Posted on July 20th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 13 Comments »
Fortune reports that Larry Summers, being interviewed by Walter Isaacson at the “Fortune Brainstorm Tech” conference, called the Winklevosses “assholes.”
Here’s the quote:
“One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o’clock, there are two possibilities. One is that they’re looking for a job and have an interview; the other is that they are an a**hole. This was the latter case. Rarely have I encountered such swagger, and I tried to respond in kind.”
And—astonishingly—it’s true. Summers said it. Check it out—there’s video below.
It’s hard to know where to start with this, but I’ll try.
Did it not occur to Summers that the Winklevosses were wearing coats and ties because they had a meeting with the Harvard president, and they had enough respect for the office and the man who occupied it to get dressed up?
Second, what you’re wearing doesn’t make you an asshole. Unless perhaps it’s deliberately disrespectful, and this was clearly the opposite of that.
Third, whether or not they were assholes should have no bearing on how Summers treated them, and how he ruled on their complaint.
Fourth, the former president of Harvard shouldn’t be in the business of calling Harvard students/graduates “assholes.” Just…no. Not under any circumstances.
Fifth, if the Winklevosses are assholes because they wore coats and ties, what would that make Mark Zuckerberg, who created a website to rank people by their looks and blogged about how Harvard women were like “farm animals“—something Summers should have known, since it was a disciplinary matter before he met with the Winklevosses.
Six, it’s a little creepy how Summers starts this anecdote by almost verbatim repeating his earlier answer from a couple months ago—and then, apparently flush with the confidence of recent successes, adds that startling dig at the end.
Seven, I took some heat for writing in Harvard Rules that numerous Harvard faculty members wondered if Larry Summers has Aspergers. The fact that Summers would so misinterpret the social cue of getting dressed up for a meeting with the president of the university—and the fact that he would find it now appropriate to call former students “assholes”—provides some evidence for that theory.
“Rarely have I seen such swagger,” Summers says. You have to wonder: Does he ever look in the mirror?