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The Daily Agenda for Friday, April 5

Jim Burroway

April 5th, 2013

Events This Weekend: Spring Diversity, Eureka Springs, AR; AIDS Walk, New Haven, CT; Dina SHore Weekend, Palm Springs, CA; Phoenix Pride, Phoenix, AZ; Gay Snow Happening, Solden, Austria.

Oscar Wilde Loses Criminal Libel Case: 1895. It had already been a bad year for the acclaimed author, and the year was barely a quarter of the way through. In February, Wilde was dining at the Albermarle Club when the Marquess of Queensbury left a calling card with the porter. It read, “For Oscar Wilde posing as a somdomite.” The misspelling may have been the product of Queensbury’s rage over the relationship between his son Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas and Wilde. Lord Alfred refused to end it despite Queensbury’s arguments and threats, including the threat to publicly expose Wilde, which he accomplished with that calling card. Friends urged Wilde to ignore it, but Wilde felt that such an insult required a vigorous response, namely a lawsuit against Queensbury for criminal libel. If he didn’t respond, he reasoned, it would be tantamount to admitting the truth, something that Wilde knew would be disastrous not only to his reputation and career, but also to his very freedom. Homosexuality was a criminal offense.

Unfortunately, Wilde’s libel case collapsed on the second day of the sensational trial, when Wilde took the stand and Queensbury’s lawyer asked whether he had ever kissed a young man named Walter Grainger. Wilde replied, “Oh, dear no. He was a peculiarly plain boy. He was, unfortunately, extremely ugly. I pitied him for it.” Queesnbury’s lawyer pounced on Wilde’s reason for not kissing Grainger: it wasn’t that Wilde didn’t like kissing men, but that he didn’t want to kiss this particular “ugly” man. That was on April 4. The next day, Queensbury’s lawyer announced that he planned to call several male prostitutes to testify against Wilde. Wilde’s lawyer, after conferring with Wilde, asked the court to drop the charges and return a verdict of “not guilty” against Queensbury. But if Queensbury was not guilty of libel when he accused Wilde of “posing as a sodomite,” then that meant under English law that Queensbury’s statement, as the judge announced, “is true in fact and substance, and that the publication is for the public benefit.”

With that verdict as evidence, Wilde was arrested and charged with gross indecency the very next day, April 6. The first trial ended in a hung jury, but the second resulted in a guilty verdict and a sentence of two years at hard labor, the maximum sentence allowed by law.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?



April 5th, 2013 | LINK

I’m curious why you should think that had been a bad year for Wilde. The Importance opened in Feb and was a sensation. And didn’t he also have at least one other play running? So it was a pretty good year till Douglas left that card. The detestable Bosie used Wilde to humiliate his father. I’ve never thought the spelling mistake was a result of rage. I think it was ignorance. He was a brutal man of no education or culture who despised learning and intellectuals. If only Wilde hadn’t been so obsessed with the English aristocracy he might have survived. I think what Americans don’t realize is that the English public school system and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge were almost exclusively homosexual. In a sense, Wilde’s crime was the scandal.

April 5th, 2013 | LINK

Well I’ll bite on what’s happening in my world!

Spring track season is here, and unseasonably chilly it is in this part of the world (Connecticut)! I keep moping and complaining about how hard it is on me, as a spectator, but my daughter/runners don’t seem to sympathize at all with my plight.

This weekend will entail going to two different track meets in two different states on Saturday, and then on Sunday we are all running a 10K-ish trail race at our local preserve. This is a big milestone for me… I was sidelined over two years ago with a major muscle tear, traumatic injuries (dog bites) that resulted in permanent nerve damage, and arthritis. I was advised by two different orthopedists to take up swimming.

Coming back this time, as opposed to the other times I took off and came back (mostly for pregnancy), was super-hard, depressing and lengthy. I don’t expect I’ll probably ever run entirely without pain, and there may not be any more marathons in my future, but I have kept plugging away at it and at least no longer feel like crying every time I put on my running shoes! I may well come in last place on Sunday, but I feel incredibly grateful to be back running at all, so that’s a “win” for me no matter what happens.

That’s my weekend!

Timothy Kincaid
April 6th, 2013 | LINK

It’s always been my impression that a marathon might have winners but that there is no ‘last place’. Have a great run,

Lindoro Almaviva
April 5th, 2013 | LINK

I’ll also bite. It is Friday and I think it is a great day to be gay. NOM and their ilk must be foaming at the mouth and any time they do, an angel gets his wings.

April 5th, 2013 | LINK

(more) Heterosexuals behaving badly…

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