Square brackets can be useful things: clarifying the referent in a particular quotation, filling in a broader context. But look at this one, from this week’s Sports Illustrated, where Howard Wasserman is quoted about the possibility of Barry Bonds suing Curt Schilling for libel:
“If he does sue, he’s playing with fire. A great example is Oscar Wilde, who was accused of [sodomy] and sued for libel. It then came out during the investigation that he was gay, and he was ruined.”
I’ll not nitpick the casual use of “gay” in that sentence to name what even Wikipedia acknowledges is a complex issue. No, my nitpick is with the editor’s interpolation of “sodomy” as the thing Wilde was accused of.
The card left by Queensberry called Wilde a “posing Somdomite,” and at trial Queensberry claimed he meant that Wilde was “posing as a Somdomite.” (This 2000 review by David Jay addresses some of these questions.) That’s gold–far more interesting, from several different points of view, than mere sodomy.