Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Importance of Being English

On my evermore intense quest to devote all my free (and unfree) time to pointless election micro-spectating, I came across the following passage by Tory mayor of London Boris Johnson (as quoted by Andrew Sullivan):

Democracy and capitalism are the two great pillars of the American idea. To have rocked one of those pillars may be regarded as a misfortune. To have damaged the reputation of both, at home and abroad, is a pretty stunning achievement for an American president.

But, as yet unremarked upon by Sullivan or TPM, or any other blog I can find is the source of the quote. Dude's referencing Oscar Wilde! From The Importance of Being Earnest:

To have lost one parent, Mr. Worthing, might be considered a misfortune. To have lost both smacks of carelessness.

And now, the question: intentional allusion (my vote), or is Wilde enough of the daily imagination of Brits that this construction has become standard? Also -- only 2 more weeks until I get my life (and, God willing, my country) back.