Monthly Archives: July 2015

Number 300 – A Bilingual Post

An Trí Chéadú Post

Seo é. An trí chéadú post. Is beag a shíl mé nuair a chuir mé tús leis an bhlag seo i Márta 2013 go mairfeadh sé chomh fada seo, ach mhair. Bhí an oiread sin le déanamh, an oiread sin amaidí le nochtadh agus le náiriú. Agus anois, tá an obair chóir a bheith déanta.

An é seo an post deireanach, mar sin? Bhuel, ní rachfainn chomh fada sin! Chuaigh mé ‘ar scor’ roimhe seo agus a luaithe agus a rinne mé sin, bhí orm déileáil le píosa bómántachta éigin nó le leabhar a mhol an Caisideach go hard na spéire. Is dócha go mbeidh sé mar an gcéanna an iarraidh seo.

Ach mura bhfeicim rud ar bith mar sin a bhfuil freagra de dhíth air, tá sé ar intinn agam sos a ghlacadh agus gan a bheith ag postáil anseo go ceann tamaill. Amharcfaidh mé ar an bhlag go rialta, cuirfidh mé clibeanna agus pictiúirí le cuid de na seanphoist, agus freagróidh mé cibé teachtaireachtaí a chuirfear chugam.

Sílim go bhfuil go leor déanta agam. Tá bréagshanais Uí Chaiside tarraingthe as a chéile agam agus cháin mé na bocamadáin a thacaigh leis an bhréagadóir seo, go díreach mar a bhí tuillte acu. Tá mé cinnte go bhfuil daoine ann a chreideann sa tseafóid seo go fóill. Bíodh acu. Ní féidir ciall a chur i gcloigne atá róbheag lena toilleadh.

Mo mhíle buíochas le gach duine a chuidigh liom. Agus má bhíonn an deis agat, foghlaim giota beag Gaeilge. Má dhéanann tú amhlaidh, tuigfidh tú cad chuige a bhfuil an leabhar seo chomh hamaideach agus chomh maslach sin.

Ádh mór oraibh, a chairde!

The Three Hundredth Post!

This is it. The three hundredth post. I little thought when I began this blog in March 2013 that it would last so long, but it has. There was so much to do, so much stupidity to expose and shame. And now, the work is almost done.

Is this the last post, then? Well, I wouldn’t go that far! I ‘retired’ before and as soon as I did so, I had to deal with some piece of stupidity or some book which praised Cassidy to the heavens. It will probably be the same this time.

But if I don’t see anything like that which needs an answer, I intend to take a break and not to post here for a while. I will look at the blog regularly, I will add tags and pictures to some of the old posts, and I will answer whatever messages are sent to me.

I think I have done enough. I have pulled Cassidy’s fake etymologies apart and I have criticized the buck eejits who supported this liar, just as they deserved. I am sure there are people who will still believe this nonsense. Let them. You can’t put sense in a skull which is too small to accommodate it.

A thousand thanks to all those who have helped me. And if you get a chance, learn a bit of Irish. If you do so, you will understand why this book is so stupid and so insulting.

Good luck, my friends!

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder

In earlier posts, I suggested that Cassidy had some kind of narcissistic personality disorder. Note that I didn’t say he suffered from NPD. I know from personal experience that people with personality disorders are rarely the ones who suffer. It’s usually the people around them who do the suffering.

Some people might think it strange that a person who is completely self-obsessed, selfish and narcissistic would be able to inspire the kind of loyalty that Cassidy’s supporters obviously feel towards him. However, we should remember here that while they are quite prepared to show a very negative side to people who have nothing they want or who stand up to them, narcissists are famous for their ability to charm those they want to use or control, which explains why so many cult leaders and con-men are narcissists.

Here is a list of some of the most important characteristics of a person with NPD:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).

His book was, according to Cassidy, bigger than Frank McCourt’s and he had degrees from Cornell and Columbia – though in reality he didn’t have any degrees from anywhere.

  1. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

A short while after his idiotic book was published, Cassidy was already using his new-found status as a published author by helping to found the Irish American Writers’ and Artists’ Association.

  1. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).

Look at all the ‘friends’ that Cassidy boasted of an association with, the professors and writers who provided glowing reviews for his crazy book.

  1. Requires excessive admiration.

There is a term in the literature about narcissism which is quite useful – the notion of narcissistic supply. Unfortunately, unlike the eponymous Narcissus, real narcissists do not content themselves with hanging around in woods gazing longingly at their own reflection in a limpid pool. Fans and admirers are the mirror these people require. Their followers are simply the cannon-fodder in the narcissist’s ongoing war against reality. The flip-side of this is that the narcissist gets really angry when they are challenged, which is known as narcissistic rage.

For an example of narcissistic rage, here’s Cassidy holding forth through a sock-puppet identity in response to critics of his idiocies about the word jazz: “You do not own the word “jazz” (teas) on Wikipedia or anywhere else. You are not balancing anything. Your article is replete with inaccuaracies and distortions. It is an embarassemnt. The attempt to marginalize Daniel Cassidy’s pioneering work on the word “jazz” and hundreds of other American vernacular words and phrases in his new book How the Irish Invented Slang: the Secret language of the Crossroads is pathetic. Cassidy’s book has been hailed by scores of respected academics, journalists, writers, and Irish language scholars, since its publication 3 months ago. See the Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Belfast Telegraph, Irish News, The Derry Journal, RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster, and Irish language publications like La Nua, Beo, and Foinse, as well as American media, including ABC radio, KPFA, WBAI, the SF Chronicle, and NY Observer,and this is just in the first weeks after publication. I shall continue to put up the Irish sanas of jazz. These last feeble attempts to censor Cassidy’s work are laughably pathetic. Let’s put it to mediation. I will provide 20 PUBLISHED articles supporting Cassidy’s thesis. All you have are the same old white boy cronies and Anglophile dictionary dudes.”

  1. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.

Yes, taking a job as a professor when you don’t have a degree, don’t speak Irish and have never published anything of any value certainly suggests a sense of entitlement.

  1. Is inter-personally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.

Did Cassidy ever stop to ask himself whether all the people who quoted his shit would be humiliated or shamed by their association with him? Probably not, but plainly these people were all used and exploited by Cassidy.

  1. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

How about this from his sister Susan? “He just believed that he was so much smarter than everyone else that no one would dare to question him. I certainly would have never questioned him because he would have been so abusive. I spent most of my life just listening to his bullshit.”

  1. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

Cassidy continually scoffed at the dictionary dudes and the genuine academics who wouldn’t play according to his rules. For example, here’s one of his comments, given under yet another sock-puppet identity: “Zwicky has no books published on etymology, slang, or Irish, while Barrett is just a shill for the Oxford Dictionary which publishes his barely selling boring slang dictionaries. I agree with the reviewer above. The Anglophile neo-conservative lexicographers got caught with their English knickers down on Irish language influence on American vernacular and now they are piling on Cassidy with ad hominem attacks.”

  1. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

As his sister said: He really thought he was so much smarter than everyone–a real egomaniac with an inferiority complex–that’s why he always barked at anyone who dared to question him.

The evidence that Cassidy was a total narcissist is very strong. Certainly much, much stronger than any of the evidence for the Irish derivation of slang Cassidy provided in his ridiculous book.

In Cahoots

There is no certainty about the origin of the term ‘in cahoots.’ It is first found in American English in 1829. There are two sensible theories about its origins, plus the usual ridiculous nonsense from Cassidy.

The explanation given by the Oxford English Dictionary is that English got the expression from the word French cahute, meaning a cabin or hut, which was borrowed into Scots in the 16th century. The metaphor is the same as being ‘in bed together’ – the conspirators are in a narrow space, close together. There is then a mystery about how it survived without reference for hundreds of years and surfaced in American speech in the 19th century. However, that is not so strange. Many settlers came from Scotland and it is not so strange that expressions would survive in isolated mountain communities without being written down.

However, there is another explanation, and perhaps a better one. The OED states that others have claimed an origin in the French word cohorte, the source of the English ‘cohort,’ which originally meant a band of soldiers and now means a friend or companion.

Cassidy’s claim is typically stupid and dishonest. He says that the Irish comh-údar means ‘a co-author, co-originator, co-instigator, fig. partner.’ This is one of Cassidy’s made-up definitions. In fact, comhúdar (there isn’t a hyphen in it in modern Irish) isn’t given in the dictionary, though comh (meaning joint or co-) is a common enough prefix in Irish. While údar has a range of meanings on its own, there is no evidence of anyone using comhúdar to mean anything else but a co-author of a book, document or report. Comhúdar doesn’t sound much like cahoots. If people said cahooder, he would have a point. But they don’t and comhúdar is just too wide of the mark, even if it really meant partner, as Cassidy claimed.

My money would be on the French-Scottish shed but we will probably never know for sure because the evidence simply doesn’t exist. But at least the words cahute and cohort actually existed and can be proven to have existed. There is no Irish expression comh-údar meaning a partner. It was invented by a narcissist in California about ten years ago.

A Really Stupid Review of Cassidy’s Book

In the post I wrote on the word cac (Irish for shit), I criticized a foolish and pseudo-intellectual article by Jonathan Scott in the Journal of Socialism and Democracy online. This review of Cassidy’s book manages to build a towering edifice of pretentious verbiage on the shifting quicksand of Cassidy’s insane speculations, and I feel that it is high time that I had a further go at dismantling the foolish arguments advanced by the author.

The author of this childish and pompous review, Jonathan Scott, was obviously impressed with Cassidy:

Daniel Cassidy’s How the Irish Invented Slang is a specialist work of linguistic scholarship, but it cuts across many academic disciplines. This explains its particular power, for it cannot be reduced to linguistics, Irish studies, American studies, ethnography or cultural theory, and yet none of these disciplines can remain the same as a result of his work.

Of course, in reality, Cassidy’s work was simply a hoax and a con-job manufactured by a narcissist with no genuine qualifications and no knowledge of Irish, linguistics, history or (apparently) anything else. It has had and will have no lasting influence on any of these disciplines, though some naïve and foolish individuals have taken some of Cassidy’s claims seriously and suffered the consequences by shaming themselves in public.

One of the stupidest claims in this article is the one about the phrase ‘Don’t be a pussy!’ It’s worth quoting in full here because it’s so ridiculous and so full of nonsense:

By the end of Cassidy’s study not only is the claim that Shakespeare was Irish plausible, but also many mysteries of American vernacular, extremely perplexing hitherto, are finally solved – the offensive word “pussy,” for example. From a feminist standpoint, the word is pornographic and its use morally indefensible, as it associates the female genitalia with weakness and cowardice, thus belonging to misogynist discourse. Cassidy shows that “pussy” is an Irish word, both a noun and an adjective (pusaire: n., a crybaby; pusach: adj., pouting, whimpering, sulking). In Irish, “Don’t be a pussy!” means “Stop crying all the time!” or “Be brave!” Of course this is how American boys and men, and girls and women too, always use the word, but without knowing its Irish root they’re indeed guilty of deploying it in sexist way, by comparing their (almost always male) object of ridicule to a female’s private parts – what everyone wrongly assumes when they say it. The original Irish meaning of the word is actually gender-free – it can refer to a male or a female – and has no connection whatever to the Latin word pusa, which refers to the labia. “Pussy,” like all the Irish words in Cassidy’s text, was passed down from one generation of Irish-Americans to the next, and then adopted by Americans of all languages and ethnicities, both because of its appealing lyrical quality and its special knack for signifying precisely what the speaker is trying to say. 

This is, of course, total and complete horse feathers. Leaving aside the nonsense about Shakespeare being Irish, it is true that the word pus in Irish means a sulky expression or a protruding mouth. This is well known as the origin of expressions like sourpuss in English. It is commonly used in Irish dialects of English as well as in American dialects.

However, there is no evidence that pussy in phrases like ‘don’t be a pussy!’ derives from Irish words like pusachán or pusaire or pusach. Where’s the evidence? Why don’t people in communities in Ireland where the tide of Irish retreated only a couple of generations ago say things like ‘don’t be a pussy?’ They don’t because these are Americanisms, not Irishisms. And what about the tendency of borrowed words to follow the syntax of the language they came from? People say ‘don’t be an ommadawn’ because they realise that amadán (fool) is a noun. If they borrowed amaideach (foolish), they would say ‘don’t be amaideach!’ not ‘don’t be an amaideach!’ So, if they said ‘don’t be pussy’ or ‘don’t be a pussahawn’ or ‘don’t be a pusser’, Cassidy might have a case. They don’t and he doesn’t.

Furthermore, the author seems to be throwing things in here which are not even claimed in the book. He claims that pusa is Latin for the labia. It isn’t. The Latin for the labia is … labia, stoopid! There is a word pusa in Latin. It means a girl, not a vagina. Cassidy claimed (wrongly) that pussy in the sense of vagina comes from the plural of pus in Irish, pusa – not Latin – and thus means lips and figuratively vagina, so Cassidy’s claim was that pusa, pusaire, pusach and pusachán are all related anyway, which, if it were true, would invalidate the argument made above.

In fact, Cassidy was wrong about this as well. (After all, Cassidy was wrong about nearly everything.) There is no evidence of anyone using the word pusa in Irish to mean vagina or labia and the fact is, pussy for vagina is clearly of Germanic, not Celtic or Latin origin. The usual word for vagina in Irish is pit or pis (pronounced pitch or pish). Even more damningly for the incompetent attempt at an argument above, a common pejorative word for an effeminate man and (in more recent usage) for a gay man in Irish is the word piteog. The –eog part is a feminine diminutive, so it literally means ‘a little vagina.’ In other words, an ignorant native speaker of Irish might well attack someone they consider to be weak or effeminate with a phrase like ‘ná bí i do phiteog!’ which literally means ‘don’t be a little vagina!’ (And allow me to get up on my soapbox here. As in English, the use of words like piteog in Irish is a mark of stupidity and bigotry. It says a lot about the deficiencies of the person using it and nothing at all about the victim of the homophobic abuse. It should be avoided by anybody with a brain.)

Of course, Cassidy wouldn’t have known any of this because Cassidy didn’t speak any Irish. He didn’t know anything about the language or the culture surrounding it or the historical context or the methods used by real academics. He was a total arse and that’s pretty much all there is to say about the matter.

 

Boot and Babhta

Daniel Cassidy, in his absurd and ridiculous work of pseudo-scholarship, How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that the word boot (as in ‘to boot’) comes from the Irish word babhta.

In fact, the etymology of the words boot and bout in English is quite complex.

Boot comes from the Old English bot ‘help, relief, advantage; atonement,’ while bout comes from a Middle English word bught meaning ‘a bend’. Neither of these words has any connection with boot meaning shoe (which is from French) and only a distant connection with booty meaning captured prize, which is from Germanic through French (and acquired its current meaning as in ‘bootilicious’ through Black American English). Freebooter is from Dutch.

At some stage over the last four hundred years, the English word bout was borrowed into Irish as babhta. There is no doubt that this is a borrowing into Irish and not the other way round. As we have said before, the only words with this pattern of sounds in Irish are borrowings, words like stabht (the drink, stout), clabhta (clout), dabht (doubt) or fabht (fault).  In Irish, the meanings of the two English words boot and bout are conflated in babht, because we find expressions like de bhabhta, to boot, as well as babhta tinnis, a bout of illness.

Hopalong Cassidy

Recently, I went through some of Cassidy’s ‘achievements’ and I stated there that he was not mentioned on IMDB. Since then, I have found out that he did appear on IMDB, acting in a film produced by a household name, Andy Warhol. The film was called Horse, and it was made in Warhol’s Factory in April 1965, around the time Cassidy was flunking out of Cornell.

I would have to declare a particular interest here. Pretty much everything to do with the sixties fills me with disgust. The vast majority of the music was pretty vile, (give me the Killers or the Foo Fighters any day) the clothing was ludicrous and many of the books which people read back then have not stood the test of time. It was the decade that taste forgot.

Warhol is, of course, a respected artist, and in case anyone should harbour suspicions about the homophobic bigotry of the Irish (even after the recent referendum), I have no problem with his sexuality. However, in the uncritical atmosphere of the sixties, Warhol was just as capable of producing pretentious crap as anyone else and I suspect that is what happened here. Much of what passed for artistic endeavour in the sixties seems to me like the first stage of a brainstorming: no negativity, anything goes, just put down whatever comes into your head. Of course, in a brainstorming you then refine and develop the shlock you initially produced. In the sixties, you published it and called it art. As someone once said about the sixties, ‘It all seemed like a really good idea at the time.’

So, this deconstruction of a western features camp cowboys in jockstraps uttering lines like ‘There’s gold in them there hills’ and ‘I’m an onanist.’ At one point, a huge and well-endowed stallion is brought in and the actors, who are reading their lines off large cards, are instructed to ‘Approach the horse sexually.’

Quite apart from the pretentiousness of the whole enterprise, there is something strangely coy about the use of language here. It’s hard to imagine anyone in the nineties or the noughties directing an arthouse skin-flick and instructing the actors with lines like: ‘OK, stop being an onanist and approach him sexually!’

One of the actors was kicked in the head by the horse as he was ‘approaching it sexually’ and lost consciousness. Strangely, this was not Cassidy – it would explain a lot – but the director then instructed several of the cowpokes (horsepokes?) to attack and strip the unconscious individual, which, being out of their heads on dope and poppers, they were only too happy to do. One of these attackers, Tex, was Dan Cassidy Jr. They had to be restrained before they injured the unconscious man. There is a still from the movie above. Recognise the cowboy in the white trousers and boots staring out at the camera?

Then finally, Edie Sedgwick turned up in an elevator and gave the horse a sandwich.

Apparently, this forgotten cinematic gem of the sixties is not available on DVD. Go figure!

Doggone it, Danny!

Another of the crazy and ridiculous derivations in Daniel Cassidy’s book How The Irish Invented Slang is his speculation about the origins of the word doggone. It is worth giving Cassidy’s entry on this subject in full, as it shows clearly how fraudulent and incompetent Daniel Cassidy was.

Doggone, excl., adj., adv., an exclamation of irritation, disappointment, someone or something nasty, crude, gross; darned. Not recorded in English till the 19th century. Origin unknown.

Dogairne, n., a gross crude person or thing. Dógan, n., a sort of oath or exclamation, (Ó Dónaill, 1977, 427; Dwelly, Gaelic-English Dictionary, 1901, 347.)

Let’s just examine Cassidy’s claim carefully. First of all, Cassidy says that the origin of ‘doggone’ is unknown. Is it?

Of course not! As usual, Cassidy was lying.

The dictionaries are agreed that dog-gone or doggone is a 19th century Americanism and that it is a minced oath, a disguised blasphemy. The Oxford English Dictionary says it is ‘generally taken as a deformation of the profane God damn.’ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.) says that ‘doggone’ is an ‘alteration of the Scots dagone,’ which is in turn an ‘alteration of goddamn.’ Merriam-Webster says that it is ‘a euphemism for God damn.’

Furthermore, God damn and doggone are used in exactly the same way. Sometimes they are an exclamation, God damn it! (Doggone it!) What have you done? and sometimes as an adjective, Just take the goddamn (doggone) money already!

It is an indication of how stupid and deluded Cassidy was that he seems to think giving two derivations strengthens his case. Of course, in reality, the fact that Cassidy provides two completely separate words in different languages just serves to show how easy it is to find a spurious Gaelic derivation.

Dogairne is a rare word derived from docair (more usually deacair in modern Irish), which means ‘hard, difficult’. Dogairne is a noun, and is defined as ‘A gross, crude, person or thing.’ Doggone, of course, is not used as a noun. You can’t say ‘My cousin is a total doggone.’

As for dògan, this is a Scottish Gaelic exclamation. The Scottish Gaelic dictionaries make it quite clear that this is a borrowing from doggone or from the Scots equivalent. Note also that Cassidy once again betrayed his total ignorance of the Gaelic languages, as he wrote it as dógan. Anyone who knew the slightest thing about Irish and Gaelic would know that Scottish Gaelic always uses grave accents (the ones that slope back) while Irish always uses acute accents (sloping forward).