A bookstore in Los Angeles is campaigning to make literary icon Joan Didion the new, female face of the $10 bill.
Rob Bieselin, the graphic designer at Book Soup in West Hollywood, made a poster-sized mock-up of the proposed bill, substituting a photograph of Ms. Didion for the current drawing of founding father Alexander Hamilton on the tenner, and hung it in the window of the store after getting an enthusiastic response when he put the idea on a chalkboard outside the shop earlier this summer, reported The Hollywood Reporter.
The idea of Ms. Didion replacing Hamilton is the latest in a string of proposed women to appear on the denomination since the Treasury announced in June that a woman will appear on our cash in 2020, 100 years after women were finally granted the right to vote.
Joan Didion is a perpetual favorite among young writers with literary leaning who look to the author for her precise sentences and evocative novels and essays that invoke a removed, moody glamor. But, like Hamilton, Ms. Didion is more popular than ever. Last fall, a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to make a feature-length documentary reached its funding goal of $80,000 within days of launching. In January, the French luxury brand Céline announced that the octogenarian author would be the face of its spring ad campaign. And The Last Love Song, a biography of the consummate cool-girl writer, will be published later this month.
Ms. Didion is “a best-seller at the store; people react to her image the same way for her literature and essays,” Ms. Bieselin told THR.
It’s true. There is undoubtably an appeal to Ms. Didion’s image. And the appeal is somehow intertwined with small details that convey a lifestyle. A packing list she included in The White Album, her 1979 book of essays, has become a women’s magazine staple. Her books are rife with references to department stores that no longer exist and small but specific luxuries like cashmere leggings, cake from this expensive bakery, ice cream from that pricey Madison Avenue chocolate store.
Ms. Didion is definitely money.
Of course, buying most of the goods that Ms. Didion enumerates would take a lot of Joans.
Other small problems that would preclude Joan on the $10? According to law, a living person cannot be depicted on our currency. And, as Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said when he announced the decision to put a woman on the ten, the chosen woman, besides being dead, also should be “a champion for our inclusive democracy.” Which might be a stretch for Ms. Didion, who appeals, at least in part, due to what writer Meghan Daum called her “elitist allure.”