Seven Lies about Lying by Errol Morris

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Richard Hatch
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Seven Lies about Lying by Errol Morris

Postby Richard Hatch » August 6th, 2009, 11:29 am

Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has started a series about lying on his NY Times blog. The first posted yesterday and features a discussion with Ricky Jay, and mention of Jerry Andrus and other references of interest. Should be a great series. Here's a link:
http://morris.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08 ... ng-part-1/
I understand that his earlier series on forgery and collaboration was excellent as well.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Seven Lies about Lying by Errol Morris

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 6th, 2009, 12:31 pm

What a great blog, thanks for pointing it out.
Interesting that he uses a quote from Emily Dickenson at the top that also provides the title for Racherbaumer's column in Genii each month.
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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Seven Lies about Lying by Errol Morris

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 6th, 2009, 12:45 pm

I clicked through to the Jerry Andrus website from the blog--lots of great magic and optical illusions on there. Take a look:
http://jerryandrus.org/
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Re: Seven Lies about Lying by Errol Morris

Postby Mike Carr » August 6th, 2009, 5:12 pm

Very interesting.
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Re: Seven Lies about Lying by Errol Morris

Postby Richard Perrin » August 6th, 2009, 5:57 pm

I find this interesting. Read on comments. Indeed interesting! I don't do verbal but just doing what they see and think what they thought what they saw.

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Re: Seven Lies about Lying by Errol Morris

Postby NCMarsh » August 7th, 2009, 2:48 pm

Part two is now up ( http://morris.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08 ... ng-part-2/ ). I found it even more interesting than the first.

As far as practical application to what we do, the Genesis excerpt that is the center of the Morris essay seems very helpful to magicians (Genesis 37:31-32):

31 Then they took Josephs robe, and killed a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood;
32 and they sent the long robe with sleeves and brought it to their father, and said, This we have found; see now whether it is your sons robe or not.


It is a brilliant deception on several levels. They don't say "Joseph was killed by animals and here are his bloody clothes as proof" -- which focuses Jacob on the question "was Joseph attacked by animals?" In which case he's digging for more evidence that doesn't exist.

Instead, they give him the evidence and let him make his own assumption about what happened to the person wearing the clothes.

Even better: they engage and welcome his inquisitiveness -- rather than trying to fight against him -- by asking him a specific question that guides him down a path he can explore endlessly; but which has nothing to do with the central issue.

By making the question in Jacob's mind "Are these his clothes?" rather than "are these clothes proof that the person wearing them was killed?" the energy goes into the identification of the clothing and the key issue -- what happened to Joseph -- gets zero scrutiny, even though it seems to be getting a lot of scrutiny.

I think it is worth asking ourselves, in structuring material, "how can I change the question to guide them towards something that is a.) irrefutably true and b.) irrelevant to the actual method."

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