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Old 12-14-2019, 12:10 PM
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Can we stop calling things done intentionally "mistakes?"


I just finished reading this article ( https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/14/u...gtype=Homepage ) about a man in a foot race spanking a (female) reporters butt as he ran by and see that part of his apology included describing it as a mistake.

Bullshit.
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Old 12-14-2019, 12:14 PM
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For years, I have been calling "accidents" (such as traffic accidents) ---"stupids."

"I see flashing red and blue lights up ahead, and everyone is slowing down. Must be another 'stupid.'

The "mistake" in the OP would definitely qualify as a "stupid."


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Old 12-14-2019, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
mistake
noun

1 : a wrong judgment : misunderstanding
2 : a wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge, or inattention
We could, but we wont. The "faulty judgment" sense is too well established to be eradicated, and too useful.

Last edited by naita; 12-14-2019 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 12-14-2019, 12:39 PM
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I just finished reading this article ( https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/14/u...gtype=Homepage ) about a man in a foot race spanking a (female) reporters butt as he ran by and see that part of his apology included describing it as a mistake.

Bullshit.
Paywalled, but a national news story for those who didn't see it. I saw this quote from another source.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Callaway
I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera to the audience; there was a misjudge in character and decision-making, he added.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VOW View Post
For years, I have been calling "accidents" (such as traffic accidents) ---"stupids."
We used to be dispatched for MVAs - (Motor Vehicle Accident). Some time back they changed it to MVC - (Motor Vehicle Collision).
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Old 12-14-2019, 12:48 PM
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A mistake is when you drive up a one-way street the wrong way. You have to go out of your way to accomplish this sort of jackassery. If he'd kept his hands to himself and concentrated on running the race, he's still have a job and prospects.
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Old 12-14-2019, 12:52 PM
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A mistake is when you drive up a one-way street the wrong way. You have to go out of your way to accomplish this sort of jackassery. If he'd kept his hands to himself and concentrated on running the race, he's still have a job and prospects.
Did he lose his job?
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Old 12-14-2019, 12:59 PM
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Probably not yet, but his prospects of keeping it can't be good, especially if his contract has anything about 'behavior likely to bring the company into disrepute'.
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Old 12-14-2019, 01:22 PM
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It said in the article that the woman has Gloria Allred as her lawyer, that seems kind of weird to hire a high-powered attorney for what? The guy has been charged, presumably he will be prosecuted. Does that mean she plans on suing her employer or something too?
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Last edited by pool; 12-14-2019 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:01 PM
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Probably not yet, but his prospects of keeping it can't be good, especially if his contract has anything about 'behavior likely to bring the company into disrepute'.
The news articles I saw said he is a youth minister, so I'm not sure if that is his primary job or just something he does. I'm assuming they'd be more forgiving than a lot of other employers.
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:18 PM
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The news articles I saw said he is a youth minister, so I'm not sure if that is his primary job or just something he does. I'm assuming they'd be more forgiving than a lot of other employers.
It should be less forgiving. I coach at a local high school. Besides being fingerprinted and background checked by the DOJ, I'm also a mandated reporter.
This kind of behavior would not only get me fired immediately, I would be barred from working with youth permanently.
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:25 PM
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It should be less forgiving. I coach at a local high school. Besides being fingerprinted and background checked by the DOJ, I'm also a mandated reporter.
This kind of behavior would not only get me fired immediately, I would be barred from working with youth permanently.
Yeah of course this guy lives in Georgia so... Plus I doubt a church has as stringent regulations as a public school.
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Last edited by pool; 12-14-2019 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:34 PM
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Here is a photo of the exact moment of the contact:
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/imageserv...83&resize=1200

and the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWESDbYDqsE
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:49 PM
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If that isn't a mistake, what is it? Do you believe a mistake has to be unintentional?
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Old 12-14-2019, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
If that isn't a mistake, what is it? Do you believe a mistake has to be unintentional?


You’re correct. I am probably conflating “mistake” with “accident.” There’s still something about the use of the word “mistake “ in contexts like this one that doesn’t seem accurate to me.

“I was an asshole,” sounds accurate. “I made a mistake” sounds like regret at being caught.


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Old 12-14-2019, 07:22 PM
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The news articles I saw said he is a youth minister, so I'm not sure if that is his primary job or just something he does. I'm assuming they'd be more forgiving than a lot of other employers.
I read that he works in sales of some sort. But he volunteers as a youth minister and Boy Scout leader. He also has two daughters. I wonder how he'd feel if someone treated his daughter like this.
They arrested him Saturday for misdemeanor sexual battery and he's been banned from all Savannah running events. Good!
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Old 12-14-2019, 07:28 PM
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His decision to act intentionally was a mistake.
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Old 12-14-2019, 07:51 PM
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His lawyer calls him a 'loving husband and father.' I wonder what his wife thinks?
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Old 12-14-2019, 08:30 PM
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I just found it amusing, I'm watching The Love Letter in the background while I read the boards, and as I'm about halfway through this thread, this dialogue perks my ears:

A: "It was a mistake"
B: "No, it wasn't a mistake"
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Old 12-14-2019, 10:23 PM
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Along the same lines:

"I misspoke."

No - you said something that was false, and which you definitely knew (or most certainly should have known) was false.
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Old 12-14-2019, 10:30 PM
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Paywalled, but a national news story for those who didn't see it. I saw this quote from another source.
I do not claim to read his mind. I do not know if he is telling the truth in that quote. However, I can state from personal experience that accidental bad timing and simple misjudgment of distance can result in things that look really bad to a bystander.

Fortunately for me, I did not suffer any unpleasant consequences.
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Old 12-14-2019, 10:36 PM
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Maybe he was going for a different body part.
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Old 12-14-2019, 10:37 PM
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I do not claim to read his mind. I do not know if he is telling the truth in that quote. However, I can state from personal experience that accidental bad timing and simple misjudgment of distance can result in things that look really bad to a bystander.

Fortunately for me, I did not suffer any unpleasant consequences.
Post 12. Watch the video, his arm goes down and swings forward and he's watching where his hand goes.
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Old 12-14-2019, 10:51 PM
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"Mistake", hell. I agree with the OP. I figure efforts to pass off wrongdoing as less objectionable is behind calling things like this a "mistake". "Misdemeanor sexual battery" is a lot more plausible.

Things I think of as "mistakes" include driving a truck under a bridge you thought it could fit under. That's a lapse in judgement, a lapse in correctly judging the relative heights of a truck and a bridge. Perhaps the term "lapse in judgement" covers too broad a range.
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Old 12-14-2019, 10:58 PM
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Post 12. Watch the video, his arm goes down and swings forward and he's watching where his hand goes.
Yeah, he's totally full of shit that he was trying to get his hands ready to wave to the audience. I mean, come on. I give folks the benefit of a doubt, but that's just a chickenshit asshole trying to make up an excuse. FFS.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:20 AM
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I saw this on the evening news. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing, and must not have cared that there was a TV camera just a few feet away.

Actually, if anything, the standards for a church volunteer are probably higher than for a school employee, even in the Deep South.

Bet it's not the first time he's done something like this in public; just the first time he got caught so publicly.
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Some Dictionary
mistake
noun

1 : a wrong judgment : misunderstanding
2 : a wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge, or inattention
We could, but we wont. The "faulty judgment" sense is too well established to be eradicated, and too useful.
That definition doesn't match what happened. It was neither a misunderstanding (unless she had a sign on her butt that said "slap this!"), nor did the contact seem to arise from inattention or inadequate knowledge. A mistake is when a time and reality don't back up a prediction. An error in judgment is a stupid. Slapping a stranger's ass is misdemeanor sexual battery--so in your apology you'd say, "I committed misdemeanor sexual battery on that reporter, because I mistakenly thought she'd let me get away with it" or some such. What a douche. I hope his life is very awkward for an inconvenient duration.
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:21 AM
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Agree with the OP. It bugs the shit out of me when the NFL refers to Michael Vick's actions as a mistake. Buying the wrong size batteries is a mistake. Slapping reporters and electrocuting dogs are not mistakes, but intentional criminal acts.
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:54 AM
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If that isn't a mistake, what is it? Do you believe a mistake has to be unintentional?
Yes.


That is, I'll accept as a mistake an intentional thing done because of a genuine mistake about the circumstances. I intended to step back, but I didn't know the cat's tail was there. My intention was not to step on the cat. I intended to grab that person's hat off their head, but I thought the person was my friend with whom I have a running joke about grabbing hats. My intention was not to grab the hat of somebody who justifiably got pissed about it. I intended to drink that homemade hard cider, but I didn't know how alcoholic it was -- I didn't intend to get drunk.

But I will not accept as a mistake either 'I now wish I hadn't done that' or 'I wish I hadn't gotten caught'. And 'I didn't intend that consequence' has limits. Getting drunk on homemade booze can be accidental -- once. It's not accidental if you do it again, because now you know that homemade booze can be a lot stronger than it tastes. And if you step on the cat not once in a while but ten times in one week, you need to be more careful where you're putting your feet.

And if you straight out saw the cat was there and stepped on the cat anyway, that doesn't become a 'mistake' because it turns out that people made a fuss about it.
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:20 PM
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. . . We used to be dispatched for MVAs - (Motor Vehicle Accident). Some time back they changed it to MVC - (Motor Vehicle Collision).
Collision is the term used by traffic planners and engineer, too. "Accident" could possibly imply that there was no driver fault and nobody wants to see something they wrote get pulled into that kind of argument.

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It should be less forgiving. I coach at a local high school. Besides being fingerprinted and background checked by the DOJ, I'm also a mandated reporter.
This kind of behavior would not only get me fired immediately, I would be barred from working with youth permanently.
They can forgive him and fire him or otherwise curtail his activities. I think of it as being forgiven with both barrels.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:08 PM
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Maybe I'm missing something, but I always thought you could do something completely intentionally and still have it be a mistake. As a matter of fact, the defition (Merriam-Webster) implies it's an intentional act that was faulty, not some random occurrence.

Quote:
Definition of mistake (Entry 2 of 2)
1: a wrong judgment : MISUNDERSTANDING
2: a wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge, or inattention
For example, some knucklehead may throw gasoline on a fire intentionally, but have it still be a mistake.

I think a lot of people here, are as has already been said, confusing mistake for accident. That idiot who slapped the reporter's ass definitely made a mistake, but it was in no way accidental.


Quote:
Definition of accident
1a: an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance
Their meeting was an accident.
b: lack of intention or necessity : CHANCE
They met by accident rather than by design.
2a: an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance
was involved in a traffic accident
bmedical : an unexpected and medically important bodily event especially when injurious
a cerebrovascular accident
claw : an unexpected happening causing loss or injury which is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured but for which legal relief may be sought
dUS, informal —used euphemistically to refer to an uncontrolled or involuntary act or instance of urination or defecation (as by a baby or a pet)
The puppy had an accident on the rug.
3: a nonessential property or quality of an entity or circumstance
the accident of nationality
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:32 PM
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Yeah, I don't see the problem in describing his intentional action as resulting from a mistake in judgment.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:34 PM
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Maybe I'm missing something, but I always thought you could do something completely intentionally and still have it be a mistake.
Same here. An intentional act can certainly be a mistake. I've done many things intentionally that I consider mistakes now. This is different than doing something "by mistake," which does connote an accidental or otherwise unintentional nature.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:58 PM
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That is, I'll accept as a mistake an intentional thing done because of a genuine mistake about the circumstances.
I think that applies here. He thought the circumstance was such that, by slapping that reporter in the ass, he'd be hailed as an awesome bro and everyone would think he was super-cool. He was mistaken about that - the actual circumstance is that everyone thinks he's a douche bag and he might lose his job.
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:09 PM
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I'm not particularly bothered about 'mistake' in this context, but I've spent too much time reading SorryWatch to be able to slide past this bit:

“I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera to the audience; there was a misjudge in character and decision-making,”

Check out the third-person language on that one. A 'misjudge in character' just appeared magically out of nowhere and imposed itself on the situation without my even realising it!

Dude, what you mean is "I displayed bad character through the decision I made, which is in fact the responsibility of me, not some impersonal force"

I won't totally throw him to the buzzards yet, however, unless he followed up with the hoary old "this is not who I am" in which case, fuck it.
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:16 PM
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Check out the third-person language on that one. A 'misjudge in character' just appeared magically out of nowhere and imposed itself on the situation without my even realising it!

Dude, what you mean is "I displayed bad character through the decision I made, which is in fact the responsibility of me, not some impersonal force"

I won't totally throw him to the buzzards yet, however, unless he followed up with the hoary old "this is not who I am" in which case, fuck it.
He needs to study the elements of an effective apology. Come to think of it, a lot of people should probably read that list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by www.psychologicalscience.org
Across two studies Lewicki and colleagues found that the most compelling apologies include six distinct elements:

Expression of regret
Explanation of what went wrong
Acknowledgment of responsibility
Declaration of repentance
Offer of repair
Request for forgiveness
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:30 PM
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Agree with the OP. It bugs the shit out of me when the NFL refers to Michael Vick's actions as a mistake. Buying the wrong size batteries is a mistake. Slapping reporters and electrocuting dogs are not mistakes, but intentional criminal acts.
"But he's paid his debt to society! So did OJ Simpson! Let's all bow down and worship them."

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Old 12-16-2019, 04:32 PM
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I think that applies here. He thought the circumstance was such that, by slapping that reporter in the ass, he'd be hailed as an awesome bro and everyone would think he was super-cool. He was mistaken about that - the actual circumstance is that everyone thinks he's a douche bag and he might lose his job.
Yeah, I could see some 16-year-old kid thinking that. Not a middle-aged man, unless he has early-onset dementia or something like that.
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:59 PM
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Yeah, I could see some 16-year-old kid thinking that. Not a middle-aged man, unless he has early-onset dementia or something like that.
Lots of middle-aged men out there haven't evolved much past their 16 year-old selves.
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Old 12-16-2019, 05:42 PM
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I got a degree in journalism, which in retrospect was a mistake.

Am I right?
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:21 PM
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Yeah, I could see some 16-year-old kid thinking that. Not a middle-aged man, unless he has early-onset dementia or something like that.
Oxygen and glucose depletion due to running? Apparently you can lap the bridge once, twice, or three times. No idea how far that is.
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:42 PM
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Oxygen and glucose depletion due to running? Apparently you can lap the bridge once, twice, or three times. No idea how far that is.
Each lap is a 5K so three laps is a 15K/ 9.32 miles. Too short for glucose depletion(unless his stores were low at the start) and only those who finish in under an hour are running fast enough to go anaerobic. He was clearly not suffering from either condition.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:52 AM
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Each lap is a 5K so three laps is a 15K/ 9.32 miles. Too short for glucose depletion(unless his stores were low at the start) and only those who finish in under an hour are running fast enough to go anaerobic. He was clearly not suffering from either condition.
Actually, it was a 5k (8am) & a 10k (9am); two separate races with at least a few mins of recovery time between them. He was reported to be doing the 5k (3.1 miles)

Further, judging by other runners in the video; their speed (not particularly fast), their attire & what some are holding, how many are mugging for the camera these are not elite racers; not the folks who are running an anaerobic pace. Given the number of finishers there were (<2500) & how close together they are this had to be early in the race.
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:35 AM
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I got a degree in journalism, which in retrospect was a mistake.

Am I right?
That's the right usage for sure.

Things can also be mistakes AND accidents, if you do something deliberately, but there's an unforeseen negative turn of events.

An example could be:

"I let what I thought was a fart, but that was a mistake, because it wasn't a fart."

There was a deliberate action to try to fart, but it turned out to be a mistake (a poor choice in this case) because it was actually poop, but you didn't know beforehand.

So the action (trying to fart) was a mistake, and the outcome was an accident.
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Old 12-17-2019, 10:59 AM
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Agree with the OP. It bugs the shit out of me when the NFL refers to Michael Vick's actions as a mistake. Buying the wrong size batteries is a mistake. Slapping reporters and electrocuting dogs are not mistakes, but intentional criminal acts.
In a similar vein, speeding up to try to beat a train at a crossing and getting smushed is a mistake. Sabotaging the tracks in order to get the train to derail is a criminal act, not a mistake.
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Old 12-17-2019, 12:22 PM
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In a similar vein, speeding up to try to beat a train at a crossing and getting smushed is a mistake. Sabotaging the tracks in order to get the train to derail is a criminal act, not a mistake.
Why can't they be both? It's like you're saying that anything criminal that someone does intentionally can't be a mistake.

What defines a mistake is the outcome- if you do something and it turns out to be a beneficial thing, then it's not a mistake. If it turns out to be awful and stink, then it was a mistake.
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Old 12-17-2019, 02:41 PM
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I have done things that I did absolutely on purpose and later realized they were stupid and I wished I hadn't done them and they were a result of not thinking through the consequences of my actions, or not thinking much at all. I consider those to be mistakes. I don't know about the dictionary but to me "mistake" means "something wrong either because of its motivations or its consequences." A sense of contrition is often sought by society from those who make mistakes, but a lack of contrition doesn't mean it wasn't a mistake.

Calling something a mistake doesn't absolve someone from accountability. It's a value judgement about the action. A person who makes a mistake can still be an asshole, like the guy mentioned in the OP.
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Old 12-17-2019, 02:44 PM
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What defines a mistake is the outcome- if you do something and it turns out to be a beneficial thing, then it's not a mistake.
So the end justifies the means?
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Old 12-17-2019, 03:08 PM
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So the end justifies the means?
That's not what I'm trying to say. I'm saying that things may sound good at the time, and turn out to be mistakes because things didn't turn out to be so good.

And often the reason that they don't turn out to be so good isn't necessarily related to the quality of the decision.

I mean, if I decide to forego taking a raincoat on a day with 40% chance of rain, and it rains on me, I made a mistake in not taking a raincoat. But if it doesn't rain, I didn't make a mistake by not taking a raincoat.

Of course there are just poor decisions that are always going to be mistakes- facial tattoos, going against Sicilians when death is on the line, etc...
  #49  
Old 12-17-2019, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post

Of course there are just poor decisions that are always going to be mistakes- facial tattoos, going against Sicilians when death is on the line, etc...
Not building up a tolerance to iocaine powder.
  #50  
Old 12-17-2019, 03:25 PM
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Good grief, have we reduced the classic blunders to mere mistakes now? Golly this place has gone to the dogs.
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