Annette Gordon-Reed on Re-imagining Jefferson

Question: What is our biggest misconception of the man?

Gordon-Reed:    Wow.  As a cold sort of statue-like figure, as a person who was… he is seen almost, he’s portrayed almost like a Sherlock Holmes’ character, a sort of all intellect and primarily intellect and not a person of passion.  He was a deeply emotional person, and like lots of emotional people try to hide that by appearing somewhat detached and aloof.  So, I think the notion of a cold and cerebral Jefferson is a misconception.  I mean, he was almost irrational in some ways and in passions about politics, about people, all kinds of things.  So that would be it, getting rid of the sort of cold Jefferson.  There is this notion of him as someone who’s this sort of unfeeling, detached person and there’s just, that’s not right.  I mean, he’s very much a man of sentiment and feeling and that I think comes true in, well, as you said, with his attitudes about wine and food and architecture and all those kinds of things, but he is not all mind.  The head and heart, the famous letter that he writes to Maria Cosway and a lot of people assumed, well, the head wins because that’s what Jefferson is, but I don’t think that that’s right.

Annette Gordon-Reed says despite the popular notions of Jefferson, he had a big heart.

Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less