About twenty years ago, through a man I was dating, I briefly knew Ann Coulter. Whippet-thin, whippet-smart, she was every inch the embryo of the Coulter known to the world today. Her politics then were as vividly one-sided as they are now and her manner towards others just as dismissive. And yet, I sensed something about her then that suggested she might have ‘grown-up’ differently than she has.
I was witness to an incident between Ann and a young writer, an intelligent man then in his twenties who has since become a successful novelist. Ann was flirting with him; he was politely tolerating her attention. At some point, the novelist-to-be excused himself to use the men’s room.
Perhaps sensing that he “just wasn’t that into her”, she rolled her eyes. “He’s writing a novel,” she oozed sarcastically.
“Cool,” my date offered.
“That’s great,” I agreed.
“You guys don’t get it. It means nothing. Everybody is writing a novel.”
The young writer had returned and stood behind her as she said this.
I cleared my throat. My date shuffled uncomfortably. Ann took a sip of her Chardonnay.
I glanced at her and noticed something in her eyes: Ann Coulter was embarrassed.
I no longer see the capacity for embarrassment in Ann. And, to me, it’s the most desolate, the most impoverished life to have lost all caring that you might have hurt another. Sure, she may not have turned out as famous, perhaps not as rich, but she would have my respect (for one) and, I suspect, more of her own.