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" A donkey is a very useful beast of burden. "
" From the very beginning of this movement, Scientology has always been a very closeted organization. That aura of secrecy is something that the present-day management continues. "
" When the price of oil goes up, the entire Texas economy takes a deep breath. Millionaires blossom like rain lilies. News races through the countryside that the money train is pulling into the station. Hop on board! "
" I was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. "
" I love apples. I actually do eat an apple a day. "
" When I was in the ninth grade, I had a teacher in Dallas, Texas, named Elizabeth Enlow in English class. Every Friday, we had to write a little essay, and you had to incorporate three particular words into the story. That was the sole direction. And to me, this was so much fun. "
" To an outsider, Abilene was like a small landfall in the Sargasso Sea - remote, laconic, and forever closed to strangers. "
" Every form has its merits. And I like to work in a lot of different forms. "
" I got my initiation into the Middle East in 1969 when I went there to teach at the American University in Cairo for two years. "
" Our intelligence community was extremely poorly prepared before 9/11. "
" From the very beginning, when you go into Scientology your world narrows down very quickly. "
" What is interesting to me about film, and documentary film in particular, is that I can write about these people, and you trust my judgment, more or less, but when you're confronted yourself with humans who are right there on the screen telling you their story, you make a judgment yourself that is conclusive. "
" For my parents, leaving the close social quarters of Abilene was like getting out of jail. They were not true West Texans; they had not come to love the unending monotony of mesquite barrens or the high, hot blue sky that made sunsets a matter of prayerful thankfulness. "
" When you're first starting on a project, you feel shy because you don't know very much, and you know that you're going to be ignorant and seem ignorant. "
" There are many countries where you can only believe more or you can believe less. But in the United States we have this incredible smorgasbord, and it really interests me why people are drawn to one faith rather than another, especially to a system of belief that to an outsider seems absurd or dangerous. "
" I don't dispute Scientology can help people; I think that is a very important fact to keep in mind. "
" If you call it al-Qaida or bin Ladenism or jihadism, whatever you call it, it's proliferated. "
" Hubbard set up the Church of Scientology in Hollywood in 1954 for a reason. He understood that celebrity was increasingly a feature of American public life, and celebrities themselves were going to be worshiped as minor deities were in the ancient world. The idea was: if you could get them, think how many people would follow. "
" The U.S. is such an unusual place in the world because you can believe anything you want. "
" What I've learned is that everybody really wants to sell their story. No matter who they are, everybody feels that what they're doing is the right thing, and if they could only explain themselves to a reasonable person that understands them, then maybe they'll listen. "
The Right Thing
" In places where money comes out of the ground, luck and a willingness to take risks are the main denominators that determine one's future, not talent or education or hard work. Money that is so easily acquired somehow comes to seem well deserved, because those who have it must be either uniquely perspicacious or divinely favored. "
" Oftentimes, when I was reporting on conflict somewhere in the world or prison or wherever I might be, I'd be struck by the fact that religious beliefs were sometimes transformative, sometimes a motivation for violence. "
" Scientology plays an outsize role in the cast of new religions that have arisen in the 20th century and survived into the 21st. "
" The lovely thing about the writing life is that you can point it in any direction. "
" Journalism is a flawed profession, but it has a self-correcting mechanism. The rule of journalism is: talk to everybody. "
" When I was working on the al-Zawahiri piece, a large part of it published in 'The New Yorker' in 2002, I had spoken to a lot of Zawahiri's friends, people who had been in prison with him, people that had been in al-Jihad with him. And quite to my surprise, they liked that article a lot. "
" The ideal 'New Yorker' profile is a person, an interesting person, at a critical point in his life. "
" Islam and the West have clashed in the past and have not clashed. There is nothing inevitable about it. "
" I deplore sexual harassment. "
" The Israelis and the Palestinians don't know each other. They live right there, but they've become strangers. And it makes it much more difficult to make peace with a person you really don't know, and that's an obstacle in itself. "
" Religions prosper in large part because of the communities that they create. "