Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Oct 14 1998
It's not every day that a new saint is installed, so the recent canonization of Edith Stein by the Catholic Church has sent us into a reverential tizzy. After all, even an extremely fallen Anglican like Dog Bites appreciates having as many saints as possible to receive our mortal pleas.

What the Church hasn't revealed, though, is exactly whose patron Edith will be. Here we have this brand-new saint, and we don't know who should be praying to her. It's inefficient, to say the least.

So we thought at first that Edith could be designated the patron saint of Muni riders, but it turns out they're already covered -- twice. St. Dismas is charged with watching over prisoners, and St. Jude, of course, handles hopeless causes and desperate situations.

San Francisco is generally well-covered, even apart from the city's name itself: Bankers have St. Matthew, which pretty much means smooth sailing for the Bank of America merger, and beggars have Sts. Alexius and Giles, so that covers just about any business or developer seeking lavish gifts of taxpayer dollars from Mayor Willie Brown. (Brown himself doesn't need a patron saint, being the saint of patronage.)

There are so many saints already, in fact, that Dog Bites had a hard time figuring out which profession or group of folks doesn't already have a patron. Gondoliers, hairdressers, librarians, skaters, broadcasters, comedians, pawnbrokers -- everyone, it seems, has a holy someone.

Edith, it's clear, will just have to take what's left. But who would that be, anyway? We worried about it for days, until, looking around the immediate neighborhood, we finally realized the answer was right under our noses.

Web developers, meet your new pa-tron saint.
And hey, given the way the NASDAQ looks, she's arrived just in time.

Maybe We Should Just Give the Guy His Own Column
Our favorite Ukrainian revolutionary anarchist, Nestor Makhno, has taken time to write us another letter -- which, while rather patronizing in tone, is at least more polite than the voice mail we got earlier this week, in which an anonymous male caller snickered, "Hey, Dog Bites. So you're not cute, huh? Heh heh. Too bad," and hung up.

Nestor, however, is less concerned with our lack of resemblance to Brooke Shields than with our lack of political education. We found this focus on our mind endearing enough that we briefly considered launching a Win a Dream Date With Nestor contest, complete with an all-expenses paid evening at Bruno's and as much wallpaper paste as the lucky winner could carry. But then we realized that Nestor would likely disapprove of such shallow consumerist hijinks, and of the frivolity of dating in general.

At any rate, he writes:
My comrades and I were appalled that you confused our anti-capitalist revolutionary politics with those of a counterrevolutionary Stalinist scumbag from the so-called "Communist" party. Our perspectives are irreconcilably antagonistic to the state-capitalist dreck of Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Che Guevara -- and Gloria La Riva.

To avoid confusing the real enemies of capitalism with the left wing of capital, check out:

Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, by Karl Marx; Society of the Spectacle, by Guy Debord; Fascism/Anti-Fascism, by Jean Barrot; Enrages and Situationists in the Occupation Movement, France, May '68, by Rene Vienet; and The Situationist International Anthology, edited by Ken Knabb.

Don't bother with the art stuff in the last one; read the post-1964 articles.

Well, thanks, Nestor. We're kind of broke right now -- the rent and all, you know -- but when we get some cash we'll check it out.

The Rest Makhno
Also on the subject of Nestor -- and this is the last time, OK? -- several recent correspondents have pointed out that our car-bashing friend's name is an alias.

Graduate student Terence Kissack writes to clarify the issue for all Dog Bites readers:

I have followed the debate surrounding the proposals of "Nestor Makhno" with uncommon interest. Not because I am impressed with "Makhno" 's plan but because I am a graduate student interested in the subject of anarchism. As some of your readers know, Nestor Makhno was, in his original incarnation, a Ukrainian anarchist. However, recent contributions to your journal -- a letter which speaks of "Makhno" as if s/he [he, actually] were not using an alias and your columnist's [that would be Dog Bites, apparently] comparison of "Makhno" to a communist party leader [well, not exactly, but anyway] -- lead me to believe that the real Makhno is being lost in the discussion.

OK, we all know what's coming, don't we?
Makhno was born in 1889 in the Ukrainian town of Gulyai-Polye. He became an anarchist after being imprisoned by the czar's government in 1905; his cellmate acted as his tutor. In 1917, having been released from prison, Makhno returned home just in time to participate in the Russian Civil War. Ukraine had become the battleground for the forces of the Red Army, the military arm of the Bolsheviks, and the White Army, the remnants of the Old Regime. Makhno recruited a peasant guerrilla force and fought against the White Army. Leon Trotsky, the leader of the Red Army, treated Makhno as an ally, but as soon as the White Army was defeated Trotsky turned on the anarchists. By 1921 Makhno had fled his homeland, the majority of his followers dead or scattered. [And in some cases, both.] Eventually Makhno found refuge in Paris.

He was not a happy exile; he was a bitter man given to hard drinking. He died in 1934 following a short career as an automobile factory worker.

"He was a bitter man given to hard drinking." Well, that's a word to the wise if we ever heard one.

So next week's column will be free of all bitterness, free of all mention of politics, the economy, the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project, other columnists -- indeed, free of all unhappy topics. Look for it!

As told to Laurel Wellman

Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail

About The Author

Laurel Wellman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"