What is the best way to draw an X? Is it better to go left or right? For both lines, do you begin at the top? You may think the answer is self-evident, but as a historic Twitter thread reveals, there are numerous ways to draw the humble X – and the “right” version is a contentious issue. Twitter user @SMASEY asked, “Which way do you draw an X?” in a post that has since received over 69,000 likes. The message accompanied by a set of eight pictures depicting the various methods for committing pen to paper in order to create an X. Once you have decided which path to take, you will almost certainly believe it is the only way to make an X.
However, as evidenced by the comments, this is not the case, as many people defended their approach as the only way. Some have stated that the kind of X drawing you choose reveals something about your personality, although graphology, the study of handwriting as a form of psychoanalysis, is often regarded as pseudoscience.
While your X drawing style may aid a handwriting expert in identifying your penmanship, they likely to learn about you coping mechanisms and you wrote an incriminating letter. Therefore, if you are looking for a fun way to detonate a bomb at a dinner party, you have found it. Go forth and wreak havoc on the world of graphology.
Donald Trump claims to be a handwriting expert. “Lew’s handwriting reveals, while unusual, that he is very secretive—not necessarily a bad thing,” Trump stated in a tweet following the appointment of former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Trump’s signature, according to other handwriting analysts, can reveal information about his character, but they disagree about what those insights are: either he “lacks empathy and craves power, prestige, and admiration” (Michelle Desbold in Politico) or he has “acute analytical and lightning speed quick thinking” (Michelle Desbold in Politico) (Kathi McNight for CNN).
Most people consider handwriting analysis, also known as graphology, to be a pseudo-science. It invented in the eighteenth century, gained popularity in the nineteenth century when psychology was born, and exploded in the early twentieth century, along with ideas about the individual self, which coincided with anxieties about the individual in an age of modernity and mass culture.
The legality of handwriting as evidence—for example, verifying the author of a manuscript—has always been debatable, and many of the procedures used today are similar to those utilized in Renaissance England. Handwriting as a window into the inner self was originally proposed in the Western world during the Romantic era (late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries), when spontaneity, creativity, and uniqueness were cherished.
For Graham’s magazine, Edgar Allan Poe authored a series analyzing the handwriting of notable literary luminaries. Poe wrote that William Cullen Bryant, whose writing he despised, had “one of the most banal clerk’s hands which we ever seen, and has no character about it beyond that of the day-book and ledger” in his handwriting.
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