You look them right in the eye,
yeah you shout and sing them down,
but joy, our joy, don't really care for fighting
while oppression will just wait around-- for you to blink.
Joy beats oppression, but oppression will make you pay.
Speak up, black out, black-listed, full-blooded, red."
--The World/Inferno Friendship Society, "Paul Robeson"
|He has, on at least one occasion, been saved by a bulletproof vest.|
Vollmann is the America's most talented living writer. I'm gonna throw that out there so you know where I stand-- like most members of his decidedly cultish fanclub, I'm not one to speak moderately of the man's work. It is a great body of work-- the sheer beauty of the man's prose is astonishing --it is an important body of work, and it is a huge body of work: since his literary debut in 1986, Vollmann has averaged somewhere around 500 pages a year. That's in books alone, not counting his articles for magazines and occasional book reviews. I can't even pretend to have read all of them.
In 1990, Vollmann wrote a fairly brash piece in which he diagnosed, and offered treatment for, the "disease" of contemporary American literature. Also, he promises to "set right all the woes of the world." I think he was kidding, but...the guy's been working hard in the 20 years since that promise at doing just that. It's a great read, and short enough that I suggest you go ahead and do so. I'll wait.