All About Wingdings
While watching Cash Cab, there was a question about a symbol font with links to conspiracy theories. This piqued my interest, so after about an hour of research and writing, here's everything I discovered in one spot. The history and conspiracies of The Wingdings Font!
A lavish or lively party or celebration
A Brief History of Wingdings
Everything you never knew you needed to know
Wingdings is a TrueType dingbat font included in all versions of Microsoft Windows starting with version 3.1, released in 1992. It was originally developed in 1990 by Microsoft by combining symbols from Lucida Icons, licensed from Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes, whose original design was meant to complement the Lucida family of fonts.
The Wingdings font is a registered trademark of Microsoft, and the order of the symbols was patented. This font contains many largely recognized shapes and gestures as well some recognized world symbols.
The NYC Theory
NYC = Death to Jews, Thumbs Up
In 1992, only days after the release of Windows 3.1, it was discovered that the character sequence "NYC" in Wingdings was rendered as a skull and crossbones, Star of David, and thumbs up. This could be interpreted as a message of approval of killing Jews, especially those from New York City.
Microsoft strongly denied that this was intentional, and insisted that the final arrangement of the symbols in the font was largely random. In the later Webdings font, the character sequence "NYC" is rendered as an eye, a heart, and a city skyline. This could be interpreted as "I Love New York City". Microsoft has stated that this is intentional.
The 9/11 Theory
Q33NY = Plane Crash into WTC and Death to Jews
Shortly After the attacks of September 11, 2001, another rumor circulated about the Wingdings font. If the sequence "Q33NY" is typed in Wingdings, the "Q" becomes an aircraft, the "3's" become lined documents (which resemble skyscrapers), the "N" becomes a skull and crossbones, and the "Y" becomes the Star of David.
The resulting graphics look like an aircraft preparing to impact the World Trade Center, with a message of death for those of Jewish faith. The "NY" stands for New York, and "Q33" allegedly was the designation of one of the aircraft.
Under scrutiny, this theory is easily shown to have no validity as none of the aircraft used on that day bore the designation of "Q33." It is often suggested that "Q33" was a reference to a bus route, typically alleged to be at the World Trade Center itself, or to one of the airports involved. In reality, bus route "Q33" serves LaGuardia Airport, and none of the hijacked aircraft took off from or were heading there.
The Doomsday Font
The notion that digitized fonts might actually be prophetic first gained currency in 1999, when doomsday predictions of all kinds abounded. Some clever soul discovered that typing out the word "MILLENNIUM" in Wingdings produces the result above.
Disseminated to a doomsday-obsessed worldwide audience via the Internet, this nugget of trivia was soon being characterized as "eerie," "spooky," and "a weird coincidence" - which it most certainly was. As we know, all of the millennial doomsayers were ultimately proven wrong, but by then font folklore had already shifted away from conspiracy theories and into the arena of prophecy.
- Microsoft Typography Wingdings
The official Microsoft Typography Wingdings Version 2.55 page. Contains links to previous versions, product information, etc.
- Snopes.com Rumor Has It
Snopes.com Rumor Has It Wingdings Conspiracies page. Tons of info, including quotes from Microsoft Reps, and various articles.
- Wingdings character set and equivalent Unicode characters
View all the characters of the Wingdings font, and their Unicode equivalents.
- I Heart My Dogs Head
Penn Jillette's wonderful rant on the stupidity of the Wingdings NYC Theory.
Found more interesting combos in Wingdings? Or just want to comment? Please do!