Tag Archives: Mo Hurley

More On Mo Hurley

I notice that Mo Hurley has mentioned cassidyslangscam on her blog, which you can find here: http://mohurley.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/a-note-on-writing-lifted-by-other.html. She raised a point that I have never really considered before, the issue of copyright in relation to blogging. Is it a theft or plagiarism to quote a few lines from another blog without obtaining permission?

I’m not ‘getting at’ Mo Hurley here, but obtaining permission for every quote seems excessive and I don’t believe that quoting is plagiarism. There is, as she says, such a thing as ‘fair use’. For example, on Mo Hurley’s blog post about Cassidy, she quotes from LanguageLog and ascribes the quotation wrongly to Daniel Cassidy (it’s really from Terence Dolan). In other words, I would assume that she didn’t obtain permission to quote that!  

As a blogger, I am trying to get people to read my blog and understand the points I’m making. My argument is that Cassidy was a lousy, awful scholar and also a conscious fraudster and liar. That’s the reason why I homed in on Mo Hurley’s blog, because she says that Cassidy’s ‘research’ was flawed. She doesn’t go as far as I do and she obviously respected Cassidy. (I find that very hard to understand, but it would be a dull world if we were all the same.) However, giving a link to her blog and then quoting a few lines from it is hardly plagiarism. That particular post of hers is about what I’m blogging about, and it seems to me natural that bloggers like me should be able to quote, review and discuss other people’s posts on similar subjects. 

After all, in many ways, serious bloggers are journalists. I don’t earn any money from cassidyslangscam and I blog anonymously, so there’s no kudos involved, but my posts on this blog are the best place for someone to go if they want to find out the truth about Daniel Cassidy and his crap etymologies – and that includes the output of professional journalists, unfortunately, who almost without exception failed dismally to challenge the bullshit in Cassidy’s book.

If someone wants to lift a line or two out of my blog, then that’s fine by me because I want the truth about Cassidy to be widely known. As long as they don’t steal whole posts without recognition of authorship, or misrepresent what I say, then I’m happy.

If Mo Hurley objects to the post in question and would prefer me to delete it, she can contact me here and I will do so. However, I think it would be a pity. My comments on her post are, as she says, a back-handed compliment. I say that there are things I don’t agree with (e.g. I have no idea what she’s trying to say when she’s talking about the origins of buckaroo and obviously, boycott doesn’t derive from the Irish language), but she shows some real integrity in separating Cassidy the scholar from Cassidy the friend. Most of Cassidy’s friends simply can’t do that, hence his massively inflated reputation and the necessity for this blog.



Mo Hurley

One of the most interesting blog posts I have read on the subject of Daniel Cassidy is this one, from a friend of his called Mo Hurley:


This shows many of the flaws of the Cassidese Liberation Front in that it blames the dictionary dudes for their refusal to give the Irish their due, ascribes Irish origins to words like lollapalooza and kybosh and doesn’t check the sources very well. At one point, it claims that this is a quote from Cassidy:

“The English language does not often absorb other languages, especially the Celtic languages. Irish has the longest association with English of any language on the planet, yet in England all we’ve got are a handful of words such as whiskey.”

Of course, this is not a quote from Cassidy. This is nearly the antithesis of everything that Cassidy claimed, as Cassidy insisted without evidence that hundreds if not thousands of common English words were derived from Irish. The quote above is saying that very few words were borrowed from Irish and it comes from a genuine academic called Terence Dolan.

However, this blog post does not belong in my hall of shame. Why? Because while Hurley plainly admired and liked Cassidy, and you would expect her to be as positive as possible in an obituary, she is quite open about the fact that she found most of his Irish derivations of English words dodgy and hard to believe. She says that he may have done more harm than good, that:

“I didn’t always agree with Danny’s interpretations of Irish and the development of street slang, as he sometimes played it a little too fast and loose with linguistics. Danny didn’t speak Irish and didn’t know the grammatical rules of Irish, an ancient highly inflected Indo-European language.”

She also says that  the post is: “in honor to the man himself, not the (de)merits of his book.”  

So, while there are things I dislike about the blog, she is displaying an admirable amount of integrity here and drawing a clear line between the man and his crazy theories. Unfortunately, this kind of integrity is rare. Most of Cassidy’s friends still insist that his crazy theories must have been right because he was a personal friend of theirs, which frankly is an insult to the rest of us and especially to our intelligence.