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Stop Judging Jack Lew’s ‘Ridiculous’ Signature

Above, you can see signature of Jacob J. Lew, reportedly the top candidate to be the country’s new Treasury secretary. This scribble—a slinky? a bit of fuzz? a doodle of a caterpillar?—may be printed on every single new dollar bill. The signature is causing no shortage of judgment from media outlets like The New York Times [...]

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The culprit signature. Photo: whitehouse.gov

Above, you can see signature of Jacob J. Lew, reportedly the top candidate to be the country’s new Treasury secretary. This scribble—a slinky? a bit of fuzz? a doodle of a caterpillar?—may be printed on every single new dollar bill. The signature is causing no shortage of judgment from media outlets like The New York Times and New York, which writes:

If Lew is confirmed as Treasury secretary, his signature will occupy the lower-right-hand spot on U.S. paper currency. And that signature, which was widely mocked when it surfaced on a September 2011 memorandum, is legitimately crazy.

Meanwhile (as if journalists are known for their handwriting’s legibility) the Times chides:

Amazingly, while this looks like an arbitrary series of loop-the-loops, he’s actually mostly consistent about having seven full loops each time. Maybe they stand for the seven letters of “Jack Lew” (as he is known); maybe seven is his lucky number. Clearly we need to consult another graphologist.

New York calls for Lew to upgrade his penmanship. It wouldn’t be the first time a politician amended his natural scrawl in favor of something more legible. The current Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, now on his way out, changed his signature just for the dollar bill. As he told Marketplace:

Well, I think on the dollar bill I had to write something where people could read my name. That’s the rationale.

I didn’t try for elegance. I tried for clarity.

However, a counter movement is at play. A petition has sprung up to save Lew’s signature, and a graphologist concluded that the signature—which supposedly shares similarities with Princess Diana’s—reveals the current chief of staff’s softer side.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Doodle Dandy
Clear Hands Clear Conscience 

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