On this July 4th we celebrated America’s Independence from England. We often think of the Founding Fathers as powdered-wig-wearing, well-read and traditional people — devout Christians who often wrote about humility before God.
But what do their signatures say about them?
Yes, it’s still a relatively unscientific science, but signature analysis has been used to decode personality traits for years. It’s been used by officials and police, namely because your brain often crafts the shape of your signature subconsciously to reflect what is most comfortable for you.
That means size, curvature, thickness, alignment, punctuation marks and spacial factors all say something about you.
So what can we learn about the men who signed the U.S.’s most historically significant document?
There are seven major categories to classify a signature. These are:
3. Use and size of names (placement, contrast, etc.)
5. Size of the first letter
6. Loops/backward strokes
Let’s first take the signature of Mr. Hancock, the name most prominently shown in the Declaration of Independence.
Firstly, we must note that his signature is in the center of the page, larger than that of everyone else. Usually, this might suggest he thought himself worthy of such a spot and believed himself above others in some aspect.
We know from history, however, that Hancock was the first man to sign the Declaration, and so he, naturally, signed in the center of the margin below the text, probably without correctly guessing how many other names would fit at the same size.
That in and of itself tells us something about him: In his eagerness to sign something he knew would be monumental, he likely neglected to consider how many others stood alongside him in the new America.
But other things stick out as well.
Notice the tail of the “J” — in typography, this is called a “descender.” It is the most obvious of the many flourishes, which also include the ornate underline after he had signed his name.
Traditionally flourishes such as these — think of them as decorations on a boring signature — suggest sentimentality and a person with ties to the past. Smaller flourishes, such as the brackets at the top of the “C” and “N”, show an attention to detail.
You’ll also notice the signature seems very well connected. There is vertical overlap of letters because of the slant, and it appears very much as a whole, with many letters even connecting. This indicates that he believed himself a focused and complete man and wanted to be understood as such.
The strong right slant on the letters indicate a person who is responsive to his world and wants to be understood.
Lastly, you’ll notice his letters are much thinner than that of many of his co-signers. This indicates a certain level of insecurity — cautiousness perhaps — and willingness to squeeze his written identity into a smaller space.
From this, we can definitely gather that John Hancock was a focused, lavishly decorated, serious man who wanted to present himself as more manly than he may have seemed. He also seems somewhat insecure at the point in time of the Declaration’s signing, and perhaps a bit selfish, which could explain the tendency to sign a large name without considering the many others who would need to fit on the page.
The next well-known name on the Declaration is that of Benjamin Franklin.
From his signature, we can see he is a well decorated man, but his writing is noticeably rounder or more rotund than that of Hancock. While he’s known to have been “more rotund” himself, the writing speaks volumes about his personality.
A rounder, fuller letter, as you see with loops and circular shapes, often signify some kind of sexual tones. In this case, we know sexuality had a large role in Franklin’s life, including a “love” for women that leads him to an affair (and an illegitimate son), and a constant flirtatious personality when it comes to the ladies.
As with Hancock, there is a strong rightward slant, which indicates he was someone always looking for a “next step” to progress, and that he wanted to contribute his own meaningful ideas to the world.
You’ll also notice that Franklin fails to dot either the “J” or the “I” in his name. This is almost always a key element in assessing someone’s attention to minute details. While Franklin certainly was a brilliant man, he was not the most well-organized or orderly.
Usually men of this era like to speak their minds and share ideas, but surprisingly, Jefferson’s signature suggests something different.
Notice the sloppy, almost illegible signature. For a man who wrote constantly from the time he was a child, and enjoyed writing letters, he does not write very neatly (compare that with his hand-written letters, which are quite easily legible).
This is an example of a man who wants to be seen, but does not want to be truly noticed or known in this circumstance.
The only other plausible takeaway from this signature is that he signed a great many autographs and was in a rush, or did not care to pay any attention. Given the regard for which he held for the early American Colonies, this seems unlikely, so it’s probable that Jefferson was uncomfortable signing the Declaration. (Something that history would support.)
But undoubtedly, the uniquely formed letters and unusual shapes of basic letters show a fast thinker with a certain amount of carefree individuality.
The “T” is much more well defined than the rest of the signature, including the “J,” which shows that he held himself as a truly fresh thinker, apart from his surname (and therefore family). While he still signs his full surname, it appears he may have had some disregard for his father, a surveyor who was often away on trips and had fathered nine of Jefferson’s siblings.
What’s more, you’ll notice Jefferson does not underline his signature at all. This is often a sign that the writer doesn’t want to emphasize his name. While many men did underline their own names, it seems Jefferson held a notable humility, as did John Adams and Ben Franklin.
What is so striking about the signature of John Adams is it’s uniformity.
While ugly and shaky, it is undoubtedly steady. The “middle zone,” the area in between the peak of the lowercase “O” and “M” is remarkably consistent.
This area often represents the personal side of one’s life, and from a signature like this we could gather that he viewed his life more as a straight, unbending road than a curvy roller coaster. Given the family tragedy in his life, this may be surprising, but he was also a man who put tremendous faith in God and constantly strived to grow spiritually.
The shakiness of the lines certainly stand out as well. These suggest a very slow signing, and a deep thinker (as opposed to Jefferson, the fast thinker). Adams was a ponderer, and a man who valued the steadiness in life.
Unlike Franklin, Adams’ loops are flat and lack any robustness. This was a man who was either somewhat insecure about himself and his manhood, or extremely shy about his sexuality (but weren’t they all). Brilliant as he was, he certainly didn’t have the best sex life.
He appears to be a private man as well, indicated by the space between first and last name. He clearly values his time at home, and tries not to let the worlds blend together.
We’ve all seen the Scumbag Steve meme. But these take the meme to the next level, with a little political twist.
- Scumbag Obama: Patriot Act
- Scumbag Obama: Change to Believe In
- Scumbag Obama: Libya Bombing
- Scumbag Obama: We got ’em!
- Scumbag Obama: Raising Debt Ceiling
- Scumbag Obama: Constitutional Scholar
- Scumbag Obama: Nobel Peace Prize
- Scumbag Obama: Too Busy
- Scumbag Obama: Ahh! Late Again!
- Scumbag Obama: Rapture
- Scumbag Obama: Recovery
- Scumbag Obama: Best Since Reagan
- Scumbag Obama: Screw You, Trump
- Scumbag Obama: Glamorous … Not So Green
- Scumbag Obama: Power!
You may have heard of this new thing called “competitive eating.”
OK, it’s not really a new thing. It’s been going on for a couple decades, but it’s only reached its peak recently, with the emergence of a competitive eating GIANT: A scrawny Japanese man whose ribs you can see through his skin.
Yeah that’s right. Arguably the world’s last remaining normal-size people OWN all of our fat asses at what we do best — chowing down hot dogs.
People have been stuffing their faces for centuries, but it wasn’t until Kobayoshi came around that it really took off as a competition. And in traditional American fashion, if we get too old and fat to compete anymore, we’ll park our butts in front of our HDTVs and watch other people stuff their faces.
Hell, they even put it on ESPN.
A little sickening to post this on July 4th, the day more wieners are shared with family and friends than any other? (And we’re not talking about Rep. Anthony Wiener.)
Just like like with democracy, business and baseball, we’ve lost our title as the world’s biggest big eaters.
But you can’t lie, this looks pretty tasty, doesn’t it?
So do us a favor this July 4th — relive America’s glory days, and challenge your family members to a hot dog stuff-in of your own.
Happy July 4th!
We’ve all seen the Scumbag Steve meme. But these take the meme to the next level.
- Scumbag Lindsay Lohan
- Scumbag Classmate
- Non-Scumbag Black Guy
- Scumbag Han Solo
- Scumbag Leno
- Scumbag Michael Cera
- Scumbag Mubarak
- Scumbag O’Reilly
- Scumbag Oxygen
- Scumbag Steve In the Fall
Eric Allie has long been a cartooning genius, and a more moderate political stance has lent itself to some amazing work in the first half of 2011. From Obama starting a re-election campaign to debate about big Tea Party rallies and ginormous Union protests (yes, that’s a word now.).
Here are Eric Allie’s TOP 10 BEST POLITICAL CARTOONS OF 2011:
- May 19, 2011
- May 11, 2011
- April 19, 2011
- April 2, 2011
- March 22, 2011
- March 7, 2011
- March 1, 2011
- February 14, 2011
- February 7, 2011
- January 5, 2011
Even if you’re not really the “type” for slurred, often-marijuana-centric humor, you can’t deny Doug Benson’s downright hilariousness. (Some fantastic slow-delivery comedians come to mind — paging Mitch Hedberg!)
Benson has perfected the art of short-snippit comedy on the VH1 show “Best Week Ever,” but it’s his standup one-liners that have given him such a fast-growing fan base.
Here are just 20 of Doug Benson’s best one-liners:
- My answering machine says, “I can’t come to the phone right now because I’m either on stage or having sex. So I’ll call you back in 45 minutes or in 30 seconds.”
- Like most comics, I just broke up with my girlfriend and the reason we broke up is I caught her lying… under another man.
- I have been in kind of a sexual dry spell lately. In the past few years I’ve only had sex in months that end in “arch.”… In in years that have an Olympics.
- They have a saying in Seattle: If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, and then shoot yourself in the face.
- I was on the toilet for so long the other day, I finally said to myself, “I’m getting too old for this shit.”
- People ask me who I’m gonna vote for for president. I always tell them “that is my personal business, and because he’s black.”
- I got HIV, but don’t worry. I still have to draw four more Scrabble letters.
- I’m always coming up with slogans for companies, and then not sharing them. Like you know that supermarket chain Whole Foods? I came up with a great slogan for them: “Whole Foods. For your food hole.”
- Banking is scary right now, so I came up with a new slogan for Bank of America that reflects the scariness of the times: “B of A. B very of A.”
- I want to make a movie that’s based on “The Dark Knight,” but it’s called “The Dank Knight.” And in my movie, I’m gonna play a character who fights crime by staying at home and minding my own business.
- I think it’s a good thing that emotional scars are invisible. Because if emotional scars were visible, porn would be disgusting.
- It’s great to be here on this Fergulicious occasion. I just a new word-a-day calendar and I like to use that day’s word in a sentence. Today’s word is occasion, so I feel pretty good about that one.
- I’m no scientist but I think secondhand smoke has been overhyped. My mom smokes cigarettes all through my childhood and look how I flem-flammel-lammel [sic].
- I like to go to foreign films when I’m high, because I like to read out loud.
- I don’t like walking around with change in my pocket because then I have to spend all day lying to homeless people.
- The participants in an AIDS run would probably break records if they were actually running from AIDS.
- I would never put a roofie in a woman’s drink. … I would crumble it into her food.
- I could never give a woman a roofie, because when I’m having sex with her, I want her to be able to (laughs) … struggle.
- When it comes to the ladies, I’m really into T and A. Tattoos and abortions!
- I went to a sexual-harassment seminar recently. So now I think I’m gonna be pretty good at it.
BONUS: Did you guys know ginormous is a word now? It’s a Ginormous shouldn’t be a word, it should be a secret code phrase used exclusively by gynaecologists. “Hey Bill, how was your last patient?” …. “GINORMOUS!”