Paul Hartal

Batman Combats Oscar Wilde - Poem by Paul Hartal

“Are you serious? ” Frederick asked.

“Yes, Oscar Wilde, the writer”, George Batman said. “We had a conversation in the park.”

“Oh”, said Frederick. “Is he not dead? ”

“We had a conversation in the park”, Batman said.

“I see”, said Frederick.

“You remember that in The Picture of Dorian Gray Wilde argues that books cannot be moral or immoral, only well-written or badly written”, Batman commented.

“So? ”

“Well, I disagreed.”

“And why is that? ” Frederick inquired.

“Look. Wilde confuses content with style. A book with a moral message can either fail or excel in its stylistic presentation, and so can a book with immoral content.”

“I see”, said Frederick. “So what happened? ”

“Nothing special”, Batman said. “We continued to argue. I told Oscar that I am not impressed with some of his witty dictums.”

“Oh”, Frederick said. “What did Wilde say? ”

“He wanted to hear examples”, Batman said.

“Did you give him? ”

“Yes, of course. I started with the ‘The truth is rarely pure, and never simple’, from The Importance of Being Earnest.”

“What is wrong with that? ” Frederick asked.

“I told Wilde that his purified statement is self-contradictory because it is so simple that it cannot be true”.

“I see”, Frederick said. “What else? ”

“Well”, said Batman, “I also told him that I disagreed with the aphorism that ‘Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood’. This is a derogatory and false comment on the psychology of women, belittling female intelligence and dignity. Besides, not only that men also want to be loved, but love and understanding can be overlapping as well.”

“What did Wilde say? ”

“I don’t know. He is dead”.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, October 4, 2011

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