The astounding crash and burn story of Congressman Anthony Weiner is as tired, tawdry and old as the primitive brainstem impulses that brought it about. It is also a story unimaginable outside of the digital age. The blurty, disruptive Tweets and urges to snap a picture and construct an unintentional global billboard don’t go anywhere without the Internet. The endocrine waste of an unrestrained Id can’t become a national political obsession without the enabling technology of digital cameras that fit on the heads of pins more comfortably than angels in another age. Impulses become objects. The objects abruptly acquire a meaning even as they lose their original context. You might say that, “In the present everything will be meaningful for 15 minutes and exist online forever.” (Andy Warhol just tweeted that to me.)
So then, this week’s New York Times post on the “meaning” of Anthony Weiner’s handwriting is also unimaginable outside of the digital age. But there it is, on the letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirming his resignation. And the signature certainly causes our heads to nod with a kind of “Well there you go…” revelation of something that, like Weiner’s Tweets, shows us that which is now obvious about the Congressman. Of course, it’s just the illusion of knowing something. The experts in the article don’t exactly tell us anything that the curvy line itself doesn’t already say. And without the context of Weiner’s scandal and resignation, could we say anything at all about the handwriting of this signature?
In this spirit, I humbly offer the reader an invitation courtesy of The Takeaway that’s equally unimaginable outside of the digital age. I took the signature from an image of the Weiner letter and using Photoshop, got rid of the text to leave the signature all by itself. I then rotated it three times and looking at it each time described what it looked like (like the old Rorschach inkblots) trying each time to imagine that I had never heard about Weiner, the scandal, or the New York Times piece. I failed. (See photos in the gallery below)
1. Looks to me like a fat duck being chased by a fly.
2. Rotated upward in this position it becomes unmistakably phallic.
3. Here, 180 degrees from the original, it’s obviously a sperm being chased by a tiny egg.
4. Finally, rotated 270 degrees it’s the face of someone talking, mouth open, blabbing away, perhaps a media-loving lawmaker at a news conference (you almost want to draw an eyebrow over the dot there).
That’s me. You don’t want to know what the inkblots told my therapist. So, what captions or descriptions would you put under each image, the signature and its three rotations? I’m dying to see if you can do better than I at removing the Weiner context and “deweinerizing” a graceful and dramatic line and dot worthy of Miro, Kandinsky, or a digital Rorschach perhaps!
P.S. I'm willing to bet that the one description no one will offer is that the signature looks just like the letters: a-n-t-h-o-n-y-w-e-i-n-e-r.