Feb 14th, 2020
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  1. Berkeley’s famed ‘Hate Man’ Mark Hawthorne dies
  2. The former New York Times reporter lived more than three decades on the streets, including Berkeley’s People’s Park
  4. BERKELEY — Mark Hawthorne, a former New York Times reporter who lived on the streets of Berkeley and took on the moniker “Hate Man,” died Sunday, the advocacy organization Disabled People Outside Project reported on its Facebook page.
  6. A vigil was planned for 6 p.m. Monday in People’s Park, where Hawthorne could often be found sitting on a log, expounding on his philosophy of “oppositionality” — he referred to his followers as “Oppies” — that spawned the name “Hate Man.”
  8. “For me to trust a person and be comfortable with them, they have to be willing to say ‘I hate you,'” Hawthorne told Bay Area News Group during an interview in People’s Park in 2011.
  10. Hawthorne died at 6:33 p.m. Sunday at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley, according to Dan McMullan, founder of Disabled People Outside Project, who described Hawthorne in a Facebook post as “one of my best friends and friend to many, many people.”
  12. “I will miss our conversations, loud discussions and arguments on just about every subject under the sun and beyond,” McMullan wrote.
  14. Hawthorne’s outdoor urban living phase — he shunned the term “homeless” — spanned more than three decades, mostly in Berkeley, and included more than 10 years living in People’s Park.
  16. “I avoid the term “h-o-m-e-l-e-s-s,” Hawthorne said in the 2011 interview, spelling it out, as he tended to with words he did not like. “If I didn’t want a BMW, would you say I was “BMW-less?”
  18. Hawthorne, who was 80 or 81, was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Stamford, Connecticut. He served in the U.S. Air Force, and later with the Peace Corps in Thailand. He had a 10-year career with the New York Times, starting in 1961 as a copy runner and working his way up to general assignment reporter.
  20. On a trip to San Francisco to visit a New York Times colleague, Hawthorne tried LSD, and things suddenly clicked, he said in the 2011 interview. Shortly after what he described as that “mind-expanding experience,” he got bored working for the New York Times, he said.
  22. Around that time, Hawthorne’s marriage ended. He was hit by a drunken driver and had an emotional breakdown that briefly caused him to stop speaking. In 1973 he quit the New York Times and moved to California.
  24. Along with telling people “I hate you,” Hawthorne had them push against him shoulder-to-shoulder if they wanted something from him, say, a cigarette or a favor.
  26. “It tightens up a relationship where I wind up being close with people I don’t even like and they don’t like me,” he said in 2011. “After I push with a person a few times, we start to melt down with each other.”
  28. The pushing episodes could number dozens a day, and could last, at Hawthorne’s discretion, for 30 seconds to as much as an hour for the biggest favors.
  30. Hawthorne told Bay Area News Group in 2011 that he did not collect Social Security, even though he was eligible, or receive any other aid other than Medi-Cal and Medicare. He feared getting robbed, and got by on free meals at People’s Park, recycling, and exchanging unused BART tickets for cash.
  32. He believed that many people suppress their individuality to fit in with mainstream society, and that street people are on the leading edge of individuation.
  34. As of the 2011 interview, Hawthorne had two daughters, including one in Berkeley, from both of whom he was estranged; and a younger sister, Prudence Hawthorne, in Missoula, Montana.
  36. Prudence Hawthorne, who talked to Bay Area News Group in 2011 and described herself as the archivist of her brother’s life, said that her brother felt Mark Hawthorne died a long time ago, and that he had even once sent their mother a death certificate.
  38. On Jan. 8, McMullan posted a video of Hawthorne, huddled in a coat, tarp or other fabric, talking about surviving through what McMullan described as one of the worst storms in decades while sleeping on the sidewalk.
  40. “Even though Hateman was up in years he was pretty strong,” reads a later post on the Disabled People Outside Project Facebook page. “But I watched this year’s wicked weather take a lot of our older citizens. Every year I have an urgency to get some kind of cover to people, but this was really bad.”
  42. The post concludes with, “The harsh world is not just what we see on TV — it goes on right under our noses in the dark of night, right around the corner.”
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