Yesterday marked the birthday of Oscar Wilde, a celebrity well ahead of his time. Playwrights were the pop stars of his time, and he was glad to fill the role of the Dandy. He was more popular and well-known for his excesses and lifestyle in his time, than for his gift of writing. A carefully groomed image of being a gad-fly and lay-about, he in truth worked incessantly hard to keep up that image. Understanding the pre-fabricated pop stars of today is easier, if you can see the importance of being Oscar. With that in mind;
To understand the importance of being Oscar, you would have to look at the times he lived in. Imagine if you will a cross between Sean Penn and Lady GaGa walking the streets of Victorian London. He was Hollywood, before Hollywood even existed. He knew the value of PR, and used it quite effectively. He took great pleasure in poking and mocking the establishment, religion, and society; and made sure those mockeries made it in time for the Evening Edition of the London Times. It made sure the playhouses were full at curtain time.
An early proponent of aestheticism, he worked the upper echelons of London’s cultural circles. After a celebrated tour of the New World, he returned to London, and enjoyed his greatest fame and wealth. At the height of his popularity, a choreographed PR stunt back-fired when he sued the Marquis of Queensbury for libel. As evidence at the trial unfolded, Oscar not only had to drop his law suit, it led to him serving two years at hard labor for “gross indecency”. When he was released from prison, he left for Paris where he died penniless at the age of Forty-Six.