Category Archives: The Cassidy Scandal

This is an item about Cassidy or his friends or the scandal of how a book full of pseudoscientific nonsense has come to be treated like a genuine work of scholarship by people, many of whom are probably smart enough to know better.

Fs and Gs

So, I have now completed another two letters in the glossary in Daniel Cassidy’s absurd book, How The Irish Invented Slang, and as with A and B and C, D and E, I have prepared a short account of my conclusions in relation to Cassidy’s efforts.

There are 72 words in the F and G categories. As in the previous letters, none of Cassidy’s explanations could be regarded as a ‘smoking gun’. None of them provides any clear evidence that Cassidy is correct or that the other explanations are invalid.

There is only one possible candidate in the 219 entries given by Cassidy for these seven letters, the supposed link between the expression ‘big bug’ in English and the Irish boc mór. However, in this case, Cassidy failed to conduct any real research. He didn’t check to see if the phrase big bug ever occurs as big buck, or to see if there is any evidence for the existence of big bug in Hiberno-English.

The rest of Cassidy’s ‘research’ is the usual mixture of plagiarised, badly-researched accounts of words of Gaelic origin like galore and gob that were already known to be words of Gaelic origin, and utterly stupid made-up nonsense that breaks the grammatical rules of Irish and stretches credibility to anyone who actually understands any of the language (which Cassidy didn’t).

Let’s make that clear. Out of 219 items, only one of them is even slightly credible and not already known and acknowledged to be a word of Gaelic origin. The overwhelming majority of the claims made by Cassidy in relation to these words are pompous, ignorant garbage.

The people who support this man and the nonsense he invented and promoted are a mixed bag. Nutcases, fools, people who make a decision based on nothing and then are too arrogant and up themselves to make a u-turn, people who knew and loved Cassidy and refuse to listen to the truth, people who are simply too stupid and selfish to do the most elementary fact-checking before supporting a worthless hoax like Cassidy’s book. Personally, my attitude to these people is the same as my attitude to those who support Ancient Aliens or weird cults or White Supremacist groups or any other poisonous crap that pollutes the internet. They’re obviously, demonstrably wrong and they deserve to be treated with utter contempt because they’re morons. End of story.

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C, D and E

Over the last few months, I have been working on a Cassidese Glossary, taking the words in the dictionary section of Cassidy’s book one by one, with less of the invective I have heaped on Cassidy and his cronies in the past.  

A few weeks ago, I completed the As and Bs and then wrote an analysis of the lessons arising from my examination of Cassidy’s claims for words beginning with those two letters, in which I returned to the invective and once again pointed out how dishonest, twisted and incompetent Daniel Cassidy was. I have now completed the Cs, Ds and Es and I will write a short post of the same kind to analyse what I have found in this part of the glossary.

The sections for these three letters contain 72 entries (counting words like Croak, Croaked and Croaker as separate entries, as they were given by Cassidy). As with the 75 entries for the As and Bs, a handful of these are genuine Irish (words like cross and dornick). A number of others are probably not genuine Irish, but the claim for an Irish origin predates Cassidy, for example, dig for understand or cock-eyed coming from caoch.

As with the As and Bs, the vast majority of the words dealt with here are complete nonsense. There is no chance of them being correct. Most of the candidate phrases were invented by Cassidy, and even when they are to be found in Irish dictionaries, the entries given in those dictionaries are not given accurately, but rewritten by Cassidy to make them closer to whatever term he was trying to promote. Most of them, like de áit as the origin of ditch or ciúta as the origin of cute or coillteoireacht as the origin of cold turkey are so puerile and silly that there is little point in trying to take them seriously.  Unlike the As and Bs, where there were several that were not entirely ridiculous (like big bug from boc mór) with the Cs, Ds and Es, there are no entries that are even slightly interesting and worthy of further examination.

The amount covered so far probably constitutes a quarter of the material in Cassidy’s glossary, as several letters either contain no entries, like Z and X, or very few, like N and Y. If the pattern found with the letters dealt with so far is repeated with the rest of the letters, it is unlikely that there will even be one new credible word of Irish origin out of the hundreds given by Cassidy in his book.  

In other words, far from being a scholar or a political radical or a supporter of the Irish language, Cassidy was an arrogant, narcissistic flake who was constitutionally incapable of telling the truth. For twelve years, this worthless creep drew a university salary as a professor, in spite of the fact that he flunked his degree and had no qualifications. Cassidy has been dead for years. He is now beyond shame, though he is still not beyond disgrace. Scum like Peter Quinn, Terence Winch, Michael Patrick MacDonald, Joe Lee, Peter Linebaugh, Eamonn McCann, Corinne Marrinan, the board of the San Francisco Irish Crossroads Festival and the rest of the dim-witted pseudo-intellectual cronies of Daniel Cassidy are still with us.

They disgust me, not because of their stupidity in letting themselves be deceived by this con-artist in the first place, but because of their unwillingness to admit they were conned and apologise. These are people who are so up themselves that they won’t admit to making a mistake, even if that means that ordinary, decent people continue to be conned by the flagrant rubbish they recommended. They deserve to be mocked and treated with utter contempt by all right-thinking people.

Minding your As and Bs

Over the last few weeks, I have been working on a Cassidese Glossary, taking the words in the dictionary section of Cassidy’s book one by one, with less of the invective I have heaped on Cassidy and his cronies in the past.

I have now completed the As and Bs and I will continue to work on this over the next year or two until I have finished the alphabet. However, there are already lessons to be learned from the words and phrases beginning with A and B, so I will return to a little of the invective for one post and analyse what we know from these two sections.

Firstly, the A and B sections of Cassidy’s dictionary contain 75 entries. A handful of these are genuine Irish but before any of Cassidy’s supporters gets too excited, there was never any doubt that these words and phrases were Irish. There are eight of these: acushla, agrah, alanna, An Gorta Mór (which is purely Irish and was never borrowed into English), aroon, Arrah na Pogue (a play title), astore, avourneen. There are also words that have been claimed for Irish in the past, such as ballyhoo and bard and buddy, though it is highly unlikely that these really do come from Irish. 

There is a small number of phrases and words that are genuine Irish but there is no evidence that they are the origin of the terms claimed by Cassidy. In many cases, Cassidy altered the meaning and provided faked definitions for these words. For example, ainfheoil doesn’t mean a sexually transmitted disease. Aonóg doesn’t mean rough-house play. Ball doesn’t mean a dance or party in Irish. Beachtaí does not ‘figuratively’ mean a judge. Báinín does not mean ‘any type of overcoat’.

A great many of the words mentioned have such ancient roots in English that there is no chance they could ever derive from the Irish roots that Cassidy claims for them. For example, bicker, blow and booze have well-attested histories that leave no room for a supposed Irish origin.

Another major category is the set of made-up phrases or compound words, phrases that do not (and in most cases could not) exist in the Irish language. For example, báille vicus, béal ónna, baothán nathánach, b’aifirt, béas núíosach, béalú h-ard, búbaí háit, bogadh luath, buan-díchiall, boc aniar, bocaí rua, bodaire an aicme áin, beart t-aon, buanchumadh, beathuis. These often violate basic rules of grammar and sound ridiculously clunky and contrived to anyone who has actually learned some Irish – something that Cassidy couldn’t be bothered to do.

In short, Cassidy’s work is simply fraudulent, incompetent nonsense. Out of 75 entries under A and B, the only slightly possible claim is that boc mór is the origin of big bug. However, even with this claim, there are problems. For one thing, big bug makes perfect sense in English. Also, big bug is not found in Ireland and you would expect the phrase big buck to be found at least as commonly as big bug if boc mór were the origin. In other words, it is a possible influence but no more than that.

If the pattern found with the As and Bs is repeated with the rest of the letters, it is unlikely that there will even be one new credible word of Irish origin out of the hundreds given by Cassidy in his book. In other words, if there is anything of value in Cassidy’s book (if), it will pale into insignificance in comparison with the fakery and nonsense that this worthless lying creep and his dim-witted cronies have spread among the Irish-American community.

 

An Open Letter To Columbia University

A number of years ago, I started this blog to warn people about a fake academic called Daniel Cassidy who invented a large number of fake “Irish” expressions and pretended that they were the origins of American slang terms. He taught at the New College of California and founded a festival called the Irish-American Crossroads Festival in San Francisco.

A couple of years after I started the blog, I found out from his sister that Daniel Cassidy had no degrees or qualifications. He attended Cornell University for a few years but was kicked out of that institution in his final year without a degree. I know that to be the case because when I approached Cornell, they readily supplied me with that information.

Cassidy’s sister informs me that he never received a degree of any kind from Columbia. I have tried on a number of occasions to get confirmation of this from Columbia. I have written letters (which have never been answered), I put another open letter up here. Again, no reply.

The 16th Irish-American Crossroads Festival has just begun in San Francisco. You can go on the website of this festival and find the following dishonest statement:

Cassidy grew up in Brooklyn, and was shaped by the world that he encountered there.  His career was rich and varied.  He started his education at Columbia University, and went on to get a Masters in History at Cornell.

As we have stated before, Cassidy studied for his primary degree at Cornell, but failed to graduate. He never went to Columbia. I have pointed this out to the authorities at Columbia before. The organisers of this festival are associating Columbia with the greatest fraudster and liar in the history of Irish America. They are using claims that the founder of the festival had a qualification from Columbia to pretend that that founder was a serious and genuine scholar.

You would think that the least an institution like Columbia would do on being informed that a festival is using false claims of a Columbia degree to bolster the sagging reputation of its founder is to issue a statement denying that he had any degrees from Columbia. (To help you check, his full name was Daniel Patrick Cassidy and he was born on the 26th of April, 1943.) Or perhaps even to send a cease and desist letter to stop that festival from lying about its founder’s links to their university.

Anyway, here is yet another open letter, designed to goad Columbia University into taking this matter seriously. I don’t hold out much hope that they will do the right thing (they’ve never bothered before) but at least I’m continuing to do the right thing – and that really matters to me! This man was an appalling liar who treated the Irish language and Irish culture with supreme disrespect and no decent academic institution would want to be associated with him.

Ballum Rancum

In 2003, a crony of the late fake professor Daniel Cassidy called Terry Golway, who at the time was writing a column for the New York Observer, allowed Cassidy to take over his column as a guest. Cassidy did what Cassidy always did – abused the kindness of the victims who fondly imagined themselves to be his friends to promote his insane theories. It is to be noted that the New York Observer no longer exists as a paper. Perhaps the fact that someone in a position of trust at the paper was stupid enough to allow Cassidy to publish fantasy garbage like this in it goes some way to explaining its demise.

In Cassidy’s guest article, he discussed a number of supposed 19th century criminal slang terms given by Joseph Matsell in his criminal slang dictionary and associated with the film Gangs of New York. Being an adept con-man as well as a nut, Cassidy realised that finding an angle to do with the film would enable him to promote his fake nonsense about Irish to an uncritical and naïve public and that this would help to spread his ideas virally. Thus, this was the first outing for Cassidy’s stupid claim that the obscure Irish word ráibéad (meaning a whopper or big item in the Irish of one parish in Connemara) was the origin of the Dead Rabbits gang, not a story about a dead rabbit being thrown on the ground in a fight.

Anyway, while it is not worth going through the other claims made by Cassidy in this article, there is one interesting phrase which shows very clearly how Cassidy rolled, the phrase ballum rancum. Firstly, while ballum rancum is quoted as a criminal slang phrase by Matsell, it’s highly unlikely that it was ever used by New York criminals. Matsell borrowed from lots of English flash and cant dictionaries. Its original meaning was an orgy, a naked dance.This phrase, along with the phrase rank ball and related terms like buttock ball and bare ball are found in lots of 17th century English plays, such as Dryden’s Limberham: “fresh Wenches, and Ballum Rankum every night”. The phrase seems to have originally been ‘rank ball’ (rank often had a sexual meaning in 17th century English) and it was then turned into ‘beggar’s Latin’ as ballum rancum.

In this article, Cassidy ignores the fact that it long predates the massive Irish immigration to New York. He tries to pretend that this is Irish and that it comes from the ‘Irish’ phrase ball iomrá na gcumainn. Of course, this is not a real Irish phrase. Ball in Irish means member, spot, place, iomrá means mention and na gcumann (not na gcumainn) means ‘of the loves/ friendships/ companies/ societies’. So, if it existed, it would mean something like ‘the spot of mention of the companies’. Of course, you don’t talk about ‘a mentioning spot’ in Irish. You might say “an áit a bhfuil gach duine ag labhairt uirthi” or “an áit sin atá i mbéal an phobail”. So, where did Cassidy get ball iomrá na gcumainn from? He simply made it up, as usual. Cassidy was a stupid, lazy, half-mad, deceitful little bastard and any of his cronies who has defended or enabled this pompous fake-Irish scumbag should be totally scarlet with shame.

 

San Francisco Irish-American Crossroads Festival

For several years now, I have been criticising the organisers, friends, sponsors and supporters of the San Francisco Irish-American Crossroads festival. It was founded by Daniel Cassidy, phoney professor with no degrees, and has persisted in spreading the lies from Cassidy’s book and pretending that they were the truth.

Every year at this time, I look out online to see which of Cassidy’s vile cronies will be appearing in the festival. However, this year, there seems to be no information about the festival, which normally starts about the beginning of March.

It looks as if the festival is finished, and that the 15th Festival in 2018 will be the last. I certainly hope so. Cassidy was simply a con-man, a traitor to the Irish language and the Irish people, and his work should only be held up to other people as an example of how not to do things. The organisers of the festival made up their minds a long time ago not to tell the truth.

I hope that a new festival will rise from its ashes, one with less phoneys involved, one that doesn’t try to pretend that an obvious criminal was some kind of hero, or promote ridiculous theories about the Irish language by a man who didn’t know any Irish at all.

 

Le roinnt blianta anuas, tá mé ag cáineadh eagraitheoirí, cairde, urraithe agus tacaitheoirí na féile, the San Francisco Irish-American Crossroads. Ba é Daniel Cassidy a bhunaigh an fhéile, ollamh bréige nach raibh oiread is céim BA aige, agus ón chéad lá, níor stad muintir na féile seo de bheith ag scaipeadh na mbréag a foilsíodh i leabhar Cassidy agus ag ligean orthu gur lomchnámha na fírinne a bhí iontu.

Ag an am seo gach bliain, amharcaim ar líne lena fháil amach cé acu compánach de chuid Cassidy a bheas ag seinm nó ag tabhairt léachta ann. Agus sin ráite, níl aon eolas le fáil faoin fhéile i mbliana. Tosaíonn an fhéile i mí Mhárta de ghnáth.

De réir cosúlachta, tá deireadh leis an fhéile agus ba é an 15ú Féile in 2018 an ceann deireanach. Tá súil agam gurb amhlaidh atá. Ní raibh i Daniel Cassidy ach caimiléir, fealltóir don Ghaeilge agus do mhuintir na hÉireann, agus níor chóir a chuid saothar a úsáid mar eiseamláir, ach amháin mar eiseamláir den dóigh nár choir rudaí a dhéanamh. Rinne eagraitheoirí na féile an cinneadh na blianta ó shin cloí leis na bréaga agus gan bacadh leis an fhírinne.

Tá súil agam go dtiocfaidh féile eile i gcomharbas uirthi, féile a bhfuil daoine ionraice páirteach inti, féile nach mbíonn ag iarraidh a chur in iúl gur laoch de chineál éigin a bhí sa choirpeach seo gan náire, féile nach ndéanann iarracht tacú le teoiricí áiféiseacha a chum amadán nach raibh Gaeilge ar bith aige. 

A Reply To Damien Scanlan

I had a message recently from a man called Damien Scanlan about my piece Did The English Ban Irish, in which I objected to the claim made by many Irish-American fakes that the Irish language was legally banned by the English. As I stated in that article, the English did a huge amount to weaken and undermine the language but they didn’t stop people who only spoke Irish from using that language. It wouldn’t have been practical to do so. Furthermore, the Irish language was the main or only language of the majority of the Irish population until the early 19th century. It was a major European language in terms of numbers of speakers at that time. There were more Irish speakers than Dutch, Danish or Swedish speakers at that time. (Which is food for thought.)

Anyway, here is Damien Scanlan’s (barely literate) comment, with my countercomments in Italics. Enjoy!

 

I get the impression you’ve completely missed the point of these writings. You seem to be attacking the notion based on the premise of how it has been worded in these other writings.

You mean, I am missing the point by thinking that they are claiming that the Irish language was banned by the English? Because that’s what their words tell me? So, what should I be using, if not the words that people actually write?

Of course there was no law stating that the use of Irish was illegal.

Eh, of course? Both the comments I cited in the post say that there was a legal ban on Irish. I am pointing out that there was no such ban. So you’re giving me a hard time for saying what you’re saying?

But the use of the language within public gatherings often lead to public beatings by frustrated soldiers unable to understand ‘what all the commotion was about’ – It’s commonly known that this restrictions on public gatherings encompassed both public discussion in Irish, singing in Irish and writings in Irish for fear they contained anti British rhetoric or revolutionary subject matter.

In fact, many soldiers and even more members of the constabulary in the 19th century probably spoke Irish, because at the beginning of the 19th century approximately half the population of Ireland spoke Irish as their first or only language. It’s certainly not true that all of the soldiers in Ireland would have been English. Still less with the constabulary.

The weight you put on your title ‘did they ban Irish’ is completely misrepresented in what you’ve writing and shows poorly selected partial facts. The Irish language had no official status and was actively discouraged and suppressed. By 1800, any Irish persons at any level of optical or socioeconomic stature had to more or less completely disown the language as it was seen to be a peasant language of the uneducated.

Optical? As I wrote in the original post: 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.

In other words, you seem to be arguing with me by saying exactly what I’m saying. 

When the only schooling available is conducted in one specific language and all governmental, media and employment deties are conducted in that language, it stands to reason that nobody would want to speak it, so effectively, the ban existed, in the form of all out suppression.

Again, the English did everything but ban the language legally. But they didn’t ban the language legally. That’s what I’m saying. That’s ALL I’m saying. (Yawn!)

This concerted effort to suppress the language is in no way different to how Yiddish was suppressed in the early stages of the holocaust, yet you speak about these writings as though the writer(s) are idiots and about how their theories are idiotic, purely because it didn’t enter a colonist legal system.

We aren’t talking about Yiddish or Central Europe. And if people claim that the Irish language was banned by law, and it wasn’t banned by law, then they should have checked the truth of that information first, so yes, I think that’s pretty stupid.

You don’t seem to realise that a ban in legal statute is barely different to a heavily enforced regulation. I mean they were hardly about to broadcast their methods of cultural destruction and ethnic cleansing to the rest of the world. Ask yourself.. How much is taught in British schools of the multiple massacres in British India. How much do you read of the restrictions placed on the regional Indian languages during those times.

Sorry, I thought we were talking about Ireland, and the policies of the British in Ireland? That’s what I was talking about, anyway. I don’t know much about the legal status of native Indian languages under the Raj and I suspect you don’t either. What are you talking about? (If you know!)

Although I doubt you’re intentionally coming across like this in your writing, it seems you’ve completely missed the point and that because you’ve read a couple of articles on the matter you’re an expert in debunking ‘the myth of banned Irish’ – Your reasoning is quite laughable actually .

Laugh away, Damo! You’re the one who is missing the point – over and over again! The Irish language was not banned by law. Your argument that a ban in legal statute is almost the same as heavily enforced regulation – you do know that the primary meaning of regulation is rule or directive made by an authority, as in a law, don’t you? – makes no sense at all. Even if you mean regulation as in close control rather than in a legal sense. I’ll say it again – a legal ban and no legal ban ARE DIFFERENT THINGS. Is dócha nach bhfuil Gaeilge ar bith agat ach, seo é i nGaeilge fosta, ar eagla na heagla – IS RUDAÍ DIFRIÚLA IAD!

My grandfather spoke many times about the scars his mother bore on her face when he was you, a result having been punched in the face and then kicked repeatedly on the ground when she was a teenager, by the ‘lawmen’ of Dublin in the latter part of the 1880’s; purely because she was unable to respond to their barrage of questions and kept responding with “ní thuigim”… Would you speak your language in public of there was a possibility this might happen? I doubt it very much.

Your grandfather was me? An interesting anecdote. Ach mar sheanfhondúir ó na Sé Chontae a bhfuil Gaeilge aige, tuigim go maith gur féidir leis bheith contúirteach Gaeilge a labhairt leis na péas, nó le saighdiúirí, nó in áit ar bith a bhfuil Dílseoirí thart. Cibé ceachtanna atá le teagasc agat, a Damo, níl an ceacht sin de dhíth orm, go raibh céad mile maith agat.

So next time you’re so quick to debunk theories that you don’t have any real understanding of, maybe you could at least choose more appropriate wording for your perspective. The lack of a constitutional/legal literal ban, does not, in any way shape or form, mean no such ban existed.

Eh, yes it does. 100%. A legal ban is a legal ban. An absence of a legal ban is an absence of a legal ban. They’re two different things. And please read through some of your own sentences above (optical?) before accusing me of not using appropriate wording.

Food for thought.

If you think that’s food for thought, perhaps you should be eating more fish. Here’s some food for thought for you. When you, or any other moron nach bhfuil focal den teanga ina phluc aige tries to claim that the Irish language was banned under the Penal Laws, you are giving comfort and support to the many enemies of the language and culture who like to pretend that Irish was virtually dead by the 17th century. Lies sometimes have unexpected consequences. Which is why everybody should stick to the known facts. That’s what I’m doing. Suggest you do the same (or shut the fuck up). Either option is fine by me.