One of my favorite shirts is a combination computer-nerd-and-1984 joke. The black T-shirt has written in large white letters on the front:

++ungood;

...get it?

In the Newspeak of Orwell's 1984, words are negated by the prefix "un-". Emphasis (like our "very") is expressed with the prefix "plus-", and is preceeded by "double-" for extra intensity. Therefore, the word "doubleplusungood" means "extremely bad".

In many a high-level language and those derived from them, a variable can be incremented by one with the ++ operator. A semicolon usually ends the statement. ++ungood; increments the ungood variable by one before evaluating it.

NTK, the manufacturers, say, "[p]erhaps it signifies the world's gradual slide towards an Orwellian total-surveillance nightmare, or maybe just that you're a coder with an attitude (like there's any other kind!)." The designer, Lloyd Wood (the guy who brought you "Stuff the nerds. News that matters."), says, "We have our own Newspeak now. C may be renowned for its power and its expressiveness, but any language can be made the tool of an oppressor." Make of it what you will.


Okay, no far-reaching era-spanning earth-shattering pearl of wisdom, but it is kinda clever. Maybe it's a nerd thing. It's nice to be able to recognize your kind when some scrawny kid points and laughs at your shirt.

The shirt is available from NTKmart for £10, and there's even a ladies' version, ++good;. When the first release of these shirts came out, they were so well-recieved that they were sold out after only four days! Each purchase also sends Lloyd Wood £2. You can read his confessi— er, exposition at http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/L.Wood/double-plus-ungood/.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.