Berkeley’s ‘Hate Man’ preferred life on the street and spread a message of love

He brought his own brand of dislike to a city renowned for its 60 s-style peace and love. Berkeley, Californias Hate Man, as he was known, lived on the streets, often standing on street corners screaming I detest you to passersby a sort of counter to Americas counterculture icons. He called it oppositionality, told Dan McMullan, a close friend. His philosophy was that if you were honest about your negative impressions, everything else would just fall into place.

Outside in America

The Hate Man was also known as Mark Hawthorne, before he rose( in his opinion) from a job as a reporter at the New York Times to living more than 40 years as a homeless person in Berkeley. His life story, and his death on Sunday at age 80, shows a fact not unfamiliar to those trying to help the homeless: some people do choose to live on the streets. Hawthornes sister, Prudence, reached by phone in Montana, said she visited him two or three times a year and admired his every move. We like to say he lived the style he wanted to live, she told, and thats a rare thing.
Hawthorne served as an intelligence officer for the air force in the 1960 s, she told, and recollects him dashing out of a movie theatre when he was called to obligation during the course of its Cuban missile crisis. Their father ran as a reporter for the Associated Press and her friend followed in his footsteps, running as a metro reporter for the New York Times. But, she told, he found that he had no time to himself and decided to change his lifestyle. He quitted the Times, she told, but shortly after was hit by a car in New York City, expending the majority of members of a year in and out of the hospital with a shattered hip. After that, in 1973, he relocated to California. Numerous newspapers have profiled the Hate Man, who said he spread dislike as a style of establishing real communications with people. One year, according to McMullan, a Japanese cinema crew depicted up in Berkeley to do a documentary on him: Then, once they attained the movie, they took him to Japan and he got to tour all around. Mark Hawthornes nephew, Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, said his uncle served as almost a social worker to those on the streets. We all know that there is a thin line between love and dislike. Telling I detest you is telling I love you, he told.
I dont believe the Hate Man is trying to counter the culture of peace and love. Hes trying to go further to help the people who fell through the crackings. Hawthorne usually resided in his own Hate Camp inside Peoples Park, which was created by revolutionary activists in the 60 s out of a piece of land a block away from UC Berkeley. When Hawthornes health began failing this year, he made it clear he did not want to live anywhere other than Peoples Park, despite record rainstorms in the area. He did not want to live indoors, told Rev Marianna Sempari, an interfaith chaplain for Berkeley Food and Housing, who watched his health deterioration. Our role is about respecting people agenda. Its not our role to say that people need this, this or this.

Ace Backwords( left) smokes a cigarette next to his longtime friend the Hate Man in Peoples Park, Berkeley. Photo: Mike Kepka/ Polaris/ eyevine
In February, Ficks picked his uncle up from the hospital after some heart problems and he knew he had no choice but to take him back to Peoples Park. He was determined to live this style, Ficks told. Getting him back there was like his last wish.

Then one night during a ferocious cyclone, McMullan, who heads the Berkeley Disabled People Outside Project, got a call from a friend who said the Hate Man wasnt looking too good. He went to Peoples Park and saw Hawthorne in the bathroom, soaking wet, trying to dry himself with the hand dryer.

He seemed dazed and he was turning blue. We get him to the hospital. He died in a nursing home several weeks later.

Despite first impressions, the Hate Man had come to be known as a source of consolation to some of the more vulnerable homeless people living in Peoples Park. Friends said he handed out advice and cigarettes to anyone who would give him a ceremonial push.

They quoted him as saying: Maybe Im a lot like Jesus. But I give out cigarettes instead of miracles.

During the late 1990 s, Hawthorne organized daily drumming circles on UC Berkeleys Sproul Plaza, in which participants banged pails, pans and sticks to make a lot of noise.

It was about getting anger and negative toxins out in the open, told Alex Thorson, a longtime friend who works as a homeless outreach coordinator for Berkeley Food and Housing. There was a lot of irony and irony in what he told. When you unraveled it, it was really kindness and compassion.

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