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Common Mistakes

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Summary
Jeanne C. Finley's look at the notion of mistakes employs a documentary-style presentation of historical events. These events include the assimilation work of the Carlisle Indian School, under the supervision of Henry Pratt; the practice of prefrontal lobotomies in the 1940'ss; the Three Mile Island nuclear accident; and a public statement made by Ronald Reagan in 1985, when he claimed that the practice of segregation in South Africa had been effectively ended. Interspersed with details and images of these events are scenes from a children'ss safety film, showing young boys and girls innocently executing potentially fatal mistakes, such as falling onto a pair of scissors or jumping off the roof of a building. Actors in silhouette dramatize remarks from individuals involved in the historical events depicted, mimicking the anonymous confessions of talk show guests. The work ends with a lengthy confessional narrative by Donald Matthew Smith, who tells of the embarrassment of mistaking a large block of brie for a cheesecake at a formal dinner party. Beatrice M. Finley provides narration. The song "Everybody Makes Mistakes," by Lucy J. Dalton, plays as the credits appear.
Topics
Politics and culture, Errors
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