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Monday, November 29, 2010

Nachos, Tigers, and Death: The Examiner's Bizarre, Tasteless Thanksgiving 'Treat'

Posted By on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 12:01 AM

click to enlarge Nachos? Seriously?
  • Nachos? Seriously?

Following an utterly bizarre cover "exclusive" in the Thanksgiving edition of the Examiner exhuming the sordid tale of Tatiana the tiger's 2007 rampage through the San Francisco Zoo, we still have no idea why the beast leaped from its enclosure, mauled Carlos Sousa, Jr. to death, and transformed the hapless Dhaliwal brothers into fleeting celebrities.

But we do know the wastrel brothers were eating nachos prior to the tiger attack.

In all seriousness, the revelation that nachos were consumed by a trio of zoo patrons is the sole takeaway from the article -- that and the fact the Dhaliwals speak in a persistent gangsta patois in the "exclusive" police interviews obtained by the Examiner.

The premise of this article -- that, somehow, nachos were worth mentioning after a 240-pound tiger turned the zoo into a scene of horror before dying in a hail of gunfire -- remains unbelievable even days after its initial publication. There's a reason the city is paying out nearly $1 million to the Dhaliwal brothers and Sousa died before reaching manhood -- the walls to Tatiana's enclosure were too goddamn short. Period!

It doesn't matter of the brothers were hurling nachos or had a roast turkey on a fishing line they cast into the tiger enclosure -- lethal zoo animals aren't supposed to be able to interact with the general public, no matter how annoying the zoo patrons behave. When did this become a matter of even the slightest controversy?

The Dhaliwals' brushes with small-time criminality and alleged drunken, drugged-up state on that fateful day make them easy to loathe. But "they got what was coming to them" isn't the right way to brush off an escaped-tiger-in-the-zoo situation. You shouldn't have to be a virtuous person to enjoy the privilege of surviving a trip to the goddamn zoo. If every drunken lout in San Francisco deserved to be mowed down by a rampaging tiger, the streets would be a blur of orange and black.

click to enlarge Tiger bait?
  • Tiger bait?
Finally, the Examiner article transcends the bounds of human decency by using the term "tasty treat" in the headline when recalling an incident in which a terrified child was ripped to shreds by a gigantic predator.

We've said it before and we'll say it again -- the Ex's local coverage is damn good and its reporters are gifted and hard-working. But the quotidian brilliance of any number of Ex articles can be overwhelmed by clumsy, hysterical, and salacious crap.

And you can't blame nachos for that.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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