A Harvard Boy in Love

Why Ann Coulter is hot—intellectually

Risking an unmanly show of feelings here, I must confess that I have a crush on Ann Coulter. Coulter is, of course, the political pundit infamous for saying things like this: “By the age of fourteen, you’re either a Conservative or a Liberal if you have an IQ above a toaster.” A refreshing alternative to left-wing comedian Al Franken ’73, she is also more audacious and outrageous than Franken—and that’s why I am smitten. Coulter chastises letter-writers to the New York Times for being “in full-dress sanctimony,” lambastes Deaniacs as “self-righteous 20 year olds in orange wool caps,” and parodies Democrats’ equivocation on Iraq as follows: “Of course, we all agree that Saddam must go. But first—there are many worthless objections to be raised.”

I am also going to confess that these and other Coulter characterizations are wickedly funny, if not always sensitive or good-natured. Granted, Ms. Coulter will never be invited to speak at Class Day. But even Harvard guys will admit “Yeah, she is kind of hot,” and this is invariably followed by the vituperative qualification that she is also a raving psycho.

But feminists, be assuaged: My crush on Coulter is less a product of my partiality for blondes than of my admiration for her insight tackling complex constitutional issues and solidly researching points that might at first seem only luridly provocative. (Her best-selling book Slander has over 700 endnotes, as Franken dutifully points out). My crush, platonic as it might be described, is a real-life refutation of the bitter complaints surfacing every so often in The Crimson—all alleging that Harvard women can’t get dates because men, the cretins, are intimidated by a woman’s brilliance.

Not so. What really turns men off is on display prominently in a Feb. 4 letter by Hung C. Nguyen ’04—herself “in full-dress sanctimony”—raving that “modern women, in forging a new sexual equality, can and should provide the foundation for their own emotional support network.” Nguyen also fumed that it’s wrong to criticize the protagonists on HBO’s Sex and the City for treating men like disposable slabs of meat because the meat-slab treatment is, I quote, all about women “engaging in relationships on their own terms” and being “honest with their partners and, most importantly, with themselves.” Needless to say whenever pundits like Coulter are honest with readers and themselves, students get their wool caps in a bunch.

In fact, it was Crimson columnist Lia C. Larson ’05, the target of Nguyen’s pompous credo on sexual equality, who first suggested that to get dates lonely Harvard kids should be a lot more like Coulter: To fix “the root cause of our dating difficulties,” Larson wrote last February, “Harvard students need more guts—not mixers.” Liberals of all stripes, also be assuaged: This is a love of groovy J.S. Mill-style liberation from all sources of “compulsion and control,” the “subjection of individual spontaneity to external control.” Students should be loud, be bold, and establish individual characters, unhampered by the social norms enforced in support groups, rather than obsessing over the power dynamics in their relationships or worrying about displeasing the political sensibilities of Ms. Nguyen. This, ironically, is what it actually means for students to be “honest with themselves.”

Few pundits speak with more of this kind of individual spontaneity, candor and audacious volume than Ann Coulter—whose honesty with us (and, most importantly, with herself) is available to all on Harvard’s desolate Saturday nights at anncoulter.com. If her incisive perspectives on pressing legal questions of the day aren’t a turn-on for you, some hot pictures are only a click of the mouse away.

Luke Smith ’04, a Crimson editorial editor, is an economics concentrator in Quincy House.