TIME TRAVELER Peter McGough, half of the art duo McDermott & McGough, has traded the 1800s for a life of modernity. Now he has appliances. On the wall, a painting by them.(The caption isn't in the online story, though the accompanying slideshow has a longer and more comprehensible version of it.)
In other language news, I learned today from Ben Zimmer -- posting about catfishing and gaslighting at Visual Thesaurus* -- that a few people labor under the illusion that droll means dull. Ben quotes a man in the documentary movie "Catfish":
And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn't have somebody nipping at our fin.I had never come across this, but Ben pointed me to Bryan Garner, who mentions the mistake for the first time in the third edition (2009) of Garner's Modern American Usage: "Perhaps because the words look and sound a bit similar, droll is sometimes misused as a synonym for dull." Garner says this misuse is at Stage 1 of his Language-Change Index, meaning it's (all but universally) "rejected."
OK, I'll second that rejection (for as long as possible), but I have my usual question about the never-before-seen Stage 1 encroachments Garner unearths: How widespread are they really? Is droll for dull as rare as I think, or have I just not been paying attention?
*And also, in greater depth, in his newest Boston Globe column.