Tag Archives: sockpuppets

The Daniel Cassidy Memorial Lecture

On the 9th of November, in San Francisco, as part of a festival called Hinterland, the Irish broadcaster and historian Myles Dungan will give the inaugural Daniel Cassidy Memorial Lecture. The Hinterland festival has two independent parts, one in County Meath and the other (HinterlandWest) in California. The Irish festival is also linked to the Hay Festival on the border between England and Wales.

Anyone who has read this blog carefully will realise that there is something very strange about the idea of commemorating Daniel Cassidy or celebrating his life.

The HinterlandWest Festival describes Cassidy thus:

Daniel Cassidy was a much-loved musician, and academic who ran the Irish Studies programme at New College, San Francisco up to the time of his death in 2008.

The comma is interesting. Did they originally have a comment about his skills as a writer and linguist but decided to remove it because they realise that the boat sailed on that one a long time ago? Or do they simply have problems with punctuation?

The facts in relation to Daniel Cassidy are clear. He was certainly a musician, though an indifferent one.

With regard to his status as an academic, there is no doubt that Cassidy worked as a lecturer at New College of California for around twelve years. Cassidy himself claimed (under a rather obvious sock puppet identity) that he had worked before that at San Francisco State but I have no confirmation of this claim.

What is very clear is that he was not entitled to be a lecturer in any university because he had no qualifications. Some sources, such as Wikipedia, claimed for a long time that he graduated from Cornell. Cassidy himself claimed to have been educated at or studied at Cornell and then at Columbia. The SF Irish American Crossroads Festival website says that Cassidy studied first at Columbia and then at Cornell, but this is contradicted by accounts of his life given by Cassidy in interviews.

The fact is that Cassidy attended Cornell for about four years on a scholarship, but left the university in 1965 without receiving a degree. He never attended Columbia University and he never got a primary degree or a postgraduate degree.

In other words, the reality is that Cassidy was just some unqualified guy who had wandered in off the street with an attitude and the gift of the gab and had no right to even apply for a job as a teacher. This is confirmed again and again in his book and in the numerous articles that appeared in newspapers around the time of its publication. In his book, Cassidy demonstrates time and time again that he didn’t care about facts or telling the truth. He knew nothing about the methods used by genuine academics. The book is weak and badly argued, with its fake phonetics, ludicrously bad referencing, a tendency to dishonestly miss out anything that conflicted with his theories and an even more disturbing tendency to simply invent phrases in ‘Irish’ that never existed and in many cases could never exist, phrases like fo-luach and sách úr and béal ónna and teas ioma and uath-anchor. The book really is a complete mess and anyone who thinks that How The Irish Invented Slang is going to make a genuine contribution to the world of etymology is delusional.

It has also been suggested that Cassidy used his unearned status as a lecturer to sexually harass young women who were unlucky enough to be studying under his guidance. This claim came from a person who left a message here and who studied at New College. I have no idea whether it’s true or not but knowing Cassidy’s arrogance and self-obsession and lack of boundaries, I don’t consider it at all unlikely.

Myles Dungan, who is delivering this inaugural Daniel Cassidy Memorial Lecture (let’s hope it’s also the last), interviewed Cassidy just after his book was published. I have already dealt with this elsewhere on this blog. It was a fairly feeble interview and a poor piece of journalism, which gave Cassidy an easy ride and failed to ask any difficult (and obvious) questions. It is strange to find Myles Dungan, who gave this toxic fraud a platform to sell his garbage to unsuspecting people back then, once again stepping up to support this liar more than a decade later. It’s doubly strange in that Myles Dungan is well-known for a blog that debunks fake news stories from history.

I don’t know who was responsible for establishing this Daniel Cassidy Memorial Lecture and damaging the reputation of the HinterlandWest Festival by associating it with a man who is universally despised by all right-thinking people. I suspect that Elizabeth Creely, one of the most vociferous Cassidy loyalists, had a hand in this bizarre decision. Whoever is responsible, the fact is that Cassidy was not a person deserving of commemoration or celebration. He was a criminal, a liar, a narcissist, a hypocrite and a total waste of space. No decent human being would knowingly associate themselves with this man and his deceptions.

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!