Daniel Cassidy’s book, How The Irish Invented Slang, is quite simply an abomination. Anybody who looks at this book objectively will realise pretty quickly that Cassidy didn’t care about the facts, didn’t know any Irish, didn’t have a logical or sensible approach to the research and that he was driven by egotism, arrogance and wishful thinking.
Cassidy’s claim about The Clinic Kid shows the flaws in Cassidy’s work more clearly than most. The Clinic Kid was the nickname of a con-man mentioned in David Maurer’s book The Big Con, first published in 1940. Cassidy quotes from Maurer’s book and there is no evidence that Cassidy had any other source of information about him. Cassidy (on page 214) quotes Maurer as saying:
“The Clinic Kid has made a fortune swindling wealthy patients who visited a famous mid-western clinic.”
So according to Maurer, the Clinic Kid was a con-man who worked in clinics. So, does Cassidy accept that his fondness for clinics explains his handle as The Clinic Kid? No! The Great Fraud decided that in this case clinic comes from the Irish claonach, which means perverse or deceitful. Claonach is far closer in sound to the English cleaner. Is there any evidence that the Clinic Kid spoke Irish or lived in an Irish-speaking environment? Nope!
In short, Cassidy’s claim is not overreaching, or sloppy research. It is so crazy and so stupid that any sensible person coming across it would immediately (and quite rightly) doubt the veracity of everything else in the book.