(Almost) The Last Post

This is the penultimate blog of cassidyslangscam – unless we get some more comments or requests for information. (We never did hear from Brian in Santa Clara again. I wonder why he couldn’t be bothered getting back to us when I challenged him to present some evidence?) My work here is almost done.

However, please don’t think that just because I am stopping here there is nothing left to laugh at or rip to shreds in Cassidy’s book. There is almost nothing of any value in this book, and his claims about buddy or ruffler or stool pigeon are no more believable than the stuff which I have looked at in this blog so far. Believe me, Cassidy’s claims with respect to these words are just as stupid and groundless as the rest. Or rather, don’t believe me. You have access to Google. Look these terms up. Look up the Irish in the dictionaries. Find out for yourself.

The next post will be a brief final article – the 200th –  just to wrap things up. However, as a final few words on this penultimate post, I just want to summarise why this book, How The Irish Invented Slang, is so terrible and why people should avoid it like the plague.

1. Daniel Cassidy didn’t speak any Irish at all and was regarded as a con-man even by his own family. He didn’t know anything about Irish grammar or pronunciation either.

2. Cassidy changed his mind about many claims. There are many words which were confidently claimed as Irish on the Counterpunch and other articles which were later changed or dropped altogether by Cassidy. For example, in the Counterpunch article, slick is from Irish slíocach. This claim is never mentioned in the book. (In reality, it comes from Norse slikr through Middle English.) And of course, he changed his derivations for slum and for bailiwick too.

3. Some of his claims are so mad that you would need to be very crazy or very stupid to believe them. For example, Henry Colton coming from An Rí Ghealltáin or Gunga Din from gúngaire dian!

4. Cassidy’s theories conflict with all the evidence about how words are borrowed between languages. Whole words tend to be borrowed, in their most basic forms, and most of these are nouns. Occasionally, very well-known phrases are borrowed. Bits of sentences like is lom or n-each are not borrowed.

5. Cassidy displayed considerable dishonesty in the way he presented his evidence and selectively chose to ignore evidence that didn’t suit him.

6. Hundreds of the words which Cassidy claimed to be Irish really have clear and well-proven origins in English, French or other languages.

7. Millions of people have been bilingual in Irish and English since the 19th century. Yet apparently, none of these people ever noticed the ‘fact’ that so many English slang terms have similar Irish phrases. This is because 1. either  Cassidy was much smarter than millions of bilingual Irish people 2. Cassidy made up all the ‘Irish’ phrases which resemble English slang terms.

8. Cassidy may have been a ‘professor’ but he did not have the qualifications or the abilities you would expect from an academic of any kind, never mind a professor. 

9. The book is almost entirely padding. Cassidy’s ‘methodology’ for proving that these words come from Irish was to find quotes from writers like Eugene O’Neill where they used the terms. As if that proves anything!  If you could find them in the works of Will Rogers, does that mean they come from Cherokee? Or if they are used by Jewish writers, do they come from Yiddish? The collection of quotes which Cassidy offers is only of any interest or relevance if Cassidy is right about the origins of the words. Otherwise it’s just a random set of quotes with American slang terms in them. The only way to genuinely prove that Cassidy was right about these terms is to find Irish language sources which use béal ónna or ardscairt or any of the other phrases in Cassidy’s book and of course, Cassidy was unable to do this because this evidence simply doesn’t exist. These phrases weren’t used by 19th century Irish immigrants. They date back to California in the early years of the 21st century, when a crackpot who had somehow managed to get himself appointed as a professor in spite of his lack of qualifications developed a crazy obsession with the Irish origins of American slang.

10. This kind of insane fake etymology, composed of wild stabs in the dark with no evidence beyond a vague similarity of sound (and usually with some kind of weird ethnic agenda in the background) is not limited to Daniel Cassidy. It is so common that there is actually a word for it. It’s called Goropianism, after the Flemish writer Goropius who claimed that the original language spoken by Adam and Eve in Paradise was – of course – Flemish.

Some people have used the word ‘controversial’ about Cassidy’s work. This is absurd. Controversial suggests that there is an active controversy going on between opponents and supporters of Cassidy. In fact, the people who know anything about the subject are hostile to Cassidy and regard his work as rubbish. Those who support Cassidy offer no proof of his claims. There is no controversy. There are idiots who believe and smart, well-informed people who are sceptical.

I hope you will enjoy the next post. However, before I move on to that, I would like to beg you not to buy or support this book. It is supporting fake scholarship. It is damaging to the Irish language. Associating yourself with this book and its theories labels you as a crank or an idiot. This book deserves to be forgotten, not celebrated!

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