I had a personal connection on a lot of different levels with Hate Man. The relationship started out in 1990 with me as a publisher of a magazine about the Berkeley street scene. And Hate Man as one of the stars of that scene. And continued until his death in 2017.
Another connection. We were both media freaks. Both media savvy. And both media figures in a way. Hate Man had famously worked as a reporter at the New York Times. And my art and writing had been published in zillions of media outlets. So when CBS News or the San Francisco Chronicle or whoever showed up to do features about us, we both knew what the game was. And enjoyed that game.
We also both had a strong interest in philosophy and spirituality. Hate Man always had a messianic bent. Played at being the Guru to some extent. But always reeled it in with a self-deprecating quality that kept him from going overboard. We both aspired to mysticism. And one of Hate Man’s catch phrases was: “I’m fucked up, I’m not one with everything.” He had a weird spin on mysticism in that he aspired to Oneness, but also considered himself an atheist. Go figure. I came from a more traditional Hindu/ Vedanta background, that we were already one with everything and everything was perfect. So we’d sometimes argue about that.
We were also both long-time Berkeley homeless street people. So a lot of our common bond was on a practical level. “Do you know if it’s going to rain tonight, Hate?” or “Have the cops been crunching lately?” or “Is that wingnut over there just weird or is he actually dangerous?”. . . And we also worked together for several years jointly making money recycling cans and bottles together, combining our loads.
Sometimes when I was hanging out at Hate Camp with Hate Man I’d have an odd thought: “This might be the only homeless campsite in the world where two different homeless street people, both me and Hate Man, have Wikepedia pages.” Which was a little odd.