Tag Archives: sock puppets

Another Sock Puppet

As I have already mentioned in several posts (Another Cassidy Sock Puppet; Mr and Mrs Sock Puppet), in the period around November 2007 to January 2008, a number of fake reviews of Cassidy’s book appeared in various places on the internet. This is another example from 28 November 2007, which can be found on the Thomas Pynchon Wiki.

How can I be so sure that this is Cassidy? Well, there is the obsession with the Irish origin of jazz. The typical dig at the OED. The usual line about the Gorta Mor (recte Gorta Mór or Drochshaol to real Irish speakers). The ludicrous claims that bunkum and hoodoo and spiel and baloney come from Irish. Nobody apart from Cassidy ever claimed that and all of these claims are nonsense.

And then there’s the casual comment at the end, which is saying that the author isn’t Cassidy but there is a book I’ve just found out about which is bound to discuss these terms and many others! It is important that people realise that Cassidy wasn’t just wrong. He was also a humungous liar who lied continually and without the least guilt or embarrassment.


Jazz / Jass

The OED lists the earliest print usage of “Jazz,” originally a dance and not, as in current use, the musical form, as 1909. The exact dating of this episode is unclear, though it seems likely to have occurred earlier. The usage is not anachronistic though its precise usage(as a musical form rather than a dance)may be unknown. As for the unusual spelling, the OED lists “Jass” as a variant, though with no information as to where or when it was prevalent. see OED article above.

In my music student days, I was told Jazz was a Creole word. It’s no secret that the Empire builders made sure to extirpate or pervert language and culture from countries under their protection. (See discussion of Tartan on pg. 220) Not that one shouldn’t trust the OED, but it is an ENGLISH DICTIONARY. New Orleans was the third largest disembarkation port for poor Irish fleeing An Gorta Mor (or ‘Famine’ as some would have it) They came as ballast on returning trans-Atlantic cotton ships. They liked N.O. because it was a Catholic city and the City Fathers liked them because they worked for next to nothing on projects like the New Basin Canal and were also content to work and live with the Black population. Quite a few slang words came into American English from the original Irish (galore, baloney (as in foolish talk, not meat), bunkum, hoodoo, spiel, and those gangster words for face and mouth: pus and gob!) There is an Irish language word spelled teas in Irish letters and pronounced tjazs in our letters. It suggests excitement or passion and could be connected to the blend of dance that led from Irish step to American tap.

I learned today of a book, How the Irish Invented Slang:The Secret Language of the Crossroads by Professor Dan Cassidy [1] which I’m sure has these and more.

Mr and Mrs Sock Puppet

Just after Cassidy’s insane book How The Irish Invented Slang came out, a number of comments appeared on various forums and websites on line by someone called (Ellen) Clare McIntyre, supporting Cassidy’s book and recommending that people buy it. For example, on Friday 23 November 2007, the following message, purporting to be from a student called Ellen McIntyre, appeared on http://able2know.org/topic/106690-1:

How the Irish Invented Slang Hello, my first post. I have read Daniel Cassidy’s How the Irish Invented Slang and found it to be an incredibly interesting read! It has essays and a dictionary that lay out his thesis that the irish language (like the languages of every other major immigrant group to N. America) did have an influence on American vernacular and popular speech. HL Mencken in the 1930s stated that the Irish gave American speech almost no words, unlike Italians, Spanish, Latinos, French, Yiddish-speakers, Germans, African-Americans, etc. He found it puzzling. I believe Cassidy solves the puzzle. Also I read somewhere on this site that the book has only 63 pages. Is that an earlier pamphlet perhaps? My book has more than 300 pages, with introduction, essays, a dictionary, and is fully cited. If there is an earlier booklet I would like to see it. I study the Irish language in college. I heartily recommend Cassdy’s book. It is funny and eye-opening at the same time. Refreshingly he doersn’t take himself too seriously like many self-styled language scholars. Tt’s a doozer (duasoir, prizewinner) of a leabhar (book). Sla/n, Ellen

This is very similar to the style of many of Cassidy’s on line comments, as well as many comments made by other sock puppets under names like Dalta and Medbh, comments which were almost certainly written by Cassidy himself.

On the 27th of November 2007, someone called eclaremc was writing in similar terms and also claiming to be an impartial student of Irish stopping by to express a positive opinion on this website: https://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/2007/11/17/bad-book-of-irish-slang/

Only an Anglophile like Grant Barrett could blithely ignore Irish studies scholars like Professors Joseph Lee and Robert Scally, Irish language speakers like Irish Times Irish language the editor Pol O Muiri, the writer and Irish language newspaper publisher Mairtin O’Muilleor, and Irish and Irish-American writers from Peter Quinn and Pete Hamill to MIchael Patrick MacDonald and Terry Golway. The scores of positive reviews Cassiy’s book HOW THE IRISH INVENTED SLANG: The Sceret Language of the Cerossroads has gotten in just a few months is amazing. As someone curretnly writing their senior paper on Cassidy’s amazing book, I am appalled at reviews like Mr. Barrett’s. They are in one word: bigoted.

(Looks like the computer’s been drinking …) This then continues with lots of quotations, primarily from friends of Cassidy’s, which are also given by sock puppets like Medbh.

Then at the end of January 2008, this impartial lover of truth, ellen mcintyre, once again decided to support Cassidy’s rubbish book with a few kind words on this website: http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2008/01/09/know-your-slurs. She also gives a few less than kind words about those scholars and academics who had criticised the book.

Cassidy’s book has been dumped on by a tiny group of what he calls “English dictionary dudes” like Zwicky and Grant “the English Parrot” Barret, but La Nua, Beo, the two most popular Irish language publications in Ireland just gave HOW THE IRISH INVENTED SLANG rave reviews. And Cassidy is not an amateur, he is a professor of irish Studies. The book also has great stuff about Chicago irish, Hinky Dink Kenna, Bathhouse John Coughlin, and the great James T. Farrell!!! Zwicky has no books published on etymology, slang, or Irish, while Barrett is just a shill for the Oxford Dictionary which publishes his barely selling boring slang dictionaries. I agree with the reviewer above. The Anglophile neo-conservative lexicographers got caught with their English knickers down on Irish language influence on American vernacular and now they are piling on Cassidy with ad hominem attacks. But the Irish Times, NY Times, Belfast Telegraph, Irish Independent, San Francisco Chronicle and even Playboy gave the book 5 star reviews. Buy it and judge for yourself. Cassidy does not assert he is right on every word, but he sure nailed a lot of them like snazzy, swell, scam, slugger, sucker, mullarkey, baloney, slum, lunch, beat, brag, cracker, hoodoo, holy moly, holy mackerel, gee whiz, daddy-o, shanty, shack, scram, dogie, bucaneer, buckaroo, ward “heeler,” and yes, I believe “jazz” is Irish. Do not credit the self-published hateful reviews by the Zwickys and Barretts of the world. Give this book a chance. The NY Times and Irish Times did and Joe Lee, top Professor of Irish Studies at NYU called it a “landmark book”. Know any books by Arnold Zwicky? Fuh’ged it. Get the book. Judge for yerself. It’s a doozy. William Kennedy is hosting Cassidy in Albany on St, Patrick’s Day and now a film is being made of the book. All Chicagoans should read this book. It explains the origins of a lot of the words in our gob (beak, mouth). This ain’t baloney (beal onna, follish talk), it’s the real skinny.

Anyone casting a casual eye over these forums and websites might actually believe that this is a genuine comment by someone unconnected with Cassidy. However, it is worth bearing in mind that Cassidy’s wife is called Clare McIntyre. I don’t know where the Ellen comes from but the Ellen McIntyre and eclaremc (along with another which has since been deleted) are enough to convince me that these comments are coming from someone using Cassidy’s wife’s name. Was it written by Mrs Cassidy? I don’t know. The style seems typical of Cassidy himself but perhaps they sat at the computer cackling away and composing this vicious and self-aggrandizing nonsense together. Or perhaps she knew nothing about it and he merely borrowed her name. I certainly don’t believe that these comments were put up without Cassidy’s knowledge and connivance.

I don’t know anything about the motivation of liars and charlatans like Cassidy and I don’t really care to find out. I want to ensure that as few people as possible buy into this nasty anti-Irish rubbish.

So, if anyone still doubts that Cassidy was a cheap low-life con-man, I suggest they check out these comments, where Cassidy, under the guise of a female student of Irish, brags and boasts about his own academic excellence and the worthlessness of his critics, while once again providing complimentary reviews from his own friends. What a useless, despicable bastard!