Tag Archives: San Francisco State

December’s Twit of the Month – Michael Krasny

December’s Twit of the Month was originally intended to be Peter Linebaugh, an indifferent Marxist historian who has given his support to Cassidy’s crazy theories about the Irish origins of slang. However, a week ago, I happened on an interview given by Cassidy late in 2007, and broadcast on St Stephen’s Day (26th of December) in that year. You can find it here: https://ww2.kqed.org/forum/2007/12/26/daniel-cassidy/

The interview was conducted by a radio presenter and academic (a professor of English at San Francisco State) called Michael Krasny. Like all interviews with Daniel Cassidy, it is an embarrassing mixture of arrogance, stupidity, fake modesty and name-dropping. As with other interviews with Cassidy, Krasny makes no attempt at all to cut through all the bullshit and establish the truth.

Anyway, the nonsense in this KQED interview begins almost immediately. Michael Krasny reels off a list of some of the fake derivations given by Cassidy, words like scram, skedaddle and jazz. All of these have been dealt with here. Use the search box above to find out more.

The interview begins with Daniel Cassidy trying to pretend that he speaks some Irish by reciting a sentence he has learned by heart – badly. Unfortunately, Krasny interrupts him several times, so he has to repeat the first phrase three times. This phrase is supposed to be “Tá áthas orm” (I am happy) but what he actually says three times is “Tá amhas a’am” (I have a hooligan). The rest of it is not much better and demonstrates beyond doubt that Cassidy knew no Irish and probably didn’t have access to anyone who could speak good Irish either (for example, áit a bhí an Ghaeilge beo should be áit a raibh an Ghaeilge beo – anyone comfortable with Irish grammar would know this).

The rest of this tiresome interview is no better. It’s the same old shite. Cassidy says that glom, a word meaning to grab, comes from Irish. As we’ve already seen, it came into standard English from Scots glaum, and it probably originates in Scottish Gaelic. This is the explanation given by the mainstream dictionaries. It completely invalidates Cassidy’s claim. Why Krasny couldn’t look up a dictionary himself, or at least adopt the time-honoured motto that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, is unclear. I note that Krasny taught in San Francisco State university. So did Cassidy, before he became a lecturer at New College of California. Did they know each other?

It would take too long to go through every lie, every piece of incompetence, every wasted opportunity to bring out the truth in this appalling interview. Brag doesn’t come from Irish and the OED doesn’t say that it is from a word meaning trousers (that’s a similar French word which doesn’t enter English until long after brag was first used and is therefore not the origin of brag in English). Duking doesn’t come from Irish tuargain, which is not pronounced as duking anyway. Spiel, as Krasny says but doesn’t press for, comes from Yiddish and has no connection to a Scots Gaelic word speal (which isn’t pronounced spiel, as Cassidy pronounces it here) and which doesn’t mean a sharp hoe (it’s a scythe). All of Cassidy’s claims, about jazz and sucker and kike and cant are all crap. The man blithely lies and mispronounces and fakes meanings and fails to point out that his idiotic ‘Irish’ equivalents for baloney and nincompoop and bunkum were his own inventions, not real phrases in the Irish language.

Krasny doesn’t seem to care. He gives Cassidy an easy time of it, buys all his bullshit, gives him a platform to sell this arrogant trash to unsuspecting people and even attacks his fellow academics for their anti-Irish bias in not recognising Cassidy’s made-up rubbish as fact.

However, the worst of it is in the phone-in section of the programme. A couple of people are critical of Cassidy but Krasny doesn’t dig deeper. In fact, when one caller points out that he has got it wrong about the origins of the word tinker, and says ‘it goes to prove the point many people have called – you are reaching’, Krasny and Cassidy thank him quickly and move on.

Finally, I feel I should explain what I meant by Cassidy’s false modesty. Cassidy says several times that he isn’t sure of every word. On the surface, he sounds like a reasonable human being. Yet a little more than a month after this, using a fake identity, Cassidy answered critics on a forum about language like this:

“Barret the Parrot had better kiss the toin (buttocks) of his publishers at Oxford. With his books down around 270,000 and 600,000 on Amazon, whereas Cassidy’s book is in 5th reprint in 7 months and just won an American Book Award.

Is it a twerp (duirb, a worm)? Is it a dork (dorc, a dwarf)? Or is it Barrett the Parrot? No it’s “Superscam” (aka Barret the English Parrott) and his phoney made-up quotes.

Here are REAL QUOTES that haven’t been hahahahaha deleted hahahahahahaha.

Believe Barrett the Parrott (AKA Superscam) or Dr. Joe Lee, who is a native Irish speaker and the Director of Irish Studies at NYU? Professor Lee is one of the foremost scholars in the field of Irish Studies in the US and Ireland.”

(Lee, of course, was a friend of Cassidy’s.) In other words, while he was being treated the way he felt he had a right to be treated, as a genuine academic with a valid theory, Cassidy managed to pretend to be a sane and reasonable person. When anyone tried to confront him with the truth, he regressed to being an ignorant, infantile narcissist who was completely incapable of dealing with the least challenge to his fragile ego.

Krasny should have spotted the logical inconsistencies, smelt the bullshit and acted accordingly. Instead, he became one of this man’s many unwitting enablers and accomplices in his project of deceiving Irish America and lining his own pockets with the profits of his fraud. It is for that reason that I am happy (or should that be, I have a hooligan?) to award Michael Krasny December’s Twit of the Month Award.

No News = Good News?

Well, we have still heard nothing from Columbia University or San Francisco State. However, the Easter holidays tend to disrupt things and of course, email is not as effective as snail mail for some purposes (though Cornell were happy enough to oblige when approached by email – well done to them!) I will give them a week or two and see if anything happens but don’t think I have given up! If I don’t hear anything by then, I will start mailing letters to people and then there is always the press. I am not going to stop until I find out the full extent of Daniel Cassidy’s fraud and make that information available to the public. Watch this space!

Did Daniel Cassidy Have a University Degree?

Wow! For several years now, I have been posting regularly here, trying to convince people that Daniel Cassidy’s insane theories about the Irish origins of American slang have no basis in fact. In the process, I have often questioned Cassidy’s qualifications. According to Wikipedia, he had a degree from Cornell. He seems to have had no other qualifications. No Master’s degree, no doctorate. Not even a diploma. However, I never doubted that he had a primary degree.

This rainy and miserable evening, I logged on to the computer to start writing a post about the subject of the word ballyhoo and the claims made by Loretto Todd and Daniel Cassidy about its origin from the Irish word bailiú. However, when I logged on, I was amazed to receive a message from Cassidy’s sister Susan Cassidy Connors:

Danny was always an FOS person–he was older than he claimed, was a liar and a thief, and tore the family apart.

BTW, he did attend Cornell, but flunked out!

So, it looks as if the Cassidy scandal might be an even bigger scandal than I thought. We knew that Cassidy was guilty of egoism and misinformation and deception but if this is correct, then Cassidy was guilty of far more. Claiming to have an academic qualification to obtain employment is a serious criminal offence, and surely nobody would have employed him as an academic knowing that he had no academic qualifications at all! Several sources also mention Columbia, with one of them claiming that he graduated from that university, but as this is only one source, it seems unlikely.

As it stands, of course, I cannot prove this claim one way or the other. I have contacted the Registrar’s Office at Cornell to inform them and I hope that they will investigate and issue a statement on this if appropriate. I suggest that the Registrar’s Office at San Francisco State should also investigate if Cassidy worked with them and what proof he offered of his academic qualifications. (According to a discussion on Wikipedia on the origins of the word jazz, Cassidy worked on the faculty of SFS before taking up his chair at NCC, which was in 1995.)

To those who have followed cassidyslangscam with interest, watch this space. Things are starting to get very interesting!