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15.12.09

Sign of the time 

Barack Obama

I have an amateur interest in graphology, and I wanted to have a look at the signatures of the past five, and the current, American presidents.
   The inspiration came when I saw that George W. Bush and his father had similar approaches to the capital B, and I began thinking back to the books I had read on the topic in the 1980s.
   None of this post is to be taken as gospel or anything near a professional graphological analysis. We are talking about me struggling to remember what I read over 20 years ago.
   James Earl Carter Jr’s signature has quite a large initial cap, and what we type designers would call a low x-height. It suggests some idea of self-importance. The cross-bar of the t is high, suggesting the 39th president had great self-confidence—quite the opposite to how his successor portrayed him. However, the words are closely spaced, which indicates an element of wishing to be close to people. There are small loops, so we are not talking about an extravagant man.
   Ronald Reagan, interestingly, also does not have much in the way of extravagance. This is a very simple signature, which goes against stories of the 40th president preparing his own autographed photographs to give to visitors. There is a greater space between the two words, which gives the impression that President Reagan was more aloof than his predecessor. But it is a humble signature: for someone who was an actor, it actually shows a degree of introversion and not wanting to make much noise.
   His successor, George Bush, almost abbreviates his first name, but his surname is written out in full. The B in Bush is almost a swash in comparison to the remaining letters, almost as though there is a greater sense of family pride and duty over any personal gain.
   Bill Clinton has short ascenders, which is unusual. It’s a quiet signature, closer to Ronald Reagan’s than either side of US politics would like to admit. There’s a greater separation still between the two words, indicating even less of a desire to appreciate others, though the elongated tail of the n suggests some force or a wish to have a longer impact than might be permitted.
   George W. Bush abbreviates both names, as though he were in a hurry. For a man who gave a down-home image for most of his political campaigning, the 43rd president skilfully executes a very old-fashioned G, placing a greater emphasis on the self than his father. The closeness of the two words suggests he might be the most people-friendly president, more so than Jimmy Carter. While Republicans would agree there, the former president’s stance on many issues wound up alienating Democrats, not to mention a good part of the world.
   Finally, the current president. Barack Obama shows creativity and non-conformity, evidenced most by the joint OB, with the B cleverly incorporated as a capital letter inside the O. His signature suggests a great deal of self-confidence, but he is not one to dwell on detail. I disagree with one analysis on the internet saying that the President is disappointed in his father; in fact, I think he finds his father’s side of the family and his Kenyan heritage a huge source of pride and identity.
   For those who disagree with the analyses, then you can either take graphology to be a load of BS, or my recollection of graphological skills to be very poor. Any errors in interpretation above are mine alone. I suppose none of us know for sure, even if we like to, how these men view themselves. They are the best judges of the above, with their wives and children the next best.

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Comments:
Interesting... As good a tool as anything to suggest elements of character (or lack of it) in discussing these guys. I'm reminded that editors & historians used to publish collections of statesmen's correspondence. Now we just look at their letters.  
One thing to remember is that your signature is the way you want the world to see you and it may be drastically different from the rest of the writing. So to analyze handwriting you should have both.  
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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