When I last visited Oscar Wilde‘s gravesite at Pere Lachaise cemetery in ’08 or ’09, his tomb was covered with dozens (hundreds?) of lipstick kisses. They were perfect — a sloppy, organic, highly spirited demonstration of fan love. Except Wilde’s heirs and some stuffed-shirt Irish thought the kisses were disrespectful, and so they got together with the French and had the kisses washed off and then had a glass wall erected in front of Wilde’s tomb so no one could plant any more.
Wilde’s tomb in 2008 or 2009, or certainly before the scrubbing and the erection of the Wilde wall.
The way Wilde’s tomb looked today…revolting. The four or five present-tense kisses are planted on the glass.
The combination of the missing kisses and the new glass wall is disgusting — the equivalent of some old biddy from Trenton, New Jersey buying a brand-new couch for her living room and then covering it with clear plastic so it won’t pick up any stains. In the sense that it’s about trying to keep people from being people, it’s not all that different from the rationale for the Berlin Wall. Wilde’s tomb used to be the coolest in the whole cemetery — now it’s the most soul-less. Wilde would be appalled. The Irish who did this have broomsticks up their butts. They don’t get their ancestor at all.