Hallowed French perfumier Jean-Paul Guerlain made an extremely terrible gaffe Friday on French television. While describing the process of designing an early fragrance, he said the following: “And for once I started working like a [N-----]. I don’t know if [N-----] ever worked that hard,” he said.
Wow. Okay, so, let’s set that aside for a moment. Guerlain, who was the last “master” at the family-owned perfumery before LVMH’s acquisition of the company in 1994, is famous for creating (among others)Vétiver and Habit Rouge (he is now also famous for being a racist). He went on to kinda retract the statement by releasing an apology after the broadcast, which was read on-air by a French anchor (I guess Guerlain was busy?). Anyway, the apology doesn’t really explain why he said it, but it is confounding! Here’s the main thrust:
“My words do not reflect in any way my profound thoughts but are due to an inopportune misspeaking which I vividly regret.”
If publicists ran the world, this kind of thing would always be an “unfortunate lapse,” “a regrettable accident” or “sex addiction.” Since they do not, we have to use our brains and parse: so I guess it’s cool if we’re bigots so long as it’s clear our bigotry does not reflect the profundity of our thoughts…?