If there was ever a man who truly had a way with words, it was Oscar Wilde. Quick, witty, intelligent and sometimes cutting, he has been quoted countless times since his unfortunate death in Paris.
The latest news of this “Dublin playwright” was published the week of the 111th anniversary (Nov. 30, 2011) of his death. Fans will no longer be able to shower his gravestone with kisses. It has been a tradition for over a decade for fans to don his or her favorite shade of red or pink lipstick and (literally) kiss Wilde’s grave.
After its latest renovations, the layers of lipstick graffiti have been scrubbed clean and there is now a “glass enclosure to preclude future visitors from degrading the stone.” The tradition of kissing his grave began after a previous renovation had been done due to “decades of graffiti.” At the time, Wilde’s descendants were able to put somewhat of a stop to the graffiti by having the tombstone listed “a historical monument.”
Rupert Everett, an actor who has performed in various plays by Wilde and will “portray the late writer in an upcoming film,” had an interesting take on the lipstick graffiti. He thought Wilde would have liked the attention his grave has received but not the graffiti because he liked to keep things clean and “perfect.”
Decorating the grave of an admired celebrity with graffiti is viewed as a form of tribute by many fans. Just look at what’s been done to Jim Morrison’s grave over the years. Even though that doesn’t necessarily justify the graffiti, it does demonstrate that Wilde is not only a celebrity, but also a rock star in his own right as well.