I found another piece online from Sean Sweeney, who is apparently some kind of big wheel (mar dhea) in New York local politics. Sweeney obviously thinks that Cassidy was right, though he doesn’t have a great record in picking reliable friends and allies. His close ally in SoHo, Don MacPherson, is currently serving a long sentence for a massive mortgage fraud. Sweeney was apparently convinced of MacPherson’s innocence (http://observer.com/2009/04/crank-or-champion/) but that didn’t stop MacPherson from pleading guilty at the trial!
Anyway, back to Sweeney’s irrational and half-baked defence of Cassidy’s absurd book. After failing to provide any evidence for his crackpot friend’s theories when challenged to do so and failing to convince the administrators on Wikipedia that he had anything worthwhile to say about Cassidy’s lying dreckfest, Sean Sweeney then decided to post his irresponsible nonsense on a discussion on the website of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. An individual called Sean Mc Shee had posted on January 30, 2013, about the phrase ‘so long’.
I’ve wondered if it derived from the Gaelic “slan” – sometimes used as a goodbye – it sounds like it could be an anglicized spelling of a word heard orally. And if first appears right after the potato famine.
This is a perfectly reasonable comment and there is nothing wrong with wondering or asking the question. The answer which Sweeney gave was much less reasonable. On June 17, 2014, he posted the following reply:
Actually, it does. Unfortunately, because it originated as street slang, dictionaries are loathe to list it and just add “origin unknown”, something they do with many US slang words of Irish origin. I urge you to read Daniel Cassidy’s “How the Irish Invented Slang” to learn more.
The same old rubbish. Not ‘it might do’ or ‘it’s possible’. The expression must come from Irish, because Sweeney says so and Sweeney knows it all! The truth, of course, is very different. It always is with Sean Sweeney! And of course, there’s no word of warning about Cassidy’s book containing nonsense, in spite of the fact that he admitted as much in his comments here. (“Some of Cassidy’s derivations may be nonsense …”)
For those who don’t share Sweeney’s delusional belief in his own omniscience and want to learn the real facts about the possible origins of the phrase ‘so long’, I suggest you follow these links:
The truth is, slán is only one of a number of possible derivations, some of which are considerably more credible than the Irish one. And what evidence does Sweeney have for the claim that the dictionaries ignored it because it originated as street slang? None whatsoever, of course! The real reason why they say that its origin is unknown is because there are a number of different possible origins and there is no way of knowing which is correct. But if you’re as important as Sean Sweeney thinks he is, you don’t have to bother with boring details like facts. You don’t have to defer to the opinions of experts in the field who really know what they’re talking about! Whatever you say instantly becomes the truth, and of course any rubbish books produced by your mates also instantly become the truth as well!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work with statements given in a police station or a court of law … Nach mór an trua é sin ach nach beag an t-iontas!