Some, by Marilyn J. Rowland
“Mistakes Were Made,” parts 1 and 2, were the titles of two early episodes of the television series, “Brothers and Sisters,” which I am currently watching on Netflix, having missed the series while it was on the air. Serious mistakes were made on B&S. The patriarch of the family died suddenly, in the first episode, and his 5 adult children discovered that he had been embezzling money from the family firm, and also that he was keeping a mistress and had a child with her.
I love this phrase, in the “passive exonerative,” as William Schneider of the New York Times once described it. It is mainly used by politicians and others to acknowledge errors, but not take any responsibility for them. For this blog, though, I am acknowledging some responsibility for some errors (and there are many), and also trying to make some corrections. For, though it may seem that I am about to launch into a dreary accounting of what went wrong, I am hoping to learn from these mistakes and move on.
Mistakes are often glorified as learning tools, taking the nothing ventured, nothing gained approach. James Joyce, for instance, said, “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” (I have read very little that Joyce wrote, but feel a kinship with him, as my father named me after him–my middle name is Joyce.)
Here is a nice page of more quotations on making mistake.
I like this one by Dan Quayle, though I doubt he meant it to be funny: “We’re all capable of mistakes, but I do not care to enlighten you on the mistakes we may or may not have made.”
I do care to enlighten you, however, and myself, on my mistakes and also, to balance things out, with my progress , such as it is, through the portals of discovery. I am just about halfway through watching “Brothers and Sisters,” by the way, and those early mistakes turned out not to be mistakes after all, but part of the grand scheme of things. We’ll see.