So word comes that, as long predicted, President Obama will nominate current White House chief of staff Jacob “Jack” Lew to be the next Secretary of the Treasury.
The pick is no surprise — President Obama tends to nominate just the person whom you think he’s going to nominate. Lew’s liberal bona fides have progressives happy, and conservatives angry.
Of some interest, though not of particular importance, is Lew’s bizarre signature, which first received widespread notice last Fall when it appeared on an Office of Management and Budget memo.
New York Magazine earlier today imagined what this squiggle might look like on a dollar bill.
I believe I speak for all of America when I say: “The horror. The horror.”
New York’s Kevin Roose cites several objects d’art that Lew’s John Hancock reminds him of, including the slinky and the hair of Peanuts’ Sally Brown.
Actually, as a failed cartoonist, I can report with authority that Lew’s signature most closely resembles what is referred to in cartooning as a spurl — these are the corkscrews emanating from a character’s head when he is hovering below or above consciousness.
You can see it right below over the head of the first man carrying the glass.
Another example can be seen among this 1925 curse word symbols found at the Statoids website.
And in these from Thimble Theater:
Names for these symbols were given by Beetle Bailey’s creator Mort Walker, who recalled:
"It started out as a joke for the National Cartoonists Society magazine. I spoofed the tricks cartoonists use, like dust clouds when characters are running or lightbulbs over their heads when they get an idea. My son Brian thought I should expand the idea and make a book of it. I spent many hours at the museum going over old cartoons and recording their ‘language.’
"I created pseudoscientific names for each cartoon cliché, like the sweat marks cartoon characters radiate. I called them ‘plewds,’ after the god of rain, ‘Joe Pluvius.’ I considered it a humor book.
"When it came out, I looked for it in the humor section of a bookstore and finally found it in Art Instruction. I inquired and they said, ‘What’s funny about it?’ I said, ‘The names.’ They said, ‘We didn’t know what those things were called.’ I said, ‘They weren’t called anything till I called them that.’ It was another case of satire falling flat. I gave up and am selling it now as an instruction book."
In any case, as Marketplace pointed out earlier this year, outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner changed his illegible signature to fit the responsibility of signing our currency.
It went from to .
One assumes Lew’s spurl will be similarly adjusted.