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Simon: I do take Eric Holder at his word because he hosted the actors and they told me he knew the show. And I don’t disagree with Obama’s fundamental politics or some of his purposes. I’ll be voting for Obama. You know, I have a choice of two and I’m not wasting my vote. It can always get worse.
reason: Do you think New Orleans is getting better? The show [is set] a couple years back in time, but the actual number of people who have returned is higher than the initial projection or expectations. Is it actually flourishing?
Simon: It depends on who you are. They called the area that didn’t go under the water, the sliver by the river, the isle of denial. And there is a schizophrenia. I mean you go out to the Gentilly area and there are blocks where, you know, you’ll see two or three people back and house after house still not restored.
But before the storm, 77 percent of the population was born there. That’s unheard of in America. Everyone is from somewhere else in this country. But if you’re born there, if you grow up with that culture and that essence, it’s very hard to say goodbye. It’s not a museum piece. The number of Latinos—Central Americans and Mexicans—that came to New Orleans to do construction work after Katrina and now have stayed on means you’re going to start seeing some version of the Mariachi second line band and it won’t just be on Cinco de Mayo. They’re going to contribute to the musical culture and to the cuisine.
Again, all the attendant problems of the American city are there, and I think city living is what Americans have to master. But, man, they make it hard. And I think that’s the 21st century challenge, among other things. There’s a lot of 21st century challenges—don’t overstate it—but one of them is how do we learn to love a city for what it is because we have no choice.
Updated September 21: On his personal website, David Simon has accused Reason TV of producing a "shanked" interview with him. For links to his criticism, our response, and full audio of our hour-and-20-minute-long conversation with him that formed the basis of this video, go here now.