Why “fauxcanard”?

Thursday, January 15, 2015 6 Permalink 6

Several people have asked why I named my blog fauxcanard. It’s a play on two French words that have been adopted into English with somewhat twisted meanings:

FAUX /fəʊ/ : imitation, artificial, not genuine, fake, or ersatz.

[in French, faux means exactly the English word “false,” so in addition to the above, there are the other possible senses of “false” also, such as something useless, off-tune, mistaken, ambiguous or deceptive]

and

CANARD /kəˈnɑːd,ˈkanɑːd/ : an unfounded rumor or story.

[in French, un canard means literally “a duck” but it can also colloquially refer to a daily newspaper, a false note from an instrument or voice, or, most decadently, the little sugarcube which one dips into espresso or rum as an extra treat to eat first right off the spoon]

Thus together they make not only a koan-like double-negative of uncertain meaning (of the “I always lie and I am lying to you now” sort), and could be interpreted variously with all the permutations of each element word as lame duck, a fake duck or decoy, artificial news, ersatz candy, a journal of deception, a false rumor, or useless indulgence – but also just generally the compound makes an English joke that masquerades as French.

The idea was to evoke playfulness between notions of truth and identity. I could not think of anything that expresses our lives here as two eccentric gay American expats any better than that.

[The photo is one of our pintades or guinea fowl – which is, of course, not a duck at all.]