Tag Archives: Daniel Cassidy

A Christmas Warning/Rabhadh Nollag

You can still buy a copy of Cassidy’s puerile, silly book on Amazon for a couple of dollars. If there were any justice, this trashy, awful book would never have been published in the first place. However, it’s Christmas, the world is full of suckers, so we can expect a few copies to be sold to the naïve and credulous.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – if you give this book as a present, you are giving out a clear message about yourself. At least some of the recipients will find this blog or other negative reviews of this book. If they have any sense at all, they will realise that you are a total idiot, just like its author.

So, this Christmas, if you can’t think of anything to give people, don’t give this rubbish. Give a global gift from Trócaire or Oxfam or whatever the equivalent is where you live, or make a contribution to a charity on their behalf and put the receipt in a card. Give hope and help to people who need it, and say something positive about yourself.

Don’t give the gift of ignorance and lies this Christmas.

 

Is féidir leat cóip de leabhar páistiúil, amaideach Daniel Cassidy, How The Irish Invented Slang, ar chúpla dollar ar Amazon. Dá mbeadh an saol mar ba chóir dó a bheith, ní fhoilseofaí an leabhar bómánta seo riamh. Ach an Nollaig atá ann, tá an saol lán glasóg, agus is dócha go ndíolfar roinnt cóipeanna de le daoine saonta somheallta.

Tá sé ráite agam roimhe seo agus is fiú é a rá arís – má thugann tú an leabhar seo mar bhronntanas, is ionann sin agus teachtaireacht shoiléir a thabhairt faoin chineál duine atá ionat. Cuid de na daoine a fhaigheann an leabhar seo mar bhronntanas, tiocfaidh siad ar an bhlag seo nó ar léirmheasanna diúltacha eile ar an leabhar seo. Má tá ciall ar bith leo, tuigfidh siad nach bhfuil ionat ach bómán, go díreach cosúil le húdar an leabhair.

Mar sin de, an Nollaig seo, mura dtig leat smaoineamh ar rud ar bith le tabhairt mar bhronntanas, ná bac leis an raiméis seo. Tabhair bronntanas domhanda ó Trócaire nó Oxfam nó cibé rud den chineál atá ann san áit a bhfuil tusa i do chónaí, nó tabhair airgead do charthanas ar a son agus cuir an admháil i gcárta. Tabhair dóchas agus cuidiú do dhaoine a bhfuil dóchas agus cuidiú de dhíth orthu, agus abair rud éigin dearfach fút féin.

Ná bí ag bronnadh caimiléireachta agus aineolais ar do chairde agus do ghaolta an Nollaig seo.

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The Trials of Bilingualism

As anyone who has read this blog will know, I started CassidySlangScam about six years ago to tell the truth about the late Daniel Cassidy and his crazy opinions about the Irish origins of American slang. The two languages (Irish and English) have had a central role in this blog from the beginning, but for practical reasons, the majority of the posts were in English for a long while. Of course, Cassidy’s fakery was aimed at Irish Americans who don’t know any Irish, not at fluent Irish speakers in Ireland (who would recognise immediately that Cassidy’s book was nothing but nonsense) and so, I decided to provide the majority of the material in English to cater for those people.

At the start of this year, I decided to celebrate the Year of the Irish Language by posting every article in both languages. When it was a short article, I put the two versions together on one page. With the longer articles, I made two posts, one in Irish and the other in English. The question is, however, should I carry on with this bilingual policy next year?

While I love the Irish language and though I support bilingualism in this country and in other countries where there are linguistic minorities, there is a good chance that I will not carry on with this policy in 2019. There will be bilingual posts here, certainly, but I will not provide two versions of every article.

Why? Well, firstly, the Irish versions probably aren’t necessary. Every Irish speaker (well, any sensible Irish speaker) knows that Cassidy’s work is nothing but the rantings of a lunatic. I have provided this blog primarily to spread the truth among Cassidy’s supporters in America. The Irish language pages get few hits in comparison with the English versions.

Secondly, big organisations have the resources to translate their documents into Irish. I am an individual who is trying to right a wrong and spread the truth. Usually, I write my pieces in English first – although I have written a handful of them in Irish and translated them into English. Of course, it makes sense to write the English first, because this blog is primarily about a book which was written in English, with sources which are available in English, and with Irish which is not really Irish at all. However, after I have composed the basic draft (in Irish or in English), I then have to translate it into the other language. That takes effort, of course. And sometimes, the result of that can be seen in the number of mistakes and misspellings. In short, it costs me twice as much effort and the standard of the writing is lower because of that. If I had a lot of time, that wouldn’t matter. But I am a busy person and I don’t have time.

There will certainly be bilingual posts on this blog in 2019, certainly. It’s good to increase the amount of Irish on line, and it is important to show the supporters of Cassidy that the Irish language is a real language, a language that is still alive and still in daily use by me, by Ciara Ní É, by Eoin P. Ó Murchú, by Maitiú Ó Coimín and by many other people who are on the right side of this argument. I will do my best to increase the amount of Irish on this site in 2019. But I will not be posting every article in both languages next year. There is too much work involved, and I simply don’t have enough time to do it justice.

Cora Casta an Dátheangachais

Mar is eol do dhuine ar bith a bhfuil CassidySlangScam léite aige nó aici, bhunaigh mé an blag seo tuairim is sé bliana ó shin leis an fhírinne a insint faoi Daniel Cassidy, nach maireann, agus a chuid tuairimí craiceáilte faoi bhunús Gaelach bhéarlagair an Bhéarla. Bhí ról lárnach ag an dá theanga (an Ghaeilge agus an Béarla) sa bhlag seo ón chéad lá riamh ach ar chúiseanna praiticiúla, is i mBéarla a bhí mórchuid na bpostálacha ar feadh fada go leor. Ar ndóigh, bhí caimiléireacht Cassidy dírithe ar Ghael-Mheiriceánaigh nach raibh Gaeilge ar bith acu, ní ar chainteoirí líofa Gaeilge in Éirinn (a d’aithneodh láithreach nach raibh i leabhar Cassidy ach raiméis) agus mar sin de, shíl mé gur chóir dom an chuid ba mhó den ábhar a chur ar fáil i mBéarla le freastal ar an phobal sin.

I dtús na bliana seo, rinne mé cinneadh Bliain na Gaeilge a chomóradh trí gach alt a chur suas sa dá theanga. Más alt gairid a bhí i gceist, chuir mé an dá leagan le chéile ar aon leathanach amháin. Leis na haltanna is faide, rinne mé dhá phostáil, ceann amháin i nGaeilge agus ceann eile i mBéarla. An cheist atá ann, áfach, ar chóir dom leanúint ar aghaidh leis an bheartas dhátheangach seo san athbhliain?

Cé go bhfuil an-dúil agam sa Ghaeilge agus cé go dtugaim tacaíocht don dátheangachas sa tír seo agus i dtíortha eile a bhfuil mionlach teanga ann, tá seans maith nach mbeidh mé ag leanúint ar aghaidh leis an bheartas seo in 2019. Beidh postálacha dátheangacha anseo, cinnte, ach ní chuirfidh mé dhá leagan de gach alt ar fáil.

Cén fáth? Bhal, ar an chéad dul síos, is dócha nach bhfuil na leaganacha Gaeilge de dhíth. Tuigeann gach Gaeilgeoir (bhal, gach Gaeilgeoir ciallmhar!) nach bhfuil i saothar Cassidy ach ramhaille geilte. Chuir mé an blag seo ar fáil go príomha leis an fhírinne a scaipeadh i measc leantóirí Cassidy i Meiriceá. Is beag duine a léann na leathanaigh Ghaeilge i gcomparáid leis na leaganacha Béarla.

Ar an dara dul síos, tá acmhainní ag comhlachtaí móra a gcuid doiciméad a aistriú go Gaeilge. Is duine aonair mise, atá ag iarraidh éagóir a cheartú agus an fhírinne a scaipeadh. De ghnáth, scríobhaim na píosaí s’agamsa i mBéarla ar dtús – cé gur scríobh mé dornán acu i nGaeilge agus d’aistrigh mé go Béarla iad. Ar ndóigh, is den chiall an leagan Béarla a dhéanamh ar dtús, mar go mbaineann an blag seo go príomha le leabhar a scríobhadh i mBéarla, le foinsí atá ar fail i mBéarla, agus le Gaeilge nach Gaeilge í ar chor ar bith. Ach ansin, i ndiaidh dom an bundréacht a chumadh (i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla), bíonn orm aistriúchán a chur ar fáil sa teanga eile. Ní gan dua a dhéantar sin, ar ndóigh. Agus in amanna, bíonn a thoradh sin le feiceáil i líon na meancóg agus na mílitrithe. Lena rá i mbeagán focal, cuireann sé dhá oiread níos mó brú ormsa agus is ísle caighdeán na scríbhneoireachta dá dheasca sin. Dá mbeadh a lán ama agam, ba chuma faoi sin. Ach níl. Is duine thar a bheith gnóthach mé.

Anois, beidh postálacha dátheangacha ar an bhlag seo sa bhliain 2019, gan amhras. Is maith an rud é cur leis an méid Gaeilge ar line, agus is den tábhacht a thaispeáint do lucht tacaíochta Cassidy gur fíortheanga í an Ghaeilge, teanga atá go fóill beo agus in úsáid ar bhonn laethúil agamsa, ag Ciara Ní É, ag Eoin P. Ó Murchú, ag Maitiú Ó Coimín agus ag a lán daoine eile atá ar an taobh cheart sa choimhlínt seo. Déanfaidh mé mo dhícheall cur leis an méid Gaeilge ar an tsuíomh seo. Ach ní bheidh mé ag cur gach postáil ar fáil sa dá theanga amach anseo. Tá barraíocht oibre i gceist agus níl go leor ama agam lena dhéanamh mar is ceart.

Cluanaire Eile

Nuair a d’fhoilsigh Daniel Cassidy, nach maireann, a chnuasach cacamais How The Irish Invented Slang deich mbliana ó shin, ba chóir go dteipfeadh go hainnis air láithreach. Caimiléir agus naircisíoch a bhí in Cassidy, duine a bhain feidhm as a scileanna mar shlíomadóir le post a fháil mar ollamh i gcoláiste beag in California gan oiread agus céim bhaitsiléara a bheith aige. Ní raibh Gaeilge ar bith aige agus ní raibh tuiscint ar bith aige ar an teangeolaíocht. An chuid is mó de na frásaí ‘Gaeilge’ atá luaite sa leabhar mar bhunús fhocail bhéarlagair Bhéarla, chum Cassidy féin iad agus ní raibh focail ná frásaí dá leithéid riamh ann sa teanga s’againne.

Agus sin ráite, bhí sé de nós ag Cassidy plámás agus béal bán a dhéanamh le cuid mhór daoine mór le rá: scríbhneoirí, fíorléachtóirí ollscoile, ceoltóirí agus mar sin de, agus thug na ‘cairde’ sin léirmheasanna maithe dó le cur ar chúl a leabhair bhréagaigh. Mar gheall air sin, cuireadh dallamullóg ar a lán daoine agus shíl siad go raibh substaint éigin ag baint leis na teoiricí bómánta a bhí ag Cassidy. Straitéis eile a d’úsáid sé lena chosaint féin ar cháineadh na saineolaithe ná a mhaíomh go raibh comhcheilg ollmhór ann a raibh teangeolaithe acadúla agus lucht foclóírí páirteach ann. Dar leisean, bhí na saineolaithe Anglaifiliacha seo ag iarraidh an fhírinne go bhfuarthas focail ar nós baloney agus wanker ón Ghaeilge a cheilt le stádas an Bhéarla a ardú! Ar ndóigh, ní raibh sa chomhcheilg seo ach finscéal eile de chuid Cassidy, agus ní ghlacann an saol acadúil lena theoiricí cionn is nach bhfuil i ‘saothar’ Cassidy ach raiméis amaitéarach, amaideach gan fianaise.

Mar gheall ar na bréagadóiri a thug tacaíocht don bhocamadán naircisíoch seo, deich mbliana i ndiaidh fhoilsiú an leabhair How The Irish Invented Slang, bíonn daoine ag nochtadh ar an idirlíon go fóill ag rá gur fíric an píosa seo nó an píosa sin amaidí ó leabhar Cassidy, nó gur chóir glacadh leis an leabhar iomlán mar fhíorthaighde. Roinnt laethanta ó shin, nocht bómán eile den chineál seo ar Twitter. Mhol an duine seo, Mary Ann Pierce, do dhaoine a bhí ag déanamh taighde stairiúil ar stair na Gaeilge labhartha sna Stáit gur chóir dóibh How The Irish Invented Slang a léamh. Nuair a fheicim bómán éigin mar seo ag áitiú ar dhaoine a gcuid airgid a chur amú ar leabhar bréagach Cassidy, bím ag coinneáil súil amach d’fhianaise na comhcheilge. Cad chuige? Bhal, is cinnte go bhfuil comhcheilg ann maidir le leabhar Cassidy. Comhcheilg de shlíbhíní gustalacha i Meiriceá a bhfuil cinneadh déanta acu an fhírinne faoi Cassidy a bhrú faoi chois agus beag is fiú a dhéanamh den teanga s’againne.

Is féidir roinnt giotaí eolais a fháil ar Mary Ann Pierce ar line. Bhí sí rannpháirteach i bhfeachtas le teach pobail stairiúil i Nua-Eabhrac a shabháil le – iontas na n-iontas – Peter Quinn, an cara ab fhearr le Cassidy, agus le (John) Joe Lee, a scríobh léirmheas ardmholtach ar an chacamas seo do chúl an leabhair. Chomh maith leis sin, tá baint aici leis an Irish American Writers and Artists Association, eagraíocht a bhunaigh Cassidy le dornán dá ‘chairde’. Nuair a mholann duine ar bith an leabhar seo don phobal, is fíorannamh nach mbíonn fianaise den drong lofa caimiléirí seo ann, drong atá ag iarraidh an fhírinne a bhrú faoi chois agus níl fáth ar bith agam a chreidiúint nach amhlaidh atá sé sa chás seo fosta.

Another Phoney

When the late Daniel Cassidy brought out his moronic crapfest How The Irish Invented Slang ten years ago, it should have bombed immediately. Cassidy himself was a fraud and a narcissist, who somehow conned his way into a job as a professor in a small college in California without any qualifications at all. He didn’t speak any Irish or have any knowledge of linguistics. Most of the phrases which are given in his book as the origins of slang terms were made up by Cassidy and never existed in the Irish language.

However, Cassidy sucked up to a large number of credible people, writers, genuine university lecturers, musicians, and these people gave him good reviews for his lying book. Because of this, many people have been tricked into thinking that there is substance to his ludicrous theories. Another strategy he employed to protect himself from criticism was the claim that academic linguists and lexicographers with Anglophile leanings were involved in a grand conspiracy to hide the fact that words like baloney and wanker came from Irish! Of course, this conspiracy never existed, and Cassidy is rejected by linguists because is ‘work’ is shoddy, stupid and without evidence.

Because of the liars who have supported this narcissistic dimwit, ten years on we are still finding people on line claiming that this or that piece of nonsense from Cassidy’s book is true or that his book as a whole should be treated as real scholarship. Just a couple of days ago, another of these people popped up on Twitter. Mary Ann Pierce advised people doing research on the history of spoken Irish in the USA to ‘read the late Daniel Cassidy “How the Irish Invented Slang.”’ Whenever I see some random fool encouraging people to waste their money on Cassidy’s fraudulent book, I look for evidence of conspiracy. Why? Well, there most certainly is a conspiracy in relation to Cassidy’s book. A conspiracy of over-privileged arseholes in America who have decided to suppress the truth about Cassidy and treat the Irish language with disdain and contempt.

There are various pieces of biographical information about Mary Ann Pierce on line. She was involved with a campaign to save a church along with – wait for it – Peter Quinn, Cassidy’s best friend, and (John) Joe Lee, who wrote a glowing review of this rubbish for the back of the book. She is also associated with the Irish American Writers’ and Artists’ Association, which was co-founded by Cassidy. Whenever anyone praises this book, there is almost always evidence of this horrible parcel of phoneys trying to suppress the truth and I have no reason to suppose that this is an exception.

Rollicking/Rámhailleach

Out of the hundreds of silly claims in Daniel Cassidy’s ludicrous book, How The Irish Invented Slang, few are sillier than his theory about the origins of the word rollicking. This is a word that makes its appearance in English for the first time in 1811. Cassidy says that the dictionaries say it is ‘of obscure origin’ but there seems to be a consensus that it is linked in some way to frolicking, which is of Dutch origin.

As usual with Cassidy’s work, all he has to offer is a vague similarity of sound. He says that this word comes from Irish rámhailleach, which is either an adjective or a verbal noun deriving from rámhaille, which means raving or ranting. The word rámhailleach is pronounced something like row-will-yah, so it really sounds nothing like rollicking. Also, the meaning is completely different. People have a rollicking good time all the time in English, but nobody every had ‘am maith rámhailleach’ (a raving good time). Rámhaille in Irish means that someone is mentally or physically ill. Rollicking is the very opposite.

As na céadta bómántacht a chum Daniel Cassidy agus a d’fhoilsigh sé ina leabhar amaideach How The Irish Invented Slang, is beag ceann acu atá chomh bómánta leis an méid a bhí le rá aige maidir le bunús an fhocail rollicking. Is focal Béarla é rollicking a taifeadadh den chéad uair sa bhliain 1811. Deir Cassidy go ndeir na foclóirí go bhfuil a bhunús doiléir, ach bíonn an chuid is mó de na scoláirí ar aon intinn go bhfuil nasc idir rollicking agus an focal frolicking, a fuair an Béarla ón Ísiltíris.

Mar is gnách le teoiricí Cassidy, níl fianaise le tairiscint aige ach go bhfuil focal sa Ghaeilge a mheasann sé a bheith cosúil leis an fhocal Béarla ó thaobh fuaime de. Deir Cassidy gur tháinig an focal seo ó rámhailleach na Gaeilge, a chiallaíonn caint gan chiall a dhéanamh agus tú tinn, ar meisce, as do mheabhair srl. Ar ndóigh, níl fuaim an fhocail rámhailleach ar dhóigh ar bith cosúil le rollicking, agus tá an chiall iomlán difriúil fosta. Is féidir ‘a rollicking good time’ a bheith agat i mBéarla. Ní féidir am maith rámhailleach a bheith agat i nGaeilge! Ciallaíonn rámhaille go bhfuil duine tinn nó as a mheabhair. Ciallaíonn rollicking a mhalairt ar fad.

The Motherfoclóir Podcast

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about the book called Motherfoclóir. In that post, I stated that while I generally approved of Darach Ó Séaghdha’s book about the Irish language, I felt it was marred by some extremely sloppy research.

Over the last week, I have listened to a couple of podcasts by Ó Séaghdha and the Motherfoclóir team. The first one was a Halloween-themed post called The Vampirish For. You can find it here: https://player.fm/series/motherfocloir/ep-62-62-the-vampirish-for

This podcast started well. It criticised the ludicrous claims made about the Irish origin of Dracula, which some fools have tried to link to an Irish phrase ‘Drochfhola’, supposedly meaning bad blood. He pours scorn on this claim and describes it as bullshit. Quite right too.

However, the podcast then shows the same lack of common sense and proper research which made the book so unsatisfactory. I have dealt here with the fake claims about Abhartach, supposedly a vampire chieftain who lived in a mountainous area of Derry. As I have stated here, the genuine story of Abhartach describes this evil chieftain returning from the dead. He is later killed with a yew-wood sword and buried upside-down with a huge rock over his body.

Starting about twenty years ago, a revisionist version of this story appeared, claiming that Abhartach demanded the blood of his subjects and that he was described as a neamh-mharbh and a dearg-diúlaí.

So, this piece about Abhartach on Ó Séaghdha’s podcast is basically a rerun of what was wrong with the etymological section of the book. There is one piece of bogus information denied, then a welter of ignorant nonsense lifted from untrustworthy sources without the least attempt to establish the truth. To be fair to Ó Séaghdha, it is a guest of his who recounts this story. They probably lifted much of this nonsense about Abhartach from Wikipedia, which has a longish article on the subject. It looks credible on first inspection but anyone with any common sense would quickly realise that it has huge holes in it.

For one thing, it claims that Bob Curran is a lecturer in Celtic History and Folklore at the University of Ulster. There is no department of Celtic History and Folklore at the UU. I believe Curran is a Child Psychologist by profession and I am told that he has never been a lecturer, though he may have taught evening classes. History Ireland is not a peer-reviewed journal. You only have to read Curran’s article in it to realise that.

Also, I’m willing to bet the PSNI never decided to dig up a listed ancient monument to solve a local murder, and according to Curran, a man got a cut hand when a chainsaw broke during an attempt to uproot the thorn bush. In this piece of fantasy, the man’s hand is cut clean off by the curse of Abhartach! Do me a favour!

Of course, I don’t believe that Abhartach was a real person. That’s not the point. The point is that folklore is interesting and is a legitimate field of study, with its own methodology. Embellishing and inventing to make the story ‘better’ is not part of that methodology. In Patrick Weston Joyce’s story, Abhartach died and came back and then had to be stopped by supernatural means. He wasn’t a vampire. About twenty years ago, Abhartach suddenly became a vampire because Peter Haining and Peter Tremayne and Bob Curran said so. But where did that claim come from? Where’s the reference, the evidence? Until I see something from a recorded folk-tale or a magazine or a book predating these authors, Abhartach is a revenant, not a vampire. That’s what the original story says.

And let’s face it, if he wasn’t a vampire, he really has fuck all to do with Dracula.

There were other bits that were even stupider. Apparently Stoker’s notes contained no books on Transylvania and no mention of Vlad Dracul. Nonsense! Stoker copied some information from William Wilkinson’s An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia about Vlad III. He also set the first part of the book in Transylvania and makes it quite clear that his Count isn’t Irish. And if it’s true that Stoker had a copy of PW Joyce’s History of Ireland in his library, that is completely irrelevant, because that book doesn’t contain any reference to Abhartach or to any supposed Irish vampires.

The second podcast was even worse. You can find it here: https://www.headstuff.org/motherfocloir/45-2-mailbag-2-furious/

The description said that it was a mailbag edition, in which Daniel Cassidy’s legacy would be discussed, so I was keen to hear it.

A few minutes into the podcast, an anonymous critic writes that he likes the book and the podcast of Motherfoclóir and has been trying to learn a little Irish over the last year. He says that he is a writer and musician from the Irish-American community and that he is from New York. His initials are TW. He says that he has a bone of contention, namely the way that Motherfoclóir dismissed Cassidy’s revolutionary theory about the Irish origins of slang. Plainly, from the details given, this is an Irish-American mediocrity called Terence Winch.

Winch is typical of the pompous dimwits who support Cassidy. “I am not sure all his examples would hold up to academic scrutiny but that does not mean to say that his overall theory is completely flawed.” In other words, Winch is insisting on ignoring all the evidence on this blog and elsewhere, because he believes that there are only a few bad apples in Cassidy’s barrel. The reality is that not only is there no baby in Cassidy’s bathwater, there isn’t even anything that looks like a rubber duck, floats like a rubber duck and might just vaguely, possibly be a rubber duck. I have examined most of Cassidy’s nonsense here and shown why his derivations are fake. Winch is welcome to take up the challenge I have issued to the rest of the tribe of Dan. Let’s see if you can offer ten words from Cassidy’s work where any reasonable person would regard Cassidy’s explanation as convincing (i.e. where the Irish origin really exists and there isn’t a better explanation from English or some other language). Good luck with that!

I was disappointed with Darach Ó Séaghdha’s response to Terence Winch, which was, to say the least, a bit weasel-wordy. In the original book, Ó Séaghdha had criticised Cassidy’s book (before going off into the realms of etymological fantasy himself). In his reply to Winch on the podcast, he states that Cassidy has been described as the Andrew Wakefield of linguistics. I don’t know who said that, but I agree with it 100%. (Except, perhaps, that Wakefield was a real doctor who was struck off. Cassidy never had any qualifications in the first place.)

Ó Séaghdha then goes on to say that Cassidy just got it a bit wrong but that’s fine and he finds the hostility against Cassidy hard to understand and it is false to say that Cassidy was a con-man or a trickster. I think it’s quite clear from this that Ó Séaghdha has never read much of this blog. I also suspect that Ó Séaghdha has never read Cassidy’s book either, because he insists that Cassidy thought the English word jazz came from Irish deas (nice). If he had read the book properly, he would know that Cassidy claimed it came from teas (heat) – though confusingly, Cassidy also thought teas was pronounced as deas in Ulster Irish, information supplied to him by his principal source of enlightenment, his own arse.

Ó Séaghdha couldn’t be more wrong about Cassidy’s dishonesty. Cassidy was obviously a criminal fake. He ‘worked’ for twelve years as a professor in a university on the strength of his ‘education’ at Cornell and Columbia. As his sister (and then the Cornell registrar) informed me, Cassidy failed his degree at Cornell and never went to Columbia. Even Cassidy’s friends and supporters have not tried to challenge these facts or offer any evidence to the contrary or excuses for his criminal behaviour.

However, the worst evidence of Cassidy’s dishonesty is in the book itself. ‘Irish’ definitions were imagined, rewritten, miscopied, and ‘figurative’ meanings invented. Hundreds of completely fake phrases were invented by Cassidy.

That is (one of the reasons) why Winch’s comment is so stupid. He seems to be implying that linguists are being obtuse and difficult (because, apparently, they are ‘threatened by’ Cassidy) because they refuse to accept Cassidy’s candidate Irish phrases on the grounds that there is no contemporary evidence of these phrases crossing between the Irish language and English slang. This is not the issue.

Linguists and etymologists reject the overwhelming majority of Cassidy’s ‘Irish’ phrases not because there’s no evidence of them crossing from Irish but because they never existed in Irish. Nobody ever said that béal ónna meant nonsense in Irish until Cassidy made it up, nobody ever used comhroghna to mean friend or companion, foluach doesn’t exist as a way of saying a rare reward, leathluí géag and liú lúith and gus óil and sách úr and píosa theas and hundreds of other pieces of nonsense in Cassidy’s book are simply fantasy. Cassidy never provided any evidence that any of this rubbish existed and linguists shouldn’t waste their time and energy on the fantasies of a dishonest lunatic. Terence Winch should have known this, because I wrote a blog post answering his post of 2007 and explaining that all the words he provided as examples from Cassidy’s work are fake. I suppose it’s possible he’s never Googled himself but … mneh … Plainly, he isn’t ready to stop this nonsense. You can read my post here: https://cassidyslangscam.wordpress.com/tag/terence-winch/

There is another thing which irritated me. In the same podcast where Winch’s nonsense was discussed, there was a discussion of people misspelling Irish names and leaving off the accents. This is something that irritates me too, but it seems a bit rich to complain about this as a matter of respect and identity, while simultaneously, on the same podcast, saying that it’s perfectly OK for some random Yank to invent hundreds of phrases in our language, a language he had never made any attempt to learn, and try to pass it off as fact. It isn’t. It’s an insult to our culture and language and identity, and fatheads like Terence Winch should be told in no uncertain terms that intellectual debate should be conducted on the basis of the evidence, not on the basis of how good a friend-of-a-friend Cassidy was or who happens to be on Winch’s Christmas-card list.

However, I hope my American friends (who are self-deprecating, intelligent and reasonable) will forgive me for saying that there is more to this. It seems to me that there is a poisonous strain of arrogance in modern American culture. I found an interesting article by Tom Nichols here which chimes with my theory: (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-real-reason-americans-cant-agree-on-unemployment-or-just-about-anything-else-2017-03-29):

This isn’t just human nature, but the result of a narcissism that took root in American society after the 1960s and has been growing ever since. Surrounded by affluence, enabled by the internet, and empowered by an educational system that prizes self-esteem over achievement, Americans have become more opinionated even as they have become less informed, and are now utterly intolerant of ever being told they’re wrong about almost anything.”

This, I feel, is what’s happening here. Admitting you got it wrong simply isn’t a valued part of modern American culture, and people like Winch have no interest in learning the truth if the truth means admitting they were duped.

Whether that is the case or not, one thing that both of these podcasts show very clearly is that once fake memes are released into the wild, it’s almost impossible to stop them from eclipsing the truth. That’s why the Rubberbandits behaved like total dicks in relation to the list of fake Irish derivations they spread on social media. Once the genie is out of the bottle, or Abhartach out of his tomb drinking blood, it’s impossible to put them back again. Falsehoods with a good story behind them always outstrip the truth. Motherfoclóir is well-placed to try and restrain some of those falsehoods. Instead, because of poor research and intellectual laziness and a fear of strapping on a pair and offending arrogant American fans of Cassidy like Terence Winch, they are helping to spread this worthless fakery rather than challenging it properly.