So………..although it is only a 2 hour drive from the center of Washington, D.C., I had never been to Monticello, the home of 3rd President of The United States Thomas Jefferson.
Having lived in D.C. my entire life I thought maybe I MIGHT have been as a kid on some kind of school field trip, but no, it was confirmed as 100 percent fact that I had never stepped foot on those grounds until today.
Alex and I woke up really early and made the trek out to Charlottesville Virginia for what seemed like a quintessential FALL experience. Hills, mountains, leaves, and the grounds of a former U.S. President’s plantation mansion….vineyards and gardens and a graveyard and apple cider donuts in the country along the way. So fall.
It was indeed the most gorgeous day, and quite an experience.
Mostly because via the tour I realized that Thomas Jefferson was the world’s biggest douche. Just like grade-A, hilarious, insufferable douche. Like he was the original hipster. The highbrow hipster. Not the hipster that wears neon beanies from Urban Outfitters and thrifted Air Force Ones and loves the Beastie Boys and is actually poor and hops the subway rails ’cause he’s out of money.
Thomas Jefferson’s modern-day people are the highbrow hipsters that read The New York Times over their rooibos tea and love “the french cinema” and feel like their dicks grow a little bigger every time they use the word ‘raw;’ love new “farm-to-table” restaurants popping up in the neighborhood and live in a 4-million dollar Brooklyn Brownstone but think they’re down with the people. He’s THAT dude that won’t listen to a band once they “sell out” and only listens to what the critics consider to be “music.” Thinks he’s cultured because he has Morissey and Beatles records and just name-drops the shit out of everything. If he lived in 2013 he’d always be asking people if they’d seen what Banksy had done last night and mentioning “this great little cafe” he’d been to in Paris or Warsaw. Actually DEFINITELY Warsaw. In 2013, Paris would probably be 300 years too overused so he’d be into Warsaw and how like, “the quality” of the glass from the old Polish factories is unparalleled and no other type of glass reflects light quite like it. HE WAS THE WORST.
This realization started because the tour guide takes you through every aspect of the house and give you details on the architectural and decor aspects of the house based on FACTS. Like Thomas Jefferson’s own journals, and other people’s journals DOCUMENTING that “he imported the french doors from France because he liked the doors and wanted them.” Period.
So our tour guide, Rita, is taking us through and literally EVERY thing she said made me laugh out loud because I progressively began realizing he was THAT dude.
Let me give you a few examples.
She’s showing us these fancy doors with insane glass that like “magically” open because some wind tunnel from the front entrance makes it so that when you start to shut the left one, the right one also shuts even though you never touched it. Rita, all eager with her granny voice because 9 out of 10 tour guides at Monticello/everywhere are retired grandparents, is like, “Mr. Jefferson saw these doors once in London, and loved them so much that he had to have them!”
Strike 1. I’m processing the information, but not offended yet.
Then we walk into the room off of his bedroom and Alex notices this amazing skylight like 400 feet above. As if on cue Rita says, “Now Mr. Jefferson first saw a skylight in France, and loved how they looked so much (!) that when he came back to his house, he had his [architect slave] REDESIGN THE ENTIRE HOUSE WITH LIKE 8 ADDITIONAL ROOMS AND 40 FOOT SKYLIGHTS IN EACH.” BECAUSE THE FRENCH HAD SKYLIGHTS.
Then we walk to the dining room.
Well what the fuck do you suppose Rita says about the dining room.
“Mr. Jefferson loved the crown moulding in Alexandria, he was very inspired by the Romans, so he had his [architect slave] install crown moulding JUST exactly like they had in Rome!”
I am literally laughing out loud at this point. After the second reference to Mr. Jefferson just “having to have” something he had fallen in love with while in Europe, my entire schtick was turning to Alex and being like, OMG HE WAS *THAT* GUY. HE WAS THAT GUY who when you come over for dinner, you have to sit through 2 hours of him telling you how the last time he was “on the continent” he met a “fascinating little Italian cobbler” who was the descendent of the marble-worker who laid the marble at the Sistene Chapel so naturally he HAD to have that marble shipped overseas and installed in his kitchen in the same manner in which the Italians did it 400 years ago because he likes to keep the process authentic. And you’re like “cool dude, cool, kill yourself.” He’s THAT guy who has a wood burning stove – the original foundational brick for which was one that was excavated from Roman Ruins and the piece of wood that adorns his fireplace was a recovered slab from the fucking cross that Jesus was crucified on. And you’re rolling you’re fucking eyes being like “this bitch.”
Every fucking thing in that dude’s house had a story about how Mr. Jefferson had just been strolling down the street in London and saw a fancy ass glass door he liked and had it sent to his house. So also apparently MR. JEFFERSON had a fucking spending problem because it SOUNDS like all Mr. Jefferson did was shop. Thomas Jefferson was our President and wrote the Declaration of Independence and was a shopaholic. He had an uncontrollable impulse for fine European furnishings.
And the thing is: if you take the level of how douchey it is to be alive in the year 2013 and be importing marble from Italy and France, take that douchiness and raise it ONE T-H-O-U-S-A-N-D levels to when doing that wasn’t REMOTELY convenient or practical or cost effective. Because when Thomas Jefferson did it, it involved a 4 MONTH SHIP JOURNEY ON WHICH LIKE 25 PEOPLE RISKED THEIR LIVES, 4 DIED, AND 2 GOT DYSINTERY AND ENDED UP WITH LONGTERM BRAIN DAMAGE. SO IT WAS *THAT* MUCH MORE OUTRAGEOUS to be getting your doors from churches in London.
Oh but we’re not even remotely done. I am laughing as I type this because it’s TOO rich. I want to write a comedy skit for Portlandia or SNL on how much it must have sucked to have dinner at Thomas Jefferson’s house because everyone was probably just rolling their eyes being like OH MY GOD THOMAS, WE GET IT. YOUR KITCHEN WAS MODELED AFTER THE FRENCH DINING STYLE. OUR BREAD IS BEING CRACKED THE SAME WAY THE FRENCH CRACK THEIR BREAD. NO ONE FUCKING CARES.
His wife probably cut him off multiple times and was just like “Thomas, if you love France so much then why don’t you marry it. Why don’t you just FUCKING MARRY FRANCE IF YOU LOVE IT SO MUCH.”
OR WHY DON’T YOU JUST *MOVE* THERE. Oh right, because you wrote the Declaration of Independence.
Rita continued to explain that the house kitchen was built “in the French style” and that every night dinner was served “in the French style” because Mr. Jefferson was very “taken” with French cooking.
Also, he had the douchiest fanciest art — “religious stuff, because THAT’S WHAT WAS ‘BIG’ in Europe” and like the fanciest paint on his walls because that’s what they did in Europe. Basically if he’d seen that it was “en vouge” to smear pig blood on your walls in France, HE WOULD HAVE DONE IT.
The reason I found this all to be so god damn hilarious, aside from the inherent comedy, is because like……….HE WROTE THE FUCKING DECLARATION THAT DECLARED AMERICA’S INDEPENDENCE AND SEPARATION FROM EUROPE.
Like THE document, the DEFINING document being like “LISTEN ASSHOLES: We’re our own thing now. WE DON’T NEED YOU and your religion and douchebaggery and fucking monarchs and non-separation of church and state, and ostentatiousness and PALACES and corruption — WE DON’T NEED YOUR SUN-KINGS AND VERSAILLES’S, WE GOT THIS NOW. WE GOT OUR OWN COUNTRY, WITH ITS OWN RICHES, AND OUR OWN GOVERNMENT, so just go hang out in your gold mansions while we bestow the gift of religious freedom on our humble people.”
And ALL THAT THOMAS JEFFERSON PROCEEDED TO DO WAS GO BACK TO FRANCE AND BE LIKE “omg I love this wood! Can I get this back at my place? Ugh you’re the best Pierre! Tell your grandfather I say hello,” and then brag about it to all of his guests. HE WAS A SPOILED LITTLE WANNA-BE EUROPEAN.
Like every fucking person that ever talked to him wanted to PULL THEIR HAIR OUT at the detailed degree to which they knew about every single one his French friends and that one time in Autumn 1803 when “Marcelle made this INCREDIBLE French Onion soup that just…MELTED in your mouth.” It’s all he talked about.
He wrote the Declaration of Independence and then was like ‘fuckkkkkkkkkkk but France is so good though.’
Also, Rita had some other hilarious anecdotes that further revealed how little fucks he gave about anyone but himself.
She was like “So Mr. Jefferson only lived on the ground floor – he did not use or go upstairs ever. SO, when designing the house he didn’t want to WASTE any space on staircases because…it was a waste of space. But all of the other 23 people who lived in the house had to use the 1-foot wide staircases! And they really hated those claustrophobic staircases. That Mr. Jefferson sure was silly!”
So like………EVERY person (all his family members and like grandchildren and guests and sons-in-law ALL had to use the staircases multiple times every day but because HE didn’t and he didn’t want to WASTE THE SPACE, he made them 1 foot wide. So every fucking day Martha and Sally and his DISTINGUISHED guests had to like, shimmy up the stairs being like “god DAMN it Thomas, really?” They sat down in their beds at night and wrote journal entries about how frustrating the narrow staircases were. And Thomas was like, well I don’t use them so……..suck it.
The other hilarious detail exactly like that was the alcove beds—-hahaha I’m laughing as I write this because he was basically a sociopath. He DID NOT CARE what anyone else wanted if it interfered with his aesthetic European desires.
So alcove beds are those beds that are built INTO the wall. So as Rita explained, NO ONE WANTED THE ALCOVE BEDS. Not only were they clausterphobic and difficult to get into, people would complain of like, indigestion and headaches and nightmares while in the alcove beds, AND THE ONLY BED IN THE ENTIRE HOUSE THAT WASN’T ALCOVE WAS HIS!!!!!!!! hahahah HIS BED was like out in the shining sun and air right near one of the French-inspired skylights, and every bitch in the house had to climb into their alcove bed being like that mother FUCKER.
Also, he banged his slaves, and also, he wrote “all men are created equal” and then had slaves.
So basically what I learned at Monticello is that Thomas Jefferson was THAT douchebag that imported everything from Italy France and London and if he were alive today he would have extension knowledge of beatknik “zines” and alienate everyone with his obnoxious importation of European stones and clothes and architectural ideas.
And that he is the biggest hypocrite ever. He INDEPENDECED us from Europe and then proceeded to make every single aspect of his life European. In an obnoxious way.
OH, and SIDENOTE, he also like actually didn’t pay for a lot of things and just “put them on his tab” and left his family in a lot of debt……………………..after fathering like 14 slave babies.
But hey, father of our government!
He is officially my favorite historical joke.
Thomas Jefferson, author of the declaration of independence, and desperately wished he lived in Europe. “no like, America, America, I’m so about it, I LOVE America George, you know this is my shit, but…………have you tried the chocolate croissants in France? I’M JUST SAYING. I’m just. say-ing.”