'Oddball Homeless Person' Used to be New York Times Writer

As a young man, Mark Hawthorn reported for the Times. Now he lives on the streets of Berkeley where he eats garbage and wears women's clothing. Known as the Hate Man, he asks people to tell him, "I hate you."

The San Francisco Chronicle ran a friendly interview with the "colorfully oddball homeless person" who "opt[ed] out of normal society in 1986" today.

Q: You require people to say "I hate you" before you begin a conversation. Do you really hate everyone?
A: I do. But it's a new way of hating. It's about being straight with people. The dictionary defines hate as hostility, but that's heavy. My idea is to be straight about negative feelings that we all have, which is what hate is, and then you can have a real conversation. Don't be threatening or angry or snotty—just straight.

Q: Why do you like to eat out of trash cans?
A: It's free. It makes your immune system strong. It's risky and offensive to some people, but I'm cautious. I sniff it and don't just eat anything.

Hateful masochist was once a respectable journalistic entity, is now a digester of garbage with pride for discerning taste in trash. There are too many possible metaphors to choose just one! [SFChron, pic via SFChron]