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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Today's Abandum Wilde

Crying is the refuge of plain people, but the ruin of pretty ones.

Wilde didn't actually say this, he said something rather sexist instead.

Over the years on this blog, I've posted hundreds upon hundreds of Wildean quips under the recurring heading, "Today's Random Wilde." I adore Wilde, endlessly re-read him, get a kick out of him, take him very seriously, teach him to my students, and so on.

But, you know, there are a host of witticisms I have always shunned because they always annoyed me in their misogyny. Of course, Wilde was certainly capable of witty deconstructions of prevailing sex-gender norms, too. I always rather like posting, "Football is all very well as a game for rough girls, but is hardly suitable for delicate boys" on Superbowl Sundays, for example. And "The queen is not a subject" has been my personal .sig motto since I've had one. He meant something else by that than I do, but the funny is a beast best ridden bareback, all puns intended. Not to mention, even I find some of Wilde's genuflections to his own era's cramped conventions a little funny on their terms, even if I disapprove of them. Humor is too capacious to be treated as sermonizing.

Anyway, I am not interested in fumigating or politically correctifying Wilde, it just occurred to me I could gendertweak some of the Wildeisms I normally fastidiously feministically eschew, tapping away at what look to me like clowdy crystals with Nietzsche's little jewelry hammer to find new gems embedded there. (What, you always thought Nietzsche meant philosophizing with a sledge hammer? He wasn't a Nazi, remember, it's that some of his dumb readers always are.)

Anyway, since I'm going to be given over to the demands of teaching three or four days a week till my summer intensives are over in a couple of months (angels and ministers of grace, preserve me) I thought I could at least pad the blog reasonably effortlessly on week-days with a recurrent feature, "The Abandum Wilde," confiscating by misquoting Wilde in a more genially feminist way (for me, your feminism may vary), just for the hell of it. I won't promise results that are more than mildly amusing. I mean, the first effort, off the top of my head, quoted above, is just so-so, after all. But, it's something.

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