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.

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.

Twit of the Month – August 2018

Who is the Twit of the Month this month? Well, I have been looking at the people whom I have criticised over the years, and it occurred to me that there is one notable person in Irish circles who has never been Twit of the Month, though he has been criticised greatly and often here for the support he has given to the fraud and liar Daniel Cassidy, author of the ludicrous book, How The Irish Invented Slang.

This person is Peter Quinn, a writer from New York who never missed a chance to praise his friend Cassidy in public. Quinn and people like Quinn are to blame for ignorant people thinking that Cassidy was right and that there was a grain of truth inside all of the lies.

However, the person who lies down with dogs gets up with fleas. And people like Quinn, who give resounding praise to fakes and liars because they happen to be friends of theirs, are worthless people.  

That’s why I’m happy to name Peter Quinn as the Twit of the Month in August 2018. It is well deserved.

Amadán na Míosa – Lúnasa 2018

Cé hé Amadán na Míosa i Mí Lúnasa? Bhal, bhí mé ag amharc ar na daoine a cháin mé thar na blianta, agus rith sé liom go bhfuil duine mór le rá amháin ann i saol na nGael i Meiriceá nach bhfuil ainmnithe agam mar Amadán go fóill, cé go bhfuil sé cáinte agam go mór agus go minic as an tacaíocht a thug sé don chaimiléir agus bréagadóir Daniel Cassidy, údar an leabhair How The Irish Invented Slang.

An duine atá i gceist agam ná Peter Quinn, scríbhneoir ó Nua-Eabhrac nár chaill deis riamh lena chara Cassidy a mholadh go poiblí. Tá an locht ar Quinn agus a leithéidí gur shíl daoine aineolacha go raibh cuid den cheart ag an Chaisideach agus go raibh croí fíor taobh istigh de na bréaga go léir.

Ach an té a luíonn le madaí, éiríonn sé le dreancaidí. Agus daoine mar Quinn, a mholann caimiléirí agus bréagadóirí go hard na spéire cionn is gur cairde dá gcuid iad, ní fiú sop féir iad.

Sin an fáth a bhfuil mé sásta Peter Quinn a ainmniú mar Amadán na Míosa i mí Lúnasa 2018. Is maith an airí air é.

July’s Twit of the Month – Matthew Walther

This month’s Twit of the Month is a guy called Matthew Walther. He thinks he is a journalist. He describes himself as National Correspondent at The Week (whatever that is) and he is based in Michigan. I don’t know if he is Irish or American or German. All I know is that he is a right-wing Catholic and a professional controversialist. After the referendum on abortion recently, he tweeted the following:

Ireland is such a joke. “Look at us, we’re nice modern anticlerical progressives. Our prime minister has a quaint title in a made-up language invented by Yeats and Lady Gregory out of boredom. We kill babies and allow corporations to hoard their ill-gotten gains here.”

We have plenty of experience of professional controversialists like this in Ireland: you only have to mention the likes of Conor Cruise O’Brien and Kevin Myers. And as was the case with the Cruiser and My-Arse, people like this do two things: they simplify issues that are complicated and sensitive (we kill babies) and what they have to say is just clichéd nonsense. There is not an Irish speaker alive who hasn’t heard this kind of dim-witted pontification hundreds of times before.

And believe me, these opinions are nonsense. Yeats had no Irish and whatever Irish Lady Gregory spoke, she had nothing whatever to do with the refit of the Irish language at the time of the Revival, whatever role boredom had in the matter. Usually, the modern Irish language is ascribed to De Valera, but as neither version is correct, what does it matter?

And of course, though a lot of changes have been made to the language in the last couple of hundred years, most of the words and structures in the language are exactly as they were two hundred years ago. The Bedell Bible was translated in the 17th century but there is little in that book that would be hard for a good Irish speaker of today to understand.

So, this nonsense is nothing but ill-mannered, ignorant blether.

The only message that talentless egoists like Walther have is: I am the most important person on earth. Listen to me! You have to listen to me! So, remember Walther’s name. And if you see that name on an article, don’t read it. People like Walther have nothing worthwhile to say, and there is not much point in wasting your time with their nonsense.

Níos mó ar ‘dude’ na Gaeilge

Tá teoiricí amaideacha Cassidy faoin fhocal ‘dude’ pléite agam roimhe seo. Mura gcuireann sé fonn ort caitheamh amach, is féidir leat éisteacht le Cassidy ag cur thairis faoin ábhar seo leis an mheascán den phoimpéis agus den bhómántacht ba dhual dó le lucht féachana geanúil de lútálaithe agus de bhocamadáin ag an NY Tenement Museum anseo:

Má tá tú ar dhóigh ar bith cósúil liomsa, cuirfidh blas srónach féinsásta agus easpa umhlachta Cassidy isteach ort chomh mór sin gurbh fhearr leat a chuid rámhaillí maidir leis an cheist seo a léamh in áit éisteacht leis. Seo an dóigh ar foilsíodh an méid a mhaígh Cassidy faoi bhunús an fhocail ‘dude’ ar CounterPunch: 

Dude, n.,a dapper dandy; a ‘swell,’ an affected, fastidious fop; a city slicker at a dude ranch. “Origin unknown.” (Barnhart Dictionary of English Etymology, 305.)

Dúd, (pron. dood), dúd(a), al. dúid, n., a foolish-looking fellow; a dolt, a numbskull; a clown; an idiot; a rubbernecker; a long-necked eavesdropper. (Dineen, 377, 378; Ó Dónaill, 459, 460.)

Dúdach, adj., rubber-necked; foolish-looking, queer. Dúdaire, n., a clown, an idiot (Kerry); a long-necked person; a dolt; an eavesdropper. Dúdálaí, n., a stupid person; an idiot; a self-conscious person.  (Dineen, 377, 378; Ó Dónaill, 459, 460, Foclóir Póca, 349, 350)

Dúd (pron. dood, a dolt) was a moniker Irish Americans slapped on slumming, dapper, wealthy, young “swells,” out on a “spree” (spraoi, fun, sport, frolic, a drinking bout) in the concert saloons, dance halls, and theaters of old New York.

Mar sin de, duine ar bith atá ag léamh chur síos Cassidy ar an scéal, shílfeadh sé go bhfuil dornán focal ann sa Ghaeilge ar nós diúid, dúid, dúdaire, dúdálaí, dúidín agus dúdóg, focail a mbaintear úsaid astu, den chuid is mó, le cur síos ar dhaoine. Sin é leagan Cassidy. Amharcaimis ar an fhírinne in áit leagan Cassidy.

De réir cosulachta, tá dhá fhocal ar leith i gceist anseo. Deir FGB Uí Dhónaill:  Diúid 1. Simple, uncomplicated. 2. Straightforward, sincere. 3. Simple-minded, silly.  Ní léir go bhfuil baint ar bith aige leis an fhocal dúid, an focal is bunús leis na focail eile a thug mé thuas. Is ainmfhocal dúid. Bíonn sé le fáil in amanna i seantéacsanna san fhoirm dúda. Seo an méid atá le rá ag Ó Dónaill: 

dúid, f. (gs. ~e, pl. ~eanna).1. Stump. Rud a ghearradh (amach, aníos) ón ~, ó bhun na ~e, to cut sth. right down to the stump. Chuir an tarbh an adharc go bun na ~e, go filleadh ~e, ann, the bull stuck his horn right into him. 2. (a) Stumpy object, protuberant part; (short) horn, (cropped) ear, tail. (b) Short-stemmed (clay) pipe. 3. (Craned) neck, throat. ~ a chur ort féin, to crane ones neck; to turn ones head shyly away; to eavesdrop; to mope around. Greim ~e a fháil ar dhuine, to grasp s.o. by the neck, to fasten on s.o. Rud a chur ar do dhúid, to swallow hard at sth., to gulp sth. down ones throat. 4. (a) Stumpy person. (b) Mopish, shy person; numbskull. (Var:~eán m)

Ar an drochuair, fágadh sanasaíocht na Gaeilge in áit na leithphingine thar na blianta. Níl oiread agus bunfhoclóir sanasaíochta againn i nGaeilge nó fiú i mBéarla faoi bhunús na bhfocal Gaeilge. Ach, nuair a chuardaigh mé an focal dúid i dtéacsanna Gaeilge, tháinig mé ar a lán samplaí ina raibh duid ann mar leagan mílitrithe den fhocal duit no den fhocal dóid (dorn nó lámh).  

Ní bhaineann na téarmaí seo go príomha le daoine. Bíonn téarmaí ar nós dúid agus dúidín ag tagairt do stumpaí nó butaí, rudaí atá cosúil le buta, le feadán, le muineál, le cluas, le trumpaí beaga nó le dúidíní tobac. Baintear úsáid as i bhfrásaí ar nós gearrtha go dúid, agus na focail thánaisteacha, leithéidí dúdaire agus dúdálaí (a chiallaíonn cúléisteoir nó scrogaire), fuair siad an chiall sin cionn is go mbíonn duine fiosrach ag síneadh na dúide le héisteacht nó le hamharc níos fearr ar rudaí nach mbaineann leo. 

Cad é faoin fhocal dúid mar mhasla, mar théarma a úsáidtear le cur síos a dhéanamh ar dhaoine? An bhfuil fianaise ar bith ann? Bhal, Ó Dónaill, ina Fhoclóir Gaeilge-Béarla, luann sé an chiall duine íseal nó blocán, ach níl sa tsainmhíniú sin ach an ceathrú ceann, agus an ceann deireanach. Agus luann Dinneen agus Ó Dónaill araon an focal galldúda leis an chiall búr, fuirseoir. (Is dócha gur Gall, duine eachtrannach, atá i gceist leis an chéad chuid.) 

Seachas an dá fhoinse seo, ní bhfuair mé aon tsampla eile de na focail dúid ná dúda in úsáid mar théarma maslach le tagairt a dhéanamh do dhaoine i dtéacsanna Gaeilge. Lena rá ar dhóigh eile, is fíorannamh a úsáidtear an téarma seo le cur síos a dhéanamh ar dhaoine agus mar gheall air sin, ní mór dúinn an cheist a chur, an é seo an focal (nó an focal de na focail é seo) a mbaineadh lucht na Gaeilge úsáid as/astu nuair a chonaic siad gaige ardaicmeach ag siúl go mórluachach trí cheantar na mbocht? I ndiaidh an tsaoil, tá sé le tuiscint ó shainmhíniú Uí Dhónaill gur duine íseal, ciotach, cúlanta, caochóg ar chóisir, duine cotúil leamh atá i gceist le dúid, an chorruair a úsáidtear an téarma sin le daoine. An phríomhchiall atá le dude an Bhéarla, gur duine a dhéanann seó saolta de féin atá ann, duine a nochtann a chuid saibhris agus a thuiscint ar stíl agus ar fhaisean don tsaol mhór.

Ní hamháin sin, ach is léir go bhfuil an gnáthbhunús a luann lucht na sanasaiochta (go dtig sé ón amhrán Yankee Doodle, a bhfuil baint láidir aige le gaigí agus le bónna aonaigh) i bhfad níos láidre ná cás Cassidy. Níl i leagan Cassidy ach caimiléireacht aineolach mhíchumtha ó bhréagadóir bromúdarásach naircisíoch nach raibh scileanna ná cáilíochtaí ar bith aige.

More on the Irish dude

I have dealt before with Cassidy’s ridiculous claims about the word ‘dude’. If you have the stomach for it, you can listen to Cassidy spouting rubbish about this subject with his usual mixture of pomposity and incompetence to an adoring audience of sycophants and dimwits at the NY Tenement Museum:

If, like me, you find Cassidy’s self-satisfied nasal twang and utter lack of humility a real turn-off, perhaps you will prefer to read his nonsense in relation to this question instead of listening to it. Here is the way that Cassidy’s claims about the Irish origins of ‘dude’ appeared on CounterPunch:

Dude, n.,a dapper dandy; a ‘swell,’ an affected, fastidious fop; a city slicker at a dude ranch. “Origin unknown.” (Barnhart Dictionary of English Etymology, 305.)
Dúd, (pron. dood), dúd(a), al. dúid, n., a foolish-looking fellow; a dolt, a numbskull; a clown; an idiot; a rubbernecker; a long-necked eavesdropper. (Dineen, 377, 378; Ó Dónaill, 459, 460.)
Dúdach, adj., rubber-necked; foolish-looking, queer. Dúdaire, n., a clown, an idiot (Kerry); a long-necked person; a dolt; an eavesdropper. Dúdálaí, n., a stupid person; an idiot; a self-conscious person. (Dineen, 377, 378; Ó Dónaill, 459, 460, Foclóir Póca, 349, 350)
Dúd (pron. dood, a dolt) was a moniker Irish Americans slapped on slumming, dapper, wealthy, young “swells,” out on a “spree” (spraoi, fun, sport, frolic, a drinking bout) in the concert saloons, dance halls, and theaters of old New York.

So, anyone reading Cassidy’s account would think that there is a complex of Irish terms like diúid, dúid, dúdaire, dúdálaí, dúidín and dúdóg, all of which apparently refer to people. That’s Cassidy’s version. Let’s have a look at the truth instead of Cassidy’s version.

There seem to be at least two separate words here. Diúid is an obscure adjective meaning 1. Simple, uncomplicated. 2. Straightforward, sincere. 3. Simple-minded, silly. (According to Ó Dónaill’s dictionary) It doesn’t seem to have any relationship to the word dúid, which seems to be the origin of all the other words given above. Dúid is a noun. It sometimes occurs in older texts as dúda. Here are its meanings (again from Ó Dónaill):

dúid, f. (gs. ~e, pl. ~eanna).1. Stump. Rud a ghearradh (amach, aníos) ón ~, ó bhun na ~e, to cut sth. right down to the stump. Chuir an tarbh an adharc go bun na ~e, go filleadh ~e, ann, the bull stuck his horn right into him. 2. (a) Stumpy object, protuberant part; (short) horn, (cropped) ear, tail. (b) Short-stemmed (clay) pipe. 3. (Craned) neck, throat. ~ a chur ort féin, to crane one’s neck; to turn one’s head shyly away; to eavesdrop; to mope around. Greim ~e a fháil ar dhuine, to grasp s.o. by the neck, to fasten on s.o. Rud a chur ar do dhúid, to swallow hard at sth., to gulp sth. down one’s throat. 4. (a) Stumpy person. (b) Mopish, shy person; numbskull. (Var:~eán m)

Unfortunately, the field of Irish-language etymology has been neglected down the years. We don’t even have a basic etymological dictionary in Irish for common words. When I have searched for it in Irish texts and also on Google, I have come across many instances where duid is a misspelling of duit (for or to you), or of dóid (a fist or hand).

These terms are not primarily about people. Terms like dúid and dúidín seem to refer to stumps, stump-like objects, tubes, the neck, the ear, small trumpets or smoking pipes. It is used in phrases like gearrtha go dúid, (cut down to the stump) and the secondary words like dúdaire and dúdálaí (which mean things like rubbernecker or eavesdropper) acquired these meanings from the notion of someone craning their neck to hear or see things that are none of their business.

What about dúid being used as an insulting term for a person? Is there any evidence of this? Well, Ó Dónaill in his Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla gives it as having the meaning stumpy person or shy person or numbskull, though this is the fourth and final meaning given. And both Dinneen and Ó Dónaill give the word galldúda with the definition of an ignorant, clownish person. (The first bit is presumably gall, meaning foreign, non-Gaelic.)

Apart from these two sources, I have not come across any instance of dúid or dúda being used as a dismissive term for people in Irish texts. In other words, its use in this way is very rare, and because of this, we have to ask ourselves if this is the, or even a word, that Irish-speaking people would have used when they saw some dandy strutting through their area. After all, the implication of Ó Dónaill’s definition is that a dúid is someone who is stumpy, shy, awkward, who doesn’t do much. The primary meaning of dude in English is an exhibitionist, someone who flaunts their wealth and their style.

Add to that the appropriateness of the usual etymologist’s derivation from Yankee Doodle and its clear association with dandyism, and Cassidy’s claim starts to look like what it is – a load of ignorant, distorted flim-flam from a loud-mouthed, narcissistic con-man with no skills and no qualifications.