Tag Archives: Joe Lee

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.

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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.

Amadán na Míosa, Meitheamh 2018 – Joe Lee

Cúpla seachtain ó shin, ar an 22 Bealtaine, 2018, bhí siompóisiam ann in ómós do Joe Lee ag Glucksman Ireland House i Nua-Eabhrac. J.J. Lee and Irish History: Scholar, Colleague, Mentor an teideal a bhí ar an tsiompóisiam.

Mar a scríobh mé roimhe seo, tá obair mhaith déanta ag Lee. Is fíorstaraí é Lee, a bhfuil a lán leabhar agus alt den scoth scríofa aige. Ach, mar a dúirt mé fosta, bhí Joe Lee mór le cuid mhór daoine a bhí mór le Daniel Cassidy, agus sin an fáth ar scríobh sé an léirmheas dearfach seo thíos don leabhar How The Irish Invented Slang:

“In this courageous, crusading manifesto, Daniel Cassidy flings down the gauntlet to all those compilers of dictionaries who fled to the safe haven of ‘origin unknown’ when confronted with the challenge of American slang …The originality and importance of the argument makes this an exciting contribution to both American and Irish Studies. This is a landmark book, at once learned and lively, and quite enthralling as to how American English acquired so vibrant a popular vocabulary.”

Is raiméis an léirmheas seo, ar ndóigh, mar is raiméis leabhar Cassidy. Níl a fhios agam cad chuige ar roghnaigh sé tacú le píosa bréagscoláireachta mar How The Irish Invented Slang.

Is mór an díol spéise é go raibh beirt chairde le Cassidy ag labhairt le Lee ag an tsiompóisiam: 12.30 pm: Reflections of Directors of Glucksman Ireland House: Prof. Bob Scally & Prof. Joe Lee in Conversation with Dr. Terry Golway. Bhí Golway mór le Cassidy, agus scríobh Bob Scally léirmheas a bhí lán chomh moltach le ceann Lee ar chúl leabhar Cassidy:

Irish Americans especially will be delighted to know they have been speaking Irish all along in their slang and American English, while believing and bemoaning that they had lost their native tongue many years ago. With imagination and scholarship, Cassidy has restored this hidden treasure to us in a book that is filled with revelations, wit and humour.

Mar a dúirt mé, níl a fhios agam cad chuige ar roghnaigh Joe Lee agus a chairde neamhaird a dhéanamh den fhianaise agus muintir na hÉireann a mhaslú ar an dóigh seo. Is deacair é a thuiscint, go háirithe i gcás Lee, duine a bhfuil go leor Gaeilge aige lena aithint láithreach nach Gaeilge iad leithéidí béal ónna agus béalú h-ard agus pá lae sámh.

Rud amháin atá cinnte: cosúil le gach duine eile a bhí mór le Cassidy, is lú é mar scoláire, mar mhúinteoir agus mar dhuine de dheasca an chairdis sin. Níl a fhios agam an caimiléir agus bréagadóir é Lee, ach is cinnte gur thacaigh sé le leabhar mí-ionraic Cassidy, agus is teimheal ollmhór sin ar a chlú.

Sin an fáth a bhfuil mé sásta an teideal Amadán na Míosa, Meitheamh 2018 a bhronnadh ar Joe Lee, a chuidigh le caimiléir drochleabhar a dhíol agus nach ndearna turn láimhe ina dhiaidh sin le rudaí a chur ina gceart.

June’s Twit of the Month – Joe Lee

A couple of weeks ago, on the 22 May 2018, there was a symposium in honour of Joe Lee at Glucksman Ireland House in New York. The symposium was called J.J. Lee and Irish History: Scholar, Colleague, Mentor.

As I have written before, Lee has done some good work. Lee is a genuine historian, who has written a lot of excellent books and articles. However, as I have also said, Joe Lee was friendly with many friends of Daniel Cassidy, and that is probably the reason why he wrote this positive review for the book How The Irish Invented Slang:

“In this courageous, crusading manifesto, Daniel Cassidy flings down the gauntlet to all those compilers of dictionaries who fled to the safe haven of ‘origin unknown’ when confronted with the challenge of American slang …The originality and importance of the argument makes this an exciting contribution to both American and Irish Studies. This is a landmark book, at once learned and lively, and quite enthralling as to how American English acquired so vibrant a popular vocabulary.”

This review is rubbish, of course, because Cassidy’s book is rubbish. I have no idea why Lee chose to support a piece of fake scholarship like How The Irish Invented Slang.

It is very interesting that two of Cassidy’s friends were in conversation with Lee at the Symposium: 12.30 pm: Reflections of Directors of Glucksman Ireland House: Prof. Bob Scally & Prof. Joe Lee in Conversation with Dr. Terry Golway. Golway was a crony of Cassidy’s, and Bob Scally wrote a review which was as positive as Lee’s on the back of Cassidy’s book:

Irish Americans especially will be delighted to know they have been speaking Irish all along in their slang and American English, while believing and bemoaning that they had lost their native tongue many years ago. With imagination and scholarship, Cassidy has restored this hidden treasure to us in a book that is filled with revelations, wit and humour.

As I said, I don’t know why Joe Lee and his friends chose to ignore the evidence and insult the Irish people like this. It’s hard to understand it, especially in the case of Lee, a man who has enough Irish to recognise immediately that the likes of béal ónna and béalú h-ard and pá lae sámh are not Irish.

One thing is sure: like everyone who was friendly with Cassidy, Lee has been diminished as a scholar, as a teacher and as a human being because of that friendship. I don’t know if Lee is a fraudster and a liar, but he certainly supported Cassidy’s dishonest book, and that is a huge stain on his reputation.

That is why I am pleased to bestow the title of Twit of the Month for June 2018 on Joe Lee, who helped a con-man to sell a bad book and didn’t do a hand’s turn subsequently to rectify the situation.

How Words Get Borrowed

In this, my first post of 2017, I would like to examine an issue that I have touched on before but never really dealt with properly, the question of how words are passed from language to language.

Cassidy’s methodology was simple. He looked at words and phrases in English, especially slang expressions, and then hit the Irish dictionaries and cobbled together ludicrous phrases which he thought sounded like these English terms. Of course, Cassidy was badly educated and did not speak any Irish.

What really happens when words cross language boundaries in situations like this? (Of course, we need to remember that similar processes were involved in Ireland itself, where the issue was colonialism, not immigration.) Well, basically, a group of speakers of Irish (or any other language) turn up as immigrants. At first, they are unable to communicate with the society around them. Some of them never learn the new language. Others manage to pick up a basic knowledge. As they learn the majority language, they retain grammatical structures and certain words and phrases from their own language. Thus we might hear sentences like this:

“There is whiskey go leor in the jug there.”

“Sure I’m after seeing Lannigan out there, the old amadán!”

“Sure, I’m away to the síbín for a drink.”

Because lots of people in the initial generation of learners use these expressions, they are continually heard and learned and used by the younger generation. Before long, people who speak no Irish are using galore and ommadawn and shebeen in their English.

Note that nearly all of these borrowings are single words and nearly all of them are nouns. There’s a reason for this. It wasn’t enough for a phrase to be used once by one individual. These had to be expressions which were commonly used by that first generation of bilingual English and Irish speakers, by thousands of people in different contexts.

And of course, that’s not what we find in Cassidy’s moronic book. We find that according to Cassidy, Irish speakers supposedly stuck the word án onto lóinte to make something sounding like luncheon (even though the phrase lóinte ána was unknown in Irish until Cassidy invented it), or that sách was used as a noun meaning a well-fed person and that that word always had úr (fresh) stuck on to the end of it. Apparently nobody ever separated the two words. They never said that there was a good sách, or a handy sách, or a stupid sách, or a big sách. No, it was always a fresh sách, so that it would sound like sucker. Yeah, right. You’d need to be a real sucker (which comes from the English suck) to believe that.

Pretty much all of Cassidy’s ‘Irish’ candidates rule themselves out because they are absurd and improbable phrases. Things like n-each as the origin of nag are simply laughable, because nobody is going to pluck a random inflected phrase out of conversation and use it. (Plus the fact that each ceased to be the usual Irish word for a horse hundreds of years ago!)

The question of pronunciation is another tricky issue. People learn English and throw the odd word of Irish into their conversation. The next generation grow up hearing these words and use them themselves. They pronounce them the way the older generation did. There would be no reason for them to mispronounce uath-anchor as wanker or sciord ar dólámh as skedaddle or éamh call as heckle or gus óil as guzzle, because there’s an unbroken chain of transmission and there is no stage at which this kind of mangling could take place. (And please note that none of these Irish phrases exists anyway. They were all invented by Cassidy, along with nearly all of the Irish in How The Irish Invented Slang.)

The bizarre changes of meaning posited by Cassidy are also problematic. Why would shanty come from seanteach if a native Irish speaker would call their hut a bothán or a cró or a cábán? Why would loingseoir, a word meaning a sailor, become a word for a landlubber who works on the dock? Why would a native speaker of Irish say “Sure, I hate living here in dis is lom é?” if they wouldn’t say “Dhera, is fuath liom bheith I mo chónaí san is lom é seo?” The answer is, of course, they wouldn’t and they didn’t.

In other words, this isn’t the way that words cross from language to language. Cassidy’s ‘research’ was entirely fake, like the man who invented it. I don’t know why people like Michael Patrick MacDonald or Peter Quinn or Joe Lee still support this dishonest garbage. It seems a very high price to pay for friendship but then I suppose it’s a sad fact that some people really are that desperate for friends – desperate enough to betray everything they claim to believe in for the sake of a worthless fraud like Daniel Cassidy.

More on Medbh

In a post on Cassidy’s strange ideas about the Irish origins of jazz, I gave a link to a Wikipedia debate between John M. Baker and an unknown individual called Medbh. This is the link here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Medbh. There seems little doubt that Medbh was a sock puppet for Cassidy himself. The crazy half-baked ranting is exactly like that used by Cassidy himself and a host of sock puppet identities used by him on various sites. At one point, Cassidy lets the mask slip completely, and Baker picks up on it:

Actually, I did not characterize CounterPunch Books as a vanity press, nor did I say anything about how many books it sells. I said only that it is not a peer-reviewed scholarly publisher. I do not have an opinion on whether or not it is a vanity press, nor how many books it sells. I don’t consider the number of books it sells at all relevant – many scholarly publishers sell few books, and many nonsensical books have become best-sellers. How do you know that Cassidy signed a standard author’s contract? I thought you said earlier that you are not Cassidy.

It is worth reading these debates, as they show clearly that Cassidy was dishonest, ignorant and full of crap. However, for those who can’t be bothered looking at the original source, here are some interesting notes.

When Baker said that Cassidy was an ‘academic administrator at NCoC’, Medbh/Cassidy responded by saying that This is utter nonsense. Cassidy is a tenured faculty member at New College of California, where he teaches media studies and Irish Studies. Prior to that he was on the graduate faculty of the Film Department at SF State. He is NOT an administrator at New College.’ What the sock puppet doesn’t say, of course, is that Cassidy had no right to be anything in a university but the janitor. He had no degrees, no qualifications. Nothing. This is the elephant in the room. How did Cassidy become ‘a tenured faculty member’ in a university without having a degree? Did he lie to get the job? How else did a man with no qualifications become a professor?

The sock puppet cites a number of people who have supported his work, with comments like this: Alex Cockburn is from Cork, Ireland, and studied the Irish language for the first six years of his schooling. He reads Irish and speaks it. He is a crank too, since he does not know who Grant Barret is. Of course, Cockburn was a good friend of Cassidy’s, so whether he was a crank or not or spoke Irish or not is of no importance.

Here is a list of the supporters mentioned and their known involvement with Cassidy:

Professor J. Joseph Lee of NYU and University College Cork – a friend of Cassidy’s.

Professor Robert Scally, associated with NYU Glucksman’s Ireland House – also a friend of Cassidy’s.

Professor Peter Linebaugh – friend of Cassidy, guested at his Irish Crossroads Festival in 2004.

Esther O’Hara (University of California, Berkeley) – former colleague and friend of Cassidy at New College of California

Pól Ó Muirí, journalist – no known connection.

Frank McNally, journalist – no known connection

Reyhan Harmanci, journalist – no known connection

Eamonn McCann, Journalist – friend of Cassidy’s, appeared in his 1995 documentary Uncensored Voices

Alexander Cockburn, journalist – friend of Cassidy’s

Peter Quinn, writer – described Cassidy as ‘my best friend’

Maureen Dezell, writer – friend of Cassidy’s

In other words, out of 11 people cited as supporting Cassidy, only three have no known connection to Cassidy. Cassidy himself, using an unconvincing sock puppet identity, gave a list of his own mates, without the slightest hint that he knew any of them, as support for the idea that he should be taken seriously as a scholar of language! What a total fraud!

However, the thing I found most astounding is the point raised by Baker about ‘peer-review’. Peer review is a specific process, where academic writing is assessed by academic peers in a formal way. Cassidy (Medbh) seems to have thought that peer-review was about getting reviews in newspapers! This is yet one more piece of evidence that Cassidy was a total moron who knew nothing about the world of scholarship and had no business teaching in a university.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig

St Patrick’s Day will soon be here, so it seems like a good opportunity once again to attack Cassidy’s rubbish book of fake Irish, to encourage people to learn a little of the real thing, and to say a couple of words about the philosophy of language learning.

At this time of year, many people in the Irish diaspora take an interest in their culture and history. Because of the irresponsible behaviour of a number of prominent members of the Irish-American establishment like Peter Quinn, Joe Lee, Michael Patrick MacDonald, Tom Deignan and countless others, who recommended and continue to recommend this nonsense to gullible people, this book is still in print and still being sold. This is a disgrace. Cassidy’s ‘research’ is a cruel and disgusting hoax and IMHO no decent person would support it. However, thanks in part to this blog, people are now much more aware of how dishonest and foolish this book is, so the newspaper articles about Cassidy’s linguistic ‘revelations’ which used to appear at this time of year have been considerably fewer over the last couple of years. The only major organ (yes, I’m aware of the innuendo) of the diaspora which still supports this raiméis is the egregious IrishCentral. They continue to republish a semi-literate ‘review’ of Cassidy’s book by some 9/11 Truther called Brendan Patrick Keane.

Anyway, it seems appropriate to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with some handy (and GENUINE) phrases in our beautiful Ulster dialect of the Irish language.

 

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig duit!

Ban-akh-tee na fayla pahrig ditch!

Blessings of St Patrick’s day to you!

 

Go raibh míle maith agat.

Go roh meela moy oggut!

A thousand thanks!

 

Tá sé iontach deas inniu.

Tah shay intah jass inyoo.

It’s very nice today.

 

Sláinte mhór agus saol fada agat!

Slahn-chya wore ogus seel fadda oggut!

Good health and long life to you!

 

If you want some more information on these things, there are hundreds of resources on line. Focloir.ie is particularly good and has audio files for common words. Just don’t trust anything you read on IrishCentral, in any language, and don’t use Cassidy’s book as a source for learning Irish!

As for the philosophy of language learning, here’s a few points for people thinking of learning Irish:

DO

  • learn a little every day – start NOW!
  • label things you use every day – fridge, cooker, car, door
  • write common words or phrases on cards and carry them round with you
  • learn a few proverbs or songs by heart
  • use apps and words of the day and the Kindle and other new technology
  • get output by TG4 and Raidió na Gaeltachta and listen to the language as much as possible (without bothering about understanding it) just to get used to the sounds and intonation

 

DON’T

  • go to a class once a week and forget about it the rest of the time
  • try to learn everything at once and get disheartened when you can’t
  • use Google Translate to translate INTO Irish (it’s useful to get an idea of what a text means in a language you don’t speak well or at all but, for example, if you put I cycled a lot into Google Translate, you get Rothar mé go leor, which is garbage!)
  • make up sentences which are too complicated for you – stick to the structures you know to be correct. Walk, then run! There’s no point in practising elaborate structures which are wrong. Stick to simple sentences which are right! 

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig daoibh!!