New Television Workshop Collection

New Television Workshop Collection Program MaterialsNew Television

Common Mistakes

Copyright Date:

Finley, Jeanne C.

1 folder
See the record for "New Television, Episode 306 (1987)" for descriptions of videos containing this work.

"Common Mistakes" was aired as part of Episode 306 of the 1987 "New Television" season.

An 8 X10 black-and-white photographic print shows a still image from the work, shot off the monitor. See the record for "New Television, Episode 306 (1987)" for descriptions of videos containing this work.

"Common Mistakes," by Jeanne C. Finley, is approximately 16 minutes long. It is a politicized look at the notion of mistakes, combining definitions of words such as fallacy, accident, and blunder with 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's; 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's 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 Lacey J. Dalton plays as the credits appear.

Finley, Jeanne C.
Kirby, Peter

Open Channels, Long Beach Museum of Art

Finley, Jeanne C.
Mason, Merle (Online Editor)

California Arts Council
National Endowment for the Arts
Open Channels, Long Beach Museum of Art

Durant, Mark
McGowan, Mickey
Smith, Donald Matthew
Sultan, Larry

Politics and culture

See Also:
New Television, Episode 306 (1987)

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