Before any of us had ever heard of blogs, the Web, or even the Internet, there was Herb Caen
, a.k.a. Mr. San Francisco, who pioneered what he called “Three-Dot Journalism”: lots of gossipy on-the-town items about celebrities, city life, curious coincidences, and everything else that made San Francisco great. Day in and day out he produced a column in the SF Chronicle
that reminded us why we were in love with our fair city.Sometimes he also wrote longer pieces, whole poetic essays in praise of his beloved Baghdad-by-the-Bay, or in some cases in praise of somewhere else that he was worried might be showing up his hometown. But I think I always loved the three-dotters the most: they stitched the city together and made you feel like you were part of something, especially when you spotted a name or a place you knew. Growing up, I imagined that every major city had its Herb Caen, its poet and scold, its conscience and critic. I didn’t realize that Caen was another of those miracles that just seem to happen to the Bay Area, like the weather and the Bay and Joe Montana.
Mr. Caen passed away a number of years ago, but his columns are still out there and well worth a read.
(Hint: The page reloads every time you click Back; to read sequential columns, you have to right-click on the link, then select Open in New Window. When you’re finished, close the new window and right-click on the next column.)