New York is not the centre for American culture and art that it once was because of the forces of conservatism. Giuliani, capitalism - and then there was 9/11. I really believe that if I leave, it will suffer! Maybe that's why I love it here, because I feel wanted.
The function of high school, then, is not so much to communicate knowledge as to oblige children finally to accept the grading system as a measure of their inner excellence. And a function of the self-destructive process in American children is to make them willing to accept not their own, but a variety of other standards, like a grading system, for measuring themselves. It is thus apparent that the way American culture is now integrated it would fall apart if it did not engender feelings of inferiority and worthlessness.
Look, there's no denying that comics have moved dramatically into the mainstream in North American culture in the last 10 years, and for someone like me who's always tried to make a living at it, it's been great, I'm very grateful for it. But at the same time, it's not a subculture-y thing anymore; it's something that's in the New York Times and the New Yorker.
American culture has always known success, not suffering, so we've never known what to do with this part of the Bible. The more we succeed, the more we're seduced into thinking we can control everything. We dissect Revelation to get a sense of control over the future.
Even if, personally, I'm in a place of contentment or solidity, I feel like it's hard not to look out into American culture and see vast inequity, widespread institutionalized violence and racism and transphobia and environmental destruction. It's hard to be in this world and feel a sense of innate satisfaction at all. There's plenty of things to feel unsettled about.
It's interesting in American culture. We like to build people up and then push them off the pedestal, and then we want to see them come back. Like Britney Spears, and a lot of people, it's what we do, and it's not like that in other parts of the world.
Few places in American culture have made as effective a case for entrepreneurship than hip-hop. Hip-hop tells young people that our society is offering very limited options for youth. And that while society points to a radical decline in living wage jobs for youth and meaningful and affordable education, hip-hop is offering an alternative legitimate economy that is giving youth hope.