Monthly Archives: April 2016

More on Medbh

In a post on Cassidy’s strange ideas about the Irish origins of jazz, I gave a link to a Wikipedia debate between John M. Baker and an unknown individual called Medbh. This is the link here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Medbh. There seems little doubt that Medbh was a sock puppet for Cassidy himself. The crazy half-baked ranting is exactly like that used by Cassidy himself and a host of sock puppet identities used by him on various sites. At one point, Cassidy lets the mask slip completely, and Baker picks up on it:

Actually, I did not characterize CounterPunch Books as a vanity press, nor did I say anything about how many books it sells. I said only that it is not a peer-reviewed scholarly publisher. I do not have an opinion on whether or not it is a vanity press, nor how many books it sells. I don’t consider the number of books it sells at all relevant – many scholarly publishers sell few books, and many nonsensical books have become best-sellers. How do you know that Cassidy signed a standard author’s contract? I thought you said earlier that you are not Cassidy.

It is worth reading these debates, as they show clearly that Cassidy was dishonest, ignorant and full of crap. However, for those who can’t be bothered looking at the original source, here are some interesting notes.

When Baker said that Cassidy was an ‘academic administrator at NCoC’, Medbh/Cassidy responded by saying that This is utter nonsense. Cassidy is a tenured faculty member at New College of California, where he teaches media studies and Irish Studies. Prior to that he was on the graduate faculty of the Film Department at SF State. He is NOT an administrator at New College.’ What the sock puppet doesn’t say, of course, is that Cassidy had no right to be anything in a university but the janitor. He had no degrees, no qualifications. Nothing. This is the elephant in the room. How did Cassidy become ‘a tenured faculty member’ in a university without having a degree? Did he lie to get the job? How else did a man with no qualifications become a professor?

The sock puppet cites a number of people who have supported his work, with comments like this: Alex Cockburn is from Cork, Ireland, and studied the Irish language for the first six years of his schooling. He reads Irish and speaks it. He is a crank too, since he does not know who Grant Barret is. Of course, Cockburn was a good friend of Cassidy’s, so whether he was a crank or not or spoke Irish or not is of no importance.

Here is a list of the supporters mentioned and their known involvement with Cassidy:

Professor J. Joseph Lee of NYU and University College Cork – a friend of Cassidy’s.

Professor Robert Scally, associated with NYU Glucksman’s Ireland House – also a friend of Cassidy’s.

Professor Peter Linebaugh – friend of Cassidy, guested at his Irish Crossroads Festival in 2004.

Esther O’Hara (University of California, Berkeley) – former colleague and friend of Cassidy at New College of California

Pól Ó Muirí, journalist – no known connection.

Frank McNally, journalist – no known connection

Reyhan Harmanci, journalist – no known connection

Eamonn McCann, Journalist – friend of Cassidy’s, appeared in his 1995 documentary Uncensored Voices

Alexander Cockburn, journalist – friend of Cassidy’s

Peter Quinn, writer – described Cassidy as ‘my best friend’

Maureen Dezell, writer – friend of Cassidy’s

In other words, out of 11 people cited as supporting Cassidy, only three have no known connection to Cassidy. Cassidy himself, using an unconvincing sock puppet identity, gave a list of his own mates, without the slightest hint that he knew any of them, as support for the idea that he should be taken seriously as a scholar of language! What a total fraud!

However, the thing I found most astounding is the point raised by Baker about ‘peer-review’. Peer review is a specific process, where academic writing is assessed by academic peers in a formal way. Cassidy (Medbh) seems to have thought that peer-review was about getting reviews in newspapers! This is yet one more piece of evidence that Cassidy was a total moron who knew nothing about the world of scholarship and had no business teaching in a university.

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Masher

This is another stupid and unfounded claim made by Cassidy in How The Irish Invented Slang. Masher is a slang term for a young man of fashion who frequented 19th century theatres because of his devotion to the leading ladies.

There is a discussion of its origins here in an excellent blog post from Anatoly Liberman: http://blog.oup.com/2011/01/masher/.

And here’s another from World Wide Words: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-mas1.html

Both of these sources are inclined to regard masher and mash as being extensions of the English word mash meaning to crush and both of them point to the similarity between the uses of mash and the uses of the word crush.

Cassidy’s claim was that it derives from the Irish maiseach, an obscure adjective meaning beautiful or elegant (according to Ó Dónaill’s dictionary, maisiúil is the usual adjective formed from maise. I wouldn’t use maisiúil or maiseach, though I use maise all the time). How an adjective meaning beautiful in Irish gave rise to a noun meaning lady’s man and a verb meaning to have a crush in English is not explained, but then Cassidy probably didn’t know what an adjective or a verb are, and he certainly had very little in the way of common sense or academic ability.

In short, this is yet another completely ridiculous claim, unsupported by any evidence at all.

Mark, Mark Anthony

Another utterly stupid claim made by Cassidy in his book, How The Irish Invented Slang, is that the English words mark or mark Anthony, slang terms for a sucker or target of a scam, derive from Irish. As usual, there is no evidence for this and plenty of strong evidence against it.

For one thing, while the word marc is Irish and means a mark, the word is a relatively modern borrowing from English and there is no evidence of it meaning target of a scam. In Irish, the earliest references date back to 1639, in the Catechismus of Tiobóid Galldubh (Theobald Stapleton).

In English, the word is very ancient. It had acquired the meaning of target by the year 1200. It was first used with the meaning of target of a scam or sucker in the 1880s.

As for Mark Anthony, a slang phrase which seems to appear first in the 1970s in America, Cassidy claims that this comes from marc andána, which he says means a rash mark. The word andána is an intensified form of dána, which means bold. Of course, there is no evidence of anyone actually saying or writing marc andána in Irish. The sole authority for its existence is one crazy man – Daniel Cassidy – who lived his whole life in the USA, never learned Irish and never acquired any qualifications.

And when you think about it, the whole thing is much more likely to be English than Irish. A mark is a target and has been since the middle ages. That word comes to be a term for the target of a scam. Then someone adds Anthony to it because everyone’s heard of Mark Anthony. It might also have been influenced by a work of 19th century Irish fiction, The Fortunes of Hector O’Halloran and His Man Mark Anthony O’Toole.

Isn’t that more likely as a scenario than Cassidy’s non-existent phrase marc andána?

Noogie

I was thinking the other day that I have been neglecting the drossary side of things recently. Although it is important to comment on the Cassidy scandal and the morons who support this obvious fraud, I started this blog with the primary intention of providing the facts where Cassidy provided lies.

One of the most obviously fraudulent of Cassidy’s claims is the one about noogie. Noogie is an American term, first recorded in the 1960s. It refers to a kind of playground punishment, where a child grabs another in a head-lock and then rubs their victim’s scalp with the knuckles.

Cassidy’s claim is that the basic phrase is not noogie but ‘a noogie’, which is why he put it under A rather than N. There is no logical reason for this, apart from the fact that Cassidy’s Irish candidate for the origin of noogy starts with an a. It’s the word aonóg.

Firstly, aonóg would be pronounced eynohg or oonohg. This doesn’t sound much like ‘a noogie’, never mind noogie on its own. Secondly, it is an incredibly obscure word. The usual Irish term for a nip or pinch is liomóg. Aonóg is not given in Ó Dónaill’s dictionary, though it is given in Dinneen, where it says it is ‘a nip, a pinch’, and that it is a local term from County Monaghan.

Let’s just compare this to Cassidy’s version. He doesn’t mention County Monaghan. He says that aonóg is ‘a nip, a pinch, a little whack, fig. affectionate, rough-house play.’  It’s important to look closely at the differences here, as they demonstrate clearly what a dishonest scumbag Cassidy was. Most of this definition (‘a little whack, fig. affectionate, rough-house play.’) was invented by Cassidy. What gave this liar the right to make up a new definition and pass it off as the truth? Is a little whack the same as a nip? Is a nip ‘affectionate, rough-house play?’ Admittedly, nipping someone might be part of rough-house play but they aren’t the same thing, in English or in Irish.

Back in the real world, far away from Daniel Cassidy’s compulsive lying, there are several theories about the origins of noogie. The strongest contender is that it is a corruption of knuckle, on the analogy of words like wedgie. Others link it to the Yiddish נודזשען ‎(nudzhen, “to badger”). Whatever the real origin, aonóg is not a good candidate in terms of phonetics or meaning and it would never have been a common word among Irish speakers, otherwise it would have left a far stronger trace in the dictionaries and glossaries.