Palimpsestuous

At the conclusion of the recent Irish referendum Stephen Fry tweeted:  ‘So so happy. Oscar smiles in his grave.’

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Dear Stephen,

On the strength of having impersonated me on the public stage you have now committed the impertinent anachronism of presuming to know my opinion on the subject of the recent ridiculous referendum.

To ham it up as an imitation Oscar is one thing; to turn me into a ‘life-style choice’, and to presume to know my views upon life, death and immortality is entirely another.   But then you never were much of a judge of character – as that ghastly performance as the detective in ‘Gosford Park ‘ only goes to show.

We are all lying in the gutter, dear boy; but you are the tragic proof that only some of us have the sense to look up at the stars. If you think for a moment that I ever could – or did – value any friendship so much as  I cherish those natural and physical bonds of affection which tie me to Constance, Cyril and Vyvyan, then you have  tragically mistaken me for yourself – a common affliction of the professional impersonator.

True, I once said that Nature imitates Art; but you above all people should understand how easy it is to spin a paradox for effect, and then to become the victim of it.

But at the end, Stephen, when Fr Dunne came to my seedy Parisian bedside, I made amends. Art, believe me, is never so true as when it is wholly one with Nature – for only then can it give us a rare if fleeting glimpse of eternity. When I became a Catholic I had my Keatsian moment. No longer a devotee of ‘Art for Art’s sake’, I knew at last that Beauty and Truth are one and the same, and both are His.

But I do not suppose for a moment that you would understand that.

Yours gravely,
Oscar

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