Tag Archives: Danny Cassidy

The Big Bad Wolof

The other day, I came across a comment which Cassidy wrote on the Daltaí Boards in 2005. It shows plainly what a worthless, whining, self-righteous dimwit Daniel Cassidy was. Here’s Cassidy’s post, interspersed with my comments:

Terence Patrick Dolan, in his Dictionary of Hiberno English claims that smithereens and kabosh are not Irish.

He is an English professor at UCD.

Here, of course, we are being invited to sympathise with Cassidy and regard Dolan, the ‘establishment’ academic, as a fool (even though Cassidy quoted Dolan as an authority long after this, when the book was published). However, as soon as Cassidy posted this, another member of the site with the username Daisy challenged him. He was distorting the facts. Dolan mentions the proximate origin of smidiríní and the word smiodar but he (rightly) is unsure whether the word smiodar is originally a loanword from English. It certainly looks like it’s from smith and therefore of Germanic rather than Celtic origin. And kybosh, as we’ve discussed before, almost certainly isn’t of Irish origin.

When I suggested that glom, which is NY slang meaning to grab, might be derived from the Irish word gla/m I was laughed off the American Dialect Society website. They have a sarcastic motto…if any word is origin unknown they say it must be “Wolof or Irish.” It is meant to be a joke, since the assumtpion is that there are no Wolof or Irish words in English and American speech.

Again, this shows what a useless, lazy, incompetent little twit Cassidy was. Glom is ultimately from Scottish Gaelic glàm, via Lowland Scots glaum. All the dictionaries agree on this. It isn’t New York slang and it doesn’t derive from an undercurrent of Irish below the surface of American society. It is irrelevant to his thesis. As for the ‘sarcastic motto’ about Wolof and Irish, it’s quite possible that people used ‘Wolof and Irish’ when addressing Cassidy and his arrogant bullshit. But the real phrase, known to linguists the world over, is ‘to cry Wolof.’ This is a jocular reference to ‘crying wolf’, and it means that someone is using the evidence of obscure languages to prove a point so that few scholars will be able to follow them. In a sense, Cassidy was crying Wolof, because there are relatively few linguists out there with Irish. If Cassidy had been claiming a massive influence from Russian or German in English, he would have been outed as a liar immediately. He was able to hide behind the obscurity of a language which relatively few people speak (Cassidy certainly didn’t speak any Irish, as I’ll demonstrate below).

I suggested ward “heeler” might be from éilitheoir and slugger might be from “slacaire” (a batter, a mauler) and brag from bréag and these etymologies were utterly dismissed in a blizzard of hostility on the ADS-LIst.

But what d’ye expect from a pig but a…grunt?

What indeed would you expect from a pig but a grunt? This is so typical of the lying bullshit Cassidy tried to use to fool the public in his insane book. A word which means claimant or plaintiff and is pronounced aylihore is a better source for a politician’s helper than the English heel + er? To me heel + er makes perfect sense, because he walked at the politician’s heel or brought his supporters to heel. What about slugger? Why wouldn’t it be slacker if it came from slacaire? And what about other possible origins? What about schläger in German, which means a hitter or a bat, or a cognate in Swedish or Dutch or English dialect? As for bréag, it’s quite obvious why the people from the ADS-List thought Cassidy was a time-wasting crank. The words brag and bost (brag and boast) are found together as a phrase in English within a generation of the Black Death in the 14th century. If brag is so ancient in English, how can it have anything to do with Irish, or with American slang? And bréag doesn’t mean a boast, it means a lie, which isn’t the same thing.

To think that ten million Irish people came to North America over 500 years — at least 60% of whom were Irish speakers — and left no lexical imprint on the vernacular is a counter-intuitive impossibility. But in American and English scholarly discourse and among ALL DICTIONARY EDITORS in 2005 it is the Iron Law of English linguistic neo-orthodoxy.

Again, most American dictionary editors are “more English than the English…”

Again, in this case Cassidy is trying to lead people into a morass of ignorance (and it’s amazing how many people have been more than willing to follow him into it!) Yes, lots of Irish speakers went to the States down the years but the words ‘counter-intuitive impossibility’ are just more of Cassidy’s self-serving crap. Why is it so counter-intuitive that Irish would leave little trace? There are millions of people of Indian and Pakistani origin in England. How many Hindi or Urdu words are used in English slang (apart from words that date back to the Raj like blighty?) I can’t think of any. The point being, the borrowing of vocabulary depends on lots of different factors. Cassidy failed utterly to demonstrate the influence of Irish on English. I’ve just shown that with Cassidy’s examples above. Cassidy didn’t provide evidence, or research properly, or give references. He just stated that there was a phrase similar to something in English and in most cases, like baloney and béal ónna or crony and comhroghna, his ‘Irish’ candidates were simply nonsense he had just made up and didn’t exist in Irish at all! Then, to protect himself from criticism, he pretended that the academics were all involved in some pro-English conspiracy! In the years since I started CassidySlangScam, I have repeatedly challenged his supporters to provide the proof that he didn’t. Not one of them has ever done so and not one of them ever will, because the evidence simply doesn’t exist.

So at this point all agree that every ethnic group in America has contributed to the hybrid vernacular tongue that created our culture but…the Irish.

Gaeilge dofheicthe agus balbh, covered over with a shroud of “whiteness.”

What a total and utter cretin! The Irish have contributed to American English, with a handful of words and a few idioms which have been translated like ‘to hit the road.’ But have other groups like the Germans or the French or the Swedish really contributed a lot more than the Irish? No, they haven’t. German has contributed loads of words for philosophical or culinary concepts but ordinary ‘street’ words of German origin like keister and spiel are a mere handful. Even less in the case of Swedish. There are a few slang words from French like craps and dime but again, we’re talking about a handful. (Leaving aside the huge numbers of French words borrowed into English from the Middle Ages onwards, which are completely irrelevant to Cassidy’s argument.) Cassidy is just lying and distorting the truth when he writes this – as usual.

As for Gaeilge dofheicthe agus balbh, covered over with a shroud of “whiteness” … This just shows that Cassidy didn’t give a toss about our language. He thinks he’s saying ‘Invisible and dumb Irish language’ – whatever that means. (Unseen and unheard, perhaps?) But Gaeilge is a feminine noun, so it would have to be dhofheicthe and bhalbh, and then again, when you have two adjectives together after a noun you don’t put and in as you do in English, so it would be Gaeilge dhofheicthe bhalbh. Even if you correct the grammar like this, it still sounds like shite. A real Irish speaker might say something like “Rinneadh neamart sa Ghaeilge agus fágadh gan ghuth í.” (The Irish language was neglected and left without a voice.) Or dozens of other things but they would say it in a way that genuinely works in Irish. Cassidy had no understanding of this because he didn’t know any Irish.

As for the nonsense about ‘whiteness’, this is typical of Cassidy’s fake radicalism. Cassidy was a pompous nobody with no qualifications, a thief and a liar and a charlatan. He had absolutely no right to appoint himself a spokesperson for the Irish diaspora, and anyone who supports him is either a liar or a nut-job or a fool. Take your pick.

Hugh Curran, Bréagadóir

Níl tír ar bith ar an domhan cláir a bhfuil ganntanas amadán ann ach cuireann sé iontas orm a mhéad amadán atá le fáil i measc threibh na nGael-Mheiriceánach. Arís eile, tá méadú ar dhíolaíocht leabhar bómánta Cassidy, cionn is go ndearnadh athfhoilsiú ar an alt amaideach faoi New York Slang le Brendan Patrick Keane ar IrishCentral. Agus ní hamháin sin, ach tá bocamadán éigin darb ainm Hugh Curran i ndiaidh a ladar a chur isteach ar cholún na nótaí tráchta faoin alt sin le cacamas aineolach a léiríonn go bhfuil Curran chomh dallintinneach agus chomh lán de féin agus a bhí Cassidy féin.

Cé hé an fear seo Hugh Curran? Bhuel, de réir an phíosa ar IrishCentral agus alt eile a fuair mé ar líne, is i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill a rugadh é. Chaith sé 14 bliana i gCeanada agus in Albain Nua. Chaith sé cúig bliana mar mhanach Budaíoch agus tá sé ag teagasc le roinnt blianta ar Ollscoil Maine, san áit a bhfuil sé ar Chlár na Síochána agus an Athmhuintearais. Deir sé fosta go bhfuil Gaeilge aige agus gur theagasc sé an teanga. Is deacair sin a chreidbheáil, nó bheadh sé ábalta an amaidí i leabhar Cassidy a aithint dá mbeadh Gaeilge ar bith aige.

Deir Hugh Curran gur bhain sé an-sult as leabhar Cassidy agus go bhfuil 80% den tsanasaíocht sa leabhar inchreidte (há!) agus gur dócha go bhfuil an ceart ag Cassidy níos minice ná a mhalairt. Beidh a fhios ag duine ar bith a léigh an blag seo nach bhfuil sa tuairim sin ach raiméis atá ag teacht salach ar na fíricí atá le fáil sa Ghaeilge, i leabhair ar stair an Bhéarla agus i bhfoclóirí na dteangacha sin, chomh maith le foclóirí teangacha eile ar nós na Fraincise.

Deir sé ansin go mbíonn na saineolaithe Béarla ag déanamh a seacht ndícheall gan a admháil go bhfuil a lán focal Gaeilge sa Bhéarla. Ní thugann sé oiread agus sampla amháin de na focail sin a ndearnadh leithcheal orthu sna foclóirí. Deir sé gur teanga mheasctha an Béarla (rud atá fíor) ach caitheann sé go dímheasúil le lucht na bhfoclóirí. Dar leisean, bíonn siad róréidh foinse éigin ón Ollainnis nó ó Chríoch Lochlainn a cheadú in áit glacadh le míniú ón Ghaeilge. Arís eile, ní thugann sé fianaise ná samplaí dúinn. Is leor focal ó bhéal an fháidh leis an chás a chruthú!

Ansin, scríobhann sé rud atá bómánta amach  is amach. Bhí Gaidhlig agus Gaeilge á labhairt go forleathan i Northumbria ón chúigiú céad go dtí an seachtú céad, dar leis. Luann sé Aodhán Lindisfarne (ach mílitríonn sé an t-ainm mar Aidhan – is comhartha maith é sin nach bhfuil a chuid Gaeilge chomh maith agus a shíleann sé féin) agus an Rí Oswald. Ar ndóigh, bhí Gaeilge ag an bheirt acu. Gael go smior a bhí in Aodhán agus maidir le hOswald, ba bhanphrionsa Gaelach a mháthair agus tugadh Flann Fionn air. Sin beirt!Ach an raibh teangacha Gaelacha á labhairt go forleathan san áit sin ag an tréimhse sin? An bhfuil fianaise ar bith ann? Agus má bhí, cá bhfuil an fhianaise gur fhág sin a rian ar Bhéarla an lae inniu? Cá bhfuil na fíricí, Curran, cá bhfuil na samplaí, nó nach bhfuil an fhírinne tábhachtach sa Bhudaíochas? (Más amhlaidh nach bhfuil, tá dul amú orm.)

Ansin, luann sé an Drochshaol corradh le míle bliain ina dhiaidh sin, agus deir sé go labhraíodh a thuismitheoirí Gaeilge nuair a d’aistrigh siad go Ceanada, agus deir sé (i mBéarla, ar ndóigh): Is deacair a thuigbheáil cad chuige a mbeadh sé chomh doiligh sin a chreidbheáil go ndearna na céadta focal Gaeilge imirce isteach i mbéarlagair Thuaisceart Mheiriceá. Ar ndóigh, níl sé sásta fianaise ar bith a thabhairt ná oiread agus focal amháin a rinne an imirce sin a lua agus ar ndóigh, níl sé sásta a mhíniú dúinn cad chuige nach bhfuil na céadta frása atá i leabhar Cassidy le fáil i bhfoclóir ar bith Gaeilge ná i dtéacs ar bith sa teanga. Mar, níl duine ar bith a cháineann Cassidy ag rá nach bhfuil sé inchreidte a lán focal ón Ghaeilge a bheith sa Bhéarla. Tá muid ag rá nach bhfuil sé fíor, agus gur furasta sin a chruthú.

Ach is é an píosa ina dhiaidh sin an chuid is bómánta agus is maslaí. Dar leisean, bíonn leisce orainne glacadh le bréaga Cassidy cionn is go mbíonn íospartaigh an chinedhíothaithe chultúrtha (victims of cultural genocide) ag taobhú leo siúd a d’imir cos ar bolg orthu mar gheall ar an náire atá orainn agus muid beo bocht. (Go raibh míle maith agat, a mháistir mhóir, as ár ndorchadas a shoilsiú le do mhóreagna Zen …)

Anois, is léir ón méid sin gur gealt nó amadán é an fear seo. Is náire shaolta thú, Curran. Agus mar sin de, tugaim do dhúshlán anseo! Tá cead agat do thuairimí féin a bheith agat, ach níl cead agatsa ná ag duine ar bith eile d’fhíricí féin a bheith agat. Is bréagadóir thú agus níl do chuid tuairimí ag teacht leis na fíricí ar chor ar bith! Más mian leat raiméis Cassidy a chosaint, tá cead agat sin a dhéanamh, anseo, i nGaeilge (má tá Gaeilge ar bith agat!)

Sa bhlag seo, phléigh mé bunús na bhfocal sa leabhar bhómánta sin agus mhínigh mé cad chuige nach féidir glacadh le tuairimí Cassidy. Tá cead agatsa na fíricí ar an bhlag seo a shéanadh, nó iarracht a dhéanamh, cibé. Agus mura bhfuil tú sásta (ná ábalta) sin a dhéanamh agus do chuid rámhaillí a chosaint go poiblí, beidh a fhios ag gach aon duine nach bhfuil ionat ach béalastán aineolach atá ag cuidiú le caimiléir marbh a gcuid airgid a bhaint de dhaoine saonta. (Agus más féidir leat an bhaint idir sin agus an Budaíochas a mhíniú, is fearr thú ná mise a Ghúngaire Dhéin … )

Mar a dúirt an Búda, Cuir an bréagadóir ina thost leis an fhírinne. An bhfuil tú ag iarraidh cur le do chuid bréag, Curran, nó an mbainfidh tú triail as an fhírinne, mar athrú?

Tá mé ag fanacht …

A Christmas Warning

A week ago, Daniel Cassidy’s absurd book How The Irish Invented Slang was way down on the Amazon sales lists – somewhere around 900,000th. on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. If there were any justice, this trashy, awful book would be out of print. However, I notice that on the American Amazon rankings, it has now gone up to around 500,000th, as naïve people look around for a present for their relatives and take this nasty piece of fakery as a genuine contribution to our knowledge about the Irish past.

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 an idiot. A crank. A flat-earther. A flake. A total amadán, 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 this Christmas.

Litir Oscailte Chuig Rónán

Bhí mé ag éisteacht le clár Rónáin inniu. Is breá liom Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí. Bíonn scoth na Gaeilge le cluinstin ar a chlár agus níorbh aon eisceacht clár an lae inniu. Bhí roinnt daoine ina chuideachta agus is é saibhreas na Gaeilge a bhí i gcaibidil acu. Bhí go maith agus ní raibh go holc, go dtí gur luaigh Rónán an focal snagcheol. Chuir duine éigin téacs isteach. Cad chuige ar úsáid Rónán an focal snagcheol? Ní focal Béarla é jazz, dar leis an téacsóir. Is focal Gaeilge é, mar dhea, a thig ón fhocal deas. Tháinig téacs eile. Ní hea, arsa an ceann sin. Is ón fhocal teas a thig sé. Aidhe, agus fuair an Béarla rock ón Ghaeilge fosta, mar bíonn sé de nós ag lucht an rac-cheoil na seomraí san óstán a raiceáil i ndiaidh dóibh ceolchoirm a dhéanamh…

Agus ansin, luaigh Rónán leabhar Cassidy. Nár scríobh duine éigin leabhar i Meiriceá faoi na focail Ghaeilge atá le fáil sa Bhéarla?

Cuireann rudaí mar sin díomá orm. Tá go leor fianaise sa bhlag seo agus in áiteanna eile ar an idirlíon nach raibh sa Chasaideach ach leathghealt, lán-amadán agus caimiléir cruthanta. Ní raibh eolas dá laghad aige ar an Ghaeilge, agus cé gur Ollamh a bhí ann go hoifigiúil, ní raibh oiread agus céim aige. Is mór an náire nach mbíonn lucht na Gaeilge ag magadh go neamhthrócaireach faoin bhocamadán sin a luaithe agus a luaitear a ainm nó a theoiricí bómánta i lúb cuideachta.

Ní lia saoi ná tuairim maidir le bunús an fhocail sin jazz, agus ní fiú na teoiricí bómánta sin a nascann an focal leis an Ghaeilge a chur ar an liosta, dar leis na saineolaithe, gan trácht ar iad a chur ag barr an liosta! Más mian le daoine a chreidmheáil gur ón fhocal teas a tháinig jazz, bíodh acu, ach is bréag lom a rá nach bhfuil míniú ar bith eile ann nó go bhfuil tuairimí bómánta Cassidy chun tosaigh ar na barúlacha eile.

A Rónáin, a chara, is maith liom do chlár agus tréaslaím do shaothar leat. Léiríonn do chlár nach bhfuil an Ghaeilge marbh ná baol air, agus nach gá do lucht na Gaeilge sodar i ndiaidh na nGall agus scáil na teanga s’againne a fheiceáil i ngach aon chrístín agus drochfhocal atá le cluinstin san Oileán Úr, go díreach mar a bhíonn lucht na cráifeachta ar lorg aghaidh Íosa i ngach aon phancóg agus giota arán rósta dá bhfeiceann siad. Ní linne an snagcheol, agus ní le Cassidy agus a lucht leanúna an teanga s’againne ach an oiread.

More on the Folklore Poker

In December 2015, I wrote a post (The Tyranny of Narrative) in which I questioned Cassidy’s story about how his ludicrous book How The Irish Invented Slang came to be written. As I explained in that post, there are a number of reasons for doubting Cassidy’s claim that he came up with his theory after inheriting a pocket Irish dictionary and noticing words in Irish which were similar to English slang terms. For one thing, Cassidy’s sister Susan doubted its truth. Then there is the fact that Cassidy was a pathological liar and that very little of what he said and wrote is trustworthy. And then again, there is the fact that Cassidy’s little origin myth about the pocket dictionary (which he insisted on calling a Folklore Poker rather than a foclóir póca) exists in two different forms. Plus the fact that the words which Cassidy claimed to be examples of the similarities he had spotted are mostly obscure terms which don’t occur in the pocket Irish dictionary he inherited.

Anyway, in another post (Cassidy’s Plagiarism) I also pointed out that many of the more believable (though none the less wrong) claims in Cassidy’s book had already appeared on an Irish language forum called the Daltaí Boards in 2004. Cassidy joined this forum and bothered people with his nonsense for a while in 2005 but of course, he may have read it many times before he joined. I suggested at the time in the comments that Cassidy perhaps derived his theory not from the pocket dictionary, but from reading the posts on the Daltaí Boards.

Recently, I had another look at this question and decided to find out when the earliest evidence of Cassidy’s ‘research’ can be found online. I found that Cassidy wrote an article in the NY Observer (standing in for his crony Terry Golway) in January 2003 about the links between criminal cant and Irish. If he had already posted in 2003, then plainly, he wasn’t influenced by the posts about Irish influence on the Daltaí Boards. However, there was something that just didn’t sound right to me, so I decided to check the Daltaí Boards again.

It turns out that the exchange in 2004 wasn’t the first discussion of words of Irish origin in English on the Daltaí Boards. There was an earlier exchange in April 2002, in which a number of terms were discussed, including shanty, slew, slogan, trousers, smithereens, galore, kybosh, whiskey, leprechaun, banshee, bard, bog, brogue, colleen, glen, jockey, keen, pet, so long, phoney, longshoreman, do you dig?, spree.

So, what’s the real story about Cassidy’s ‘epiphany?’ It seems to me that the story about the pocket dictionary is full of holes. Perhaps Cassidy noticed one or two words that other people have mentioned before (like snas and snazzy) but I think it was his surfing on Google that really gave him the first claims for his book. And then he went on the rampage with his own imagination, inventing hundreds of nonsensical Irish phrases like bocaí rua and gruaim béil and sách úr and leathluí géag and gus óil to fill his book up and turn it into the collection of total garbage which has polluted the world’s libraries and bookshelves ever since.

More On The Famine Sitcom

Recently, I found out that the proposed Channel 4 ‘Famine Sitcom’ which caused so much controversy in January 2015 has been quietly shelved. At the time, I stated my position quite clearly. To create comedy gold out of the Famine would be a very tall order and I doubted whether it would be possible. But just because it’s problematic doesn’t mean people shouldn’t try. And it certainly doesn’t mean that others have a right to censor creative endeavours in advance just because they don’t like the concept. As a journalist pointed out in the Guardian, the right not to be offended does not exist.

Anyway, it came as no great surprise that the project wasn’t going ahead.

However, looking through some of the material about the controversy, I came across a truly lousy piece of ‘satire’ by Niall O’Dowd on IrishCentral. It purports to be a parody of what Channel 4’s script might be like. However, if you were going to do a parody of a script which you think might be insulting to the Irish, wouldn’t you concentrate on the Irish themselves? Wouldn’t you show stage Oirish characters who are stupid and childlike and responsible for their own poverty? I would.

Instead, O’Dowd ‘treats’ us to a conversation between Queen Victoria, George Trevelyan and Dean Swift. God alone knows why Dean Swift is here. O’Dowd knows (because he says so) that Swift died long before the Famine and that his Modest Proposal is a satire, a humorous treatment of the appalling cruelty and mismanagement of Irish affairs by the British administration in his day. Let me just repeat that. A humorous treatment of famine and poverty and British misrule.

Which, according to O’Dowd and the rest of the vicarious victims should be out of the question, completely forbidden, too politically incorrect to be permitted. And then there’s the conversation between Victoria and Trevelyan, which depicts Queen Victoria as a fat greedy cow and Trevelyan as a vicious psychopath feeding her anti-Irish bigotry. So … this is a parody of what Channel 4 might produce? Hang on … isn’t that what you would like them to produce? Wouldn’t you like a portrayal of Victoria and Trevelyan as imperialist pigs?

In other words, what the fuck does O’Dowd think he’s doing here? My first thought on reading it was, don’t give up your day job. My second thought was Shag a fucking walrus, this is his day job


Was Daniel Cassidy A Racist?

Was Cassidy a racist? In a sense, the answer to this is no. He wasn’t a Klansman or a white supremacist. He would not have identified himself as a racist. Yet the behaviour of people like Cassidy (i.e. crazy people) is often problematic. They frequently act in ways that conflict with the principles they pretend to live by. For example, Cassidy claimed to be a socialist and a trade unionist, yet he took a job as an academic without having a degree. Nobody who believed in the principles of socialism, trade unionism or ordinary, basic fairness would do that. In a sense, he was also a racist, because he treated the Irish language and Irish culture not as a reality existing in its own right, but as a worthless dead language which he had a right to use as a plaything.

I recently mentioned Cassidy’s family tree. His brother has put a fairly comprehensive pedigree on Ancestry.com, which shows that there was a family tradition that the Cassidys had Cherokee blood. Cassidy’s grandmother Frances Stokes was the daughter of Frances Garrity, whose mother was Matilda May Byrnes, whose mother was Emma Pattison, whose mother was Margaret Abbott, who was rumoured to be part Cherokee, and her surname, Abbott, is found in records of the Cherokee at the time. In other words, Cassidy’s great-great-great-great-grandmother might have been partly of Cherokee descent.

Let’s just suppose that Cassidy, instead of getting a bee in his bonnet about Irish, decided to look at his Cherokee ancestry. Suppose he came up with a theory that millions of America’s urban poor had Cherokee descent and that they had remembered the Cherokee language without knowing it. And suppose that, instead of going off to the Cherokee nation and learning some of the language, he hit the dictionaries running and came up with ‘Cherokee’ phrases like guladale, the ‘obvious’ origin of English galoot. (Derived from gu-la = idiot + da-le = foolish! These are genuine Cherokee dictionary entries, but I have no idea whether adjectives come before nouns or after them in Cherokee or whether anyone would actually say ‘foolish idiot’ in that language – I mean, what other kind of idiot is there? And of course, this is exactly the kind of inept guesswork that Cassidy applied to the Irish language.)

And suppose that some Cherokee people thought that this theory would help to bring them support and money and give them kudos, so they backed him, in spite of the fact that they knew this was all rubbish, and allowed this pretentious, badly-educated white fool to stand on a platform with a highly inappropriate feathered head-dress and beaded vest sounding forth about the Cherokee roots of American popular culture. And meanwhile, imagine that other people who had a good knowledge of linguistics and Cherokee language were crying foul and pointing out that all of his claims were nonsense, and they were being accused of being time-servers and narrow-minded fools refusing to think out of the box by people who had never heard a word of Cherokee in their lives. Wouldn’t that be racism? Wouldn’t that be cultural appropriation? Wouldn’t that be treating a minority language as something with no value except as a source of unearned income for a liar and fantasist who was completely ignorant of that language?

Yes, it was all of those things. Because, although the Cherokee scenario never happened, this is exactly what happened in the case of Cassidy’s claims about Irish. People who know nothing at all about Irish are arguing with people who use the language every day of their lives, as if they have an equal right to decide what sounds like good Irish and what doesn’t. People who do that might think they are socialists, or radicals, or left-wing, or even Irish Republicans. But in the real world, Cassidy and his minions are simply ignorant bigots who refuse to accept the facts. They are as much a product of colonialism as men in bowler hats trying to force unwelcome marches through Catholic areas in Belfast.