On the back of my copy of Oscar Wilde’s complete plays, I read an interesting tweet: “The Importance of Being Earnest is the only pure verbal opera in English” –@WH Auden.
Interested as I am in opera, I wanted to know more. Unfortunately in my short-lived quest to learn, I opened The Cambridge Companion (CC) to Oscar Wilde and found something, but it wasn’t about verbal opera–i.e. genres, history, the text itself. I found, literally, gender theory–i.e. a lot of subversive, rebellious sex, regimes, systems of control, the holocaust, and ignorant, unconscious natives.
While reading the CC, I turned from essay to essay and all I saw were penises: beautiful bouquets (I excitedly admit) of freshly martyred penises. I was ravished again and again. My iphone got sticky from reading in the metro, which led me to practice safe reading in the privacy of my own apartment between consenting portions of my psyche. Mid-passion, I switched to my Kindle (larger screen), which I finally taped to my ceiling with Duct tape–to get into some really difficult arguments. I want the ipad.
Slowly, thrust after thrust, vigorously and without regard for my quaint otherness, I learned that verbal operas–genre and the text–really don’t matter. Wilde-qua-Wilde doesn’t matter. No; Wilde’s subtext unlocks secret power structures and subverts oppressive forces for today’s world. In reading Wilde, I really read myself: I have subversive, provocative power-altering onanism between myselves. I enact self-erasure and re-scribe myself again. It’s the gender structures–deep, intrinsic power structures–of today’s world that Wilde is really,literally about.
In gender theory, something lends itself to something else and, as such, it aims at something, not so much to enact whatever as to liberate whatever, which naturally does violence against native impulses by inscribing a regime counterturn of literal fabricated stuff. The violence is the very strategy by which something else subverts something. The regime took the whatever as the script for enacting violence and inscribing itself literally somewhere. You, the gentle native, have unconsciously sublimated the deep structure and lost your unconscious orgasms. Now your gestures just don’t feel the same any more. You’ve lost that tingle feeling in your gesture.
The following is a list of words and phrases in a Wilde essay. This is your average gender theory’s bouquet of martyred penises:
Literally, deep and intrinsic structure, by means of performance, share contempt for, fashion one’s self after, at the expense of potency, revolt, relies on the force of, reciprocity, turn and counterturn, implicit structure, having come to the center from this periphery, doublespeak, presumes unanimous consent, drew on the resonances, linguistic control, regime, indoctrination, extraordinary tyranny, absolutely distorted, express the obverse, proper and simple meaning, right significance, radical estrangement, live under the compulsion, witnessed the policy of linguistic terrorism, seal a sense of displacement, turn the doublespeak back on itself, subversion, contentious gender issues, reflex platitude, condemned, enforcing social consensus, keep distinct, border patrol, along these fronts the linguist battles were fought, turn the linguistic front into a no-man’s land, Victorian hypocrisy, trans-valuation of values, expose the slight of hand, control became an agenda, moral fundamentalism, middle-class consensus, to advance oneself, author of an alternative Bible, nakedly, put under question, the very bias of authority, work in the field alerted the verbal police, oral nature, the very image of, displaced desire, detached, native, suspend, absorbed, unutterable longing, saturates, live outside the context of, seeks, fabricates, tolerate, threaten, destruction, violence, do violence, enact violence, subvert violence, use violence in a sentence, talk about violence, violent violence, struggle, struggle to retain, numbness, implied numbness, literal numbness, unconscious grace, liberate, slash, mime, meme, unmake, indeterminacy, inscribe, undermine convention, infect, escape, shape, insidious,
I think reading has estranged my obverse nativity to the linguistic terrorism of counterspoken-reflexes in anti-Victorian trans-valued contexts. I need to go have myself an earnest, exorbitant gesture.