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Dog Bites 

Burn Rate; Return of the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project

Wednesday, Jun 14 2000
Burn Rate
So there we were, wandering aimlessly down Stockton after completely striking out at the Emporio Armani sale on one of the many, many shopping trips that are so familiar to regular readers of this column -- readers like Muffins Zine of Contra Costa County, who apparently wears flannel to nightclubs and writes:

Laurel, you a bitch.
I used to like you, but now
I see you suck hard ...
Obviously, in a liberal and artistic

Your clothing must conform to
The conventions, what's being worn by the
So-called in crowd of high power,

Too chic for you, darling.
Shop Saks 5th.

Actually, Muffins -- is that your stage name? -- oh, whatever. So -- back to Stockton, where we were wondering whether to go look at that Samsonite jacket in Nordstrom again or not. But of course, that was before we noticed the name of a dot-com company spray-painted, at regular intervals, all the way down the sidewalk to Market.

We remember a few years back when "guerrilla marketing" was all the rage; young advertising executives who seemed to think of themselves as commandos of capitalism were apparently flitting through the city streets at night with stacks of photocopied 8-1/2-by-11 handbills, and you could barely leave your apartment without seeing multiples of fliers meant to look like gig posters wallpaper-pasted to light standards and bus shelters. Of course, when you examined them closely, they all turned out to be advertisements for various Web sites, like The Spot, that have long since taken up permanent underwater residency. (Oh, God, now we're getting all misty-eyed over the birthing pangs of the New Economy. Sorry.)

Luckily this marketing tactic, like Cliff Stoll's broadcasting career, went away fairly quickly. So when we saw the logo, we were torn. On the one hand, there's this lame guerrilla campaign-type graffiti on city sidewalks -- in a really unattractive shade of neon green, too, which is so 1996, so cyber! -- and on the other hand -- well, burn-your-own mix CDs for parties with our high power, ultra-rich friends!

We went to the Web site, which recently changed its name from because it has begun offering custom-mixed DVDs and MP3 downloads (and of course, may always expand its business model again soon and start featuring same-day dry cleaning pickup and delivery), typed "Supreme Beings of Leisure" into the search field, and got this message:


"Please try another search. We couldn't find the song or artist you requested in our database. But with almost 200,000 songs available, you're probably closer than you think to something you'll love!"

Yeah, we bet you say that to all the girls. Anyway, next we tried searching for Beck, then Moby, then Groove Armada, which is, like, constantly blaring out of the stereo at American Eagle Outfitters, where Muffins probably shops for muted Dawson's Creek plaids and cargo shorts. Nothing.

At work on Monday our calls to David Gould, president of the Stamford, Conn.-based -- not to be confused with the Portland, Ore.-based, which actually does have a cool Web site and cool music -- went unreturned, which didn't surprise us. After all, the man's a Harvard M.B.A.! He has better things to do!

Still, by this point we'd eaten 2 1/2 doughnuts, and were surfing a major blood sugar crash, and people were, as they have been for the past week and a half, telling us we look "tired," so we were cranky. We decided to call mayoral press spokesperson Kandace Bender and explain the situation to her. Suddenly the DPW was on the line, asking for details, while Bender, in due course, explained the situation to Mayor Brown, who then explained how he felt.

"He was very, very angry," Bender told us. "This is a guy who drives around with the number for the DPW's graffiti-removal task force on his speed dial. He said we will investigate, and if somebody is spray-painting their corporate logo on our city streets we will aggressively pursue criminal and civil action against them."

Whoo-hoo! Sometimes ratting other people out is way fun.

Actually, now that we think of it, it's the whole reason we got into journalism. Well, that and the free stuff.

Return of the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project
From faux to actual guerrilla tactics in the space of a few carriage returns -- it's enough to addle our tiny brain, but when we were tipped that Kevin "Nestor Makhno" Keating might know something about a new postering campaign in the increasingly dull Mission, we called him right away to get what's known in journalism parlance as the "scoop."

"It's going to happen very, very soon," Keating told us. And though he declined to confirm his involvement in writing the text on the posters, he obligingly quoted from it at length anyway. Titled "Future Squats of San Francisco," the poster has been printed in English, Spanish, and Tagalog, and reads in part:

Only the rich can afford to live in these luxury condos, but large-scale direct action by working-class and poor people can turn it around! Confront the dot-com creeps when they come to look at the condos! Confront them when they try to move in!

A word of advice for prospective luxury condo dwelling scumbags: How wise is it for you to pay $300,000 to $600,000 to move into a neighborhood where your neighbors hate you, and your property will never be safe from righteous working-class anger?

Keating said he's not worried about possible police, uh, interest. "I actually owe the SFPD a big debt of gratitude," he said. "The attention they helped generate for a radical response to gentrification is something I wouldn't have been able to get otherwise in 10 years' worth of postering."

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

About The Author

Laurel Wellman


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