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N’Importe Quoi Photo of the Week: Oscar’s New Box

The new Plexiglas “sheath” surrounding the tomb of Oscar Wilde to protect it from lipstick graffiti looks rather disgusting (and I’m assuming it will get worse with time). I know they want to protect the tomb from deteriorating under the thousands of fans’ smooches, but seriously, I think Oscar would rather die smothered under kisses than die from embarrassment. Hmph!

[UPDATE 2014: See my updated opinion on this in the comments section below]

grave Pere Lachaise

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  • Emily, I'm glad you posted your comment, because I totally forgot this post was on here. Ever since the "Love Locks" trend started in 2008 to ruin the bridges of Paris (http://nolovelocks.com/), I have been re-thinking my stance on Oscar Wilde's tomb. You're right about it not being up to "us". We're not the ones who pay for it, nor the ones who represent the author in any way. I even saw this summer that one of the tombstones next to this one was toppled over and broken, ostensibly so some idiot could climb up on it to get in a kiss over the Plexiglas wall. The Jim Morrisson grave has permanent barricades around it yet people continue to chip pieces off and leave their "mark" on and around it. As in any "tribute", it always seems quaint until it gets out of hand. So I'm leaving up this post if only to openly discourage people from contributing to the insanity. Let's remember the old travelers' vow to "take only pictures and leave only footprints". – Heather

  • As someone who works in cemetery preservation (and has to deal with cemetery vandalism). I hear that kind of dissonance a lot – "[insert celebrity name here] would have wanted people to kiss/paint/mark/etc. their burial place. Knowing who they were, they would have appreciated it." I totally understand how compelling that reasoning is. And then I remember that it's not my call. And it's not yours either. It doesn't make sense to assume you "know" a dead celebrity because you partook in their art (read their books, saw their movies, etc). By extension of this logic, it's not your place to suggest it's okay to vandalize their gravesite. Respect the one surviving grandson of Oscar Wilde and the governments of France and Ireland who worked so hard to save this irreplaceable piece of art and please do not encourage people to continue to damage this piece. You would be surprised how many people learn of this "tradition" from articles like this.

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