Why The Hostility?

Some people seem to find the hostility shown to Cassidy inexplicable, or they ascribe it to the mythical cabal of powerful Anglophile dictionary-makers who, apparently, are in some mysterious conspiracy to prevent Irish America from realising that obscure and obsolete slang terms for prostitutes, drinking bouts and policemen were really Irish. Why these shadowy Anglophiles wouldn’t delight in confirming that the Irish were responsible for a slew of terms related to crime, prostitution, violence and drunkenness is beyond me but then, as I’ve said before, this is not a matter of logic. People can be very protective of completely crazy belief systems and Cassidy is a perfect example of how modern, educated people can put their trust in something as pointless and irrational as a cargo cult.

Because of this, some of the arguments used by his supporters are every bit as stupid and indefensible as Cassidy’s own work. Some of them talk about how Cassidy made it quite clear that he was speculating. In reality, the book is a humility-free zone. Cassidy is continually dismissive of scholars and sources who are worth a thousand of him. Others talk about giving a voice to those who have been silenced. The truth is that what Cassidy did was make up nonsense and attribute it to Irish speakers. Cassidy’s book is about denying a voice to everyone but Cassidy – native speakers, scholars, historians, everybody but this odious little jerk.

In reality, my hostility is perfectly rational and quite justified. Cassidy was clearly dishonest, he was deeply disrespectful to genuine scholars who had done absolutely nothing to deserve this apart from disagreeing with his opinion, he was (I am almost certain of this) given to attacking people using fake sock-puppet identities and these attacks frequently show a low level of literacy and general knowledge as well as a deep meanness of spirit.

I owe Daniel Cassidy nothing. Cassidy owes me. He owes me the price of this ridiculous book or at least the share of it that went to his estate. He owes me for the valuable hours I have had to spend providing some kind of answer to his ludicrous claims so that the public can at least have access to the true facts. He owes me and the rest of the human race for spreading lies deliberately in order to gain money and kudos for himself. This was not a nice man or a good scholar. Cassidy was a vile, arrogant con-man and in my opinion, anyone who supports him is morally suspect.

Neither does it make a blind bit of difference to me that the man is dead. If he were alive, I would be doing exactly the same thing and unfortunately, his work is far from dead. His ridiculous book and his idiotic ideas are still virally replicating themselves in cyberspace. In my opinion, if the people who control his estate had any decency, they would remove this book from sale, quietly apologise to the public and give any money they have acquired from this shabby enterprise to charity. In so doing, they might actually preserve a few shreds of this man’s tattered dignity and reputation, because the voices criticising this book and its ideas are only going to get louder and anyone attempting to defend him is really helping to destroy his reputation even more thoroughly by prolonging a debate which Cassidy’s supporters have already lost.

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