Tag Archives: slang

An open letter to the Columbia Registrar

A couple of years ago, I wrote to Columbia University to warn them that Cassidy and some of his supporters claimed that Cassidy had a degree from Columbia. Obviously, it is important for academic institutions to protect the integrity of the degrees they offer and no self-respecting university would want to be linked to an obvious fraud like Cassidy. I’ll assume that my previous communications with Columbia went astray and I have decided to contact them again. To that end, I have sent the following letter (by post) to Barry Kane, the Registrar:

Dear Mr Kane

For the past two years I have been working on attacking the late Daniel Cassidy, his supporters and his book How The Irish Invented Slang through a blog called cassidyslangscam on WordPress. You probably haven’t heard of Cassidy but most people with an interest in Irish language and culture have heard of him. Cassidy worked (if that’s the right word) for over 12 years in New College of California, a small and now defunct liberal arts college, as Professor of the Irish Studies department. He was a darling of the American left, friendly with lots of important figures like Ishmael Reed, Peter Linebaugh, Alexander Cockburn and Peter Quinn and he garnered a lot of publicity throughout the English-speaking world. He was also a manipulative, narcissistic fraud who invented nearly every Irish phrase in his crazy book and apparently had no academic qualifications at all.

Most sources say that he had a degree from Cornell. Others say that he had degrees from Cornell and Columbia. For example, the In Memoriam section on the website of the San Francisco Irish-American Crossroads Festival says that his primary degree was from Columbia. Most other sources suggest that he had a postgraduate degree from Columbia. Acting on a tip-off I contacted Cornell where the registrar told me that he never completed his degree there, though he spent between three and four years studying there. (There are full details of this on the blog.)

In a Q&A, you say that: “More than anything else, the Registrar is the guardian of the academic record and is responsible for its accuracy and integrity. There is no room for error in what we do. Our work must be perfect.” This is true but if people are allowed to gain respect, academic positions and financial gain unchallenged by falsely claiming to have Columbia qualifications, this seriously undermines the value of that work. I realise that you must be very busy but I would ask you to investigate Cassidy’s Columbia degree and issue a statement on the question, either through this blog or through your own official channels.

It will be interesting to see if we receive any reply from Columbia this time. It would be fantastic to demonstrate finally that Cassidy’s Columbia degree was just as fraudulent as the degree he claimed to have from Cornell!

Why Hugh Curran Is A Lying Scumbag

Recently, I let fly at a dimwit called Hugh Curran who ‘teaches’ at the University of Maine. I have just found another post by him on IrishCentral, below another of Brendan Patrick Keane’s appalling pieces on Irish. This is every bit as ignorant, badly-written and moronic as the post he left under Keane’s other article on Cassidy’s work. I won’t quote it all, but here is some of it, in italics, with my comments.

I teach a course on Irish (Gaeilge) and one of the exercises given to students is to identify words that they use in everyday speech that are of Irish or Scots Gaelic origin. For instance, they sometimes eat a big Mac (mac=son) at MacDonalds (MacDomnall) and use the Mac computer (MacIntosh=MacTaoiseach=leader) and drive to Bangor (Benn chur=circular hill) by way of Kelly (Ceallach) and Hogan (h Og an) Roads to a Mall to purchase at a sales Galore(go leor=much or big) at Radio Shack (teach=pronounced shack) that is going out of business. A few students live in Derry (Doire=oak) in NH. There are multiple other place names in the U.S. and Canada that have Gaelic or Celtic names that would need much more space than this response even to begin to examine. But it helps students to point out how many names in common English usage have Gaelic roots such as Kevin (Caomhain) Aodan-Aedhan or Aodhan), Kenny & Kenneth (Ceannaidh), Eriin (eirinn), Murphy (Murchu), Duffy (Dubthaigh). Campbell (cam beall=twisted mouth) & Cameron (cam shrone=twisted nose).

Once again, this scumbag is boasting of his abilities in the Irish language. Well, if you teach it, you must be able to speak it, right? Wrong, actually. On his own admission, he isn’t fluent in the language. Though he only admitted that when criticised by me on this blog. I also found this, which certainly suggests a competence in the language which he doesn’t have: Poet and free-lance writer. Translator of old Irish poetry… Teacher of Gaelic and cultural studies.

Of course, all the stuff about names and placenames is completely irrelevant. Did anyone ever suggest that Kevin doesn’t come from Irish, or that Derry in Maine wasn’t named after Derry here? Of course not! What this does show, very clearly, is that Curran doesn’t know anything about the Gaelic languages. Mac Taoiseach? Really? Don’t you mean Mac an Taoisigh? Is beall the Scottish Gaelic for mouth? I thought that was beul (and béal in Irish). And cam shrone is Scottish Gaelic for crooked nose? Not camshròn? And Doire doesn’t mean an oak, it means an oak wood. An oak tree is dair or crann darach. His analysis of the origin of Bangor is shite as well, but I’ll let anyone who’s interested look it up for themselves. Apparently Curran also thinks shack comes from teach. Any evidence? They don’t sound at all similar. Chah, shack. I’m not getting it. Is Che as in Guevara Lynch similar to Shek as in Chiang-Kai? Not a lot … And the opinion of experts like this (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=shack) is against shack coming from Irish, but then, Curran is far too big-headed to believe that he knows less than experts who spend their lives researching these things. Here’s some more childish nonsense from this arrogant self-worshipping twit.

Other common words such as: muck & mucky=pig as well as such words as bog=soft, possibly bogy in golf), smashing (is maith sin) are so entrenched in the English language that their sources are forgotten. It is one of the curious features of the English language is how little credence is given to native British=Welsh and Irish & Scots language) that English etymologists have gone to great lengths to derive words from classic sources while neglecting the language that has been alive for a thousand years before the Anglo-Saxon invasion in the 5th century. What is often neglected among etymologists or those who state, rather glibly, that there are only a handful of words of Gaelic origin in the English language is that everyday English speech uses names and place-names rooted in Scots & Irish history.

Which words are these that are ignored by the world of scholarship? Care to give us an example instead of an assertion? If muck = pig is one of them, the similarity between Irish muc (pig) and English muck (dirt) is purely coincidental. Muck is found in Middle Englsh and is almost certainly a borrowing from a Norse word meaning ‘dung’. (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=muck) Bog does come from Irish or Gaelic (from bogach, not directly from bog) and ALL the dictionaries agree that this is the case. (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=bog) The meaning of bogey in golf isn’t a match. So how is any of this relevant? Smashing probably doesn’t come from is maith sin, and there are many expressions in English like a hit, a smash hit, a belter, a knockout, or the English Midlands slang word bostin’ (=busting) which use the same metaphor. Anyway, sorry about this, but here’s more of Curran’s childish bullshit.

English etymologists often have little understanding of lenition (ie nasalization) and eclipsing of initial letters which changes names and words (eg Seamus=shamus=a Hamish when addressing someone with that name) Although the book “How the Irish Invented Slang” is sometimes maligned because a few of the several hundred words are of questionable Gaelic origin, yet the vast majority are correct and the book makes for fascinating reading.

Of course, it makes no difference that people don’t understand lenition, because when you ask an Irish speaker the word for the moon, they will say gealach, not ghealach or ngealach. It’s the basic, unmutated form of a word that tends to pass between languages. (Hamish and Iain in Scotland are rare exceptions where the English version chose the vocative case rather than the nominative.) Cassidy’s daft claims which rely on these mutations to ‘sound right’ like bhuail for whale or n-each for nag are just nonsense. And as for the comment that ‘a few’ are ‘questionable but ‘the vast majority are correct,’ that was around 10 September 2016. By the time Curran posted his other comment on 7 December 2016, he was claiming that Cassidy’s work was 80% plausible and these were apparently right ‘more often than not’, which means that it was 40-50% correct overall (something over half of 80%, in other words). So, which is it? The vast majority correct with a few errors, or half wrong? (The truth, of course, is almost all wrong and the rest plagiarised!) This cretin Curran is obviously just plucking random crap out of his arse and throwing it at the public like a bored chimpanzee in a zoo. Truly, a worthy follower of the Great Fraud Cassidy!

Fortunately, somebody with more sense than Curran then challenged him, but unfortunately this comment has since been deleted, so we don’t know its content. However, we can guess a little from Curran’s reply. For example, this person was obviously right about nasalization and lenition, from Curran’s reply below.

If lenition and nasalization are “totally separate processes” why do earlier (;ie 1930s) books refer to nasalization rather than “lenition”?

This is another piece of evidence that Curran has his head firmly shoved up his arse and knows nothing about linguistics or the Gaelic languages. Nasalization was formerly an inaccurate name used for eclipsis, not lenition. They are two completely different things!(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_initial_mutations)

You also write “a lot of these etymologies are totally speculative”. This is absurd. There are scholars who have devoted their lives to etymological studies, even if their etymologies are calculated guesswork. Read over Partridge’s “Origins”. It might help you develop more understanding of this complex topic that you write off.

Wow, talk about being a pompous shithead! You mean the kind of deep understanding you have, Curran? How exactly does Partridge’s dictionary of etymology confirm any of Cassidy’s ludicrous claims? Got any examples? Any evidence? This is simply a diversionary tactic used by many followers of pseudo-scholarship. When questioned, they mention an irrelevant source which their opponent probably won’t have access to in order to intimidate the opposition and pretend to be experts.

The fact is, there are fantasists and con-men and liars like Daniel Cassidy who make up nonsense and pass it off as fact, and there are real scholars (Partridge included) who follow sound methodology and get it right. And you in your boundless arrogance, Curran, have decided to ignore all the evidence and support an obvious liar instead of the international community of real scholars. God help us, and more importantly, God help any poor student at the University of Maine who gets Hugh Curran as a Tutor-Instructor in Irish Gaelic in the Critical Languages Program.

How the fuck can anyone teach language skills, and critical skills, and thinking skills, if they don’t have any?

An Open Letter To ‘Enduna’

I recently received an ignorant little comment from someone calling themselves Corin on my post Niall O’Dowd Has Sold Out.

The man has been dead for almost a decade. Get a fucking life.

It got me wondering, who is this person and why are they defending a worthless criminal screw-up like Daniel Cassidy? It didn’t take me long to find out. Her comment contained the username endunadazi. Having a voluminous knowledge of the Cassidy Cronies and their activities, I remembered having seen enduna before.

On the 16th of November, 2007, enduna posted the following review (labelled AN ABSOLUTE TREASURE) on Amazon.com.

I’ve been sending this book over to my Irish-speaking relatives and co-workers. They just love it.

Thanks to Mr. Cassidy for such an entertaining and informative piece of Irish-American history.

“Cassidy’s book (How the Irish Invented Slang: The Secret Language of the Crossroads)… is wonderful! Congrats to him on winning an American Book Award. ” – Stanford U. Professor of Linguistics

I couldn’t agree more.

Yes, entertaining … and informative … What an idiot! Fortunately, enduna is quite a distinctive name. A little more surfing on Google revealed that enduna is a writer and producer of TV thrillers called Corinne Marrinan. Under that name, she gave How The Irish Invented Slang 5 stars on Goodreads on March 15th 2008. And in October 2008, on www.recordonline.com, we find this in an article about her:

She’s also working on … an adaptation of the book “How the Irish Invented Slang,” …

So, at the very least, Marrinan is someone who fell hook, line and sinker ten years ago for the fatuous invented shite masquerading as Irish in Cassidy’s book. I suspect she probably got to know the Great Fraud personally while negotiating to produce the programme about his insane book but I may be wrong about that.

The reasons why she is in denial about Cassidy and his moronic book really don’t interest me. What I will say is this. It doesn’t matter a damn to me that Cassidy has been dead for ten years. That Hitler guy has been dead for generations – should we start being kind about him, Corinne? Perhaps you would like to enlighten us on how long the Statute of Limitations should run on a farrago of lying nonsense like How The Irish Invented Slang? Should we just forget it’s shite ten years after the author dies, in spite of the fact that it’s still out there swindling the gullible?

The toxic slick of nonsense released into the world by Cassidy is not dead. It continues to fester and to be reproduced ad nauseam by stupid and badly-educated people. And of course, the Irish language wouldn’t matter much to a Plastic Paddy like you. It matters a lot to me that the language I love and use every day is being smeared with excrement in a kind of dilettante Dirty Protest by a bunch of arrogant American nobodies who think they know it all.

And as for me “getting a life”, well, I’m sure your life is good, Corinne – and I mean that in the most Randy Newman sense possible. My life is also good. It’s very different from yours, I’m sure. For example, in my life, the Irish language is a reality, not a distant abstraction, as it is to you and was to Cassidy. And I’m sure that in the shallow, Californian media world that you inhabit, you can easily hand out orders to persuade a flunkey that you’re right even when you’re wrong. (Yes, madam, thank you for pointing that out to me. The crow sitting over there on the fence is indeed red and white polka-dotted and not black. It was very remiss of me to think otherwise. Please accept my profound apologies, madam.)

However, I’m nobody’s flunkey, and the facts remain the facts, whatever you think or pretend to think. Cassidy was a talentless, unqualified narcissist who invented hundreds of phoney ‘Irish’ phrases and accused anyone who disagreed with him of being a racist and a reactionary. That you fell for this charlatan and his obvious nonsense and now feel like an idiot isn’t my problem. I will continue to defend my language and culture from Cassidy, because Cassidy’s book is still spreading lies about the Irish language.

So, why don’t you get a fucking life, Corinne – an honest one! Just drop the denial and admit you were wrong! Because the day I stop defending the truth in deference to a swollen-headed, self-worshipping twit like you will be the day I stop respecting myself. Don’t hold your breath …

Niall O’Dowd Has Sold Out!

On this blog, I have frequently criticised an awful tabloid website called IrishCentral. This website has repeatedly republished a lying and badly-written article by Brendan Patrick Keane, purporting to be an opinion piece. In reality, all it does is regurgitate a number of Daniel Cassidy’s insane theories about the Irish origins of slang. As has often been said, people are entitled to their own opinions, not to their own facts. Almost nothing in this article is factually correct. I have also criticised IrishCentral’s founder, Niall O’Dowd, who is closely associated with many of Cassidy’s cronies.

However, over the last couple of days, I have discovered that Niall O’Dowd has sold IrishCentral for €2.7 million to a consortium of Irish media investors. Surprise, surprise, one of this consortium is a figure I have also mentioned on this blog – Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, Sinn Féin minister for finance in Stormont.

This is a perfect opportunity for Ó Muilleoir to act according to his principles. He can put a word in with the editors of IrishCentral and tell them to stop republishing these lies about the Irish language. Even better, perhaps he could ask them to write an article which actually tells the truth about Daniel Cassidy and his dishonesty and fraud. Surely IrishCentral and Ó Muilleoir and the other Cassidy Cronies have done enough damage to our language and culture. It’s time to set the record straight and tell it like it is. It’s time for Ó Muilleoir to stop supporting these scumbags and start defending the Irish language from this nonsense.

It’s a simple choice. I know he’s a busy man, but If he has the time to tweet pictures of cows on the Lagan towpath and follow the activities of other Cassidy Cronies like Michael Patrick MacDonald, he has time to do this.

The English For Comhar

I recently criticised the claim made by Daniel Cassidy and perpetuated by some of his apprentices in idiocy that the word comhar is of central importance in Irish culture and language and that it is ‘a long-standing ideal of cooperative society’.

By a strange coincidence, someone asked me the other day to find out where bee comes from, as in a sewing or spelling bee. It turns out that bee is thought to be a corruption of been or bean, an English dialect word meaning a favour or a gathering of people to help out a neighbour. It suddenly struck me – BEAN OR BEEN IS THE ENGLISH FOR COMHAR!

In other words, it must be a central concept of Anglophone culture, a long-standing ideal of a cooperative society! I’m so excited at having made this major anthropological discovery just by clicking a mouse a couple of times.

I am beginning to see the appeal of Cassidy’s methods. It’s so much easier to make major discoveries when you don’t have to do any work or present any evidence! Brilliant! Remember, you heard it here first …

 

(Just in case anyone has stopped by here without understanding the context of the blog, let me make it quite clear that I am being sarcastic here!)

 

Teach Yourself Pomposity

Recently, I have criticised Michael Patrick MacDonald, an Irish-American writer, who supported Daniel Cassidy and his crazy theories and attacked real scholars and lexicographers (“racist OED lapdogs”) for disagreeing with him and his friends. I have nothing to say about MacDonald’s activism or indeed about his books. He may be a great man and a great writer. He may be as big a fraud as Cassidy himself. I don’t know and I can’t be bothered finding out. All that interests me here is his support for the liar Daniel Cassidy (who was apparently a personal friend of his). 

The other day, I noticed another comment on Twitter from MacDonald which irritated me almost as much as his “racist lapdogs.” 

Can I say this? University is stupid. Kill your memorized “radical” language and walk free, connect. 

And below that:

A month in belfast, Jo-burg, east NY, and one will learn the history of the world & post colonial theory for plane fare. 

Now, there are several reasons why this is stupid and objectionable. For one thing, this man doesn’t seem to have any university degrees. He works in a university as a writer in residence, but that’s not the same as having a background in academia. Of course, there are criticisms to be made of academia, but they sound better coming from people who’ve actually proven themselves within that system. They certainly sound ridiculous coming from someone who mistook Daniel Cassidy for a serious scholar. As has been pointed out many times before, autodidacts (people who teach themselves in an informal and unstructured way) tend to be massively confident. And in many cases, as in the case of Cassidy, this is not because they have weighed up all the facts and can confidently identify which are correct or incorrect: rather, it is because they are simply ignorant of anyone else’s viewpoint apart from their own, so it seems OBVIOUS to them that their own opinion must be right. 

As I said above, it’s possible to criticise academia for a lot of reasons. It probably does serve to sharpen class divisions, and in recent years it has become very managerial and money-driven. However, it is also, like democracy, the worst system apart from all the others. The methods of academia are about establishing the facts, anchoring speculation in observable truth, not allowing bigotry and groupthink to undermine the international community of scholars and the work they produce.

The alternative is the malicious dross you can find in any bookshop, shit about ancient aliens building Newgrange and how the Sumerians discovered America and how various royal families of Europe are descended from Jesus’s girlfriend, and how the cadences of modern American speech descend from the crude bilingual patois of Irish speakers. In other words, there is a choice between building human knowledge throughout the generations by checking facts and eliminating error, or just believing any old shite that suits your world-view, from White Supremacism to 9/11 ‘Truth’, from Nazis living on the moon to the extreme numptiness of Young Earth Creationism. 

The search for and the accumulation of knowledge is important. It’s not a class thing. It’s not a national or racial thing. It’s a human thing. It’s one of the most important parts of what we are as humans, and anyone who dismisses it as casually as MacDonald is a fool.

Here, MacDonald shows us again that he doesn’t give a toss about academia or the search for knowledge. However, there is another stupidity in the tweets above. (Amazing how much crap some people manage to squeeze into 140 characters …) So a trip to Belfast will automatically broaden your mind and teach you about history and colonialism? What about all those people who’ve never spent much time out of Belfast and they still get exercised about their little fleg protests? I’m sure there are plenty of bigots in Jo’berg as well. Travel doesn’t automatically broaden the mind, and some people would probably be better staying at home and reading a good book by a genuine academic rather than going abroad to confirm their prejudices. When I read the nonsense in MacDonald’s tweet, I immediately thought of that lovely old Irish poem about pilgrimage written in the margin of a 9th century text:

Teicht do Róim:
mór saído, becc torbai!
in rí chon·daigi hi foss,
mani·m-bera latt, ní·fogbai.

Here’s a rough translation:

Going to Rome: great the pain,
and all for very little gain.
The King you were looking for at home,
if you don’t bring Him with you, you won’t find in Rome.

 

Kitty

In Daniel Cassidy’s insane work of etymological fiction, How The Irish Invented Slang, the phoney professor of Irish Studies claimed that the word kitty, meaning a pot of money in a gambling game, derives from the Irish phrase cuid oíche. This is highly improbable.

The origins of the word kitty are unknown, though there are several possibilities. You can find some information at these links:

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-kit2.htm

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=kitty

The phrase cuid oíche (earlier spelling cuid oidhche) is an historical term. It literally means ‘a night’s portion’ and it refers to the entertainment which a lord could expect from his subjects. It is pronounced roughly as cudge-eeha and has been anglicised as cuddy. In other words, it is not a good match for kitty in terms of pronunciation or of meaning.