Columns » Words

Words, May 27



Flaneur du jour:
“Together with Brit Hadden, a wayward, alcoholic baseball fan and flaneur from Brooklyn, he raised money for a new magazine by calling on wealthy acquaintances.” A flaneur is “an idler; dawdler; loafer.” It's French, wouldn't you know.

Go down on the leavy, I said on the leavy, and see that shufflin' thong. . .:
Long before they became baseball fans, French explorers tramped across Arkansas and dropped Gallic names all over the place. Not everybody noticed, apparently.

Greg and Katy Wolf send along a not-closely-edited article from a southwest Arkansas newspaper, about fishing in the area.

“Boat Ark is 650 acres in Southwest Arkansas and the border of Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. . . . Wilson hopes to open boat Arc lake in March 2011, special netting season to remove buffalo fish only. There are three miles of leavy around it and the daily limit for boat arc is to catch five catfish, 15 cropping, 25 brim, and zero bass.”

The Wolfs translate: “Boat Arc lake is Bois d'arc Lake.” I wonder if there's a limit on pirch.

While there's no Boat Ark or Boat Arc in Arkansas, there is a bodark, a tree. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas says, “The name ‘bodark' is a slurring of the French ‘bois d'arc,' meaning ‘wood of the bow' – a reference to the Osage Indians' practice of making bows from the tree.”

Thumbs down for Phan C. Pants:
Max Brantley grumbles that there's too much “sourcing” in food writing today. “You source your oysters from Bayou Labatre, you source your strawberries from White County and you source your Slim Jims from the E-Z Mart. Why not just obtain them?”

He's not happy either with “curate,” which appears both in food writing (“Ura Hogg will curate the menu”) and cultural writing, such as “Film Critic Phan C. Pants will curate the selection of ‘Our Gang' episodes to be featured at this year's Traskwood Film Festival. Why can't he just select them?”

Add a comment