So racism against Arabs is shutting down the American mind once again. And all my friends must turn to Al Jazeera English to get the soul of the story: that these events are electrifying to Arabs everywhere, a heroic mobilization. And not only to Arabs. When ElBaradei says, I salute the youth for overturning a pharaonic power, lovers of human freedom everywhere must be thrilled. We are seeing a dictator dissolve before our eyes. These are the events we cherished in history books; let us embrace the Egyptian movement.
Despite Kombucha’s enormous popularity, there hasn’t been a single human trial published in any medical journal. So all the claims about its superpowers are personal testimonials, and to be fair, so are all the accounts of its horrific side effects. The American Cancer Society published a statement saying, “No human studies have been published in the available scientific literature that support any of the health claims made for Kombucha tea. There have, however, been reports of serious complications and death.” Doctor’s linked the tea to the hospitalization of two women with metabolic acidosis, one of whom ended up dying. So the same drink that was meant to fend off deadly diseases like cancer is likely responsible for destroying a few lives as well. Best of all, the American Cancer Society warns consumers that the bacteria can be extremely dangerous to anyone with a compromised immune system, specifically people with cancer.
For the past couple of years I’ve been working on a novel about—my hometown, I was about to say, meaning Berkeley, California, where I’ve lived since the spring of 1997, where three of my four kids were born, where I wrote most of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and every book after that. But the new book—it’s called Telegraph Avenue—is actually set as fully in Oakland as in Berkeley. Each of those cities (Watson and Mycroft respectively to the showboating Holmes of San Francisco) has its own distinct character, or set of characteristics, its unique inheritance of grace and problems. Yet the line between them, a block and a half from my house, ambles. It blurs. At times it all but vanishes—or maybe, generalizing wildly, Oakland with its history of tough-mindedness and Berkeley with its mania for insight, together conspire to expose the arbitrariness of all such hand-drawn borderlines.
The real Telegraph Avenue runs straight as a steel cable, changing its nature more or less completely every ten blocks or so, from the medical-marijuana souks of Oaksterdam, past the former Lamp Post bar where Bobby Seale used to hang out (now called Interplay Center, where you can “unlock the wisdom of your body”), past Section 8 housing and the site of a founding settlement of the native Ohlone people at the corner of 51st Street, past the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library and Akwaba Braiding and a buttload of Ethiopian restaurants, ending in an august jangle at the gates of the Cal campus, and I guess that for a guy who likes hanging around the borderlands—between genres, cultures, musics, legacies, styles—the appeal of Telegraph lies in the way it reflects a local determination to find your path irrespective of boundary lines, picking up what you can, shaking off what you can, along the way. But can you claim a home in a nameless place, at the edge of a wandering border?
Michael Chabon, author of “Wonder Boys” and ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay,” previews his new book, “Telegraph Avenue.”
The GOP keeps blathering on about the Constitution. Saying you support the Constitution is like saying you support the NFL rulebook: it doesn’t really matter what it says, it’s how it’s applied on the field. But, as a refresher course, here is my abridged version of the 27 amendments to the…