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Cassidy’s Brother, Mike

A few days ago, I received a message from Daniel Cassidy’s brother, Michael. Michael Cassidy clearly still maintains some strong respect or affection for his brother, in spite of everything. I initially thought that I should put the message in the bin without answering it but in spite of that, I published his opinions along with my own answers to those opinions.

It was a bad-tempered, ill-mannered exchange (on both sides). After putting up answers to four of his messages, I saw that he had sent another message, asking me to delete his messages, because he didn’t want to deal with trolls and bores. It was too late to do anything about it that night, but when I thought about it, it occurred to me that I should delete the controversial posts. Not because of Mike’s disapprobation (I am right about his brother and I will continue to tell the truth), but because there was far too much bad temper and bad manners and sarcasm in it. CassidySlangScam is here to protect the Irish language from fraudsters and to spread the truth about Cassidy. To make a long story short, the standard of those posts was not high enough and that is why I put them in the bin.

Roinnt laethanta ó shin, fuair mé teachtaireacht ó dheartháir Daniel Cassidy, Michael. Is léir go bhfuil meas nó cion láidir ag Michael Cassidy ar a dheartháir go fóill, in ainneoin na n-ainneoin. Bhí mé ag smaoineamh gur chóir dom a theachtaireacht a chur sa bhruscar gan í a fhreagairt ach i m’ainneoin féin, d’fhoilsigh mé a chuid tuairimí maraon leis na freagraí a bhí agam ar na tuairimí sin.

Comhrá cantalach, drochmhúinte a bhí ann (ar an dá thaobh). I ndiaidh dom freagraí a chur suas ar ceithre theachtaireacht uaidh, chonaic mé go raibh teachtaireacht eile curtha aige, ag iarraidh orm na teachtaireachtaí s’aigesean a scrios, cionn is nach mbíonn sé sásta déileáil le troill ná leadránaithe. Bhí sé rómhall rud ar bith a dhéanamh an oíche sin, ach nuair a smaoinigh mé air, rith sé liom gur chóir dom na postálacha conspóideacha a scrios. Ní mar gheall ar an méid a dúirt Mike (tá an ceart agam faoina dheartháir agus leanfaidh mé de bheith ag insint na fírinne), ach cionn is go raibh i bhfad barraíocht den chantal agus den drochmhúineadh agus den tseanbhlas ann. Tá CassidySlangScam anseo leis an Ghaeilge a chosaint ar chaimiléirí agus leis an fhírinne faoin Chaisideach a scaipeadh. Lena rá i mbeagán focal, ní raibh caighdeán na bpostálacha sin ard go leor, agus sin an fáth ar chaith mé sa bhruscar iad.

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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:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2013/11/05/dude_etymology_of_the_word_is_traced_to_doodle_as_in_yankee_doodle_dandy.html

https://www.etymonline.com/word/dude

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:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2013/11/05/dude_etymology_of_the_word_is_traced_to_doodle_as_in_yankee_doodle_dandy.html

https://www.etymonline.com/word/dude

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: (https://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/others/how-the-irish-became-white-is-a-history-book-that-fails-the-history-test)

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.

 

October’s Twit of the Month – Hugh Curran

For this month’s Twit of the Month, I have decided to return to Hugh Curran of Maine. Readers of this blog will remember that in the winter of 2016 and the spring of this year, I took issue with many of this man’s comments on IrishCentral. These comments (now deleted along with most of the accumulated comments on IrishCentral) were complete nonsense. They supported Daniel Cassidy and his preposterous theories, arrogantly ‘corrected’ people who knew more than he did, and criticised genuine etymologists for not giving enough credence to these absurd claims. In these comments, he implied that he was a fluent native Irish speaker. A quick look on line was sufficient to show that he is not fluent in Irish and he himself has admitted this since.

Hugh Curran claimed that Cassidy’s book “is sometimes maligned because a few of the several hundred words are of questionable Gaelic origin, yet the vast majority are correct and the book makes for fascinating reading.” In another post, he claimed that about 40-50% of Cassidy’s derivations were correct. Not only do these two judgements conflict with each other, they are also both nonsense.

I lambasted him on this blog for this behaviour but I also set him a challenge. If he can find ten derivations which are correct out of the hundreds in Cassidy’s book, I will remove my comments about him. Just ten out of hundreds. The only condition was that they had to be original to Cassidy and not plagiarised by Cassidy from other people. I also said that if he couldn’t find them and issued a formal apology for supporting this dreck and misleading people, I would also remove the comments critical of him and substitute it with the apology.

Since then, we have heard nothing from Curran. He hasn’t been able or willing (actually, let’s get real – he hasn’t been able) to find evidence for the outlandish claims he was making. And he is obviously way too up himself to apologise.

Some people might think I am wrong to single out someone like this. He is plainly interested in Irish and Irish culture, even if he doesn’t know much about them. He is an ecologist (though I wouldn’t be alone in regarding the ‘deep ecology’ that he teaches as a load of New Age woo), a political liberal, a supporter of gun control, and he has worked with the homeless. All of these things are very laudable. But does that give him the right to go onto public forums, misrepresent himself as an expert on the Irish language and essentially make up a number of ludicrous claims about the merits of Cassidy’s work? No, it doesn’t! Sensible people have a duty to challenge nonsense like that.

The recent debate about the Irish Slavery meme and the heroic work of Liam Hogan in defence of the truth has shown how much fake information is out there. Most of this fake information is spread by people who believe it’s true, even though it’s clear that the overwhelming majority of them have no idea how to separate bullshit from fact and massively over-estimate their own intelligence and level of education.

One thing is sure. People who spread fake information are a menace. Whatever they think their motives are, their shallowness and arrogance are helping to make the world a worse place.

That’s why my October CassidySlangScam Twit of the Month is Hugh Curran, fake Gaeilgeoir and pompous spreader of fake information.