November 22, 1963: Watch Errol Morris’ Short Documentary About the Kennedy Assassination

We live in a fine time for con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists, in at least a cou­ple of sens­es. First and more broad­ly, giv­en the pow­er of the inter­net, they’ve nev­er had clos­er at hand the semi-incrim­i­nat­ing, half-hid­den pieces of infor­ma­tion on which they build and with which they bol­ster their sus­pi­cions. Nor have they ever had a more effec­tive means of gath­er­ing and dis­cussing their find­ings. Sec­ond and more specif­i­cal­ly, the 50th anniver­sary of the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy has come upon us. This has set all those fas­ci­nat­ed by that grim his­tor­i­cal event, from the sober­est of skep­tics to the sheer­est para­noiacs, eval­u­at­ing and re-eval­u­at­ing it even more thor­ough­ly than usu­al. Above you’ll find the short Novem­ber 22, 1963 by Errol Mor­ris, a clear-eyed doc­u­men­tar­i­an and inter­view­er fas­ci­nat­ed not only with those who con­spire and those who the­o­rize about such con­spir­a­cies, but also with the grander implic­it ques­tions about what we know and what we don’t, what we can know and what we can’t, and whether we even know what we can and can’t know in the first place. (The title of his new fea­ture-length doc­u­men­tary about Don­ald Rums­feld: The Unknown Known.)

“The more you inves­ti­gate a crime, the more it becomes crys­tal-clear what hap­pened,” says Josi­ah “Tink” Thomp­son, schol­ar of Søren Kierkegaard, pri­vate detec­tive, and author of Six Sec­onds in Dal­las: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assas­si­na­tion (a book with which any­one who has seen Richard Lin­klater’s Slack­er will already feel some famil­iar­i­ty). “I don’t think any oth­er crime I know of in his­to­ry has been inves­ti­gat­ed with the kind of inten­si­ty that this has. And yet I don’t think we get any clos­er to know­ing what hap­pened now than we were 40, 45 years ago.” This opens a dis­cus­sion of how all the pho­to­graph­ic evi­dence of 11/22/63, up to and includ­ing the awe­some­ly scru­ti­nized Zaprud­er film, bears on the mat­ter. “Is there a les­son to be learned?” Mor­ris asks. “Yes, to nev­er give up try­ing to uncov­er the truth. Despite all the dif­fi­cul­ties, what hap­pened in Dal­las hap­pened in one way rather than anoth­er. It may have been hope­less­ly obscured, but it was not oblit­er­at­ed.” And just as Novem­ber 22, 1963 fol­lows up The Umbrel­la Man, Mor­ris’ pre­vi­ous piece with Thomp­son, Thomp­son has a sequel of his own in the works: a book called Last Sec­onds in Dal­las. JFK assas­si­na­tion nuts — and I mean that in the nicest way — have their read­ing ahead of them.

Novem­ber 22, 1963 will be added to the Doc­u­men­tary sec­tion of our col­lec­tion of 600 Free Movies Online.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Revis­it­ing JFK on YouTube

Who Killed JFK? Two New Stud­ies

Film­mak­er Errol Mor­ris Gives Us “11 Excel­lent Rea­sons Not to Vote?”

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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