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Errol Morris is an academy award-winning documentary filmmaker. His films include Gates of Heaven, The Thin Blue Line, A Brief History of Time, Fast, Cheap, & Out of Control, and Standard Operating Procedure. Roger Ebert said, "After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven't found another filmmaker who intrigues me more...Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini." Recently, The Guardian listed him as one of the ten most important film directors in the world.

Our two French bulldogs, Boris and Ivan. I think they look like the Olsen twins, no? When I am packing to go away, they try to get in my bag either because they don't want me to go away or because they want me to take them. No checked luggage. If it can't go in overhead, it's not worth taking. Sorry bulldogs, next time.

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Reading glasses. Many, many pairs. I don't like hanging them around my neck, so I'm constantly losing them. Ten pairs should be enough. 1.5 for reading music. 3.5 for reading books. (I buy 100 pairs for $69.00.)

Three pairs of Brooks Bros. khakis...

Five white shirts, button-down collars... The only way I am able to get up in the morning is to have a uniform. (How else would I be able to make a decision on what to wear?)

Extra pair of blue Sperry Topsiders. These are absolutely essential. I wear them everywhere. I got my Oscar in them. Tuxedo and Sperry Topsiders. An unbeatable combination.

Tape recorders. Two. An Olympus WS-210S and an Edirol R-09HR. You never know when you are going to have to tape someone. Be prepared. Also extra batteries. AA and AAA. Better safe than sorry. (Truman Capote said that he had a "photographic" recall of interviews. I think he was lying.)

iPad">iPad. I have two hundred electronic books. It 's nice to know that I can take the complete works of Alexander Pope everywhere.

Gillette disposable razor.

A couple of books. Even though I carry electronic books, I also take real books. This is what I plan to read on the plane tonight, Allen Shawn's Twin.

And Susan Jones' Death in a Small Package: A Short History of Anthrax. This promises to be a a conversation-starter, I also take material related to one of the New York Times essays I'm working on. (Esoteric literature keeps people from talking to you, not that people are inclined to talk to me, anyway.)

Cello music. Now, you can download music from the internet. But I still like having my teacher's bowing and fingering. It reminds me I should practice.

The National Enquirer. An invaluable resource. But why isn't the entire archive of the Weekly World News available on your iPad?

A copy of We Froze the First Man, the basis for a screenplay of a movie that I plan to direct.

And another related book, Man into Superman, Robert Ettinger. (Freezing people for future resuscitation. Is this the ultimate tabloid story?)

What's In My Bag: James GurneyJoi ItoMore features

21 Responses to “Errol Morris: What's in my bag”

  1. Ugly Canuck says:

    fwiw, i’ve long liked Mr. Morris’ 1981 film “Vernon, Florida”, very much.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083281/

    Thought I’d take the opportunity to plug one of his lesser-known, older works, I guess.

    I really do like that little film.

    It must help that i do find people in general to be endlessly fascinating.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Long a fan of Errol Morris. Long live Errol Morris! My fascination came with The Thin Blue Line. I taped it from cable TV long, log ago, and would show it for friends who wondered WTF I was ranting about. A >Revealing< State of Denial from some erstwhile friends. “No way cops are like that!” Ha. You had to grow up in [New Orleans] or [your hometown here] to know how bad some cops could be. So happy to see Errol Morris on BoingBoing – from one who knew BoingBoing from when it was on paper – back in the “zine” era. When it was available in some head shops along with other remnants of the underground pub days.
    Maybe I will join BoingBoing after all.
    I keep trying to remember whether I read about BoingBoing in the first Whole Earth Catalog or somewhere else. I will have to go look.
    Xeni might just know where it’s arrival was first mentioned.
    Maybe not.
    Bye, now.

  3. zuludaddy says:

    Is it me, or does the Frenchie on the right look like a living storm trooper’s mask?

    But srsly, thanks for this – Errol Morris is supercool, and the essay series in the Times reveals even cooler things about him still.

  4. Ugly Canuck says:

    Weekly World News?

    i got a suggestion for a story:

    “60 year old bird gives birth to and raises chick”

    http://esciencenews.com/articles/2011/03/08/oldest.known.wild.bird.us.returns.midway.raise.chick.0

    What’s that? Bird’s not old enough, you say? Gee….

  5. TimDrew says:

    OK, based on the source material indicated, I’m now really keen to learn more about your next film project.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “But why isn’t the entire archive of the Weekly World News available on your iPad?”

    It is, if you’re willing to finagle with Google Books for a bit.

    http://weeklyworldnews.com/archive/

  7. millie fink says:

    Surprised not to see mention in the comments of my fave (and I’ve seen most by him), “Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control.” What a trip!

  8. duncan says:

    …and I just noticed the two paragraphs have been swapped. I sear it wasn’t like that this morning. (Can you tell I’m still at work?)

  9. PaulR says:

    Yes!! Why isn’t the World Weekly News available as a big archive?

  10. duncan says:

    Perhaps a little blip about who this week’s bag person is – so I can know if I should care what’s in his bag.

    • davidasposted says:

      FWIW duncan,

      Errol Morris is the greatest documentary filmmaker of all time and certainly one of the great any-genre filmmakers as well. He uses a technique when interviewing people on camera in which they cannot see him, but rather answer questions to a mirror reflecting their own image. It is an effective and disarming method of interview, which yields fascinating results. My favorite of his films is The Fog of War (2003), but Mr. Death(1999) and the aforementioned The Thin Blue Line are also very good.

      Less known among is corpus is a TV show called First Person. See season 2, episode 2 “The Smartest Man in the World” as a fairly representative sample of the series.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      You mean like the blip that’s right at the top of this feature explaining who Errol Morris is?

      • duncan says:

        Yes, Xeni, that one. I think I missed it because it was the second paragraph. I do know who E. Morris is, Davidposted, but in my brainless state – precipitated by my arrival at work- I couldn’t get that this was him. I had a quick glance around and completely missed the paragraph that actually explained this was him I mean, how many Errols’ could there be? Sorry all.

        Can I say to BoingBoing (imagine me looking right at you through the screen) that it would be nice to be able to edit one’s comments after posting if one is logged in?

  11. Anonymous says:

    “The Thin Blue Line” has been imitated so many times it isn’t even funny. If you haven’t seen “The Thin Blue Line” I recommend it. I believe he won the genius grant for it, but I could be wrong about that.

  12. brassandlace says:

    The “blip” is on the very first image.

  13. millrick says:

    i want to be Errol Morris when i grow up….

    “I asked (Kuhn), “If paradigms are really incommensurable, how is history of science possible? Wouldn’t we be merely interpreting the past in the light of the present? Wouldn’t the past be inaccessible to us? Wouldn’t it be ‘incommensurable?’ ”

    He started moaning. He put his head in his hands and was muttering, “He’s trying to kill me. He’s trying to kill me.”

    And then I added, “…except for someone who imagines himself to be God.”

    It was at this point that Kuhn threw the ashtray at me.”

  14. jeffgreco says:

    The Weekly World News IS available online and on iPad for free, through Google Books: http://books.google.com/books/serial/ISSN:0199574X

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