Fellow Cornellians Ann Coulter and Keith Olbermann Get in Awesome College Catfight

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Such a pity, they'd make such a lovely couple. Photo: Getty Images

The thing about Ann Coulter is, she'll make you laugh even as what she's saying appalls you. Her column yesterday was an excellent example. She attacked liberal MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann over his habit of playing "gotcha!" clips when politicians (usually Republicans) misspeak, arguing that the point is only to make Olbermann himself look smart. Then she goes into uncharted territory: Coulter, a graduate of Cornell, attacks Olbermann, a fellow graduate, for bragging about his education. See, Ann went to the College of Arts and Sciences, the part of the university that is part of the Ivy League. Keith went to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, which is technically a state school. It's a dichotomy that Cornellians the world around are keenly aware of, but rarely use against one another.

If you've ever watched any three nights of his show, you know that Olbermann went to Cornell. But he always forgets to mention that he went to the school that offers classes in milking and bovine management. Indeed, Keith is constantly lying about his nonexistent "Ivy League" education, boasting to Playboy magazine, for example: "My Ivy League education taught me how to cut corners, skim books and take an idea and write 15 pages on it, and also how to work all day at the Cornell radio station and never actually go to class." Except Keith didn't go to the Ivy League Cornell; he went to the Old MacDonald Cornell. The real Cornell, the School of Arts and Sciences (average SAT: 1,325; acceptance rate: 1 in 6 applicants), is the only Ivy League school at Cornell and the only one that grants a Bachelor of Arts degree. Keith went to an affiliated state college at Cornell, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (average SAT: about that of pulling guards at the University of South Carolina; acceptance rate: 1 of every 1.01 applicants). Olbermann's incessant lying about having an "Ivy League education" when he went to the non-Ivy League ag school at Cornell would be like a graduate of the Yale locksmithing school boasting about being a "Yale man."


For some reason this feels like it crosses a line. Not like calling John Edwards a "faggot" or accusing the September 11 widows of "enjoying their husbands' deaths," but a line nonetheless. (She did make us laugh with her lines: "Most people who majored in 'communications' at an ag school don't act like Marshall Scholars" and "'Communications' is a major, along with 'recreation science,' most commonly associated with linemen at USC. But at least the linemen can throw a football, which Keith cannot because his mother decided he was not physically robust enough to play outdoors as a child.") Olbermann, of course, was quick to respond. He told TVNewser:

Poor Annie has completely lost it. Cornell diplomas don't make any reference to individual college or major. They're Cornell diplomas. Mine looks exactly like hers, only if she was an out-of-stater she probably paid 8-10 times what I did for mine. And the premise of the University is that anybody can take almost any course. Nearly half of mine were in "her" Arts College. And this is the first time since I went there in 1975 that I've ever seen a Cornellian rag on all the other colleges. It's a long way to go just to rationalize Limbaugh not knowing the Constitution from the Declaration of Independence.


Hmmm. We have to say, this one victory goes to Ann. Keith's response definitely wasn't as funny, and he kind of lost us at "poor Annie."

OLBERMANN'S PLASTIC IVY [AnnCoulter.com]
Olbermann/Coulter Take Cornell Debate To Andy Bernard-Like Level [TVNewser/Mediabistro]