Anyone who has been following this blog will be well aware of my attitude towards Daniel Cassidy, a fraudster who invented a large number of fake Irish expressions and claimed that these were the origin of common English words and phrases, even when these English words and phrases already had well-established etymologies. As part of his strategy to convince the weak-minded and gullible, this seasoned con-man invented a bizarre scenario in which a cabal of professional linguists and dictionary-makers conspired to hide the ‘fact’ that large numbers of words derived from Irish, thus simultaneously pandering to a sense of victimhood among Irish Americans and neatly explaining why there was no evidence to corroborate his ridiculous claims.
Of course, this cabal doesn’t exist. However, it is very interesting to look at the slime trails left by Cassidy’s supporters online. It is quite clear that the vast number of people who supported Cassidy are linked both to him and to each other in an unhealthy network of cronies. I have already mentioned some of these, but let’s just have a look at some of them again.
The principal crony seems to be Peter Quinn, an Irish-American writer. He is linked to many of the other names which keep cropping up again and again. For example, there are pictures online of Peter Quinn and Eamon Loingsigh together, the Eamon Loingsigh who published a badly-written and laughable article about Cassidy’s nonsense on his blog. Peter Quinn was one of the founders of the Irish American Writers and Artists, along with Cassidy himself, TJ English and Maureen Dezell. Maureen Dezell is quoted on the jacket of Cassidy’s book. In 2008, Cassidy appeared with Peter Quinn and others at an event sponsored by Glucksman Ireland House NYU (which boasts Peter Quinn and Pete Hamill on its board) Then there is David Meltzer, whom Cassidy described as his ‘reb’, who is on the Board of the Before Columbus Foundation which awarded Cassidy’s worthless tripe an award. Then all you have to do is look at the Crossroads Irish Festival, founded and run by Cassidy. In 2002 alone, we find William Kennedy, whose name is often linked to Cassidy, Peter Quinn who described Cassidy as “my best friend”, Maureen Dezell who gave him a nice quote for his book jacket, Michael Patrick MacDonald who has posted in support of Cassidy, Marion Casey who was gullible enough to quote him in an academic paper and who is linked to Joe Lee who also made a fool of himself by backing Cassidy, and Eamonn Wall who has just been appointed to the board of the Irish American Writers Association which Cassidy jointly founded.
Jesus! Will someone open a feckin’ window and let in some fresh air! Surely, there must be a handful of other writers and artists in the Irish-American community who don’t have a Bacon Number of one in relation to Cassidy?
The fact is, Cassidy’s book is obviously and clearly a pack of lies. Yet these people and many more have helped, wittingly or unwittingly, to sell this damaging, dishonest and nasty little book to gullible people. They have lent whatever status and kudos they can provide to a con-man whose lack of intelligence and disrespect for the Irish language is manifest on every page. None of them seems to be prepared to break ranks, repudiate this charlatan and apologise for their role in the Cassidy Scandal.
This is where the real cabal and conspiracy is. Among a crowd of people who would rather do anything than admit the truth that Cassidy was wrong and that they were wrong to support him.