Ireland’s historic decision may be ironic, but it is hardly surprising

Via Boston Globe:

Where’s Oscar Wilde when you need him?

Everybody in Ireland has an opinion about gay marriage — and on Friday, more than 60 percent of the Irish voted to say they were in favor it — but the opinion I’d really like to hear is Oscar’s, one of Ireland’s greatest wits and surely its most famously gay man.

When Wilde was on his death bed in 1900, he looked around his Paris hotel room and declared that either he or the wallpaper had to go. Unfortunately, the wallpaper prevailed.

It is one of the truisms of cultural history that when the Dublin-born Wilde was celebrated as one of the wittiest writers in the English language, the bon vivants of Victorian London claimed him as British, but when he was sent to prison for engaging in homosexual sex, he became Irish again.

Somewhere, in a realm different than ours, Wilde is laughing heartily because he loved nothing more than irony and thumbing his nose at shibboleths. He would have appreciated, more than most, Ireland becoming the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by plebiscite. The plebs, he would note with delight, got it right.