Wangari Maathai

Environmentalist & Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai

“It was easy to vilify me and project me as a woman who was not following the tradition of a ‘good African woman.’”

Author William T. Vollmann

“When I go train hopping and I look up into the sky, there are always so many more stars than I remember there were.”

Author & Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka

“There is not a special imposition on writers to be activists. All that does is encourage writers to write propaganda.”

Filmmaker Errol Morris

“The [Abu Ghraib] photographs served as both an exposé and cover-up.”                     

Journalist Mary Roach

“Always go to the bathroom before you go into a life-or-death situation.”                      

Cartoonist Daniel Clowes

“David Remnick said, ‘There’s no penis jokes on our covers. That will never happen.’”

Journalist & former prisoner Wilbert Rideau

“The thing I’ve learned is that basically good people can do some really horrific things, and basically bad people can do some really good things.”

Thomas Jefferson interpreter Clay Jenkinson

“I was complacent about slavery because I grew up in that world, and the actual truth is, I was a racist.”

Cartoonist Roz Chast

“I must have been the only person who really understood why Joan Crawford was so upset about the wire hangers.”

Journalist & historian Adam Hochschild

“The idea of ending slavery seemed totally utopian, crackpot, wildly too idealistic. But they succeeded.”

David Pilgrim, curator of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia“We want our museum to be safe but uncomfortable… It can be a house of horrors.”

Philosopher Peter Singer

“I think we can be ethically conscientious and recognize that sometimes there are going to be compromises.”

Cartoonist & journalist Joe Sacco

“I will interview bigwigs if I get the chance, but you are seldom surprised by people in power.”


image credits: maathai: john barrett-globe photos-zuma • vollmann: mark murrmann-mother jones • morris: sony pictures classics-nubar alexanian • roach: w.w. norton • clowes: daniel clowes • rideau: mark saltz-ap • jenkinson: glasser images • chast: roz chast • hochschild: mikhail lemkhin • pilgrim: between the lines books • singer: barbara oehring • sacco: lars topelmann