Oh Canada!

Canada’s Least Lovable Writer

October 01, 2013

David Gilmour

What a delight to witness a sudden downpour of condemnation upon the head of David Gilmour!

Turns out that little bugger Johnny Rotten was fibbing every time he wore his famous “I HATE PINK FLOYD” T-shirt, but I was one punk brat whose loathing for Gilmour’s group was no pose.

My lifelong enmity was forged in the crucible of my steel-mill hometown, where Floyd’s “music” (and hideous album cover “art”) was ubiquitous. In fact, one of Hamilton’s only claims to fame is that Floyd “played” the city’s football stadium in 1975. It was the last show of the band’s North American tour, so they used up all their leftover pyrotechnics during the finale. Legend has it that the stadium’s scoreboard”€”along with windows in surrounding homes”€”were shattered by the high-decibel blasts.

“€œThere really is no puny, pointless “€˜controversy”€™ quite like a Canadian one.”€

It’s bad enough that David Gilmour sang “Money” while amassing an enviable collection of rare automobiles, but here’s a “genius” who helped squeeze out a double (!) album based on the breathtakingly original concept that children hate going to school.

Oh, wait? We’re not talking about that David Gilmour?

Yes, there is another one.

In Canada, this David Gilmour is what passes for a famous author north of the 49th parallel. That is, he puts out a new novel every few years that sells well under a thousand copies before it’s remaindered. He’s handed awards at respectable intervals and shows up on prize juries and the occasional TV or radio show.

I thought perhaps a third “David Gilmour” had gained notoriety last week, though. Hunkered down in my office, I kept half-hearing televised news reports murmuring from the living room about some kind of shocking incident taking place on or about a University of Toronto campus.

From the grave tones being affected by reporters, I briefly feared some lone loony named “David Gilmour” had just gunned down a dozen or so female students at Victoria College à la the Montreal Massacre.

The truth was nowhere near as exciting.

No, 67-year-old novelist and university lecturer Gilmour has merely granted an interview to a previously unheard-of publication and was now being mocked and denounced in international news stories and opinion pieces.

His crime against humanity? When asked about which books he assigns to his U of T students, Gilmour replied:

I’m not interested in teaching books by women. Virginia Woolf is the only writer that interests me as a woman writer, so I do teach one of her short stories. But once again, when I was given this job I said I would only teach the people that I truly, truly love. Unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women….

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