Paradox and Perversion

There is a striking line by Oscar Wilde in De Profundis, written in prison, reflecting with great grief upon his
devotion to sodomy, the acts which ruined his life and landed him behind bars …

What the paradox was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere of passion.

He’s not talking about the kind of paradox in which G. K. Chesterton found delight.  He’s talking about the cynical paradox of irony and distance, the cold blooded playing with a thing in our minds just to see how badly we can twist it.  Thus we can see the connection between deliberate perversity of thought and deliberate perversity of action.

Today we are a culture that lauds all irony.  Nothing is said without a kind of smirk, especially if it’s a statement about normal and healthy things – family, God, country, love – we sneer at such concepts.

Is it any wonder, then, that the most perverse acts are now being hailed as the greatest virtues?  Anal sex and mutual masturbation – the deliberate and proud sabotage of the most creative gift we have been given – these are the new icons of our age, these the very things that represent what we most value and what we now worship.

What irony and sneering and sarcasm and cynicism have been to us in the sphere of thought, “gay marriage” has become in the public square.

Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien is the founder and artistic director of the Theater of the Word Incorporated, which tours the world evangelizing through drama. He and his actors appear on several EWTN television programs, with video clips featured on O'Brien's website, Kevin teaches many online classes for Homeschool Connections and writes a regular column for the St. Austin Review. His autobiography, A Bad Actor's Guide to the Meaning of Life, will be published soon by ACS Press.

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