On our money: Let’s try beauty – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

On our money: Let’s try beauty

Written April 21st, 2016 by Hasso Hering
Here's another idea for  who could grace the front of the 20-dollar  bill.

Here’s another idea for who could grace the front of the 20-dollar bill.

In a few years, when you pull out a twenty to pay for a sandwich and a Coke (assuming inflation has not taken another spurt and you’ll need a fifty for lunch) you’ll be looking at a portrait of the venerable Harriet Tubman. That heroic fighter for freedom and human rights certainly deserves the honor, but – call me shallow – I’d rather be looking at Sandra Bullock.

The Treasury Department was under political pressure to put a woman’s face on paper money. The trouble is that by the time they had their portraits done, the heroines of American history had led stressful lives and it showed. Remember Susan B. Anthony scowling from the dollar, the coin that nobody wanted to use because it looked like a quarter?

Same goes for the heroes too. Think of Washington sternly gazing at you from the one. Having fought to establish and then ably leading a new country, he couldn’t manage a smile?

And now, some time after 2020, we’ll have Harriet Tubman on the twenty, looking grim. Among many other things she had done, she had served as an armed scout for the Union Army. Online you can find a picture of her with a rifle. And it is said that on her dangerous expeditions to free slaves and guide them north, starting with her own family, she sensibly carried a pistol. Maybe they could use that image when the money is designed.

Some of our other paper money is being redecorated too. Various leaders and events under the general heading of civil rights will get their place on some of the bills. Good.

But if we’re going to tinker with the appearance of money, something we have to look at several times a day, what would be wrong with adding some outstanding American beauty and style? (hh)

6 responses to “On our money: Let’s try beauty”

  1. hj.anony1 says:

    HH, a wide ranging entry tonight. Touching on inflation, photography, guns and portraits of historical figures printed on paper. Perhaps this one is ahead of itself?

    Don’t worry about needing to see Harriet Tubman too often. We are nearly a paperless transactional society now. In 2020, paper money may not exist.

    Nice showing of photoshoppy skills on the image.

    • D Simpson says:

      “Nice showing of photoshoppy skills on the image.” Nothing against HH’s shop skills, but it looks more to me like he placed a cut out pic of Ms. Bullock over Mr. Jackson and took a picture. By the way, this was quite the non-PC post. I’ll be checking back often to see when calls are made to place Mr. Hering’s actual head somewhere other than his shoulders.

  2. Richard Vannice says:

    Really? How many of us can tell you, without looking, who’s picture is on any bill, other than the $1. Not many of us even look at the picture, just the denomination.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      I usually notice portraits-only. The bolder, off-center portraits and more modern design of the current bills helps a lot. Icons are favored in user-interface design because they are recognized faster than words (with many caveats).

      By the way, I’m happy to see Jackson displaced instead of Hamilton.

  3. Jim Engel says:

    Can’t we just leave the “personalities” out of it & just make known national landmarks!!?? We already have a veritable quandary over images on our coins. KISS folks….. Keep It Simple Stupid!!!…JE

  4. Michele LaBounty says:

    Isn’t that a bit sexist HH? :-)


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