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]


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.]
  • Lisa B
    January 15, 2015

    Grand! My high school French only got me as far as “false duck” — which of course made me think of the game (called, in MN *only*) “Duck, Duck, Grey Duck” (else where d, d, goose…) — and I wondered if it was a play on your poultry cohort… But of course, it is CRF, and so the explanation is way more interesting and nuanced — and delightful to read in its explication!
    I waver, by the way, between thinking your fowl are Seussian in appearance or if they are just chickens who love fancy and so dress up in Drag… All those boa-like legs and big crests!

    • fauxcanard
      January 15, 2015

      We think of them as our Las Vegas showgirls lol – even the boys. Make that especially the boys.

  • Alan Hurley
    January 15, 2015

    Speaking of clever phrases that include the word ‘faux’ — You know that thing that sometimes happens on the sidewalk when someone’s approaching you and you try to step out of their way…… but you both guess wrong and step even further into each other’s way? Someone has come up with the perfect term for it : it’s a ‘faux pas de deux’ !

    • fauxcanard
      January 15, 2015

      That goes instantly into the Lexicon. Thank you, Alan!

    • fauxcanard
      January 15, 2015

      Almost instantly upon the briefest reflection, I wish I had heard this excellent phrase BEFORE I named the blog! And now I know what to say about that awkward moment when you try to bise someone for the first time but you go for opposite sides. I have learned actually that it’s the people “in conflict” for the bise at first whom longterm I actually get along with the best. I also remember to bise them on the opposite side first from my initial instinct ever thereafter, and then I second-second-guess later, and…

  • JennyOH
    January 15, 2015

    Hello there! So glad to have found you. I’ve missed your updates on Facebook.

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