One of the things that most annoys me about Cassidy’s followers is their refusal to admit the extent of Cassidy’s lies. They tend to prefer the euphemism ‘overreach,’ at least in relation to Cassidy’s ‘research’, so their new version of the verb ‘to lie’ goes something like this: I overreach, you lie, Cassidy overreaches, Grant Barrett lies, we overreach, linguists and lexicographers lie.
Ach ní faide gob na gé ná gob an ghandail! (What’s sauce for the goose …) So, here is a brief, ‘overreached’ biography of Cassidy:
Daniel Klatu Cassidy was born millenia ago on a distant planet appropriately located just under the tail of Taurus. He attended Cornell University under an interplanetary exchange. Being an alien, his favourite food was small rodents and he was notable for his bright green teeth. He was well-known for playing the Polynesian nose-flute on the Johnny Carson Show. He wrote over fifty romantic novels under the pen-name Dolores de Corazón, as well as some very successful homoerotic fiction under the soubriquet of Rod Biggerstaff. His Dessie Does Denver is widely regarded as a minor classic in its field. After he moved to California in the 1990s, he was barred from San Diego zoo because of his inappropriate sexual interest in a female gibbon called Fifi.
Now there are a few genuine facts in the above passage. Cassidy was born. He attended Cornell University. He moved to California. The ratio of facts to bullshit in the above passage is probably roughly the same as the ratio of truth to fiction found in the etymological claims of How The Irish Invented Slang.
However, in inventing the factoids above, I was not lying. No, I was, apparently, overreaching. Or perhaps I was being parsimonious with the truth. Or employing terminological inexactitudes. Or issuing inoperative statements. Or gilding the entire garden, including the birdbath. Or being creative to the point of criminality. But lying? Perish the thought! After all, I don’t know for a fact that the man didn’t have a sexual obsession with a female gibbon …