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Wednesday, Jun 9 1999

Page 3 of 3

Laurel Wellman will describe what happened at our "Stop the Hate" meta-demonstration more completely in her Dog Bites column, which follows this piece by a few pages. I will answer, now, the burning question: Why? Why would we fake a demonstration?

Hey, why not?
If the San Francisco news media are habitually lazy, press-release driven, gullible, and focused on easily presented controversy, rather than substance -- and believe me, they are -- don't they deserve to be pranked into the next star system? (And believe me, gullible they were. The short-list of news outlets that reported our phony demonstration as real includes: the Examiner, the Chronicle, the Associated Press state wire, KGO radio, and Channel 2 television.)

And if a couple of hundred people in the Mission are so focused on neighborhood politics that they cannot recognize absurdity staring them right in their faces, is it not the clear duty of SF Weekly to bring humor back into their lives?

There are real gentrification and housing problems in this city. We have covered them, and will continue to cover them, seriously, and in detail. But we also do pranks. It's part of our shtick. So let's just publish Mecklin's Maxim, and make everyone aware: When people behave preposterously in San Francisco, they deserve to be pranked.

And, by God, we will prank them!
We understand that executing this maxim next time will be more difficult. Each prank will be harder than the last. People will begin to be on their guard. Some might even stop behaving preposterously for five or 10 minutes.

But preposterousness is endemic to San Francisco, and pranking is necessary for the mental health of the city. So prank we will.

Even when we don't have Emily Gurnon to help.

John Mecklin ( can be reached at SF Weekly, 185 Berry, Suite 3800, San Francisco,

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John Mecklin


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