Lunch Read Roundup: David Gilmour On David Gilmour

This week’s literary dustup was over some remarks from award-winning novelist and University of Toronto professor David Gilmour, who said, among other things, that he doesn’t teach books by women, Chinese, or Canadian authors. For him, no writer of these demographics measures up to the creaky smut of, say, Henry Miller. Naturally, Gilmour was called to account for this interview, and submitted to a follow-up feature in the National Post where he tried to defend himself—making things much, much worse. Let’s see how deep a hole he’s digging, shall we?

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. 
Oh, this is good. A mystery Frenchman is to blame! Or, really, it was the reporter’s fault for assuming that for the hour she had scheduled an interview, you would not be talking to another, more important person. Totally amateur. 
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. 
Look, David, the gays are not going to bail you out here. And you are not the only guy on the entire continent teaching a major icon of 20th century nonfiction. Nope.
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. Part of Scott Fitzgerald’s charm is in his feminine sensibility.
Good save—as long as you’re teaching ladylike men, the feminists will be placated. That’s how it’s always been, always will be. (Dusts off hands with satisfaction.) By the way, women, do us a favor and stop trying to make a name for yourself, will you?
 It was a careless choice of words. I’m not a politician, I’m a writer. 
Need we comment on this?
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. 
GODDAMMIT, FRENCHY. You were in the way from the start. Why must you hover throughout, demanding to be impressed by a well-turned phrase in your native tongue? When will we be free of your spectral impositions?
What I am is I’m a middle-aged writer and I’m very interested in the middle-aged writers experience.
This sentence is the textual equivalent of Ambien.
As Woody Allen once said, “The heart goes where it goes.”  
Not what he said. Also, it’s fucking Woody Allen.
I don’t want my reputation, which is impeccable as a teacher, to be besmirched in any way. Almost all my students are girls.
And what an education they’re getting.

Post-War Dreamer Roger Waters Turns 70

Roger Waters turns 70 today. So take a moment to enjoy some of the music from the man who penned lyrics for five of Pink Floyd’s concept albums: Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), The Wall (1979) and The Final Cut (1983).

In September 2010, Waters began "The Wall Live" world tour, which concludes in Paris on September 21 after being performed a remarkable 219 times—and making a case for 70 being the new 30.

But there is much more to Pink Floyd’s conceptual torchbearer than music that has moved millions (both people and units: the band has sold more than quarter of a billion albums worldwide, and the bassist from Great Bookham has an estimated net worth of $139 million, according to the 2009 The Sunday Times list).

In addition to being a high-ranking member of the rock-n-roll pantheon of deities, Waters has spent much of his time as an activist, raising money for the tsunami victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, raising awareness of extreme poverty and malaria as a spokesman of the non-profit Millennium Promise and leading Stand Up for Heroes, a 2012 benefit for American veterans. (Waters discussed his charitable work when he appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in January.)

Watch David Gilmour’s very special appearance joining Waters at "The Wall" concert at London’s O2 in May, 2011, to perform Pink Floyd’s 1979 hit, "Comfortably Numb." The song was ranked number 314 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.