William T. Vollmann’s Rising Up and Rising Down runs seven volumes and 3,000 pages and costs $120 from McSweeney's. David L. Ulin confesses in tomorrow's LA Weekly that he hasn't read the whole thing, a fact of real life that Vollman accepts during their conversation about the project and the topic it dissects: violence.
In almost every way that matters, McSweeney’s and Rising Up and Rising Down represent the perfect match of publisher and work. Each stands willfully adjacent to the mainstream; each aspires to push the limits of what literature can do...
No matter where you stand on the ideological spectrum, it can be unsettling to see Bernhard Goetz juxtaposed with a figure like Gandhi, or, for that matter, suicide reconfigured as a form of self-defense. Such concepts are troublesome, uncomfortable and raise a lot of questions, constantly forcing us to reassess our engagement with the book. This, however, is part of the purpose, especially if you disagree with Vollmann (as I do in regard to Goetz): to challenge our assumptions, to make us reconsider what we think we know.
Also, Margaret Wertheim writes in the LA Weekly about an exhibit - "Loop Feedback Loop" - on L.A. traffic and the city's attempt to control it with sensors and central computers. It's at the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) in Culver City.