Jack Lew's Signature Isn't Terrible — It's Awesome
The written signature of the brand-new Treasury Secretary nominee is a googly, illegible pictograph — and that's what makes it so cool. Will it makes its way to every printed bill in the country?
The googly written signature (pictured above) of brand-new Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew had already divided the pundit class: New York business blogger Kevin Roose called it "terrible." The Daily Caller and The Week agreed, calling the illegible autograph "horrible" and "awful." Our Atlantic colleague Derek Thompson deemed it "insane." But Ezra Klein thinks Lew's signature "would turn American currency into the best money ever." The reason Lew's signature is so important, of course, is that his John Hancock is about to appear on printed currency. Which, as some put it on Twitter, would be awesome:
Jack Lew, likely pick for Treasury Secretary, has an amazing signature. One that may soon be on our dollar bills. bit.ly/WtrGIr— Jeff J. Curley (@jeff_curley) January 9, 2013
Illegible: yes. Terrible: no. This designer likes how it looks. MT @nymag: Jack Lew's terrible signature. nym.ag/WzgTvV— Randi Hazan (@randihazan) January 9, 2013
This glorious John Hancock is about to grace our dollar bills. Epic troll, Jack Lew, epic troll. nym.ag/XkbOKL— Justin Pottle (@JustinPottle) January 9, 2013
More like awesome? RT @intelligencer: Jack Lew’s Terrible Signature May Grace Dollar Bills Now nym.ag/XkbOKL twitter.com/intelligencer/…— Samir Mezrahi (@samir) January 9, 2013
We'd have to agree, sort of. Lew's signature, though unreadable, isn't exactly chicken-scratch. It's logical. It flows. And its organic symmetry is reminiscent, vaguely, of the Guilloché patterns that decorate banknotes all over the world.
Unfortunately Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker spoiled the party this morning with a little context — if he falls in line with his predecessor, Lew might end up having to submit a better, more readable signature:
BREAKING: I'm told by a knowledgable source that Lew's signature might get upgraded the way Geithner's did: marketplace.org/topics/economy…— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) January 9, 2013
Here's how current Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's signature evolved:
After (on a twenty-dollar bill):
Aside from his confirmation, of course, the big (ridiculous) question now is whether Lew's signature — improved or otherwise — would adorn that theoretical, trillion-dollar platinum coin.