Tag Archives: SoHo

James B

One of the least pleasant aspects of writing this blog is dealing with Cassidy’s supporters, many of whom show signs of the same mental illness, arrogance and stupidity that made their guru such a waste of space. Recently, someone calling himself James B tried to post a message as a reply to Emma’s nomination of this blog for a Liebster Award. For a while, I thought of just ignoring it, because I’ve answered this kind of nonsense over and over again and nothing’s changed. However, on reflection, I’ve decided to rescue it from the bin and make a post of it. Here’s what ‘James B’ had to say:

“Perhaps this award will propel the courageously anonymous “Debunker” to reveal something about himself – like his actual name and his credentials (if he has any at all), since he has no reservations doing the same for the late Professor Cassidy. But don’t count on it. We know how rats run from the light of day.”

Where do I start? Well, first things first. This message came from New York, from the same person who posted recently under the name of Jimbo. He uses the email address AfterTheFall@gmail.com. A troll with the username AfterTheFall also contributes regularly to NY Curbed, where he shows a great deal of interest in the New York Citibike scheme and the activities of Margaret Chin, a local politician. Both of these issues are also dear to the heart of Sean Sweeney, who has posted in many places in support of Cassidy’s rubbish. So, while I can’t prove it, I believe that this is either Sean Sweeney or a close associate of Sean Sweeney.

I won’t labour the obvious point that using a fake identity to criticise someone for writing anonymously isn’t very consistent or logical, and I won’t waste any time mocking the pretentious New York ‘Goodfella’ cliché in the last line. You … doidy … rats …

As in the last message (or the last few messages, if this is a sockpuppet for SS), the poster is still refusing to deal in facts or evidence. While he mentions the revelations about Cassidy’s qualifications, he again refuses to acknowledge them or discuss them. I mean, if he doesn’t believe in them, surely he should be using his post to defend Cassidy’s reputation? And if he does accept them, then he obviously doesn’t consider the scale and severity of Cassidy’s academic fraud to be a problem. I mean, when is he going to stop attacking the messengers and address the evidence that his friend Cassidy was a fraud?

As I have said many times, who I am is completely irrelevant, as are my qualifications. That I am better qualified than Daniel Cassidy is true – around 40% of the population of Ireland has a degree and is therefore better qualified than DC, and that’s not even including thousands of teenagers who pass competitive examinations in the Irish language every year, demonstrating a knowledge of the Irish language which Cassidy never had. But I have never said that people should trust what I say because of my qualifications. I have said, repeatedly, that people should go to primary sources and check them. And let’s not call him ‘the late Professor Cassidy’. Thanks to Cassidy’s sister and the registrar at Cornell, we know that he didn’t have a degree and that means that he obviously wasn’t a real professor. He was Cassidy, the nut Cassidy, the fraud Cassidy, or perhaps Mr Cassidy if I’m feeling nice. But why should I or anyone else call him Professor?

You see, what this blog is about is informing people of the truth, using proper evidence-based methods. Here’s an example, in case you’ve forgotten what the truth is like. The English dictionaries say that the American English expression buncombe (or bunkum) comes from Buncombe County in North Carolina and dates back to a number of filibustering speeches made by Felix Walker in 1820. When challenged, he said that he was ‘speaking to Buncombe’ and not to Washington. This expression goes back to the 1820s and is found first in a journal of 1829, but was later used by other sources in the early 19th century and was even used by Thomas Carlyle in Britain – also with the spelling Buncombe. Bunkum came later. And the early references are to people ‘speaking to Buncombe’, as in the North Carolina story, not ‘talking Buncombe’ or ‘talking bunkum’. Cassidy then comes along and claims that this story is nonsense and that the word really comes from Irish buanchumadh, which he says means a long-drawn out story. He provides no evidence for either claim. The real origin story is solid. The word buanchumadh is not in any dictionary or Irish text. There is not a shred of evidence that buanchumadh has ever existed and, as I have explained before, it doesn’t work as an Irish expression.

Most of Cassidy’s claims are similar. Worse still, lots of people think they know some Irish from reading Cassidy’s book. The nonsense phrases invented by Cassidy are spreading virally. Because of the Cassidy hoax, there are t-shirts available on line with Giog Gheal (sic) on them. This is another fake Cassidy phrase. There are people walking around with Dead Ráibéad tattooed on their arms. More fakery. Some history books have been polluted with this childish fraud, and are full of fake Irish nonsense. Thousands of people who don’t know any genuine Irish at all are convinced that Cassidy’s made-up rubbish is real. That’s why Cassidy and his supporters are traitors to the Irish language. These scum (which of course comes from Irish is cum meaning ‘is invented’ – only joking!) are betraying our heritage by pretending that a fake version of the language is the real thing.

I suspect that James B or Jimbo or Sean or whoever he is already knows that he’s wrong. If he thought he could provide some evidence to defend Cassidy’s theories, he would have done so by now. But rather than admit that he got it wrong, he is such an egomaniac that he’d prefer to carry on lying and disrespecting our language and our culture, while sneering at people who actually speak Irish, because that’s the kind of person he is. A person whose values are purely cosmetic and who doesn’t really care a damn about Ireland or its language. Greater love hath no man than this, that he betray his country for his cronies.

So, James B or Jimbo or Sean, or whoever you are, nobody gives a damn about the opinions of a self-deluding crank like you. You may not have admitted it to yourself yet, but you know full well that Cassidy was wrong, and that all the evidence is against you. Still, don’t get downhearted at your own stupidity. Why don’t you go out for a nice meal to cheer yourself up? I believe the restaurant at SoHo House is great. Just don’t forget your wallet …

The Madness of Sweeney

I have received a message from someone calling themselves Sean Sweeney, who has contributed a number of rather rabid and not very intelligent posts in support of Daniel Cassidy’s crazy theories on different websites. I don’t know if this person is genuinely just a fan of Cassidy’s or if he is a sockpuppet for one of Cassidy’s Cronies.

Now, I am a great believer in democracy. Debate is a fine thing. However, I have gone to a lot of trouble to produce an intelligent and trustworthy blog (far more trouble than Cassidy ever went to!) and I don’t want this to become some kind of Democracy Wall for every saucer-eyed crazy and deluded idiot to deface with their stupidities. For that reason, I will publish this message along with an appropriate answer here.

This is what Sweeney says:

So, a people as garrulous, vibrant, influential, street-wise and abundant as the the Irish contributed a mere handful of words to the language, whilst other groups have contributed hundreds? Get real.

Some of Cassidy’s derivations may be nonsense, but nowhere as nonsensical as what you claim.

And here is my reply.

Personally, Sweeney, I think you have some nerve telling me to get real, when you are trying to tell people that Daniel Cassidy’s book is worth reading! With all due respect (and that’s no respect at all), you claim that the Irish language must have contributed hundreds of words to American vernacular because the Irish talk a lot. Talk about a non-sequitur! Nor is it bringing anything new to the debate. It is the same weak and childish argument used by Cassidy when he said that he knew Irish people who could talk the paint off walls, so how come they made no contribution to American vernacular? (His answer was, of course, that a sinister cabal of Anglophile dictionary-makers had conspired to hide the fact that they did! What were you saying about me getting real?)

Why MUST the Irish have contributed hundreds of words to American vernacular? (Apart from the fact that you say so, of course!) Language contact is a complex sociolinguistic situation and there are lots of factors at play. How many of the Irish immigrants were already bilingual when they arrived? What was the language of choice among young Irish immigrants? What was their attitude towards Irish – did they think of it as something good or as the language of the old lad in the corner? (Douglas Hyde was told by an Irish American in Boston that there were two kinds of cranks they didn’t like – cranks who are against alcohol and cranks who are in favour of the Irish language!) Was there already a fully developed urban slang in English when they arrived? And is it really true that other languages gave hundreds of terms to American vernacular? Yiddish certainly gave more than Irish but I don’t think there are that many common Yiddish expressions in vernacular American English (i.e. slang terms like putz and shmuck) – probably no more than a couple of dozen. For German it’s even fewer, and there were probably as many German as Irish immigrants and almost none of them were bilingual!

In other words, Sweeney or whoever you are, this isn’t a rational argument based on facts. It’s just a sweeping generalisation unsupported by any evidence.

And that brings me to the most important part. In this blog, I have analysed a large number of Cassidy’s fake derivations and given the truth about them. I have also stated that apart from obviously Irish words like machree, whiskey and shebeen and the handful of other words which are already given as Irish or Shelta in mainstream dictionaries such as sourpuss, slob and moniker, there are only a couple of words in Cassidy’s book which might be considered to be possible, such as snas for snazzy and deifir for jiffy. And that doesn’t make them right, just worthy of further consideration. For the rest, the derivations given in this book are as stupid and improbable as béal ónna for baloney or gus óil for guzzle. They are complete nonsense.

In spite of all the evidence presented here you apparently STILL believe that the Irish gave hundreds of words to American vernacular. Fine! Do you believe that I have got it wrong about some of these words on the blog? Tell me which words and why I’m wrong! Do you believe that some of the words I haven’t dealt with in Cassidy’s book are good candidates? Then tell us what those words are and tell us why they are good candidates. And I’ll do my best to argue against them using logic and facts. (Or in the unlikely event that I agree with you, I’ll say that too.)

Debates like this need to be based on facts. If you’re prepared to offer some facts and debate rationally, then bring it on! If all you want is to repeat baseless irrational opinions over and over again, then go and waste someone else’s time.