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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Nov 19 1997
Kissing Banana
Could the San Francisco Examiner actually have bested the Chronicle in a race to suck up to a large advertiser, specifically Bay Area clothing giant the Gap Inc.? It certainly seemed that way early this month, when flurries of full-page ads for Gap's Banana Republic subsidiary were fattening the A-sections of both papers in celebration of the opening of a BR "flagship" store. The Ex offered its usual nauseatingly effusive praise for major advertisers, tongue-bathing the store in a front-of-the-business-section "story" headlined "The New Republic."

But where, oh where, was the Chronicle? To be sure, the Chron's business section weighed in with a slurping paean to another Gap subsidiary, Old Navy. But could the Chron have let Banana Republic open a store without an embarrassingly large and uncritical amount of faux news to accompany the event? Could Chronicle editors have realized that the opening of one clothing store in a metropolitan area with a population of more than 5 million is simply not newsworthy?

No, of course not. While Dog Bites slept, the Chronicle beat the Examiner to the suck-up, smooching the new Banana Republic and Old Navy stores a full month earlier, under this impartial headline: "Stylish Banana Republic/New flagship store pushes urban-chic."

-- J.M.

Hearts and Mines
Dog Bites cherishes its reputation for refinement and would never cavalierly state that a San Francisco benefit for dying people was crawling with desperate gold-digging women. But the pressed-up chests, too-high heels, and two-sizes-too-tight couture dresses that wove unaccompanied through Nov. 7's high-society benefit for the San Francisco Leukemia Society appear to allow no other conclusion.

First, there were the two fifty- or sixtysomething, feather-strewn women who trotted frenetically toward the Sheraton Palace Hotel ballroom as the, er, "festivities" were just getting under way. Then came the two Mae-West-in-spandex types who pranced back and forth and back and forth through the cocktail-and-hors-d'oeuvres hour. Not to mention the solo acts mingling with the new and old San Francisco money at the event's pasta and roast beef buffet.

This type of aggressive enterprise is not, of course, something that Dog Bites objects to. Honoring such forty-niner spirit remains to this day an essential component of our journalistic mission. Of course, an event devoted to combating fatal diseases of the reticuloendothelial system involving uncontrolled proliferation of leukocytes does seem an odd place to try to roil the passions of aging magnates. But oddness seldom equals impropriety, and these socio-geographical decisions really should be left to the experts. And believe us, the benefit was crawling with them.

-- Matt Smith

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