It is beneath me to write a column on Tom Cotton’s immature writings as a 21-year-old personal essayist for the Harvard Crimson.
So I’ll blog on the subject instead.
There is a bubbling-up issue among women about a column young Tom wrote about men, women and divorce.
It seeks to be clever, but isn’t, and it seeks to be insightful, but is, well, young.
The potentially offending part — and offending only to the extent that Cotton might still think this way — is when Cotton seems to say that no-fault divorce is bad for women because, due to easy marital dissolution, needy women lose to new trophy wives otherwise trainable men who would, if restrained, eventually become their “dream men.”
Here’s that excerpt:
“Feminists who allegedly speak for women should attack divorce, not its effects. If men have easy access to divorce, many will choose it thoughtlessly. They may not gain true happiness with their new trophy wives, but they certainly will not slide into the material indigence and emotional misery that awaits most divorced women. If restrained, however, men can fulfill women’s deepest hopes. They can learn that personal happiness comes from the desire to devote and sacrifice oneself to one’s beloved.
“A few men can see this by themselves, and women are quite lucky to hook them. Ordinary women must not only defend these men against feminism, but also demand that all other men accept the lifelong nature of marriage. If not, one-half of all women who marry see their “greatest fear” come true. If so, they can have their ‘deepest hopes’ fulfilled.”
There are women on social media who are absolutely outraged by that. And it’s sure-enough creepy. They say it’s bad enough on its own, but that it reflects Cotton’s views today.
Others — I among them — tend to think collegiate ramblings should not be taken too seriously.
However, Bill Clinton’s collegiate ramblings to Col. Holmes certainly were taken seriously.
So I am contradicting myself.
Anyway, I dared to direct a question about these writings to my good friend Caroline Rabbitt, formidable press shield for Cotton.
She has replied as follows: “The columns Tom wrote while at Harvard aren’t a secret. But I would say most college students think they know it all, and most who later look back on what they wrote in college — Tom included — would probably put things differently today.”
Rabbitt goes on to say that Tom’s mother has some finger paintings by her boy at 5 that she might release to me if I would agree to do a photo-only column.
I ask again for my 30 minutes with the candidate. He knows the question. If he reads the local press.