Monday, August 21, 2006

The Thomas Jefferson Nerd Barometer

If you decide that the three different collections of Thomas Jefferson quotations you stock at the bookstore are woefully inadequate, then special-order yourself the definitive 576 page Quotable Jefferson and eagerly await its arrival, then spend most of the day it's due to arrive repeatedly asking Meaghan, "Is my Jefferson book in there?," "Did you find my Jefferson book yet?" as she unpacks the shipment, then snatch up the book and hug it once it finally appears, then hunker down with it for hours saying "Huh?" and staring blankly at people when they try to talk to you, if you later force another friend to peruse the Jefferson book until she finally pronounces it cool and tells you that all her friends laugh when she tells them she knows someone with a favorite president, and you hear yourself saying, "No no, Thomas Jefferson is my favorite founding father, but FDR is my favorite president" in an effort to correct her, there is absolutely no doubt that you are a nerd.

If you are looking forward to a major reorganization of your bookcases that will involve devoting an entire shelf to Jefferson books, you are most definitely a nerd.

If you frequently find yourself engaged in debates about whether Thomas Jefferson is cooler than Abraham Lincoln, or opining about how unfortunate it is that Jefferson got stuck on the nickel and Alexander Hamilton, who sucks and wasn't even a president, gets the $10 bill, you are also a nerd. (I know, I know, Hamilton founded the National Bank. I don't care. He still sucks.)

Even if you think Lincoln is cooler than Jefferson, you are probably still a nerd.

If you can name more than five Jefferson biographers off the top of your head, you are most likely a nerd.

If Thomas Jefferson's name evokes Monticello, UVA, the Louisiana Purchase, Sally Hemings, and Paris, you may be a nerd. Or you may just have been raised in Virginia.

If you actually attended Jefferson's UVA, you are probably a nerd. Unfortunately, there's also about a 90% chance that you are a pompous, pretentious collar-popping and/or pearl-wearing jerk.

If your knowledge of Jefferson does not extend beyond an association with the Declaration of Independence, it is doubtful that you are a nerd.

If you believe George Allen when he claims to be a "common sense Jeffersonian conservative," you are not only not a nerd, you are also very stupid.


A non-pearl wearing non-collar popping UVa alum said...

If you are jealous that a friend has a large Jefferson quote book, then you are a nerd.

Megan said...

Noonan? Non-pompous and non-pretentious too! And I'll let you borrow it. :)

vikkitikkitavi said...

My favorite founding father is Franklin, and my favorite president is Lincoln.

I know the Lincoln thing is cliche, but I love his use of language, and I love his observations on human nature and war. I have the Ken Burns civil war thing on video, and certain parts make me cry every time I watch them.

Also, I dragged Spooney to an exhibition at the Huntington Library on Franklin. They have his diaries, and since they had to un-bind them as part of a preservation project, they decided to put the loose pages under glass and let people read them. It was pretty amazing.


Yes, it's Noonan said...

Yay! I get to borrow the book. :)

Also - I think that Hamilton has no business having the $10, but the one person that I find most confusing is Jackson on the $20. He DESTROYED the B.U.S., after all. Whatever. If I had my way then Jefferson would be on the $20. :)

Megan said...

Vikki: Have you read Sarah Vowell's Assasination Vacation? All about traveling being a geek for Lincoln.

Noonan: You'd probably like that one too. Also, FUCK Jackson! Remember when we accidentally passed out our research paper assignment with the joke topic "Who was the dumbest president ever -- Andrew Jackson or George W. Bush?" still on it?

lulu said...

I've gotta go with Lincoln as well, although Jimmy Carter is near the top of my list as well, but that's more of a personality thing. I also like Nixon, despite the crookedness.

Megan said...

Nixon?! What is WRONG with you?!

vikkitikkitavi said...

Megan, I haven't read the Vowell book, only heard her read from it on This American Life.

Hamilton got his comeuppance, by the way, because who the fuck ever uses a 10 dollar bill anymore?

There IS a strange sort of Jackson fetish in this country. Maybe it's the nickname?

Megan said...

More people than use the nickel, that's for DAMN sure.