"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of the opportunity provided to serve self-interest when Al Gore created the internet; and we should also thank Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Dorsey for creating Facebook and Twitter out of the kindness of their big hearts and not the thinness of their small wallets."
-Ben Franklin, Autobiography (1742)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Hottest Bromance of the Revolution

In 1820 Thomas Jefferson wrote “ I am sure that I really know many, many, things, and none more surely than that I love you with all my heart”. 

You might imagine that such an endearing and affectionate line was something that Jefferson would have traced out for his wife Martha. You could also potentially imagine a situation in which Jefferson stealthily scrawls this line onto a napkin before furtively passing it over to Sally Hemmings. The truth of the matter is that Martha had recently passed away a mere forty years before and so the writing of such a letter to her would get Jefferson zero brownie points. Equally futile would be writing said letter to Sally, a house slave who had never been taught to read. The identity of the recipient is one that might shock, horrify, and dismay our loyal base of readers, particularly the large portion of you that are members of the Westboro Baptist Church.

The letter, was written to John Adams.

Now, as difficult as it is for us at Lost&Founders to dispel the heteronormative interpretation of the American Founding that our great nation of mavericks has so long held near and dear to its heart, we have the solemn duty to “follow truth wherever it may lead”. We present to you the evidence, free of bias, and ask you to form your own opinions. The last thing we need is the entire state of North Carolina simultaneously partaking in HareKiri the time-honored tradition of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment.

Our story begins in 1775. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams meet while serving as delegates to the Continental Congress that gathers in Philadelphia… the City of Brotherly Love… coincidence? Nope. Now mainstream historians have tried to tell us for centuries that Jefferson and Adams struggled with the distance that serving the Revolution was putting between them and their respective wives, but a recently discovered portrait done in 1776 by Gilbert Stuart suggests otherwise:

With this irrefutable evidence brought to light, it becomes both necessary and proper to reevaluate past conceptions. Today, we do believe that Philadelphia offered Jefferson and Adams an escape from their unhappy and sexually frustrating home lives.

The next chapter in the saga can be aptly called Jefferson in Paris. After Martha passes away in 1782, Jefferson is finally able to partake in the pursuit of happiness. He follows Adams to Europe where he takes on the title of American Minister to France but the trip ends up being little more than a five-year Paris shopping spree. It’s at this point that we believe Abigail Adams gets wind of what’s going on, takes John away with her to England, and forces an end to the relationship. Adams would write “The greatest regret I have in departing is an Interruption of that intimate Correspondence with you, which is one of the most agreeable Events in my Life”.

Jefferson and Adams wouldn’t talk for decades. Historians have attributed this to political partisanship and bitter campaigning but that’s just not the case. Abby, the main bitch in charge, was jealous of Jeffy, and it wasn’t until she softened with old age that Jefferson and Adams are able to rekindle their friendship in what many historians have referred to as the most touching correspondence to grace the pages of American History.

On July 4th, 1826, fifty years to the day that both men signed the Declaration of Independence, John Adams passes away. His last words are “Thomas Jefferson still lives”, you see, the two had an ongoing bet about which one of them would be the first to go, and John Adams was wrong. Jefferson had passed away a mere three hours before! There was no Facebook, there was no telephone, there was no expedited pony express to let one know about the other’s fate. But if you ask us, it was true love. Jefferson passed, and Adams pined away.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thomas Jefferson supports Theresa Sullivan

The Lost and Founders team would like to take a moment to weigh in on a current issue at the University of Virginia regarding the recent ousting of President Theresa Sullivan due to "philosophical differences" between her leadership style and that of key members of the Board of Visitors. As UVa alumni, we echo the sentiments of the many students, faculty, and fellow alums that are outraged and feel that Sullivan was treated unfairly by the BOV.

Our loyal readers know that we take great pride in looking back to the words of our Founding Fathers for key advice on navigating the issues of the present day. We would like to point out that Thomas Jefferson himself, former President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia, once made a statement in a letter to friend and colleague James Madison that may in fact be quite applicable in this current debate:

"In times of great levity don't let the dragass hand occupy the rectum for too long. It causes great irritant and will eventually need to be removed. Simon says."

While the un-liberal arts trained eye may see this quote as quite straightforward in referring to the bowel movements of our favorite founder, upon closer inspection we find that it's far less "shitty" and rather quite clairvoyant. Indeed, the above statement, long thought to be a quote about more crude things - was actually Jefferson predicting the future of his beloved University of Virginia.

Rectum is the Greek foundation of the modern word rector. It was widely used to reference political figures in ancient Greece and later carried over to Latin where it provided a basis for the modern day English translation. In Greek as well as Latin, Rectum is a 2nd declension noun and the plural genitive case is Rectorum.

The political usage originally came about after the Trial and Death of Socrates, after which Plato became quite anti-establishment. He began to joke that Archon's should no longer be referred to as the Head of the Council and rather they should referred to as the "Butt of the Council." He thus dubbed the group of them as the Rectorum or Rector (singular). This became hip in the underground rave culture so to speak in Athens and was instantly popularized. It lost its negative connotation in the Middle Ages when the Catholic church picked it up after misunderstanding a Platonian document that was in truth more of a rant about Socrates death. Since then the word Rector has been venerated by all...except Jefferson, who as a Latin scholar spent a great deal of personal time researching the dead language. When he founded the University of Virginia, he decided to call the head of the Board of Visitors the Rector as a joke between himself and presidential cronies James Monroe and James Madison that whoever was leading was destined to be the butt of all jokes and should not be taken completely seriously.

Now to "dragass." If you simply capitalize the 'D' and throw in an apostrophe it becomes "Dragas's hand." As Helen Dragas is the current Rect[um]or and the principle player in the dismissal of Sullivan, it can be argued this term was in fact part of a very poignant statement by Mr. Jefferson, whom as we have evidenced in countless posts had an astonishing amount of foresight bordering on the mystical. If you are asking for a more clear sign that Jefferson most certainly would have taken a side in the the recent dispute between Dragas and Sullivan, we don't know that one can be provided.

Finally, if you read closely you may notice one more bit of strangeness in the "Simon says" addendum to the quote above. This was in fact (fun sidenote) the beginning of the game Simon says. It has also always been thought to be an inside joke among friends, and it wasn't until now that we realized just how impressive the magnitude of Jefferson's clairvoyance is. We believe that this was actually a nod centuries in advance to one John Simon, the current UVa Provost, who seems to be aligned with Jefferson himself in supporting the academic integrity upon which the University of Virginia is founded.

There you have it. The Founder hath spoken. If you are a student, alumnus, or faculty member of UVa, or even just a friend to the University, please speak up and let the BOV know how you feel.

- The Lost and Founders

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Inspirational Leadership: FDR and Dennis Rodman

Many people recognize FDR as the man that reinvigorated a nation. He led us out of depression and shepherded us through World War II. We here at Lost and Founders recognize him for other aspects of his inspirational leadership.

In 1884 the following photograph was captured:

We had a hard time deciphering this picture ourselves, is that a mullet, or an ugly girl...oh wait...it's Franklin Delano Roosevelt the first female President of the United States of 'Merica.

He was badass before Chuck Norris invented the term. He rocked a dress before Dennis Rodman could even spell the word, well he still can't but that is besides the point. Thank you FDR for not only leading our country out of depression but for your transformational inspiration.