Dai Vernon Article

Discuss the latest feature articles in Genii.

Postby Guest » 05/23/06 02:40 PM

Just wanted to mention how much I enjoyed the Vernon Article in this month's Genii. David Ben's writing style brings Vernon to life on the page and the detail and new information contained in the article is amazing. If this is an indication of what will be in the new 2 volume biography I can't wait to get my copy.

Thanks David, thanks Gabe and thanks Richard for publishing the article.
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Postby Guest » 05/23/06 02:57 PM

I agree, the photos are great. While I am looking forward to anything on The Professor, I was struck by a feeling of Deja-Vu while reading some of Mr. Ben's text.

Am doing a little digging through some old magazine files to see if I can find the source material that came to mind.
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Postby Guest » 05/23/06 03:20 PM

Great article, I love stuff like that.
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 05/24/06 04:04 AM

Dai Vernon: A Biography by David Ben.
Available in late June 2006:
http://www.squashpublications.com/PD208.html
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Postby Guest » 05/24/06 06:11 AM

Cover story and article in this month's issue of Magic as well.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 05/24/06 04:02 PM

That double page spread 1922 photo of the Chicago magicians banquet in honor of Houdini is absolutely incredible. As I scanned the faces of all the participants seated at the long tables, I couldn't help but think "Man, everyone there is gone."

Vernon spoke of Houdini; and there he is, photographed in the same room with him. Amazing.
I wish I had Ben's book right now... :)
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Postby Guest » 05/25/06 08:00 AM

I just had to add my voice to those who were knocked out by the Vernon excerpt. Excellent research, beautiful storytelling. I can hardly wait to receive the whole book(s).

Thank you, Richard, for publishing this. It may go down as one of the best feature articles in Genii ever.

Best,
Neil Tobin
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/25/06 11:49 AM

Wait until you see the next Vernon issue we're working on for '07 ... :)
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Postby Guest » 05/25/06 08:25 PM

I've a question. The cut outs that Vernon did were excellent but I always thought they were about ten inches high but in one photo they looked to be only a few inches. Can one of you collectors let me know how big they really are?
Thank you
Steve V
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Postby Matthew Field » 05/26/06 02:28 AM

Cover story in the May Magic Circular as well. This is a book I'm looking forward to, as I am the Vernon Touch book from Richard and the Vernon issue of Genii in 2007.

The silhouettes are about three inches high.

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Postby Guest » 05/26/06 05:15 AM

Most of Vernon's silhouettes were of the size suggested by Matt. He did, however, sometimes vary the size. Of the several hundred Vernon silhouettes in my collection, perhaps only three are in the ten inch range, and perhaps four or five are in the five inch range.
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Postby Guest » 05/26/06 11:03 AM

Thank you. He did beautiful work.
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 05/28/06 10:11 PM

I am puzzled.

As I was reading the Vernon article some of the language seemed strangely familiar.

I have always been fascinated by Finley, so any information about him tends to stick with me a bit more than other topics.

You can also tell from my earlier posts that I do spend too much time comparing the contents of books and articles.

I had to go back (after searching and finally finding!) and re-read a 2001 issue of the Linking Ring magazine (August 2001, Volume 81 Number 8.)

In that issue of the Linking Ring is an article about Finley by cardman Steve Freeman.

Here is some side-by-side comparison of the exact words used in the two different articles:


The Linking Ring, August, 2001 Steve Freeman (hereafter, LR 01)
"Henry Gavin was born Arthur Gavin Finley in October, 1887, the son of William and Margaret Finley."

Genii Magazine, 2006 David Ben (hereafter GM 06)
"Arthur Finley was born in October, 1887, the son of William and Margaret Finley."


GM 06
"William was a saloonkeeper and Margaret ran the boarding house where they resided on East 34th Street."

LR 01
"William was a saloonkeeper and Margaret ran the boarding house where they resided on East 34th Street."


GM 06
"Finley began marketing magic effects via mail order through advertisements in The Sphinx and in 1908 joined the local clubs under the name Henry Gavin, his mother's maiden name and his middle name."

LR 01
"Beginning in 1908, Finley marketed effects in The Sphinx and also joined magic clubs under that name.The name Gavin was the maiden name of his mother and Finley's middle name."


GM 06
"Peter Ten Eyck, an oil company executive who occasionally took lessons from Vernon, suggested the two should meet."

LR 01
"Peter Ten Eyck, an oil company executive who took lessons from Vernon, first told Vernon about Finley, and also of Finley's standoffishness."


GM 06
"Vernon knocked on the door of Finley's Madison Avenue studio, and, with a considerable amount of prodding, finally gained entrance."

LR 01
"Vernon knocked on the door of Finley's studio (Finley was a commercial artist by trade and had a studio on Madison Avenue) and, with a considerable amount of prodding, Vernon finally gained entrance."


GM 06
"Finley showed Vernon a "think-of-a-card" effect that fooled him."

LR 01
"After talking, Finley showed Vernon a "think-of-a-card" effect that fooled him."


I would agree with anyone who said that it is difficult to put the personal writer's touch on statements of pure fact, but that is the job of the biographer. Any one of these "coincidences" might go unnoticed, but so many in such close proximity and all about the same topic. This looks like something more than simple "young schoolboy copying" to me.

My guess is that Mr. Ben used the LR article as a resource and will most certainly list it in his published source bibliography. I just find the coincidental use of exactly the same words in the same order, over and over without the use of quotes or attribution a bit disturbing.

(Note: I went back and attempted to correct the LR vs. GM indications)
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Postby Guest » 05/28/06 11:22 PM

Wow. I sure hope there is more to this story. That there is some explanation that doesn't make David Ben look like, at best, incredibly sloppy, or even worse, a deliberate plagiarist.

That is the sort of thing that gets reporters fired from newspapers. (Ask Jayson Blair, late of the New York Times)

When book writers do it, they end up writing substantial checks to the "borrowees". (Check with Doris Kearns Goodwin, whose book The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys failed to credit the work of Lynne MacTaggart.)

When publishers end up printing plagiarized books and get found out, they end up pulping the copies (Check with Kaavya Viswanathan, the Harvard sophomore whose novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life now fills up a corner of a landfill).

But the main problem is not the trouble it takes to fix the problem, but the damage it does to the story, to the reader, and to the author.

I've never met David Ben, nor seen him perform. My only relationship with him is his words, and that relationship is now tainted. His article about Ross Bertram in Genii a few years ago was better than many magic books I've bought. But from now on, I can't read it without wondering if it is David's work, and if the story was as David told it. Thus, the injury extend to David's subject, Ross Bertram.

I was so looking forward to the Ben biography of Vernon. But without some sort of explanation of what has happened here, it will be difficult to buy it, much less enjoy it.

If David Ben had used Steve Freeman's magic in one of his shows without permission, or attribution, it wouldn't be unfair to use the words "rip off" about him. How can Freeman's words deserve any less protection?
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Postby Guest » 05/28/06 11:38 PM

I'm sorry but in the presentation of facts how artistically independent do you want the presentation? If I was writing about the death of Lincoln and said "Lincoln was shot at Fords Theater during a performance of Our American Cousin, the bullet entering the back of his head" would you accuse me of ripping of someone who said "Lincoln was at Fords Theater when he was shot during a performance of Our American Cousin, the bullet entering the back of his head"? Based on what you all are saying to be safe I'd have to put "Lincoln was at Chevy Arena and was stabbed during a showing of Grease".

Peter Ten Eyck was an oil executive who took lessons from Vernon. How else can you say it? He was an oil executive and took the freakin' lessons! Should Ben have called him a barber and not mentioned lessons? Please, give the man a break.
Steve V
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Postby Terry » 05/29/06 04:35 AM

As mathtrix stated:

My guess is that Mr. Ben used the LR article as a resource and will most certainly list it in his published source bibliography.
Until the book comes out, or David decides to answer here, it is useless to start making rash judgements without the all the facts or the book in hand. Continued conjecture is just pissin' in the wind or looking to start an argument.

I, for one, am looking forward to the new biography and enjoyed both of his articles in Genii and Magic.
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 06:18 AM

I suppose there are really two separate issues. The first is sourcing information; the second is plagarism. Hundreds of sources were used in the preparation of the biography. I could have inserted footnotes, for example, for virtually every line of the text as the information was pulled from hundreds - perhaps thousands - of different sources. There are at present fourteen pages outlining my end notes, source notes and bibliography. As the book was written for both the public and magicians, I had to weigh the balance of where and what to footnote. (None of which, as you notice, appear in the magazine excerpts.) Mainstream publishers, whether you agree with them or not, find hundreds of footnotes intrusive. I understand, however, that magicians want - need - an academic work. For example, I read every page of the Sphinx and could cite hundreds of notes just from these pages. I learned for example that Vernon's New York address was, not so coincidentally, the same address used by Arthur Finley for his mailorder magic business several decades earlier. Perhaps Finley - or his family - provided the apartment to Vernon. I do not source this information or footnote although I certainly believe it is interesting and more than just a coincidence.

So, instead of citing every article I read in the Sphinx, the Linking Ring, Genii, etc, I provide the bibliographical information for the entire magazine. Some may disagree with that approach. Fair enough. It is, however, the approach that I adopted.

The second issue is plagarism. Now, I certainly read Mr. Freeman's contributions to both the Linking Ring and the Magic Collectors' Association newsletter. They were one source of information. Vernon also spoke about his relationship and meeting with Arthur Finley, including who introduced him, the trick that was performed for him and how he reacted to it in the Buffum transcripts, another source that I relied on heavily for the information. More information about Finley also appears in Vernon's personal correspondence. I consider the reiteration of basic facts about Finley and his encounter with Venon, to be just facts. Now, I did not intentionally decide to plop Freeman's facts and/text in the book and leave it as such. As with other facts drawn from other sources, I tried to tweak, alter, reexpress in my voice, a voice that is consistent throughout the work, that same information. Perhaps there are more ways to repackage the facts than I considered, and I failed to tweak those particular facts and language in a work of 120,000 words sufficiently from a particular reader's perspective.(It is ironic that the passage concerns Mr. Freeman as he and I have not been on cordial terms for several years now. That, however, need not be the business of this Forum.) There is not much more than I can add here. I hope that Mr. Mullins reads the book and enjoys it. I'm sure that some will pour through each line of text and I hope that they derive pleasure from doing so.
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 06:38 AM

For clarity, please note that the samples cited by Mathtrix should be reversed. He inadvertently mis-sourced the excerpts - those listed as LR should be GM, and GM should be LR.
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 07:24 AM

Here is a rewrite:

Henry Gavin was born Arthur Finley Gavin in October 1887. His father, William, was a saloonkeeper and his mother, Margaret, ran a boarding house on East 34th street. The name Henry Gavin was an amalgamation of his mothers maiden name and his own middle name. In 1908 Finley started a mail order magic business, selling and advertising magic tricks under the name Henry Gavin in the pages of The Sphinx. He also joined the local magic clubs under this name. He was now, however, a commercial artist, having spent his early twenties in Paris, studying the latest trends. A student of Vernons, an oil company executive named Peter Ten Eyck, suggested the two should meet. Vernon called on Finley at his Madison Avenue studio and, after much prodding, gained entry. Eventually Vernons persistence paid off. Finley showed Vernon a think-of-a-card effect that baffled him completely. Vernon learned, however, that Finley had no aspirations to become a professional magician. He was a commercial artist. Vernon told Finley that he still wanted to become a professional portrait artist, but Finley did his best to discourage him. Finleys suggestion echoed the advice Vernon had received from Charles Gibson several years earlier.

It has been sent to the publisher.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/29/06 08:05 AM

Ah, yes, mathtrix again. Interesting.

I think David Ben acquited himself very well here.

Perhaps mathtrix will next tackle the works of Ed Marlo where plagarism also appears.
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 09:41 AM

Is this the same mathtrix who posted the malarkey about the Ricky Jay book? See here: http://geniimagazine.com/forum/cgi-bin/ ... 192#000000

If it werent for the fact that, this time, mathtrix backs up his discussion with facts, I wouldnt trust his/her words.

No principled researcher and writer knowingly copies someone elses work without giving proper attribution. And no work involving a large amount of research and writing is mistake free. If his experiences have been similar to other biographers, I suspect David Ben could provide countless examples of dead ends, anomalies, puzzles, etc., and many Exedrin moments.

Given mathtrixs track record on this forum, its difficult to dole out praise. But his/her post here has nicely highlighted a problem faced by most biographers, not just Ben. Perhaps in this case, David was not as careful as he could have been with (a) providing proper attribution and/or (b) reorganizing the facts in a completely original manner. If this is an isolated case of an inadvertent failure to provide proper sourcing in a large work, then David deserves credit for squarely facing the issue and doing what he could to address it, a characteristic of scholarly integrity.

Clay
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 10:44 AM

Clay,
Not sure what I have done to offend you, my personal apologies. Just because I didn't show the book to you at the History Conference does not cause it to no longer exist.

Mr. Kaufman,
Note that you are the person who called David's writing plagiarism-

"...where plagarism also appears."

I did not announce that conclusion, but instead I asked a question for which Mr. Ben's rewrite was the answer. I believe that others have already started on the Herculean task you offer concerning the works of Mr. Marlo. But just to make the difference clear, which Biography for the public did Marlo pen?

My point is simply this - perhaps the only things more difficult than writing, are writing well, writing accurately, and writing with originality. Once again the benefits of using "Original Source Material" and proper crediting are made clear.

As to the "words and where they came from" issue, I think this revelation and discussion now has all of us asking bigger and much more important questions about originality, contribution, scholarship and character.

I wonder what Mr. Freeman would have to say about all this?
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Postby Steve Bryant » 05/29/06 11:27 AM

My point is simply this - perhaps the only things more difficult than writing, are writing well, writing accurately, and writing with originality.
Okay, all you guys, ethics aside, it's plagiarism, not plagarism. (Unless mathtrix wants points for originality.)
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 11:32 AM

Yes, it would be very interesting to hear what Mr. Freeman has to say. He appears, however, to prefer that others speak for him.

Many others have sought information about Arthur Finley over the years. I had a conversation about Arthur Finley with Steve Freeman years ago at the LA History Conference. We were on speaking terms at that point in time. I believe he was surprised to learn that several others including people like Bill Kalush were also on the trail for information about Finley. Mr. Freeman's article in the Linking Ring appeared shortly thereafter.

The person who deserves, perhaps, the most credit for conducting original research into Arthur Finley was/is Dr. Persi Diaconis. I am fortunate to have his letters to Stewart James from 1968 and onward in my collection. Persi was the first to my knowledge to really nail down the pertinent facts about Finley, facts that appear in both Mr. Freeman's piece and in my book. He set out numerous facts about Finley starting in letters from April, 1968. He had made Finley an object of his research, however, years earlier. Dr. Diaconis, as most know, is also quite guarded about his work and, out of respect to him, I have not shared or circulated his correspondence. He does deserve, however, an enormous amount of credit for blazing the historical trail.
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 11:39 AM

It is a historical piece! How original can one get? If Mr Ben was working on a fictional novel and it rang simular to anothers work then you may have something. Geez, this dude must have a fit that different math books are not original enough in presenting standard formulas.
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 11:48 AM

Mr. Ben,

Please do not make the mistaken assumption that I am speaking "for" Mr. Freeman. I simply presented facts as I found them and asked for clarification. If I were Mr. Freeman I would think that the facts spoke for themselves.

As to orginality in math texts, YES!

Take a look at Concrete Mathematics by Ronald L. Graham, Donald E. Knuth, and Oren Patashnik or the more recent Proofs that Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof by Arthur T. Benjamin and Jennifer Quinn. Or my favorite, Martin Gardner - he always has a way of presenting factual material (often mathematical) in ways that are fresh, clear and compelling. A Master!
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 12:10 PM

Mathtrix:

I did not assume one way or the other whether you were speaking for Mr. Freeman. It is my sincere wish that Mr. Freeman was more engaged in the magic community. I believe that he has a tremendous amount to offer - both in terms of technical minutia and facts of historical significance.

Further, let no one misunderstand my dismay regarding the initial post. I am pleased that it was brought to my attention. I did not work for seven years, consult countless sources, and rewrite the book - polishing and proofing it dozens of times - as a labor of love to have the end result tainted by a paragraph. That is why I took immediate action to correct it.

I have had the final text reviewed by many well-posted and respected magicians and historians. Errors may still exist and they will be mine. Hopefully, they will be few and far between. Every effort has been made to make this book the defintive source for all things Vernon. Time will tell.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 05/29/06 02:20 PM

I agree theres only so many ways one can state historical facts.

Anyway, I've been very interested in Finley for several years. I've not had a chance to read Freeman's article or very much at all however.

Couple of questions for Mr. Ben:

What do you make of the alleged connection between Finley and Jordon?

Second, Does Wallace Gavin, who is credited with Vernon as co-creator of the card through handkerchief effect in 'Classic Secrets of Magic', bear any relation to Finley/Gavin?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/29/06 02:23 PM

I have to say that my statement "Perhaps mathtrix will next tackle the works of Ed Marlo where plagarism also appears" was incorrectly interpreted by mathtrix ... the "also" not in reference to David Ben's writing.

Of course mathtrix can play a game and claim he never used the word "plagiarism," but that was the point of his posting and the accusation within.

As I stated, David Ben has acquited himself well and done the right thing here.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 05/29/06 02:55 PM

Given a choice between reading a book on Vernon and the math texts Mathtrix gushes over, give me Vernon.

Whatever the merit of Mathtrix's comments, I think that in this context (questioning another's integrity) he/she should reveal their true identity.
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 03:00 PM

I understand full-well that I am a nobody and that my opinion means exactly SQUAT; but I am compelled to "chime-in".

Just as the "magi-text police" were loathe to let pass the few offending lines that were in their opinion so OBVIOUSLY STOLEN; I cannot let pass without-comment a couple of their lines.

First (to paraphrase Mr. Mullins) "My relationship with Mr. Ben is only through his words, and that is now tainted". Wow--you're pretty damned delicate. Just a tad melodramatic, no? Cry me a river.

--But you don't mind slingin' it, do you? Casually equating Mr. Ben with Jayson Blair exhibits about as much intellectual rigor as demonstrated by my butt. Way too harsh?
O.K.: Jayson Blair--internationally disgraced, mentally unbalanced, serial-plagiarist who manipulated peers and management at one of the most important newspapers on the face of the Earth, for YEARS.
David Ben--well-known conscientious student of magic history, a performer of the highest caliber, NOT TO MENTION an attorney familiar with intellectual property law.
Hmmm--No, on further reflection, you're right. I have to admit that comparison is WAY closer than I first thought.

Believe me, I have no desire to pick internet fights (which are of course, by FAR the SCARIEST kind of fights).
Indeed, I have never met Mr. Ben, and thus have no emotional investment in defending him. No doubt, he doesn't NEED anyone to "defend him". In fact, he has ALREADY corrected the "perceived" situation, no doubt at extra cost, and inconvenience, so shut the F___ up.

Now let's discuss the undoubtedly superior books written by the uber-nit-pickers.
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 03:07 PM

Originally posted by mathtrix:
Clay,
Not sure what I have done to offend you, my personal apologies. Just because I didn't show the book to you at the History Conference does not cause it to no longer exist.

....My point is simply this - perhaps the only things more difficult than writing, are writing well, writing accurately, and writing with originality. Once again the benefits of using "Original Source Material" and proper crediting are made clear.

As to the "words and where they came from" issue, I think this revelation and discussion now has all of us asking bigger and much more important questions about originality, contribution, scholarship and character ..../QB]
mathtrix:

Assuming you are being sincere, Im the one who owes you an apology if you showed your mysterious Jay copy to Richard Hatch as promised. I asked Richard point blank if you surfaced at the Conference and he told me you did not. So unless I grossly misunderstood Hatch, then Id have to conclude that you broke your promise. Youre correct, of course, in pointing out that if I dont see the book, its existence is not negated. But as alluded to above, if I have showed any skepticism about your credibility, it is related to your apparent failure to do what you said youd do not to your failure to show the book to me (as much as Id like to see it). So, to sum up this point, if you showed the copy to Dick Hatch, then I apologize for questioning your credibility. If you did not, then I hope you can understand and accept as legitimate my position (but in any event you have not offended me).

With one significant exception, very generally speaking, I think your observations regarding writing, proper credits, etc., are well taken. But as I suggested in my prior post, if this is an isolated instance when David Ben has neglected to provide the appropriate credits, then, based on his responses in this thread, I am ready to forgive this faux pas and chalk it up to a learning experience for David. After all, so far as I know, this is his first attempt at significant biographical documentation, and expecting perfection from even an accomplished biographer is setting a high standard indeed. Im not sure what else could be asked of Ben in response to your revelations, and thats the segue way to the exception to your comments. You mention that some of this discussion raises important questions about ... character. Again, if this represents a sole slip by David, and given his responses, Im not sure how the matter of character is raised, because Im not sure how David could show any better character than by his responses. We all make mistakes, and Davids been about as forthright as can be, it seems. If anything, then, he seems to have provided good reason to trust his character not call it into question.

In closing, I will say that there is one source of mild irritation from your posts your anonymity. You have that right, I suppose, but Im not sure why you feel the need to exercise it. Do you not have the strength of conviction to associate yourself with your opinions? I wont go so far as to suggest that posting anonymously destroys your credibility, but it certainly does make me wonder why you elect to hide behind a moniker. If you will not disclose your identity, will you at least then explain why you choose to voice opinions anonymously?

Clay

[written after viewing the above post]

Originally posted by castawaydave:
[QB] First (to paraphrase Mr. Mullins) "My relationship with Mr. Ben is only through his words, and that is now tainted". Wow--you're pretty damned delicate. Just a tad melodramatic, no? Cry me a river. ... In fact, [David] has ALREADY corrected the "perceived" situation, no doubt at extra cost, and inconvenience, so shut the F___ up.
From my comments above, hopefully youll find that you and I are thinking along the same lines when it comes to Bens response. That said, IMHO Bills comment certainly has its merits. If Bills prior (thoughtful) posts on this forum are any indication, I suspect that he would agree that nobody is perfect, and that if David Ben made a one-off mistake, then hes done about all he could to rectify it. My apologies to Bill if I have put words in his mouth or wrongly interpreted how he might respond to your comments.

CHS
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 03:58 PM

It is nice to see a little passion on the board about topics other than folks in fishbowls. I will try to address the few remaining issues presented in the posts above, then I am done with this topic (In fact, after I presented what I found, I was finished, but was interested to see David Bens prompt response and reaction.)

Richard,
Plagiarism requires intent. I did not presume or accuse intent on anyones behalf so I purposefully did not use the word. I offered what I found.
You used the word also, thus my response.

Bob,
We have not met, but based on your writings I think you should give Concrete Mathematics a chance. What other University level math book begins the chapter on probability by giving you means by which to render the heads/tails outcome of coins something other than 50-50?

Clay,
The sole person I shared the book with was not Richard Hatch or Richard Kaufman, though both expressed interest here on the forum. If that makes me an evildoer in this context, so be it.

Finally, to the issue of anonymity

Facts speak for themselves, but often someone must voice those facts for them to be heard.

Why not use my legal name?
Consider the following possibilities:

Suppose I am a sworn enemy of David Ben and want to secretly undo him?
Suppose I am an associate of David Ben and want to stay that way?
Suppose I am Steve Freeman?
Suppose I am Richard Kaufman?
Suppose I am Clay Shelvin?
Suppose I am the Host of the Magic Caf?
Suppose I am a relative of Vernon?
Suppose I am someone famous and loved in the world of magic?
Suppose I am someone hated and feared in the world of magic?
Suppose I am completely unknown in the world of magic?
Suppose I am allowing the facts and ideas to speak for themselves, unaided and unhindered by associating them with a personality?


In closing, I will repeat that I was finished after I presented what I found and was interested to see David Bens prompt response and reaction.
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 04:34 PM

Ya know, there is a college math instructor that does magic/mentalism here that I know in passing. Next time I see him I may smack him just in case.
Steve V
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/29/06 05:15 PM

I think the thread has run its course, so unless anyone has anything constructive to offer (and since every seems to have had their chance to respond), let's consider the issue closed.
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 05:27 PM

Perhaps I can end this thread on a more cordial note.

First, the only comment that I take issue with is that the passage was "Obviously Stolen". As mentioned earlier, this chapter - and the entire book - has been reviewed by many well-posted people, none of whom made the connection. It is fortunate that Mathtrix had the ability and made the effort to do so. I am truly grateful that he spotted it so that it could be corrected. I believe that the rest of the book will stand well enough on its own.

Second, for me, the use of the word "stolen" implies intent. There was none. Each chapter in this book started out at roughly 100 pages of single spaced text, culled and patched together from a myriad of sources. I took care to annotate these rough notes so that I would know the origin or source of each passage. I then tried to distill the 100 pages of notes, excerpts and observations into a uniform chapter length of twenty-five pages. Obviously, my notation on the source of this passage - not the content - disappeared. As I indicated earlier, there was nothing startling in the original Freeman article, at least for me, having found the same information in sources other than his article. When I assembled, however, the master file on each chapter, I tended to insert multiple examples of material knowing that I would weed out the repetitive material during the formal writing and editing stages. (You will also note, if you haven't already, the presence of much more detailed information in the book - and the excerpt - about Arthur Finley than has appeared in any other source.) Still, as part of my process in cobbling this work together, portions of the text remained. That is my fault. At the worst, acuse me of negligence.

Either way, I agree with Mathtrix, regardless of who he may be, and have addressed the issue. His identity is irrelevant.

Now, to address the final questions with this, hopefully my final post, Wallace Gavin was a real person, distinct and, as far as I know, unrelated to Arthur Finley. He was a prominent member of the magic scene in the 1920s and you will see, at the end of Chapter Four, that Holden includes Wallace Gavin - and Arthur Finley - in what Holden describes as the "Inner Circle."

As for the Finley-Jordan connection, although Vernon often maintained that Finley had some hand in Jordan's effects, Trailing The Dovetail Shuffle To Its Lair, for example, the only thing that I can say at this time is that Finley and Jordan corresponded for a number of years and that correspondence is housed in a private collection. Further, that Jordan published some of Gavin's material, but with credit. There may have been one or two items that weren't credited sufficiently, but then we all make mistakes.

Hope this helps.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 05/29/06 07:03 PM

I always enjoy the Vernon stuff. I do have a couple questions.

1- Historically speaking, when did Vernon change the spelling of Vernen(as seen in the "Vernen's Silhouettes" picture and the letter signed Dai W. Vernen "Sleightly Known") to Vernon? curious.

2- Why was the GREAT double page photo ruined by circling the two most famous(more or less) magicians ever? It could have been pointed out where they were sitting.... just a thought. Obviously a rehtorical thought.

ed

ps. maybe Mathy is Andy?! :p
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 05/29/06 07:05 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
... I think David Ben acquited himself very well here.

Perhaps mathtrix will next tackle the works of Ed Marlo where plagarism also appears.
Airing questions that lead to strong language before seeking clarification in private seems blunt and coarse.

As to the Marlo material... perhaps there is still time to properly vet that oeuvre before all of the concerned parties are gone and nobody is left to enjoy some vindication of their work.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 05/29/06 09:07 PM

Originally posted by mathtrix:
The sole person I shared the book with was not Richard Hatch or Richard Kaufman, though both expressed interest here on the forum. If that makes me an evildoer in this context, so be it.
Evildoer? Mathtrix, it sure seems like youre playing the same game that you are taking pains to address with Richard K., namely, you are suggesting that I said or implied something that I did not.

Ill stand by my earlier comment. Heres a quote from a post of yours in this thread:
http://geniimagazine.com/forum/cgi-bin/ ... 000192;p=1

Eager to have the H&R team tell me what I bought, as I now suspect that these variant pages may have been replaced or substituted. If this is so, the work is amazing and indetectable.

So, you basically promised to show the H&R team something, but did not. Moreover, to my regret as a bibliophile, you raise an issue, say youll prove it, and then deny the benefit of the proof. Honestly, and without being angry about it, I simply dont understand why youd bother going about it this way unless it was a prank. In this case, and as you suggest in your latest post, the facts do indeed speak for themselves: no matter which way its sliced, it looks and smells like baloney. Ill be the first to retract that conclusion when you offer the proof you promised.

Originally posted by mathtrix:
Finally, to the issue of anonymity

Facts speak for themselves, but often someone must voice those facts for them to be heard.

Why not use my legal name? Consider the following possibilities:

Suppose ...
Suppose ...
Suppose ...

[etc., etc.]
After exiting the hamster wheel of suppositions, and taking into account your Ricky Jay book post, I can conclude, among other things, the following:
1. You dont have the Jay book you claim to have.
2. You prefer to remain anonymous.
3. You have not provided a good reason for desiring to remain anonymous.
4. You do not maintain in its entirety the very intellectual integrity that you seem so concerned about in your posts here.

As a math person, I hope you can appreciate the handful of mobius strips you have created by your posts here and on the Jay thread. If it delights you, perhaps thats reason enough for your participation. Im not angry with you, nor do I consider you an evildoer. Im just disappointed with you (not that it matters, I realize), and now I too am finished, absent a meaningful reply from you.

Richard, thanks for not locking this thread.

Clay
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Postby Guest » 05/29/06 11:57 PM

You forgot number five....who really gives a %#@$#@ about any book he has?
Steve V
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