flak ˈflak noun
1. artillery designed to shoot upward at airplanes
2. a slick spokesperson who can turn any criticism to the advantage of their employer
3. intense adverse criticism
The word flak has appeared in 49 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on April 14 in the Opinion essay “When Coronavirus Lockdowns Go Too Far” by Ross Douthat:
… The mayor of Louisville, Ky., earned a lot of well-deserved flak, and a slap-down in court, for trying to prevent churches from holding drive-in services — not something I’m quite sold on liturgically, but still a creatively adaptive way to achieve semi-normalcy on Sunday morning.
But some religious authorities, too, have acted with anti-adaptive zeal. In my own Catholicism, the diocese of Raleigh, N.C., didn’t just cancel Masses and close churches; it forbade its priests to attempt experiments like drive-through confessions that might make social distancing and the sacraments compatible.