This belongs in the department of when you get yourself into a hole, stop digging. David Gilmour is a writer and a literature professor at the University of Toronto. I have to confess to not having heard of him before yesterday. Here's the hole:
I teach modern short fiction to third and first-year students. So I teach mostly Russian and American authors. Not much on the Canadian front. But I can only teach stuff I love. I can't teach stuff that I don't, and I haven't encountered any Canadian writers yet that I love enough to teach.
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. Except for Virginia Woolf. And when I tried to teach Virginia Woolf, she's too sophisticated, even for a third-year class. Usually at the beginning of the semester a hand shoots up and someone asks why there aren't any women writers in the course. I say I don't love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth.
And here's the continued digging:
... I'm also extremely sorry to hear that there are people who are really offended by it... these were very much tossed-off remarks. They weren't written down... It was a careless choice of words. I'm not a politician, I'm a writer. We throw out tens of thousands of words every day. We usually rewrite them. In this particular [case], I didn't get a chance to re-speak the sentence before it was printed. And so I've apologized. I said I'm sorry for hurting your sensibilities, but there isn't a racist or a sexist bone in my body, and everyone who knows me knows it.
Of course, Gilmour is free to love the writers he loves but if there are no women amongst them, he's shutting out a large chunk of human experience; hard to credit, then, that he doesn't have a sexist thingumebob in his body. As for a writer pleading that he isn't as good with words as a politician would be, that is digging of the highest order. (Via Marina E. on Facebook.)