived, Church officials who'se self-identity is caught up with the institutional church feel the compulsive need to compensate for this shame as a way of avoiding having to face up to their own crimes of abuse and cover-up. Hence, the moral self-righteous attack on gay people (couched in the gentlest language of love and pity for such inherently disordered souls). But I see I'm ranting here, must get off the soapbox. 

My other blogs:

Crime Scene Reviews, my review site for crime novels and related book reviews.

Prague Noir, personal reflections on criminal issues, crime scene investigations, anomalies in the crime scene world.

In particular, I've been posting links related to the Boston Marathon Bombing trial, just concluded, and the fate of its young defendant, Jahar (Dzhokhar) Tsarnaev. I have a personal connection to this case, which I'd rather not explain (a close friend in Boston during these events), but I see close parallels with the infamous Slansky show trial here in Prague in 1952 and the even more infamous political trial of Alfred Drefyus in France.

But I digress...back to Ireland. In honor of the historic vote, I decided to revisit some books in my library. First the two marvelous plays written about Oscar and his trial...

Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moises Kaufman. First published and staged off Broadway in 1998, a revolutionary play for its times and a production which I saw in New York. Uses trial records and Oscar's own words and commentary from public figures and books of the time. Presents him in all his brilliance, courage and vulnerability.

The Judas Kiss by David Hare. Who would have thought that David Hare, known as a political, socialist playwright, could compose a play with such a poetic flourish. Chronicles the disastrous love affair between Oscar and Alfred Lord Douglas, and brings Oscar Wilde alive as no other fictional, dramatic work I know.

Finally, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, a most recent biography, which complements the rather 'safe' bio by Richard Ellmann by actually exploring Wilde's developing sexuality. Using new sources recently discovered. I'm half way through this and it's riveting. This is the same book as the cover at beginning of post, which apparently the publisher felt was too lurid for some tastes, hence this more stolid look. Personally, I much prefer the first one.

have to run, so don't have time to comment further, except to say all three of these works are well worth reading and give a deeper appreciation for our first self consciously 'gay' figure in Western, Anglo Saxon culture. Oscar, I'm sure, is dancing in the heavens above over Ireland's historic vote for equality. It's been a long time coming, Oscar, but thank you.