Winklevii bring a thesaurus to a knife fight

Twins respond to Larry Summers insult by telling on him to current Harvard president

If someone like former Harvard President Larry Summers called me an assh*le in public -- and not just in public, but during a videotaped interview at a giant, high-profile tech conference -- my response would be along these lines:

"Listen, you bank-deregulating, economy-destroying piece of sh*t, you wanna call me an assh*ole? Say it to my face. Why don't we meet up in Harvard Yard so I can kick your fat, sorry ass across the Charles."

(Also see: Larry Summers has a rather low opinion of the Winklevoss twins)

But that's just me. When Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are called assh*les, they respond by asserting that their accuser -- Larry Summers -- is "tactfully challenged." Worse, they do so in a letter to the current president of Harvard, even though the Winklevii left the university seven years ago.

In other words, they act like prissy dorks. No wonder Mark Zuckerberg walked all over them.

Here's the open letter the Swagger Brothers sent to Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust:

We (Cameron Winklevoss ’04, Divya Narendra ’04 and Tyler Winklevoss ’04) are writing to discuss the recent remarks made by current Charles W. Eliot University Professor of Harvard Lawrence H. Summers at Fortune’s “Brainstorm Tech Conference” on July 19, 2011. Specifically, Mr. Summers referred to us as “a—–” for wearing ties and jackets to our meeting with him in April of 2004. To be clear, his remark was not limited to us, but extends to any undergraduate who chooses a particular form of attire.

See, we should all be outraged! Ich bin ein Winklevii! Class-action suit to follow!

As a matter of background, on March 15, 2004 we petitioned the Administrative Board (Ad Board) of Harvard regarding a disciplinary issue concerning Mark Zuckerberg ’06-’07 in connection with the development of a website the four of us had been working on together. Despite what was, from our perspective, a clear violation of the Student Handbook, which states “all students will be honest and forthcoming in their dealings with members of [the Harvard] community,” the Ad Board declined to involve itself. As students of a university that promulgated an expectation of “intellectual honest[y] [and] respect for the dignity of others,” we sought a discussion with then President Summers regarding what we believed to be an inconsistency in the University’s posture on this matter.

"A clear violation if the Student Handbook"! We are so telling on him!

As a result, we decided to attend student office hours of the President, a two hour monthly block of time specifically allotted by President Summers for students to discuss any and all matters of concern with him. We sent a polite and rather un-swaggering email beforehand for the purposes of background. It should be noted that Mr. Zuckerberg’s name was purposely omitted from our email in an effort to focus the discussion on what we perceived to be a larger issue than the incident specific to ourselves. Simply put, we went to his office seeking advice and mentorship, not further conflict.

Mentorship? Seriously? No, they wanted Summers to step in and get their website back from nasty, mean Mark Zuckerberg, who wasn't playing fair!

At office hours, we waited in his reception area but were told that we would have to return next month because there were more students in the queue than time allowed. In April of 2004, we returned to office hours and were successful in meeting with President Summers. His manner was not inconsistent with his reputation and present day admissions of being tactfully challenged. It was not his failure to shake hands with the three of us upon entering his office (doing so would have required him to take his feet off his desk and stand up from his chair), nor his tenor that was most alarming, but rather his scorn for a genuine discourse on deeper ethical questions, Harvard’s Honor Code, and its applicability or lack thereof.

If I were Drew Gilpin Faust, I would have stopped reading right about now. This is just whiny and pathetic. We had to wait, and then had to come back! He didn't even shake our hands! He had scorn for a genuine discourse on deeper ethical questions, like how to get our site back from Zuckerberg! And he didn't even compliment us on our silk ties, which, if you can't tell, are from Brooks Brothers!

We now further understand why our meeting was less than productive; someone who does not value ethics with respect to his own conduct, would likely have little interest in this subject as it related to the conduct of others. Perhaps there is a ‘variability of aptitude’ for decency and professionalism among university faculty.

You know what offends us deeply, much more so than being called assh*les in front of the entire world? Variability of aptitude!

Regardless, it is deeply disturbing that a professor of this university openly admits to making character judgments of students based on their appearance. It goes without saying that every student should feel free to bring issues forward, dress how they see fit, or express themselves without fear of prejudice or public disparagement from a fellow member of the community, much less so from a faculty member.

Especially one who is "tactfully challenged." And made us come back the next month! And has no appreciation for genuine discourse with two privileged rich kids!

Ironically, our choice of attire that day was made out of respect and deference to the office of the President. As the current President, we respectfully ask for you to address this unprecedented betrayal of the unique relationship between teacher and student. We look forward to your response.


Cameron Winklevoss ’04 Divya Narendra ’04 Tyler Winklevoss ’04

So what do they expect Faust to do? Make a citizen's arrest?

Honestly, all this could have been solved in 2004 if the Winklevii and their third wheel, Narenda, had paid Zuck a dorm-room visit to "discuss" their business arrangement. The twins are big guys. They're rowers. They must be pretty strong. And Zuck doesn't exactly look like he was ever part of any Fight Club. Use your assets!

Didn't these guys ever see Pulp Fiction? Can you imagine if Vincent and Jules entered Brett's apartment to inform him that Marsellus Wallace is somewhat miffed that their business arrangement has gone awry? The movie wouldn't have been nearly as good.

Winklevii, you got $65 million in a settlement with Facebook. Take it and establish The Foundation for Genuine Discourse On Deep Ethical Questions And Appreciation of Formal Attire. Or go on another shopping spree at Brooks Brothers.

Whatever you do, just go away. Please.

Now Read This: IT Resume Makeover: Our top 11 tips
View Comments
You Might Like
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies