Herb Caen--50-Year Prophet of 'The City'

Re: "Herb Caen's 50 Years--Prophet of 'The City' Sees Decline," April 16:

Every San Franciscan but Herb Caen (who is actually a hick from Sacramento) knows that the decline is not that of the city but the popularity of a totally irrelevant, out-of-touch, bitter has-been.

Caen, who is certainly no writer as evidenced by his florid over-written Sunday columns (which go unread by any discriminating San Franciscan) supposedly reached his peak as a city gossip columnist in the 1950s. Apparently at that time, a few bad puns, a couple of blind items about shoplifting socialites and AC/DC pillars of society caught in flagrante delicto were all that was required to titillate his readers.

Time has not been kind to Caen. Never has anything approaching wit or grace found its way into a Caen column. Unlike his contemporaries Mike Royko in Chicago or Jimmy Breslin in New York, Caen is not an urban being in an urban city. His dodo-bird journalism is exemplified by hayseed musings and nauseating plugs of his friends which reek of his own self-aggrandizement by association.

KAREN ELLIOTT

Los Angeles

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