Yesterday, the Fourteenth Irish-American Crossroads Festival began in San Francisco. On June 30, 2015, I devoted a post to criticising this festival. As I pointed out then, there is an In Memoriam on the website of the festival which contains several lies about Daniel Cassidy, who was instrumental in founding the festival. It claims that he had degrees from Cornell and Columbia. In reality, he had no degrees from anywhere. It claims that he was a professor of Irish Studies and Media Studies at New College of California. In reality, without any qualifications or academic publications, Cassidy was not entitled to be a professor in any university, though he certainly had no moral qualms about collecting the salary or using his undeserved status. There is plenty of evidence that he pretended to have these qualifications, and in my book, that also makes Cassidy a criminal. It also contains flattering material about Cassidy’s absurd book, How The Irish Invented Slang, a disgusting assault on the Irish language and on Irish scholarship by a man who couldn’t even be bothered learning the basics of grammar and vocabulary. As I have said elsewhere recently, Cassidy’s ridiculous theories are the linguistic equivalent of blackface. They are a thin veneer of fake ethnicity hiding a deep disrespect for the genuine article. Nobody with any decency would support this offensive Anglocentric rubbish.
Since I posted this criticism, I am quite sure that someone associated with the Irish Crossroads Festival has seen it. They have not contacted me to defend their absurd decision or removed their lies from the website. Why not? Well, with so many friends and enablers of Daniel Cassidy associated with the festival, it comes as no surprise that the dishonest version continues to have pride of place on their website and that they refuse to engage in a rational debate they will inevitably lose.
So, as those responsible for the festival refuse to do the right thing, I am appealing directly to the festival’s sponsors. You wouldn’t support a blackface minstrel show, so why would you support a festival which refuses to condemn cultural appropriation or call a liar a liar or distance itself from a criminal fantasist whose fake version of the Irish language continues to pollute the internet? Here is a list of sponsors taken from the festival’s website. I appeal to each and every one of them to put pressure on the organisers of the festival to do the right thing and remove these lies from the festival’s website.
Government of Ireland’s Emigrant Support Programme & Cultural Relations Programme
Peter & Joan Cuddihy
David J. Philpott & Karen Philpott
Nancy Quinn & Tom Driscoll
Timothy F. Sullivan
Wheelcare Express, Inc.
Zellerbach Family Foundation
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I.B.E.W.) Union, Local #6
I.A.T.S.E. Local #16 Stagehands Union
United Irish Cultural Center & Irish Cultural Centre of California
Brody, Walsh & Brody Employee Benefit & Insurance Services, Inc.
Carpenter’s Union Local #22
Harrington’s Bar & Grill
McCarthy Moving & Storage
Paragon Real Estate Group, Pete Brannigan
Powerscreen of California & Hawaii
Riordan & Horgan Law Firm