Word of the Day: canard

So, a funny thing happened on the way to the computer. I won’t go into details, but, there was a spaceship, a tuba and a package of Swedish Fish. It is a good story, and perhaps one day you will hear it.

Of course, it means I’ve been exceptionally remiss in my duties. But, there’s no time like the present to try again. So, no more blathering. Onto…

Today’s Word:


As in:

Shocking news today reveals that the most virilent carrier of the H1N1 virus is not person to person contact, it is, in fact, the media itself.

The virus seems to be gaining strength over the normal forms of seasonal flu simply because it has a higher media saturation. While deaths in a standard flu season typically average about 36,000 nationwide, the H1N1 strain has only been responsible for about 3,900.

Concerns have been raised that the more the disease is talked about, the greater the number of cases that appear. “People seemed to be confused. The concern for the H1N1 flu is all out of proportion to the actual severity of the threat,” says Dr. Rosenthal, a local physician. “Because of its high profile in the media, people are reporting their illnesses in much higher numbers than usual. This is inflating the overall picture of the problem, thus fueling more media attention, which, in turn, fuels people’s concerns and sends them to wait in long lines for the scarce H1N1 vaccine, and into the doctor for every minor case of the sniffles. Most of the sick people who’ve been scared into my office don’t even have the flu, they have other ailments.”

One paper reported that a woman became convinced that she had contracted the virus from her computer, while reading about the dreaded H1N1 flu. She was sure that if she didn’t have H1N1, she must’ve at least caught some other kind of virus from her computer. She reasoned that if her computer could get viruses, it could spread them not only to other computers, but to their owners. said the woman, “I’m Helen Marcum, and I’m a PC, with a virus. I was so sure that it was H1N1, and that, like the millions who succumbed to the the swine flu in 1918, we would be facing a much worse problem when it returned to attack in the modern era. With computers and other devices for transmitting data in seconds, it seemed logical that in a day of computer evolution, the computer would simply have become a disease infested murderer itself.

Later, it was revealed that the paper had published the story based on an internet canard, and retracted the tale, but it appeared the damage had been done.

“The H1N1 virus, the shortages of H1N1 vaccine, and the long lines of people waiting for the vaccine have been one of the lead stories every night on the news for weeks. It’s like the media is addicted to talking about it, and made it an epidemic just by repeating the story,” notes Eric Macon, a pharmacist. “I really wish they’d encourage people to get vaccinated for the seasonal flu. When it gets going, it’s bound to be much worse than this is. I bet they won’t even bother reporting about the regular-old, boring, seasonal flu.”


I wrote this several weeks ago, in long hand, but, never went looking for a word, and failed to get it put down in pixels. But, eventually it got committed to digital format, and now it’s in your little e-in-baskets. Hope everyone is staying free of the pork plaque.

canard / CAN – ard / a false or unfounded report or story.