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All comments by Tommy Sandsmark
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Charles, Please enlighten me: what was my thoughtful characterisation. Since I haven't read “the Public Hating”, I have problems in recognising your reference. Was it a compliment or was it more or less like a jest, or could it maybe even have been satiric?

It's the word “thoughtful” that makes me wonder whether or not you meant it as anything but acceptable, but just plainly forgot to put it in brackets… :-)

And I do agree that “whipping boy” fits badly in here. I just didn't find a more adequate word at the time. I really meant something like “ He is locked in the street dock, as the receiver of peoples mockery, scorn, spitting and wrath”.

Hanan and Tom: I fully understand your anger, and I am also of the opinion that the situation would have been much easier to handle if he had only admitted something and shown some remorse. That was also my very first choice and exactly what I advised him to do.

Now I understand that he may be facing a law suit, and if so, it is much easier for me to comprehend why he hasn't uttered a word. He has every right to believe that no matter what he says, it will probably boomerang and be used in evidence against him in a court of law.

Nonetheless, I still think that even if we push for a solution, nobody will be happy, his actions will never be condoned nor absolved and this matter will not result in anybody's satisfaction.

And there is a limit as to how many times we should keep on saying the same thing(s) over and over again. His crime is by no means punishable by public decapitation nor hanging, and I really think we should get over it, the sooner, the better. Whoever wants to, can feel free to mistrust him for ever, to think of him with scorn and even to hate him if one needs to. But we should really try to get on with more important aspects of our lives.
Sept. 6, 2018
Tommy Sandsmark edited this comment Sept. 6, 2018
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I also beg to differ, as he has not gotten away with it. Not by a long shot! He has shit his pants, and the shit stain will be there and smell pretty badly for quite some time.

I cannot for my bare life understand why you think he has gotten away with it. His person has been the subject of a public and pretty nasty shit-throwing debate, he has been accused of nearly everything except murder and child molestation and has lost almost all credibility. I feel very confident that he has taken no pleasure in being the whipping boy for so long. I am also pretty sure that he regrets his clipping actions, even if he is unable to make himself say so.

Since he quite obviously does not understand what would be best for him, and does not listen to reason, nor gives a damn about what people think about him, he is clearly a person that needs to be rescued from himself. It's very simple, Hanan: One should not kick a man who is down and who is being counted out! If we do that, we are worse offenders than whatever he has been accused of being.

As to the lesson learned, I would not assume that any journalist, no matter how full of himself he might be, would willfully sink to the bottom, degrading to plagiatism and thereby risk the harsh treatment Mark has suffered for such a long period now. I know I wouldn't.

Nearly all journalists holds one ear to the ground and try to catch prominent and excellent boards. We are allowed to use all boards, but not the wording of the author without dedication. But who of us can say, bible in hand, that we haven't, not even occationally found a good phrase and (mis?)used it in our columns? Nearly all of us are for sure guilty of something, the only separating issue being the degree of direct copying we have inserted into our articles.

We are sitting in glass houses, but when we have finished throwing stones through the walls, there must come a time when things should be at least partially mended and the glass should be glued together again. Anything else would be vindictive and futile and leve us at on-site march!
Sept. 4, 2018
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I do agree with you, Hanan and John, but my point is that Mark is an enjoyable writer, whose stories are more or less always easy to read, easy to follow and entertaining. This is what journalism is all about, don't you think?

We hardly ever read or find any pleasure in reading news in Swahili, simply because we do not understand the language. And all of us like to read well presented stories. I cannot believe that you would be able to find MH's articles boring or unreadable or even uninteresting! He is an interesting person who possesses a great sense of humour.

But in my opinion, enough is enough. The lesson has been learned (I hope). So please let's get on with our lives! I don't think this is condoning anything, but as you surely know, it is impossible to squeeze water out of a stone, and we are therefore not likely to ever receive any form of “mea maxima culpa” from Mark.

Quite clearly, Mark has not understood that life is now different and serious compared to what it was when we played soccer with friends in our childhood. Three corners would result in a penalty kick and everything after that would be all right and forgotten. Mark has made an error in his professional judgement, and obviously, he seems to think that by making another error (the silence treatment), the two wrongs will make one right, and they will equal and neutralise each other. However, this is not the case at all. This sordid matter has left an ugly stain with him that will be attached to his name for a long, long time, and even time itself will have great difficulties in wiping this stain clean. I am afraid that I don't think he has shown much wisdom here, nor has he made any serious attempt to achieve reconsiliation, which could have facilitated and speeded up the way into oblivion.
Sept. 4, 2018
Tommy Sandsmark edited this comment Sept. 4, 2018
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I must admit that even I am quite a bit baffled by the fact that my very good friend Mark Horton has chosen to kill the dispute through his silence. I did advise him to lay himself flat on the ground, to admit his guilt, to display true remorse when apologising and to promise to change his ways. The funny thing here is that his thefts were actually absolutely uncalled for and unnecessary as they never really made his articles any better, nor did they add anything significant nor make him shine more brightly than when he was applying only his own words and phrasing. Thus it was quite unnecessary for such a gifted, brilliant and merited editor and bridge journalist as Mark Horton to steal anything from anybody and add it to his stories.

He told me he would follow my advice, and he also hinted that he would come back to this case in the august issue of the NBM. It has been a true disappointment to me to discover that he has honored neither of these statements. He must have got it all wrong and must have misunderstood completely the humane aspects of all this. To ask for forgiveness and to show true remorse is not at all a sign of weakness! On the contrary, this is the mark of a gentleman and shows the valour of a truly great man, who is able to admit it when being at fault and who displays a willingness to overcome his shortcomings. It would have been an action generating mutual respect and understanding and would have been “the decent thing to do”. In addition, it would probably more or less have taken the angry edge off most of the the contributors on BW and quite likely, it could have stopped all discussion and discontention there and then!

He must, however, have received other advice from other people, whose opinions obviously have been given more credit than mine. Well, that's Mark for you, and I am afraid that I seriously doubt that any kind of statement from him about this issue will ever see daylight.

Nonetheless, all valid points have been made, and I know that they have been read and understood by him, so all in all I think that until he should choose to return to old sins again, which in all probability is unlikely to happen, we should lay the issue dead and let the sleeping dog lie.

I am sure that none of us would want Mark to roll in his oars and quit giving us the glimpses of really brilliant bridge journalism that we know he is capable of without including anything written by others. There have been more than 900 comments already, and whatever could be said about his matter has been said by many angry people a long time ago.

Mark is both aware of, and has felt the pressure of massive discontent. Despite the fact that he hasn't uttered a single word to his own defence (nor attacked anybody verbally) after the allegations were published at BW, he has received the message and has been warned that several eyes will be watching him closely in the years to come.

Therefore, let's all please be decent and return to normalcy. We most certainly don't like plagiarism in any form, but nothing more can be done. There is nothing to be gained by anybody anymore, so the attacks should seize! Furthermore, there is probably nothing more to learn for anybody. The high temperature reigning all the angry, disillusioned and disappointed comments on BW will, however, more likely than not, serve as a brilliant lesson in journalistic ethics for all present and future bridge commentators, including Europe's shining star of bridge journalism, Mark Horton!
Sept. 3, 2018
Tommy Sandsmark edited this comment Sept. 4, 2018
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Hear, Hear! Well done, Phillip, and well done Karen! This is absolute ethics in journalism, and indeed something we should all have as a beacon in everything we say or do! Do you think it will make a new thread if I copy this way of doing things in the future?
Aug. 5, 2018
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Thank you Paul for setting me straight. I was not trying to downtalk any specific group of people, for some of my very best friends belong to this group.

I was merely trying to depict public sentiment in those days, which are actual historic facts as I know them. I said nothing about how it is today, for now the point of view on that question is somewhat different and so are also the issues and the reasons for positive, as well as negative reactions.

I did not at all try to be a racist, but having read through Act I, Scene 3 once more, I must unfortunately admit that Antonio indeed must have been one of the worst racists in literature history! I haven't read Merchant of Venice for over 40 years, so unfortunately, I missed that one.

Sorry Paul. Sometimes written words mean something quite different to the receiver than they do to the writer. I can only blame my poor knowledge of English, not my upbringing, I'm afraid.
Aug. 1, 2018
Tommy Sandsmark edited this comment Aug. 1, 2018
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Yes, Sarah, very observant of you, and it may even be very exciting and both interesting and funny to shuffle the roles around a little and see what one comes out with, not only in Merchant of Venice, but also in other shakespearian dramas.

Shawn: Very funny indeed!

Paul: Methinks thou misinterprete too much. There are lapses in your history knowledge, for you must understand that this was written at a time when Jews were public whippingboys: nobody liked them and everybody discredited them. They were mocked, scorned and spat at in the streets, and were in general perceived as rich, unsympathetic and unwelcome. There were even laws against them in several countries. So, when attacking Antonio, you could just as well attack Bassanio, Portia or any other main character in the play, even the Duke (but with the exception of Shylock and his daughter Jessica, who were Jews, and possibly Lorenzo, who hoped to marry one).
July 31, 2018
Tommy Sandsmark edited this comment July 31, 2018
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I am really sorry, John, and I should have refrained from participating. But, you see, I found this new thread extremely inspiring, and I caught glimpses of several plays in which Shakespeare caught the actors in so lively and magnificent ways that I recognised some of the participants of this thread.

His plays were so good because he was an excellent student of human characters, both the positive and the negative sides. And they were depicted so lively and so generally that it is possible to draw parallells to modern life.

I just couldn't help myself!
July 31, 2018
Tommy Sandsmark edited this comment July 31, 2018
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“In act 4 of Merchant of Venice, Portia and Nerissa, disguised as men, arrive at the court in Venice. She's posing as the young doctor (lawyer) Balthazar and tells the Duke she's been briefed by Doctor Bellario and is prepared to face Antonio and Shylock's case.
After meeting Shylock and Antonio, she announces Shylock should be merciful, as mercy is close to godliness. She declares that if people followed the letter of the law all the time instead of mercy, everyone would be damned to hell. As people pray for mercy, they should be willing to give it, too. She hopes her speech will soften Shylock's dogged determination to have his pound of flesh.
But Shylock isn't interested in the sum anymore, just Antonio's flesh.
Portia outlines what Shylock is awarded by law: he gets a pound of flesh, to be cut from Antonio's breast. But then she pauses for the great big catch. She points out that while Shylock is entitled to a pound of flesh, the bond said nothing about blood. If Shylock spills just a drop of Antonio's blood, Shylock will have his wealth confiscated by the Venetian government.
Portia's not done with Shylock just yet. She brings up another aspect of Venetian law, which says that if any non-Venetian directly or indirectly seeks the life of a Venetian, his intended victim will get half his stuff, with the other half going to the state. Also, the Duke gets to decide whether Shylock should be killed, as this whole Antonio-flesh obsession was clearly about attempting to murder Antonio indirectly.
Portia finishes up by asking Antonio what mercy he might want to show Shylock. She asks Shylock if he's content, which of course he has no choice but to be, and then orders the clerk to set up the ”gift“ Shylock will give his daughter upon his death: namely, everything.”

If you look at the angry mob as Shylock and MH as Antonio and any mitigater as Portia, wouldn't you agree that this play bears some resemblance to the case at hand here? Well, I do!

By the way, these accounts have actually been copied from somewhere on the Internet. I have absolutely no idea as to whom I should give respectful credit, but hopefully, nobody will find it out and then right- or wrongfully accuse me of plagiarism in a new thread…..! :-)
July 31, 2018
Tommy Sandsmark edited this comment July 31, 2018
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“To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason?”….
…“If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.”
Shylock from Merchant of Venice by Sheakspeare,
(Act 3, Scene 1)

“You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have A weight of carrion flesh than to receive Three thousand ducats: I'll not answer that:
But, say, it is my humour: is it answer'd?”…
…“Now, for your answer: As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig; Why he, a harmless necessary cat; Why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame As to offend, himself being offended; So can I give no reason, nor I will not, More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing I bear Antonio, that I follow thus A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?”
Shylock from Merchant of Venice,
(Act 4, Scene 1)
July 31, 2018
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“Nothing will come from nothing! Speak again!”
King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1. Shakespeare's King Lear in reply to his daughter Cordelia when she replied “Nothing” to his request that she declare her love for him.

A most appropriate quotation (no plagiarism, since I have not failed to give credit to what I believe to be the source!).

However, Shakespeare would probably have been a lousy bridge player. Evil tongues even suggest that his works were not at all his own, but belonged to either Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson or Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. So, for all we know, even Shakespeare may indeed have been (maybe the first) plagiarist, taking credit for something he hadn't written himself! Worth a thought, don't you think?

I must admit that I like this line far better than all the previous ones!

And I do think that quite a lot of wonderful bridge writers may indeed also be excellent players! They probably started up by being very good players, and then, when finding out that they had the ability, commenced to writing about bridge, not the other way around! Some people possess this double skill, others do not! If you are a good writer who has a poor knowledge of bridge, you are likely also to be a poor bridge writer! It takes a really good bridge player to recognise what is good bridge and what isn't.

Not that I will suggest that I am a world class player, but at school I was always given the lowest marks for every essay I wrote. However, after having taken up bridge at the age of 20, I have actually lived by my pen (and done so extremely well) for more than 45 years! If you had asked one of my Norwegian teachers back then, they would probably unanimously have denied that I would ever have the necessary skill, nor the ability be one of the founders and the editor of “Bridge i Norge” (BIN), an independent Norwegian bridge magazine, and that I now at the age of 71 would have a successful daily bridge column in “Aftenposten”, Norway's biggest newspaper! However, I just might be an exception to the old proverb “No rule without exception”, for all I know!

Yes, Christopher, I know I promised not to write anything more here, but being only a human being, I am fallible. Even though my will-power is strong, my mind is poor (and the flesh even poorer) and I am a sucker for temptations. I just couldn't resist this one! Besides, you will surely admit that this line is quite new, woun't you?
July 31, 2018
Tommy Sandsmark edited this comment July 31, 2018
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This is probably not only the wisest, but also the best and probably also the truest comment in this sordid matter, Sarah. I salute you!
July 30, 2018
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Yes, Christopher, I have said more than enough, and I will say no more, not even when provoked by you. Bye!
July 28, 2018
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I am truly sorry that you feel that way, Christopher. I do, however not feel guilty by a long shot! I have never been arrogant in my whole life, and I did explain to you that my language knowledge may surely have holes.

If I had known that anybody would consider the statement “As far as I know, neither Eugene Hung, nor Michael Clark are members of the IBPA. I don't really know why, for they are both fully eligible to become full members of the IBPA.” as an arrogant statement, I would probably have tried to rephrase it.

I didn't even react to your remark for the real reason, mostly because I didn't know what you really meant.

I will swallow also this camel and lie down flat for my rude, but unintentional language. My intention was not at all to make anybody puke or stay away form the IBPA. On the contrary! All I wanted to say, and which i may have been awkward or clumsy expressing, was that if Mr. Clark and Eugene Hung would like to become members of the IBPA, they would be welcomed, because they are both entitled to become members. There are rules as to who can become members, but they have all the credentials necessary.

I meant nothing more, nothing less, and certainly no offence. It grieves me to learn that you misinterpreted my welcoming their application.

Are you quite sure that there are no other underlying factors here which cause you to be so rude towards a 71 year old gentleman who only wants to still the storm, get rid of venomous attacks and put things into the right and reasonable perspective?

I can assure you that I did not expect such a reaction. Nor was it called for! Shame on you for reading the bible with the devil's eyes! And shame on you for wilfully misinterpreting me and for your malignent attack. Maybe you should try to find out who is the arrogant person here? Have you looked in the mirror lately?
July 28, 2018
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Very perceptive of you, Simon! Venom is the presise word to use here. Instead of howling with the wolves, you take time to try to understand what lies behind Mark Horton's breach of journalism ethics. How humane of you!

I believe you are quite right in suggesting that this is not malicious theft for his own winning, but an effort to give more life to his articles, in order to please his readers!

That is exactly why I have chosen to defend him and stand up for his rights. He hasn't hurt anybody. As far as I know, nobody has been financially damaged, and you have to be an incredible negative person not to realise that Mark Hortons aim is to please.

And so he does, time and time again. Mark Horton is beyond any doubt guilty as charged for stealing the wording from other people, and that is plagiarism, but he has also pleased incredibly many readers for years and years.

Life is not only either black or white! There are millions of shades in grey out there, and therefore there are some mitigating factors, which those whose thoughts are purely black seem to forget.

Of course, what Mark has done is wrong, and nobody can or will dispute that. However, this is nowhere near a mortal sin, and I think too many have gone too far in spreading their disgust and their venom.

So thank you, Simon, for having a healthy colour filter and for setting everybody and everything straight!
July 28, 2018
Tommy Sandsmark edited this comment July 28, 2018
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Thank you Ed and Karen! This is refreshing. I know that I make mistakes from time to time. However I have always lived by the phrase: “Please listen to what I mean, not necessarily to what I say! Nor to the way in which I said it!”

When there are no more arguments left, it is easy to attack the wording and the grammar of what has been said previously. I do not mind that at all, for it gave me the opportunity to answer with a double bottom and conclude with a healthy piece of advice both to MH and to everybody else when saying:

“I do make mistakes, but I am always willing to admit them and apologise, which I hope will make it easier for you to forgive and forget!

If only everybody could have that same attitude…..”
July 28, 2018
Tommy Sandsmark edited this comment July 28, 2018
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Thank you, Ben! I am not an A4 person and I do enjoy playing with words and phrases. I can assure you that the destroyed phrase was intended!
July 28, 2018
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Hear, Hear, Chris!
Enough is more than enough!
There are no new arguments, so the subject is exhausted.
July 28, 2018
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Ha, ha, Bill. Very amusing in all this serious shit!
July 27, 2018
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It seems that the debate on these pages have now been diminished to definitions of single words, and that you all have understood that enough is enough!

I therefore thank you all from the heart of my bottom for having been so attentive. There really cannot be much more to say about the actual matter at hand, so it should be quite all right to stop grinding the axes and let the sleeping dog lie.
July 27, 2018
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