Name: Grant Farred
Occupation: English professor
Current Residence: Williamstown and Binghamton, NY.
I commute between. I am here during the week and there during the weekend. That’s where my spouse lives.
And your daughter, too?
No, my daughter lives in South Africa.
Oh, well you have her drawings on your door.
Yes, that is true. She is an ever-present presence.
Who’s your favorite English 220 student?
Uh… every single one of them.
Ooh, good evasive tactic. What kind of car do you drive?
I drive a Gulf – A VW Gulf.
Well, I believe in German engineering, you know. It’s fun, I think; it’s really small and compact. I bought it when I finished grad school and I promised it to myself – I could never afford this car in South Africa. The first thing I did when I moved to the University of Michigan was that I went to the VW dealership and said, “I want a black VW Gulf GTI and I want to pick it up on the first of September.” And on the first of September, I went and picked this car up.
So was there any negotiating?
No negotiating. It was the car I wanted – I wanted a black GTI Gulf with a sunroof…
And a good sound system?
Eight speakers – can’t beat em.
Well, I don’t really hear your music when I see you driving around…
Well, because one has to act civilized among the barbarians.
‘Among the barbarians’? Where did that rule come from?
I don’t really know.
What does your mom think of your earrings?
I think she’s completely non-plussed by them. When I left South Africa, I had one. When I came back, I had two. My brother commented on the balance, the symmetry. I think they were impressed by the symmetry. It’s much more interesting to them, though, that I don’t smoke or drink. The earrings are kind of a compensation for the cool that I don’t have.
So do you have a tattoo?
No, but I’m thinking about it – I sort of want to get a snake on my upper arm…
A small snake, you know?
Is that symbolic or anything?
Yeah, depicts the ways in which I’m easily tempted… by what, God knows. But I just think about how it will look when I’m middle-aged – with floppy, fleshy skin and a saggy tattoo.
Well, you can always get it removed.
Yeah, but that’s even more painful. Who wants to do it twice?
Who’s your least favorite celebrity?
My least favorite…it would have to be Michael Jordan.
Because he always beats up on the Knicks.
Oh, Knicks fan.
It’s a pathological condition.
How did this come about?
Because I met the Knicks when I first got there. I met Patrick Ewing and had a really long – about five minute – conversation with Charles Oakley. I am a complete New York sports junkie, I guess. The Mets, Giants, Knicks, Rangers.
So if you had met some other sports team, would you have been their biggest fan?
You know, that’s probably entirely possible – it was all just chance. And once I got to New York, I just fell in love. And I mean, Patrick Ewing is such a loser, how can you not like the guy? I mean the man has hands smaller than mine! But I’m still a Knicks fan.
Is there anything you’d like to tell the community?
Well, is there something I should tell them?
Well, like, ‘Don’t be an English professor’?
That’s right – unless you’re really strapped – don’t become an English professor! Well, I’ve got nothing really smart to tell you. Don’t wear black in mud season is my only advice. It will make the dry-cleaners very wealthy.
So you should wear brown.
Brown is probably a very good idea – you can just become a singular shade of mud.
Yeah, earth tones.
Earth tones, there you go! Classic Williams, you know.
With your fleece jacket.
Do you have a fleece jacket?
Excuse me?! No, no, no, no.
Why not?! Because that would be capitulating to the Williams aesthetic.