Sex, death, and God in L.A.

This essay collection about Los Angeles includes the works of Eve Babitz, Alexander Cockburn, Mike Davis, Lynell George, Thomas S. Hines, Jeremy Larner, Rubén Martínez, David Reid, Carolyn See and David Thomson.This is an updated version (1994) of the previous edition (1992). The preface to this edition by David Reid offers a substantial analysis of Los Angeles. The preface and the essays are not at all dated and provide insights that are still wise and relevant. David Reid's comments state, “The plan of this book is to consider the character and customs of Los Angeles in relation to the fundamental things: sex, death, and religion, but also politics and race, love and marriage, the cult of youth and beauty, architecture, movies, the sense of the past." The essays are both prophetic and current. It is not that problems have not changed, they are the same and are those of humanity: employment, housing, the economy, housing, political representation, discrimination and the effects of weather. Perhaps more than any other city in the United States Los Angeles is continuously in flux, and represents issues that take place globally. Los Angeles is not only on one side of the Pacific Rim, it is a city that is, by necessity and circumsance, groundbreaking.

Los Angeles has been characterized as a city of great diversity. However, I think that for many decades Los Angeles has gone way beyond diversity. It was, and continues to be a cross-section of the globe in the countries, cultures, languages, religions and customs that are represented by the people who live and work here and continue to come here to do the same. Then as now, this representation of the world, in one city, enriches Los Angeles and also presents challenges and problems for everyone.