There was a French guy in the room, I tell you

Now David Gilmour is in the hot seat for saying such stupid things in that interview. He explains to the National Post why he didn’t really say it and he said it wrong and it was jokes and it’s the young woman’s fault. (Everything always is.)

This was an interview I gave sort of over the shoulder. I was having a conversation, in French, with a colleague while this young woman was doing this interview. So these were very much tossed-off remarks. They weren’t written down. It wasn’t a formal sit-down interview or anything like that.

Eh? So, what happened? He was having a conversation with a colleague, in a coffee shop or his office or the colleague’s office, and this mysterious young woman just came along and started firing questions at him? And he didn’t tell her to go away, he answered her? How odd. Except he calls it an interview himself, so that can’t be what happened. Maybe it’s that he scheduled an interview with Emily Keeler and then rudely talked to a colleague when he should have been doing the interview.

I can sell anything to anyone, but I have to be passionate about it. For example, I have a degree in French Literature, and I speak French fluently, but I don’t teach French Literature because I don’t feel it as deeply and as passionately as some of the other teachers here. So I actually send people down the hall to somebody who can teach it better. The same thing goes for German writers, for women writers, for gay writers, for Chinese writers. It’s got nothing to do with any nationality, or racism, or heterosexuality. Those were jokes by the way. I mean, I’m the only guy in North America who teaches Truman Capote, and Truman Capote was not what you’d exactly call a real heterosexual guy. So I really don’t know what this is about.

What? The same thing goes for German writers, for women writers, for gay writers, for Chinese writers and it’s got nothing to do with any nationality, or racism, or heterosexuality? Boy does that not make any sense. It could be used to illustrate what “a contradiction” is.

And this is a young woman who kind of wanted to make a little name for herself, or something, because when I said “real heterosexual guys” I’m talking about Scott Fitzgerald [and] Scott Fitzgerald was not what you’d call a real guy’s guy, a real heterosexual guy.

It’s all The Young Woman’s fault! All of it, I tell you!

Quite frankly, I was speaking to a Frenchman, so I was more concerned with my French than I was with what I was saying to this young woman.

Because…he was there in his own office, speaking to a Frenchman, minding his own business, when this young woman threw open the door and aimed an AK-47 at him and fired off a bunch of questions. Or something.

The interviewer asked if he was going to reassess.

No, I’m not, because you love what you love. As Woody Allen once said, “The heart goes where it goes.”

Hey, yeah, he did, and you know when and why he said that? He said it about secretly fucking his long-term partner’s adopted daughter, that’s what.

Q: You said you admire Chekhov because he believed in kindness and hated bullies. But these comments, if you read them the way I did, are not kind.

A: I’ve done thousands of interviews in the last five years, and I’m not exaggerating, and it’s not self-aggrandizing, because I did ten tours for The Film Club. And you get on an automatic pilot, and then you get careless. And then you start to just actually not govern your words very much, because you’re not running for office, it’s this small little thing, there’s a guy in the room talking to you in French, you’re more concerned about your French accent than you are in actuality what you’re saying to her, and what happens is you get careless with the interpretation the words might have.

Nicely put. You’re more concerned about your French accent than you are in actuality what you’re saying to her, to that young woman who kept yapping when there was this important French guy in the room.



  1. A. Noyd says

    The problem isn’t the direction his heart goes. Oh no, we all have that wrong. It’s that he was too distracted by interacting with someone important to adequately censor himself in front of a lesser being, that’s all.

  2. says

    This is more for me than anyone else…

    The David Gilmour here is not the guitarist of Pink Floyd and later great solo work like “On an Island”.

    I know PZ and others, myself included, have already pointed that out, but he’s always the first person I think of when I see the name “David Gilmour” because he’s my second-favorite guitarist after Jimmy Page. and if this were him, I don’t know if I could handle it… I’ve lost all of my original atheist inspirations. Not sure I’d handle losing my guitar inspirations, too…


    This literature teacher is clearly an asshole. A huge, worthless asshole. Fuck him and his shit. I don’t claim to be up on literature (lately I’ve only been reading non-fiction science books, and I’m currently immersed in “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” and trying to find the rest of Lisa Randall’s work at my library), but even I know there are amazing women authors who outstrip his list by light-years. His list isn’t even good!

  3. doubtthat says

    It happens. I was trying out a few phrases in Pig Latin and inadvertently delivered an hour screed about how the Holocaust was a myth.

  4. says

    I can sell anything to anyone, but I have to be passionate about it.

    If you HAVE to be passionate about it, then you can’t by definition sell ANY old thing, correct? You can sell only the things you’re passionate about.

    Funny how quickly people’s brains short-circuit when trying to justify their less-than-conscious prejudices.

  5. says

    Also, the widespread belief among bigots that everyone else is just as bigoted = the assumption that everyone would say things just as insulting and idiotic if they were similarly distracted.

  6. rnilsson says

    Francly, I feel mostly relief. Because I speak so little French, I cannot possibly be reading Proust non-stop a male, chauvinist pig-lit sexist, incapable of keeping two thoughts alive at the same time, alors? Bon, peut-etre un tout pétit peux. But never in Canada I swear! (Only swear in other jurisdictions)

  7. rnilsson says

    PS: Also, please remember that when you give an interview over your shoulder, you are running the risk of appearing to be stupid in the head, as ve say it in Sveedisch. Altogether too easily oden.

  8. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Don’t you think the guy deserves just a little credit? He was at least honest enough to publically admit to being a one-trick pony 😉

  9. sharoncrawford says

    The correct quote is “The heart wants what it wants.” A pretty lame excuse for narcissism. And it was even lamer as an excuse for W Allen to have sex with his step-daughter.

  10. says

    Any lit professor who teaches Proust and brags to an interviewer that he’s read Proust not once, but *twice*, and has listened to the audiobook twice, too, sounds utterly, totally, lame. A layman who reads Proust as a hobby who bragged that way would sound lame. (A layman could mention it, sure, but that ‘not once, but twice’ business is the giveaway that he’s puffing himself up — “Look how important I am!”) Unless you’re a 15-year-old, so reading Proust twice would actually be precocious behavior, such boasting is unimpressive. Can you imagine a philosophy professor saying to people “I’ve read all of Plato twice, and listened to the audio version twice, too”, or a drama professor saying he’s read all of Shakespeare’s plays at least twice and seen them produced twice, too. In a career? That’s only to be expected.

    And talking to somebody else during the interview? Of course, he did. I mean, c’mon — the interviewer was a woman, and he’s decided nothing women put on paper is worth reading, so why on earth should we be surprised that he didn’t treat a female writer with basic courtesy?

    He can’t even say “It’s not true that I only teach he-man writers; I include Truman Capote, for example”–oh, no! He has to put it in the form of a boast: I’m the ONLY guy on the continent teaching Truman Capote. Good Lord! It is not possible that this is true. He cannot know all the syllabus information for all the classes taught.

    This guy sounds like a loser of world-class proportion.


  11. artymorty says

    Oh god what a boob. He’s like a character out of a sitcom. Like Ted Baxter times David Brent times pick any two Phil Hartman roles — only real, which spoils the funny.

    It’s almost unbelievable that this guy has a real position in a real university. (My alma mater, no less. What a disgrace!)

    (Although… if you pretend it’s Phil Hartman doing a deadpan bit in that interview, it is priceless.)

  12. says

    @4: doubtthat:

    It happens. I was trying out a few phrases in Pig Latin and inadvertently delivered an hour screed about how the Holocaust was a myth.

    doubtthat, that was awesome. Thanks for the out-loud real laugh. 🙂

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