Recently there has been a spike in the sales of Cassidy’s ridiculous book, How The Irish Invented Slang. A quick check online showed that the most likely reason for this spike is that IrishCentral has once again republished a truly awful article by Brendan Patrick Keane which praises Cassidy’s stupid and indefensible ideas. Personally, I find this kind of thing impossible to understand. Cassidy’s work has been slammed by all the academic authorities who have bothered to comment. It has been mocked by Irish speakers, myself included. It was originally to have been published by an academic publisher but was rejected because an Irish academic warned them of its worthlessness. You can open any page and find something stupid and demonstrably wrong. And to top it all, we now know that Cassidy was a fraudster who claimed to have degrees from high-status universities, while the reality is that he had no degrees from anywhere and was not entitled to the status of a professor.
So, why would Niall O’Dowd and IrishCentral publish this rubbish again? I decided to check out the names of Niall O’Dowd and Cassidy’s arch-crony Peter Quinn on Google. Within two minutes, I had the grainy picture above, taken at a Flax Fund Dinner in NY last year. There they are, the person who runs IrishCentral and the man who described Cassidy as his ‘best friend’. You can draw your own conclusions, just as I have done. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a vile conspiracy among a bunch of arrogant and over-privileged Irish-American cronies to protect the reputation of Daniel Cassidy at all costs and in spite of all the evidence that he was a worthless fraud. There are other possibilities. Perhaps it is just down to stupidity and groupthink. Or perhaps Niall O’Dowd cynically realises that dumbass conspiracy theories sell better than the facts.
And of course, he’d be right about that. Blogs like this or the attacks on Cassidy on Language Log will never attract as much attention as Brendan Patrick Keane’s ignorant, badly-written tripe on IrishCentral. However, if I could attract a million hits a week by saying that Cassidy was right, I still wouldn’t do it. I’d rather get fifty hits a week and tell the truth than get a massive following by promoting lies and nonsense. I guess that’s just the way I’m made.