Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Miscellanies: eBook Citations, and Paul Haggis On Leaving Scientology

1. This article addresses a problem I have thought about many times before. How does one properly cite an e-book in a scholarly work? It turns out, there are different answers to this question. My gut has always been to treat the e-book being cited as a single file without citing page numbers, since they change depending on the device. It turns out, that is only one of the opinions that exist in this matter.

2. The second item is a profoundly interesting story in The New Yorker titled "The Apostate: Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology" which profiles film director Paul Haggis (the writer/director of Crash and writer of Million Dollar Baby) and his struggle to break free of the Church of Scientology, which he was evidently was a member of for around three decades. Having been a part of Scientology for so long, Haggis discusses what it was like being an OT III (the highest thetan level possible) in this cult and his struggle to find meaning in the aftermath of it all. The article is also a very helpful primer on Scientology if you really know nothing about it. My only warning is that it is literally a book-length article. It will take a lot of time to finish reading it.

I do have some favorite snippets, however, which have given me a lot to think about:
  • “Father Rick is a lot like me—a cynical optimist,” Haggis told me. He also said of himself, “I’m a deeply broken person, and broken institutions fascinate me.”
  • “I had a little apartment with a kitchen I could write in,” he recalls. “There was a feeling of camaraderie that was something I’d never experienced—all these atheists looking for something to believe in, and all these loners looking for a club to join.”
  • “The process of induction is so long and slow that you really do convince yourself of the truth of some of these things that don’t make sense,” Haggis told me. Although he refused to specify the contents of O.T. materials, on the ground that it offended Scientologists, he said, “If they’d sprung this stuff on me when I first walked in the door, I just would have laughed and left right away.”

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