So, I saw these reviews of Sofia Coppola's new movie, just screened at Cannes, on the NYT front page. In it, Manohla Dargis describes the film's reception as a theater filled with "lusty boos and smatterings of applause." It was a memorable phrase, so it wasn't hard to spot when I checked out J. Hoberman's Cannes dispatch filed yesterday at the Village Voice. Hoberman describes Richard Kelly's new film Southland Tales as "received with a lusty round of boos and a smattering of applause." Dargis' innovation, it seems, is to pluralize.
Someone got a bit lazy. I decided to see if the phrase was common and discovered this article from the Mercury News from Sunday regarding Barry Bonds' home run tying Babe Ruth's record: "Bonds' plate appearances drew lusty boos along with a smattering of cheers."
At least it was cheers appearing in a single unit of "smattering" in this case.