September 13, 2017

"I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvellous to us."

"The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure."

Wrote Oscar Wilde, in "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1890).

22 comments:

Laslo Spatula said...

Today's Secrecy is posting a nude selfie on the internet but obscuring your face with the camera.

I am Laslo.

traditionalguy said...

A writer who says they want secrecy is a fiction and a contradiction. Writing IS an attempt at self exposure.

Quaestor said...

When Wilde left town it was to meet Bosie Douglas for a gay old time, which he didn't bother to keep secret from Constance Lloyd Wilde. Silly man.

AReasonableMan said...

He would not have been happy about the Equifax data breach. There are no secrets anymore.

rhhardin said...

Concealed actions are the most estimable. When I see a few of these in history, they please me greatly. They have not been completely concealed. They have been known. This small way in which they appeared increases their merit. That they could not be concealed is the finest thing of all.

- Lautreamont, after Pascal "Good actions concealed are the most estimable"

rhhardin said...

The data breach isn't about privacy but using shortcut verification to use your credit.

It used to be that social security numbers were open, and included on the address label of your 1040 forms mailed to you, because banks used the "know your customer" rule, so the SS number simply didn't matter.

They no longer do that because it's a lot cheaper just to use your social security number as unique identification as good enough. That puts a cost of cleaning it up on you.

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

How very Catholic of him.

Ann Althouse said...

"A writer who says they want secrecy is a fiction and a contradiction. Writing IS an attempt at self exposure."

I assume you mean a fiction writer. I think a fiction writer is choosing a form of revelation and saying look at this and not that, where the that is the real person that the writer is.

The quoted line is said by a fictional character (specifically the painter of the picture). I have no idea how close the idea is to anything Wilde sincerely thought. "What a mistake it is to be sincere!" — a Wilde character says that.

Also: "Taking sides is the beginning of sincerity, and earnestness follows shortly afterwards, and the human being becomes a bore."

Laslo Spatula said...

""I have grown to love secrecy."

This is NOT another line from the Hillary book.

I am Laslo.

Unknown said...

So you're going on another trip..

exiledonmainstreet said...

Well, Dorian sure loved secrecy, but it didn't work out too well for him in the end now, did it?

exiledonmainstreet said...

" it didn't work out too well for him in the end"

No pun intended.

Etienne said...

I never use turn-signals. I don't want people to know what I'm thinking.

Q22 said...

I thought you were quoting Hillary Clinton's book.

Freeman Hunt said...

"because banks used the "know your customer" rule"

I prefer this, so I don't change banks and stick with a little one. If someone walks into my bank claiming to be me or tries to do some kind of weird funds transfer, the people at the bank will know it's an impostor. They will, at least, call to verify.

William said...

I bet Hillary Clinton has more secrets than Oscar Wilde........Those British private schools were perversion factories. For the era, Oscar Wilde was relatively clean cut.......I was watching the BBC series on Victoria. The series features Lord Melbourne as her early adviser. He is shown as world weary and witty. I suppose he was, but he also used to take underage girls from the orphanages and whip them for his sexual pleasure. Sadly, the BBC series doesn't highlight this interesting aspect of his character. I can't help but wonder if this aspect of his personality was at play in the dynamics that made him her most favored adviser.

William said...

People used to hide their sexual preferences and be quite outspoken about their class and racial prejudices. Now it's just the reverse. I don't think you could get away with wearing a MAGA hat in a gay pride parade. The love that dare not speak its name.

Brookzene said...

Erase your personal history - advice from a 70s self-help author.

mockturtle said...

Wasn't it Wilde who quipped, "Work is the curse of the drinking class"?

He had so many great one-liners. I would have loved to have known him as a friend.

iqvoice said...

My favorite Wilde quote, also from Dorian Gray

When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats. Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly.... Ah! realize your youth while you have it.

tim in vermont said...

prefer this, so I don't change banks and stick with a little one. If someone walks into my bank claiming to be me or tries to do some kind of weird funds transfer, the people at the bank will know it's an impostor. They will, at least, call to verify.

I used to work at a bank. My policy since then has been to choose the smallest bank for that reason. Unless you have a ton of money and they are drooling over your business, the only way to get a sniff of the kind of service the wealthy get is to use a small bank.