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01 July 2002 @ 11:44 pm
Warren Hinckle  
I really love the serendipity of the web. I was writing up my Pride report (coming to this weblog any day now), and wanted to check whether the sheriff of San Francisco has a boyfriend; someone saw him matching with a leatherboy and wondered. I discovered that he was married with kids, which makes it unlikely (though not impossible!) but on the way I detoured into the sheriff's department's gallery of former prisoners. One of them being Warren Hinckle, who after writing several columns slamming DiFi when she was mayor, was arrested on a warrant for walking his beagle without a leash.

I had never heard of Warren Hinckle, so I popped his name in Google and found several pages recounting his infamous career, including one that led me to his current abode at the Examiner. And what did I find but a story about the World Cup bar raids I mentioned several days ago. I read it and was immediately charmed; it had the sense of the city as not just a bland collection of monoliths, the Police and the Bars and the Government, but as a interlocking network of precincts and neighborhoods and people. It narrowed the vague raids of the Chronicle story into a specific district, specific bars. It named names, it imputed personalities. The Chronicle did do something of a
followup
days after this column, in the form of a paragraph in a related story, but even then it couldn't help blandifying three bars into 'several.'

Good local reporting is not something I read often. Back in DC, the Post had the same blandness of affect, the same genericness to the city, as the Chronicle. It's not even a matter of this being a column as opposed to a news story; the Post's metro columnists generally wrote like they were trying out for the editorial page, not as if they had any experience with the city. And I adore Jon Carroll, but it's very seldom that his column couldn't have been written from any vaguely-liberal city in the nation. It's delightful. I may have to read more of the Examiner if this is what the Great Divorce has brought.