Honoring HerbCaen



  Back in June the city of San Francisco threw a party for one of its greatest treasures--columnist Herb Caen. Today the town officially mourned his passing with a service at Grace Cathedral. It was standing room only in the cathedral; many sat outside, like the woman below contemplating the loss of the man whose wit and humor shaped the town for almost sixty years. Eulogies were delivered by Bill German, editor of the Chronicle newspaper, Mayor Willie Brown, a long-time friend of Caen, and comedian Robin Williams. Grace Cathedral on the top of Nob Hill was surrounding by a swaddling fog with emerging patches of blue sky overhead. It was one of those days that Caen liked to write about. There was music and humor, as surely Caen would have wished, but it was a tough day for many.  

  Mayor Brown: ...and people would come and go in this extraordinary of all cities yet the column literally chonicled and catalogued current day events. Herb did insightfull pieces. Herb's writings could make the powerful more powerful; Herb's writings could render the powerful harmless. It was amazing how each of us would eagerly grab that column, skip the Macy's ad ... and as Herb would say, "It's amazing how quickly you can read my column when you're looking only for your name." Each of us was guilty of that.... His description of one's political career could either make or break you. He spent a lot of time rehabing me....

Caen enjoyed official ceremony and, as show below, he got it today.


  Robin Williams (voice cracking): Herb told you that I attended the Democratic National Convention wearing a Mondale supporter, and that my sexual preference was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; he shared with you my theory that monogamous is what one partner in every relationship wants it to be. So because I became that guy form Herb Caen's column, I got to meet people that I never would have got to meet otherwise....Now twenty-five years later Herb's gone, so I'm just plain strange as you can see.




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