Hate Man: All American football fan

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“The Bear will never die!! The Bear will never be defeated!!

 

This might surprise some people — because Hate Man wasn’t exactly your typical jock — but Hate Man was a huge Cal Bears football fan.

Some of my fondest memories of Hate Camp are hanging there on the Saturdays that Cal was playing. And I’d be listening to the game on the radio on my headphones. And since my radio didn’t have speakers I’d be doing a play-by-play so that everyone at Hate Camp could follow the game. And we’d all be avidly into it. Especially Hate Man.

“And the quarterback is dropping back to pass . . .AND THEY CAUGHT IT!! . . . No wait . . FUMBLE!! . .. I’m not sure who’s got it . . CAL GOT THE BALL BACK!! . . . First and goal with 40 seconds left in the game!!”

It could get really exciting. And I’d really ham it up as the play-by-play announcer.

But one odd thing. We were about a mile away from the football stadium listening to the radio in Peoples Park. And every time Cal scored they’d shoot off the cannon. And I’d hear it first on the radio. And then I’d hear it a second later in real life. It took that long for the sound to travel a mile. Weird.

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Hate Man and his stuff: Part 2. Hate Man tells the University to stuff it

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When Hate Man moved to People’s Park and set up Hate Camp there, his battles with the police and the University over his “stuff” really intensified, and became virtually a daily form of warfare that was waged for over a decade. It wasn’t uncommon for Hate to have a dozen “stuff”-related tickets at any given moment. Virtually all of which Hate defeated in court.

The problem the police had with nailing Hate over this issue was that there was very little legal precedent to go by, as well as the difficulting of exactly defining what “too much stuff” entailed. A fact that Hate was able to exploit in court.

The cops would arbitrarily attempt to come up with different definitions — one was “you could only have as much stuff as you could carry.” But Hate would argue that this discriminated against older, smaller, weaker people who couldn’t carry as much as younger, bigger, stronger people.

Or the cops would try to give street people tickets for having chairs, which they considered a form of “lodging.” To which Hate countered that this discriminated against the homeless, because normal people were allowed to bring lawn chairs to the parks when they had their picnics.

Hate had an excellent legal mind. And he enjoyed using it. He enjoyed the gamesmanship of the battle. And never took it personally against the police or the University. He saw it as part of his life-long mission to learn how to deal effectively with nemeses and people who were in opposition to him. And most of the cops didn’t take it personally either. Aside from one or two who REALLY hated Hate Man’s guts and went out of their way to make Hate’s life miserable.

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And to be fair to the cops, it was necessary for them to periodically crunch the homeless street people over having too much stuff. Because many of them compiled huge masses of crap and made huge messes. And if the cops didn’t periodically prune the herd, they’d turn our public parks and public spaces into private squats and homeless shanty towns.

Hate Man, though, was in somewhat of a unique position. He served as sort of a communal store and trading post for the street community. And among his stuff he’d have things like a “medicine chest” where street people could get things like aspirins and cough medicine and band aids. And if you needed to borrow a screw driver or an extra blanket or the proverbial cup of sugar, Hate would usually have it among his mounds of stuff. And Hate also let other street people store their stuff alongside his stuff — he’d keep an eye on it while they had to take care of some business. Which added to his mounds of stuff. And, of course, he usually had several big garbage bags of recycled cans and bottles.

Every now and then I would ask Hate if it was really worth it to go through the daily grind over his stuff, and wouldn’t he consider “flexing” and lightening his load. But Hate Man was always adamant about living his life on his own terms. And if society wanted to stop him, well, good luck doing that. Ha ha. Hate was never shy about pushing the envelope. And wherever the line was drawn, he’d extend it by a couple extra feet. And it would be from that point that he’d be willing to start negotiating. Ha ha.

Finally, in a last-ditch attempt to get rid of Hate Man and all his stuff, as well as all the other homeless people who were basically living in Peoples Park, the University arbitrarily came up with a ban on all cardboard and tarps in the park. Hate Man, realizing this would make it virtually impossible for street people to exist in the park, decided to go on the offensive. And he — and his noisy band of fellow street people — set up a big 24-hour-a-day protest on Bancroft Street, at the foot of the campus and directly in front of the University police station. And he managed to create such a public uproar, that after several weeks the University backed down and relinquished the ban.

And Hate Man prevailed once again. THE END

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Art about art about art about art

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Today I was going through my storage stuff that i hadn’t looked at in 20 years. This weird artificially-preserved time-capsule of my past. So that threw me into these odd emotional spaces.

This big painting by Frederike Rheinheimer from 1986 was painted from a photo by Duncan, of Rick, me and Vince. Rick had just driven us in his truck to the printing press in Fremont to pick up the bundles of the latest (and last) issue of the TWISTED IMAGE tabloid (#10). Hot off the presses. Literally. Now we’re celebrating at a coffee shop.

Being a man, seeing one of my publications rolling off the presses is probably the closest I’ll ever come to that feeling a woman gets when she has a baby.

I’m also struck by how convoluted my art career got back then. This is a painting. Of a photo. Of a publication. And later a newspaper would turn the whole thing into a newspaper article. And now I’ve turned it into a blog.  It gets to be like playing 3-dimensional chess.

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The secret origin of Hate Man’s philosophy of Oppositionality!!!

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Hate Man’s life had a weird kind of symmetry. He spent about 40 years being normal. And about 40 years being weird.

Over the years Hate Man systematically developed this whole philosophy — this whole way of life — that he dubbed “Oppositionality.”

It all started around that fabled year of 1969, when Hate Man was around 42 and he got hit by a massive mid-life crisis. Up to that point Hate Man had lived a fairly normal, conventional life, and had done all the things the way society had told him to do it. And by most measures he was a “success.” He had a prestigious job, the wife, the kids, the nice home, the whole bit. Except for one thing: he was miserable.

So he started “nutting” up, as he put it. Playing by society’s rules hadn’t worked. So he starting questioning everything society had told him. And doing the exact opposite.

Society told him he shouldn’t tell people “Fuck you I hate your guts.” So he started telling people “Fuck you I hate your guts.”
Society said men shouldn’t wear skirts and bras. So he started wearing skirts and bras.
Society said you were supposed to talk to people. So he went completely silent.
Society said you were supposed to look both ways before you crossed the street. So he started randomly running across the middle of the street.

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After he got hit by a car chasing after a frisbee in the middle of the street, and ended up in the hospital for several months with his leg in a traction, Hate Man decided that maybe society had gotten that one right. So from that point on Hate Man always looked both ways.

And that’s pretty much how Hate Man developed his unique and peculiar philosophy. By trial-and-error.

So I guess you could say he developed his philosophy more experimentally than ideologically. If something worked, he kept it. And if it didn’t work he tossed it out.

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Berkeley street characters (#947 in a series): The Yoshua Man

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The Yoshua Man, as confident as ever that he’s about to make his first convert to his one-man religion.
What’s that line?  “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over even when you keep getting the same bad results.”  Nobody embodies this bold trait more than this soap-box orator known as the Yoshua Man.
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The Yoshua Man has been out there on the street corners of Berkeley virtually every day for the last 25 years, preaching, and handing out fliers, and trying to convert people to the truth of his home-made religion.  And as far as I know, he hasn’t made a single convert over all these years.   But that doesn’t stop him from trying.  I just passed him on a street corner today, still firing on all cylinders.
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The Yoshua Man’s one-man religion basically revolves around one key — and endlessly repeated — theological notion.  He came up with this unique theory.  Jesus’s real name was Yoshua not Jesus.  And all the people who believed in Jesus were going to Hell.  Only the people who believed in Yoshua would find their true place in Heaven beside the one true God.  Yoshua’s Dad, natch.. . . . Uh huh . . . .

For a year he was convinced the World Was Coming To An End on May 21, 2011.  Of course, only those who believed in the name of Yoshua would be saved.  The rest of us poor bastard would be doomed to Eternal Damnation for our grammatical error.   So the Yoshua Man was out on the Berkeley campus every day with a little chalkboard counting down the days.  Starting at 365.  364.  363.  And so forth . . . When he got down to zero he disappeared for awhile.  Eventually he slunk back to the campus, in the face of much mockery and abuse.  Undeterred, he came up with a new date for the End of the World.  And started yet another countdown with his chalkboard.   Ha ha.  . .   Like they say:  “Winners never quit.”

I tried to explain to him once:  “Jesus and Yoshua?  It’s like water and agua.  They call it ‘agua’ in Mexico.  And we call it ‘water’ here.  But it’s the same substance.”

He looked at me earnestly and said:  “You’ll think differently when you’re rotting in Hell.”

Hah!  Shows you what he knows.  I’m going to Hades.

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Lake Merritt

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Whenever I think of Lake Merritt I think of this guy I used to know back in the ’90s who’s body was dredged up from the Lake.

They used to call him “the Ray Charles guy” because of his uncanny resemblance to Ray Charles, with his black shades and jutting jaw.  Or “the Sorry guy” because of his endlessly-repeated catch-phrase, “Sorry, don’t forget, sorry” (which was his sardonic response to his panhandling experiences where people told him “Sorry” a 100 times a day).

The Sorry guy basically thought human life was shit.  And that everybody who was in it, including him, was shit.  He usually didn’t get angry or worked up about this.  He thought life was such shit, it wasn’t even worth getting excited over.  He mostly sat alone on a park bench all day, sort of silently smoldering with disgust.  He was a total loner.  I don’t think I ever saw him hanging out with another person.   I suspect he found the whole concept of “friendship” to be absurd, if not repulsive.

I remember this typical Sorry scene.  One afternoon this charity group was giving out free bag lunches to the homeless.  Sorry expressed his contempt for their offering by making a big show of opening up his sandwich and tossing it on the ground.  Then he dumped his bag of potato chips on the ground, took a bite out of his apple and tossed that on the ground, wadded up his paperbag and tossed that on the ground.  Sat there on the bench, smirking, surrounded by garbage.  Some people are beyond helping.

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Sorry was one of those guys on the street scene who you actually see disintegrating right before your eyes.  Sorry liked to smoke crack.  And he’d regularly have these drug-induced strokes.  You wouldn’t see Sorry for a couple of weeks.  And then he’d show up and it would be like:  “Well, it looks like Sorry got a couple of more limbs paralyzed.”

The word on the streets was that he had burned somebody on a drug deal, and that’s how he ended up in the drink.  Which seemed plausible.

When I think of Sorry I’m struck by the wide range of human experiences.  Everyone comes up with their own unique take on what this life is all about.  Which is our right as human beings. . . .  Like so many street people, when he disappeared he was almost instantly forgotten.   But for some weird reason I keep remembering them.

 

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Berkeley Street Characters (no. 947 in a series): The Yoshua Man

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The Yoshua Man, as confident as ever that he’s about to make his first convert to his one-man religion.
What’s that line?  “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over even when you keep getting the same bad results.”  Nobody embodies this bold trait more than this soap-box orator known as the Yoshua Man.
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The Yoshua Man has been out there on the street corners of Berkeley virtually every day for the last 25 years, preaching, and handing out fliers, and trying to convert people to the truth of his home-made religion.  And as far as I know, he hasn’t made a single convert over all these years.   But that doesn’t stop him from trying.  I just passed him on a street corner today, still firing on all cylinders.
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The Yoshua Man’s one-man religion basically resolves around one, key — and endlessly repeated — theological notion.  He came up with this unique theory.  Jesus’s real name was Yoshua not Jesus.  And all the people who believed in Jesus were going to Hell.  Only the people who believed in Yoshua would find their true place in Heaven beside the one true God.  Yoshua’s Dad, natch.. . . . Uh huh . . . .

For a year he was convinced the World Was Coming To An End on May 21, 2011.  He was out on the Berkeley campus every day with a little chalkboard counting down the days.  Starting at 365.  364.  363.  And so forth . . . When he got down to zero he disappeared for awhile.  Eventually he slunk back to the campus, in the face of much mockery and abuse.  Undeterred, he came up with a new date for the End of the World.  And started yet another countdown with his chalkboard.   Ha ha.  . .   Like they say:  “Winners never quit.”

I tried to explain to him once:  “Jesus and Yoshua?  It’s like water and agua.  They call it ‘agua’ in Mexico.  And we call it ‘water’ here.  But it’s the same substance.”

He looked at me earnestly and said:  “You’ll think differently when you’re rotting in Hell.”

Shows you what he knows.  I’m going to Hades.

 1622886_848704351813776_581892534_n.jpg