Category Archives: Feedback

More from Mike Cassidy (yawn)

I have just received another message from Cassidy’s brother Mike. Against my better judgment, I have decided to reproduce and answer it here.

MC: As for ” I hope this isn’t a repeat”: I thought I had already posted.

Me: Fine. That clears that up.

MC: Ok, Cadet Bones Spurs Two: Like Cadet Bone Spurs One, you are coward, that is why you hide.
In case it is not clear I find people who hide silly twits ( to use your word). I defended Dan’s hiding behind sock puppets? Please show me where I said that?

Me: No, I am not a coward. I let the facts speak for themselves. I post anonymously but if people want to argue with the facts presented, I will give them that right. The problem is, most of them just rant and trot out the same old non-sequiturs they learned from your brother. What do I define as cowardice? Well, how about deciding that a cheap con-man is some kind of guru, finding out that he wasn’t, but being so afraid to appear stupid that you end up bending over backwards to pretend that you weren’t wrong in the first place, as so many of Cassidy’s cronies did?

And I never accused you of defending your brother’s hiding behind sock puppets. I said that I don’t see why I should avoid anonymity if your brother posted anonymously all the time. Unless you think there should be one rule for him and another for the rest of us, eh?

MC: Actually with a little research you can document my sister’s loss of the suit Claire brought.

Me: I didn’t say that I doubted that. I stated quite clearly that I doubted whether that was the only, or even the main reason she came to despise him so much. Try to keep up! Are you drinking?

MC: As for me researching whether Dan lied to New College, why would I? I was not interested. And yes I knew he never graduated; in fact my sister learned from me. As far as I know he wasn’t booted out of Cornell, he left to write. Do more research on New College and you’ll see is isn’t such a stretch to believe he would been awarded the title of Professor.

Me: You weren’t interested in the fact that your brother might have been a criminal? Nice to know. Your brother was removed from Cornell so I presume he didn’t ‘leave to write.’ Anyway, the fact that New College was a shambolic outfit where nothing was done properly doesn’t exonerate him.  Their accreditation came from WASC and I can’t see WASC agreeing to them employing a completely unqualified man as a senior lecturer. Also, some of the money for students came directly or indirectly from public funding. So the authorities would expect the staff to be properly qualified. In other words, I still think he lied, even if the authorities at NC looked the other way. This is not a trivial issue and it speaks volumes about the kind of man your brother was.

MC: “It’s very easy to harrumph and huff and bluster and hector and bully and fly into a rage and chew the carpet and complain about the unfairness of it all and accuse me of being anti-Irish and call me names like neo-con”: Gee, I read my post and I don’t believe I said any of that.

Me: No, I wasn’t specifically referring to you (except in the neo-con bit). I was referring to dozens of supporters of your brother’s trash who have come on here with all guns blazing but when challenged to present evidence, they suddenly disappear.

MC: I have actually read some of your posts, and find them interesting. I also find interesting your whining about few readers. You would do better to stop the name calling and just keep doing the examples of his mistakes. if you created a wiki page you would do your crusade wonders.

Me: Well, thank you for that. However, I’m not moaning about the lack of readers. I’ve said repeatedly, I would rather tell the truth to a handful of people than spread the kind of insane lies your brother made up to thousands. As for name-calling, if people deserve to be criticised, I’ll criticise them.  The fact is, there will always be nutters like your brother who make up lies. What makes this case different is that your brother managed to charm dozens of high-profile and not so high-profile people who should have known a lot better than to be taken in by a cheap con-man with no qualifications.

MC: Also if you actually read my post you will notice I never defended the book. However you are too busy ranting to actually read what I posted. As for deleting this post fine with me it is your little blog.

Me: Hold your horses, Mike. You came here and effectively accused me of being a liar (Cadet Bone Spurs). I’m not fucking psychic. You said absolutely nothing, negative or positive, about your brother’s bullshit ‘research’, which is the subject of this blog, so it’s quite reasonable to assume that you were criticising me because you thought I was lying about your brother’s work. Learn to express yourself properly in English (it’s probably way too late for you to learn any Irish), then I’ll know what you’re talking about.

However, by the sound of it, you are saying that you accept that your brother took a lecturer’s job without a degree and don’t care and that you think your brother’s book is indefensible. So, we both agree I’m telling the truth but you think I should be a bit nicer about your brother and the rest of the trash who have supported this rubbish. Well, while we’re giving each other advice, Mike, perhaps you should start a charity called “Be nice to con-men!” You could have a flag-day (without registering it as a charity), then just pocket the money and go on holiday!


Then, shortly after this message, I received another:

BTW if you wish to keep hidden you should delete all the different names Dan called; especially Neocon.

Me: I’m really not sure what this means, except perhaps that the reference to Neocons was included by me because of some comments added to a blog by you here: 

In those comments, you insult a man called Michael Scott (saying that he must be a neocon because of his disregard for the facts! Talk about pots and kettles) for finding fault with your brother’s book before he had read it. What you don’t say is that hundreds of your brother’s fake derivations had already been published on CounterPunch long before then, so it would have been easy for anyone to make a judgment on the imbecility and worthlessness of your brother’s work without buying the book. And while I find your comment unclear and badly-written, I suspect that you think the reference to “call me a Neo-Con” means that I am Michael Scott. Good luck with that! Let me assure everyone reading this blog – I am not called Michael Scott. However, if you wish to spread that name, Mike, please do so. It will help to maintain my anonymity!

And with that, this conversation ends. I really can’t be bothered talking to you anymore. I’m a busy man and I have already given you more of my valuable time than you deserve.


A Message From Mike Cassidy

A week ago, I received a message from Cassidy’s brother Mike. It contains nothing new and nothing of any interest but I have decided to reproduce it here along with my answers to his comments.


MC: I hope this is not a repeat.

Me: I have absolutely no idea what you mean by this, so I won’t bother answering it.

MC: I am amazed this controversy is still goin on after ten years; I stumbled on your the post about Peter Quinn.

Me: Yes, I am also quite flabbergasted that I still have to keep on telling people the truth over and over again – that your brother’s book was a hoax. You see, there never really was ‘a controversy’. On the one side, there was a bunch of ignorant people and batshit crazy people and very naïve people who defended this rubbish in spite of all the evidence that it was rubbish, and there were a lot of well-qualified, well educated people on the other side who have continued to point out what nonsense your brother’s book was. A controversy implies a meaningful debate between two sides who both have valid or possible arguments. This is like a debate between Steven Hawking and Charles Berlitz: our side is 100% right, your brother’s supporters are not even wrong.

For example, here are some comments posted on Twitter the other day:

Seán Óg Mac Cionnaith 5 July 2018

Some hack wrote a whole book full of this shite – How The Irish Invented Slang. Infuriating paddywhackery

On the same day, Mike Duffy in New York replied with this:

I was still ink-slinging for a living when that hack’s book came out and did a wee phone interview for a piece which I then dropped very, very quickly when it became clear he was full of shit.

That’s the way Irish speakers and intelligent people everywhere approach this. Your brother’s work was nonsense. I must say, I never quite got my head around what was wrong with your brother. There is certainly an element of craziness in confidently stating to the world that pizzazz comes from the ‘Irish’ píosa theas, when no such phrase exists and it would mean ‘a southern piece’ if it did. Almost all the phrases in this book are similarly deluded. At the same time, there is a certain method in his madness. The things that aren’t mentioned tend to be the things that would invalidate his arguments. In other words, there is also a large element of dishonesty in his ‘research’. However, the stupidity and ignorance in this book is the first thing that hits you. These elements combine to make your brother a total disaster in terms of producing anything worth reading.

MC: First, the title ‘professor’ is awarded by a college and has nothing to do with a degree. If I remember correctly Dan did not teach Irish, but taught about Irish genealogy and film writing.

Me: Good God, what a condescending arsehole you are! Amazing though it may seem to people like you, ignorant bog-Arabs like me in a shithole country like Ireland actually know that a professor is a rank, not an academic degree. However, to say there is no connection between having degrees and being a professor is a bit like saying that there is no connection between being able to drive and being a driving instructor. As for your brother not teaching Irish, he was apparently nominally a professor of Irish Studies, which doesn’t necessarily imply having a knowledge of the language. Which is a good thing, because he didn’t know any Irish.

MC: He also went to the School of General Studies of Columbia after Cornell. I do not know if Dan told New College he had a degree; I know he never told me he had a degree – I would needle him about it.

Me: For those reading this who know nothing about American education, the School of General Studies at Columbia is a college you would go to in order to get an undergraduate degree. I know that your brother mentioned doing ‘some classes’ in Columbia but he obviously never got a degree from there. How do I know? Well, your brother in interviews talks about attending Cornell and doing well there. He mentions taking some classes at Columbia. He is described elsewhere as a proud graduate of Cornell and Columbia, but that’s only in one article in a newspaper and it is belied by the rest of the evidence. And of course, the Irish Crossroads Festival said that he got a BA from Columbia and an MA in History from Cornell but that is probably a deliberate, dishonest attempt to throw people off the scent. (Again, it is contradicted by the evidence from Cassidy’s own mouth.) And various other places mention his degree from Cornell. It seems obvious that he pretended to be a graduate. But you know, and I know, that he was booted out of Cornell without a degree and he never got a degree from Columbia.

Here’s what I really don’t get about the lines above. You seem to be saying that you knew your brother didn’t have a degree. Then years later, your brother becomes a professor in a college. Are you trying to tell me it never even occurred to you that your brother Daniel might have lied and cheated his way into getting a professorship? I mean, what went through your head? ‘Wow, that’s Danny – such a smooth-talking bastard. No degree and he walks into a lecturer’s job in a university!’ Or was it more like: ‘Wow, they really do things differently in California! Everywhere else, you need a doctorate or at least a master’s degree, but in California you don’t need qualifications. I wonder if anyone on the faculty in New College has a degree? Still, I bet they can all surf!’  

In other words, I really don’t understand this lack of curiosity on your part. If your brother pretended to have a degree, or several degrees, to gain employment, he was committing a serious criminal offence. Not only that, he was behaving in a way that was a betrayal of all the radical and left-wing views he pretended to support. Because of a history of discrimination against Catholics here in the Six Counties, employers have to be very careful here about the protocols surrounding job applications. Your brother, who barely had the qualifications to be a janitor, was allowed to swan around the world pretending to be a professor and an expert on the Irish language. Which is, frankly, disgusting.

MC: Dan and his sister were not close the last years of his life. His sister has her nose out of ‘joint’ because Dan’s widow sued her for money left to him by our mother.

Me: Do I believe this? Not really. In the discussions I had with her, your sister came across as a nice person. I suspect there is a lot more to this story than you are implying. I think there were years of resentment which finally broke. And even if the will was the catalyst, your sister’s anger at the will has meant that she is doing the right thing by repudiating your brother and his nasty, insane, borderline racist book. You are doing the wrong thing by supporting this dim-witted criminal flake who happened to be your brother.

DC: As for making money off the book, I doubt he made much ten years ago, and I doubt his widow is making any now. Also, of all the attributes I would ‘award’ Dan with ass licking is not one.

Me: Really? Funny that, because he was always boasting about the number of editions it had gone through and the huge sales. Even now, it still seems to sell the odd copy. Of course, if this little runt made ten dollars or twenty thousand dollars, it makes no odds. This book is an insult to Irish speakers everywhere and should never have been published in the first place. It is a catalogue of nonsense produced by a man with no moral compass who just liked lying for the sake of it. Practically all of the ‘Irish’ in the book was simply made up by your brother. And the rest of the claims in it were plagiarised from forums, books and other sources.

And as for the ass licking, I know that he was capable of being confrontational, arrogant and bullying when it suited him. But he was also great at sliming people like Peter Quinn and Joe Lee and Michael Patrick MacDonald, as well as his fellow ‘professors’ at NCoC (i.e. anybody who was potentially useful to him). You can hear the simpering and fawning and arse-licking in some of the interviews he gave (like the one with Michael Krasny). I know, because I’ve managed to listen to them a couple of times, before the nausea got the better of me …

A couple of days later, I received another comment from Mike Cassidy:

MC: Also how are you?

Me: I’m very well thank you, how are you? Ah, I see what’s happening. All the right letters but not necessarily in the right order.

MC: I know Cadet Bone Spurs and his Russian buddies has made it acceptable to post whatever while hiding BUT who are you: Name Occuaption etc.

Me: Oh yes, they certainly has. However, I choose to post anonymously, for a variety of reasons, none of which happens to be your business. All I will tell you is this (which is totally clear from the blog anyway), that I am an Irish speaker, that I am better qualified than your brother (well, who the fuck isn’t, eh?) and that I despise your worthless creep of a sibling with every fibre of my being. I recommend you read the rest of this blog, which contains an extensive account of all the sock puppets your brother employed to attack his critics and boost the sales of his book. If hiding behind anonymity was OK for him, I don’t see why I should worry about doing it. However, my name and my qualifications and my ‘occuaption’ are not relevant, because I have never claimed that people should believe what I say because of my degrees or because of who I am.

What I have presented here are the facts. The facts which your brother ignored and twisted and replaced with his lies. If you want to take me on, then I will challenge you in the same way I’ve challenged other fools who have supported How The Irish Invented Slang. If you can find ten words that a reasonable person would say have been proven by your brother to be of Irish origin, then I will apologise to you. However, they have to be claims that your brother originated, not claims that he copied. And the evidence has to be there. For example, if you’re going to say that baloney comes from béal ónna, you have to explain why it isn’t a minced oath, and you have to prove that béal ónna existed in the Irish language. Your brother didn’t do either, of course.

Of course, this is an impossible task, and you won’t be able to do it, any more than any of the other fools have. It’s very easy to harrumph and huff and bluster and hector and bully and fly into a rage and chew the carpet and complain about the unfairness of it all and accuse me of being anti-Irish and call me names like neo-con … but finding real evidence and doing real, valid research isn’t easy. Which is presumably why your worthless creep of a brother never did any.

So, if you think you can provide the evidence your brother didn’t, bring it on. I don’t think I’ll be hearing from you again because someone who thought a few short years ago that the Irish language died out in the 1840s (as you did) knows even less about the Irish language than Daniel Cassidy. If I do hear from you, it had better be a serious attempt to engage with the facts, not another irrelevant, self-justifying rant. Otherwise I’ll simply delete it. The ball’s in your court.

A reply to Joe Daly

I have had a comment from someone called Joe Daly about my post on Did The English Ban Irish:

you dont take in to account the fact that kids where beat in school for specking Irish. while they might not have passed a law banning it their attitude towards the Irish did the same thing . even goin so far as to ban Catholic children from goin to school. Under the penal codes imposed by the British, the Irish Catholics were not allowed to have schools. and so started the rise of Hedge schools.

I am well aware of the history of education in Ireland. I know about the bata scóir and the scoileanna scairte. I have said repeatedly that the English were no friends to the Irish language. In the early 17th century, almost nobody spoke English in Ireland. People like myself who speak Irish on a daily basis are now a tiny minority, and that is a direct result of policies designed to elevate the status of English at the expense of Irish. As I said in the article: The fact is, of course, that the English administration in Ireland was no friend to the Irish language. Irish was progressively squeezed out of any realm of life which would have given it power or influence. I am not defending the English here.

What I am saying here (and I can’t think of any way to make it clearer) is that the Irish language was not illegal in Ireland. It wasn’t encouraged or promoted or helped to survive in any way, but it was not made illegal, probably because the inhabitants of Langerland didn’t care a damn what shepherds and woodmen and fishermen spoke amongst themselves, as long as they paid rent and taxes and tithes to a foreign ascendancy.

With regard to Irish history, the English are as guilty as hell. Why does anyone need to invent extra crimes to make them look worse?

Freagra ar Joe Daly

Chuir duine éigin darbh ainm Joe Daly barúil suas ar an alt a scríobh mé traidhfil de bhlianta ó shin dar teideal Did The English Ban Irish:

you dont take in to account the fact that kids where beat in school for specking Irish. while they might not have passed a law banning it their attitude towards the Irish did the same thing . even goin so far as to ban Catholic children from goin to school. Under the penal codes imposed by the British, the Irish Catholics were not allowed to have schools. and so started the rise of Hedge schools.

Tá go leor eolais agam ar stair an oideachais in Éirinn. Tá a fhios agam faoin bhata scóir agus faoi na scoileanna scairte. Tá sé ráite agam arís agus arís eile nár chuidigh Sasana pioc leis an Ghaeilge. I dtús an tseachtú haois déag, is beag duine in Éirinn a raibh Béarla aige. Ach anois, tá mo leithéidí féin, daoine a labhraíonn Gaeilge ar bhonn laethúil, tá muid chomh gann is a bhí lucht an Bhéarla anseo ceithre chéad bliain ó shin, agus is toradh díreach é sin ar bheartais a rinneadh d’aonghnó le stádas an Bhéarla a ardú agus le stádas na Gaeilge a ísliú. Mar a luaigh mé san alt sin: The fact is, of course, that the English administration in Ireland was no friend to the Irish language. Irish was progressively squeezed out of any realm of life which would have given it power or influence. I am not defending the English here.

An rud atá á rá agam (agus ní thig liom smaoineamh ar dhóigh ar bith lena rá níos soiléire), ná nach raibh an Ghaeilge in éadan an dlí in Éirinn. Níor spreagadh í, níor cothaíodh í, níor cuidíodh léi teacht slán ar dhóigh ar bith, ach níor cuireadh cosc uirthi le hacht ná reacht ná dli.  Is dócha gur chuma sa tsioc leis na Sasanaigh cad é a labhraíodh aoirí nó iascairí nó coillteoirí Gaelacha eatarthu féin, a fhad is a d’íoc siad cíos agus cáin agus deachúna le huasaicme Ghallda.

Maidir le stair na hÉireann, tá Sasana chomh ciontach leis an diabhal. Cad chuige a mbeadh ar dhuine ar bith coireanna breise a chumadh le cosúlacht níos measa a chur orthu?

An Update/Nuashonrú

 I have been really busy recently, so I have had little time to devote to this blog. Last week, Eoin Ó Murchú, an old friend of CassidySlangScam, wrote a piece about Cassidy’s nonsense in the Irish supplement to the Irish Independent. He discussed the list of words the RubberBandits put out last year.

The RubberBandits also put up a piece on Twitter. They said that they wanted to speak to people who have Irish and ask them questions about the language. One person raised the question of cultural appropriation and Dennis King (an American who speaks good Irish) replied with another piece about Cassidy’s book.

I think it’s worth mentioning these two things. Although I am the most determined and most vitriolic critic of Cassidy and his stupid book, I am not alone. There are plenty of people out there who have a knowledge of Irish, of Irish history, of linguistics or of English slang who also hate Cassidy and his garbage.


Bhí mé thar a bheith gnóthach ar na mallaibh agus mar gheall air sin, is beag am a bhí agam leis an bhlag seo a scríobh. An tseachtain seo caite, scríobh Eoin Ó Murchú, seanchara le CSS, píosa faoi raiméis Cassidy i bhforlíonadh Gaeilge an Irish Independent. Phléigh sé na focail a chuir na RubberBandits amach anuraidh.

Chuir na RubberBandits píosa suas ar Twitter fosta. Dúirt siad go raibh siad ag iarraidh labhairt le daoine a bhfuil Gaeilge acu agus ceisteanna a chur orthu faoin teanga. Thóg duine ceist na leithghabhála cultúrtha agus d’fhreagair Dennis King (Meiriceánach a bhfuil Gaeilge mhaith aige) le píosa eile faoi leabhar Cassidy.

Is fiú an dá rud seo a lua, dar liom. Cé gur mise an duine is díograisí agus is binbí maidir le Cassidy agus a leabhar bómánta, níl mé liom féin. Tá neart daoine amuigh ansin, daoine a bhfuil cur amach acu ar an Ghaeilge, ar stair na hÉireann, ar an teangeolaíocht agus ar bhéarlagair an Bhéarla, a bhfuil an ghráin fáiscthe acu ar Cassidy agus ar a chuid amaidí fosta.






The Captain Returns/Filleann an Captaen

Some while back, I gave out to and about Captain Grammar Pants (a.k.a. Sean Williams of Evergreen State) for buying into Cassidy’s nonsense and helping to spread it far and wide through her grammar and ‘etymology’ site on FaceBook. After a while, she contacted me and admitted that she had made a mistake with Cassidy’s rubbish. Fine, I thought. At least one sinner has returned to the fold …

However, imagine my surprise when I came across this piece of crap on Captain Grammar Pants the other day. It was published about four months ago. (October 2017)

Dude! Slang can be fun and mystifying at the same time; its meaning also changes over time. Today we sort out DUDE (Irish, “incompetent fool”) …

Oh, for God’s sake! Didn’t you learn anything last time? There is a word dúid in Irish. It means 1. Stump 2. (a) Stumpy object, protuberant part; (short) horn, (cropped) ear, tail. (b) Short-stemmed (clay) pipe. 3. (Craned) neck, throat. 4. (a) Stumpy person. (b) Mopish, shy person; numbskull.

So where did the definition “incompetent fool” come from? Who invented that one? It’s not a direct quote from Cassidy but it’s close enough. And dude means a dandy or fop, which dúid doesn’t. The English dude almost certainly comes from Yankee DOODle DANDY, who stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni (which was also slang for a fop or dandy in the 18th century). There are several other possibilities but dúid isn’t as good a candidate as Yankee Doodle Dandy, as these sources agree:

So, Captain Grammar Pants, PLEASE wise up and stop misleading people about language!


Tamall beag ó shin, thug mé amach do Captain Grammar Pants (nó Sean Williams ó Evergreen State mar is fearr aithne uirthi) as glacadh le raiméis Cassidy agus as cuidiú lena scaipeadh i gcéin is i gcóngar tríd an suíomh gramadaí agus ‘sanasaíochta’ atá aici ar FaceBook. I ndiaidh tamaillín, chuaigh sí i dteagmháil liom agus d’admhaigh go raibh meancóg déanta aici le cacamas Cassidy. Go breá, arsa mise liom féin. Ar a laghad, tá peacach amháin i ndiaidh filleadh ar an tréad … Samhlaigh an t-iontas a bhí orm, áfach, nuair a chonaic mé an cacamas seo ar Captain Grammar Pants an lá faoi dheireadh. Tuairim is ceithre mhí ó shin a foilsíodh é (Deireadh Fómhair 2017):

Dude! Slang can be fun and mystifying at the same time; its meaning also changes over time. Today we sort out DUDE (Irish, “incompetent fool”) …

Ó, ar son Dé! Nár fhoghlaim tú a dhath an uair dheireanach? Tá an focal dúid sa Ghaeilge, ceart go leor, ach ní hé sin a chiall. Seo na sainmhínithe, de réir FGB (Ó Dónaill):

  1. Stump 2. (a) Stumpy object, protuberant part; (short) horn, (cropped) ear, tail. (b) Short-stemmed (clay) pipe. 3. (Craned) neck, throat. 4. (a) Stumpy person. (b) Mopish, shy person; numbskull.

Cá háit a bhfuarthas an sainmhíniú sin “incompetent fool” mar sin? Cé a chum an ceann sin? Ní sliocht díreach as saothar Cassidy atá ann ach tá sé cóngarach go leor. Agus ciallaíonn dude gaige nó scóitséir. Níl an chiall sin ag an fhocal dúid, ar ndóigh. Tá sé chóir a bheith cinnte gurbh ó Yankee DOODle DANDY a tháinig an focal dude, ‘who stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni (focal a raibh an chiall gaige nó ‘dandy’ leis i mBéarla an ochtú haois déag). Tá roinnt moltaí eile ann, ach níl dúid chomh maith mar bhunús an fhocail le Yankee Doodle Dandy, mar atá le feiceáil sna foinsí seo:

Mar sin de, a Chaptaein, LE DO THOIL, bíodh ciall agat agus stad de bheith ag cur dallamullóg ar dhaoine faoi chúrsaí teanga!

November’s Twit of the Month – James Wilson of IrishCentral

There was fierce competition for the Twit of the Month again. The obvious contender was Tommy Graham of History Ireland, who claimed that he had not received Liam Hogan’s rebuttal of Mike McCormack’s idiotic letter in time to publish it. The question I immediately asked myself is this. Did Tommy Graham send him an email to remind him? Did he make sure that Hogan knew the closing date? The apology Graham made is welcome but it’s not as if an attack by an idiot like Mike McCormack is really going to damage the reputation of a careful and intelligent historian like Hogan. The reason why Tommy Graham should be bending over backwards to make things right (apart from the fact that it’s the right thing to do) is that the reputation of History Ireland has been damaged by this. History Ireland looks bad and it’s going to continue to look very shite-coloured until Liam Hogan gets a chance to put his side of the story. So, Tommy Graham is still in the frame but I’ll leave it until the next issue of History Ireland in 2018 to see what happens.

Another potential candidate was the ridiculous pseudo-historian Peter Linebaugh (I have already had a go at him, but only in brief) but as I was preparing my critique of him, I found another and more timely target.

James Wilson wrote an article recently in IrishCentral which irritated me beyond measure. You can find it here: (

Until recently, IrishCentral has been one of the highest profile propagators of the myth of Irish Slavery. Under the misdirection of Niall O’Dowd, IrishCentral produced an article which is essentially copied from an article by an ‘expert’ called John Martin (apparently an alias anyway), an article which itself quotes extensively from the work of a well-known racist and Holocaust-denier. After being lobbied for over a year by Hogan and other historians, O’Dowd then wrote a nauseating article (without removing the offending nonsense) which claimed that the Irish were both slaves and indentured servants. I have dealt with this cynical and unpleasant article already (Niall O’Dowd Answers Critics).

Recently, IrishCentral finally removed the offending article and they have now added James Wilson’s article, which is a review of Noel Ignatiev’s book How The Irish Became White. Rather than tackle the Irish Slavery Meme and its supporters directly, James Wilson has produced a poorly-written article about a book which really has little to do with the Irish Slavery Meme as challenged by Liam Hogan.

The first sentence shows that Wilson has no idea what the book is about: “The title of the book is simply a shoddy attempt to conflate Irish suffering with slavery and a cheap attempt to pander to white grievance.” No it isn’t. I don’t like Noel Ignatiev’s book much either. Its fundamental argument, that race is a social construct and that the Irish were forced into becoming racists because of their quasi-white status at the bottom of the ethnic ladder, is overstated. As Wilson says, the Irish were always white. But the Irish Slavery Meme didn’t really exist back in 1995, when Ignatiev’s book was published, and Ignatiev is a radical Marxist, not some ignorant White Supremacist. Why not attack the target IrishCentral itself has just spent several years promoting, rather than attacking a fake target like Ignatiev? Because, of course, that would involve some genuine contrition and a willingness to wash IrishCentral’s dirty linen in public.

And if you’re going to take the right line over the difference between chattel slavery and indentured servitude, then at least read a book or two and do it properly! Don’t produce weak-minded dilettante shite like this. These are important issues and they deserve to be discussed intelligently and properly. The difference between chattel slavery and indentured servitude is not to do with one being voluntary and the other involuntary. Wilson says that: “At no point in US history were the Irish kidnapped from their homeland and brought shackled to America.” Actually, in the years following the Cromwellian Wars, an estimated 12000 Irish people, many of them children, were kidnapped and sent on an involuntary basis to America and to the Caribbean. They weren’t slaves because they had legal rights and their service was time-limited. Most indentured servants were voluntary (but not all). The vast majority of them weren’t ‘worked to death’, or worked harder than African slaves, though some of them did die waiting for their their contracts to run out. (Just as many free people died of malaria, yellow fever and tuberculosis in Virginia and other colonies.) But indentured servitude and the chattel slavery of Africans were different. Fundamentally, radically different, in terms of numbers, time scale and severity of treatment. And it’s important that we get the facts about that right.

In a way, the attitude of IrishCentral reminds me of a character in the film Twelve Angry Men. Juror No. 7 has a ticket to the baseball game, so he votes guilty at first, hoping to get the jury service over quickly. It’s a murder case and a boy’s life is at stake. Eventually, as the time for the game draws near, he changes to not guilty, and is shocked when the people who were just trying to convince him to vote not guilty are angry with him. “What sort of a man are you?” says Juror 11, with disgust.

That’s my attitude towards IrishCentral. This stuff is important. If the folks at IrishCentral have done an about-face and now think the Irish Slavery Meme is worth criticising, then they should do some research and get their facts right. Perhaps they could invite Liam Hogan to write a few articles!

However, if they can’t be bothered doing any research and if they really don’t give a toss about educating the people who use their website about the false nature of the Irish Slavery Meme, then they should stick to the usual crap about leprechauns and recipes for Irish apple cake and leave the serious issues alone.