The city, by its very nature, provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange. Familiarity, whether of chain stores or of cookie-cutter subdivisions, erodes the autonomous intelligence and, in a weird way, undermines privacy. In the suburbs, I’m the stranger; I feel exposed. Only in a crowded, diverse place like New York, surrounded by strangeness, do I come home to myself.
- JESSE EISENBERG: People on the street say mean things to me.
- INTERVIEWER: Like what?
- JESSE EISENBERG: I get called Napoleon Dynamite because I have curly hair. I live in New York City and I ride a bicycle. I always bike down 9th Avenue and there’s this kid who goes to school there named Abraham. Every time I pass him, he calls me Napoleon Dynamite. He screams it out and his friends laugh. That was a fine movie but I wasn’t in it.
- INTERVIEWER: What do you say back?
- JESSE EISENBERG: I say, “Please Abraham, I’m not that man.”