Would you -- just for instance -- hire an editor who had already cost you millions and millions of dollars in the course of your previous failed attempt at starting just such a magazine, and had -- OK, bear with us here -- actually put you in the position of having to assign someone to track this editor down in the various North Beach bars he frequented, wrestle him back to the office, and prop him up in front of a typewriter so there would be some faint hope of his meeting deadline, until -- remember, this is only an example -- you finally became so enraged with him that, at a party, you pushed him into a swimming pool?
Sure, it's purely hypothetical. But would you?
Well, if you were Francis Ford Coppola, you might. Or you might not. Or you might not want to talk about it.
One source tells us it now seems Coppola's previous experience publishing City of San Francisco wasn't enough to dissuade him from beginning talks with Warren Hinckle to do it all over again. (Dog Bites, of course, hopes that the unseemly swimming pool incident isn't repeated, or that at the very least, if it is, we can be there to see it.)
That source contends Hinckle has already turned Coppola down several times -- but that Coppola is still looking to recover the heady magic of those spendthrift '70s days. "I mean, what the fuck, it's only money," says the insider.
Hinckle could not be reached for comment.
Coppola, who's currently on location in New York City, wasn't too forthcoming either. At least, that's what his assistant said, after attempting to relay Dog Bites' questions. "I couldn't get a straight answer out of him," she told us apologetically.
Dog Bites to Carroll: Let's Go!
Every time we think of quietly dropping our regular Jon Carroll feature -- usually right after someone accuses us of being unnecessarily cruel to the sensitive columnist -- we get e-mail from a whole bunch of people who think unnecessary cruelty is, well, hilarious.
This note, however, has us worried:
Thanks for your witty critique of the most insipid of all columnists, Jon Carroll. No doubt other writers have thought about critiquing or parodying Mr. Carroll, but they chickened out for the same reason that I, myself, am too craven to give you my name. Remarkably, J.C. has a lot of clout at the Chron and since I make my living by writing books, I am concerned that future reviews might be influenced by the vindictive nature of Mr. Carroll.
You're too kind. But now that we know Mr. Carroll has "clout" and is "vindictive," we're feeling a little nervous, especially since the ominous silence from the Car-roll camp continues. What could he be planning?
So Dog Bites thinks it may be time to challenge Carroll to some sort of one-on-one combat, like maybe a trivia contest or a spelling bee or something.
This way, we both win: Carroll will be able to vent any rage he has toward us before it builds to the level at which vindictive behavior might emerge, and Dog Bites will finally be able to meet our idol in person, or at least force him to acknowledge us in some small way -- the fallback goal of any stalker.
Meanwhile, we summarize most of the columns that have appeared since Mr. Carroll's return from the hinterlands -- we remain firm on our non-summarization-of-replacement-columnists policy -- and remind Carroll Summary fans that, at some point, this will have to end. Really.
Wednesday, Sept. 9
Canadians are polite.
Thursday, Sept. 10
Golden, British Columbia, Canada, is pretty.
Bonus paragraph: "Dinner is also good. Plus: the never-empty cookie jar. I mean."
Friday, Sept. 11
Canadians are polite.
Monday, Sept. 14
Affirmative action is often effective.
Tuesday, Sept. 15
T-shirt sayings are often meaningless.
Wednesday, Sept. 16
Hotel reservations are often handled through a central 800 number.
I Always Smile and Never Frown
Can there really be any more doubt that Jerry Brown is positioning himself for another run at the presidency?
Why, just today Dog Bites received a complimentary promotional copy of Dialogues, a book consisting of conversations between Brown and such illustrious interlocutors as Noam Chomsky, Thich Nhat Hanhn, and Ivan Illich. Collected from transcripts of Brown's radio program, We the People, the book makes Al Gore's literary output look lightweight by comparison.
And what to make of this Brown remark? "So, Noam, in all these debates, we need to look beyond the diversionary campaigns of the two political parties, beyond what we see on television and in the newspaper."
We can't be the only ones thinking third party candidate.
During a channel-surfing moment last weekend -- was it possible to find something that was neither Monica Lewinsky nor Mark McGwire? -- Dog Bites was suddenly transfixed. There, on CNN's Reliable Sources, was ... why, it was San Francisco's own David Talbot.
Talbot, editor of Salon -- which Dog Bites ordinarily adores -- was appearing on the program to defend a story his magazine had run: The shocking -- shocking! -- revelation that Henry Hyde, Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, had had an affair with a married woman.
Thirty years ago.
Salon had previously published a genuinely distinguished series of stories on Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's ethical missteps. So its decision to run the potentially credibility-straining Hyde story -- after it had been pitched to and turned down by a number of other media outlets, including The Nation -- had everyone asking one big question: Umm, why?
Panelist and Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz pointed out that Salon made a perfect case against itself in its own editorial, which read in part, "Aren't we fighting fire with fire, descending to the ugly tactics of those we deplore? Frankly, yes, but ugly times call for ugly tactics."
"That," Kurtz noted correctly, "sounds a lot more like political activism than journalism."
Mission Yuppie Eradication, Part III: The Return
Every week Dog Bites' mail just gets better and better.
Still, it isn't often that we get a letter from someone possessed of the bitter eloquence of reader Juan Tamad, who writes:
Someone should tell Nestor Makhno that self-righteously fucking with cars in the Mission is a good way to get the shit kicked out of him. He reminds me of all the snotty idiots on Haight Street who come to this town from some shitty suburb, shove a bone in their nose and beg for their drug money, and start thinking they represent something other than whiny nihilistic self-indulgence.
There are a lot of people who grew up in the Mission and busted their asses working and going to school so they could afford to move out as adults because they wanted to raise their kids in a place free from the drug-scum and gang-banger bullshit they grew up around, and who know better than to romanticize the Mission's rough edges as part of some half-baked ideological hand-job.
Whiny nihilistic self-indulgence! Half-baked ideological hand-job! Our hats are off to you, Mr. Tamad, and if we ever go on a vacation to, say, an expensive mountain resort in Golden, British Columbia, it's you we'll ask to fill in for us.
As told to Laurel Wellman
Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.