a meta-advice blog: discussion about and (yes!) advice on the pillars of the advice column world
Friday, August 1, 2008
Abby is a Sassy Pants!
As you may or may not know, "Dear Abby" is written by Jeanne Phillips, the daughter of the original "Abby," Pauline Phillips (twin sister of Esther Lederer, aka Ann Landers...it's an inbred field!)
That's Pauline on the left, and Jeanne on the right. (Borrowed this picture from http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2005-rst/2718.html, which borrowed it from somewhere else, with more permission than I have.)
Jeanne has been the voice behind Abby for a number of years, but lately, something has changed. I wish I could dig out the column that first triggered this thought in my mind (MUST figure out how to access column archives on the Trib website). In April, I swear something snapped in Jeanne, and since then she's been sassy to the point of snarkiness...even bordering on bitter. It's a flavor I'd never picked up before in her column, but for the last few months it's been particularly evident. Today's column is a good example.
The writer has a pretty major dilemma: a friend has admitted that she's being sexually harrassed at work, but is afraid to report it, because the perpetrator is a major client, and turning him in could jeopardize her employment.
Abby gives the expected, and I thnk we'd all agree, the politically correct, answer: "It is important that Millie report what has been happening to her boss. It is her employer's responsibility to see that she is not bothered...Whatever is driving your friend's harasser, it is vital for Millie's emotional well-being that the person is stopped. Laws protect people in the workplace, but only if the harassment is reported."
But look what comes in the middle, the "..." part: "I have long thought that people who use their position of power to sexually harass are either so pathologically narcissistic they can't believe everyone isn't bowled over by their charm (which, of course, is delusional thinking), or so pitifully unattractive and insecure they must bully their target into submission."
WHOA! Abby, tell us what you really think! I sort of like her new 'tude, but it does throw me off. As I mentioned before, we expect a certain level of consistency from our advisors. Even if I like the change, it makes me wonder....what's going on with Abby? Is she cracking down, or just cracking up?
I'm a recent graduate of information school, part-time digital library production assistant, part-time electronic scholarly publishing assistant, bad-bridal-TV show-junkie, junior cat lady, and life-long advice column reader.
This blog follows the daily (or weekly) advice dispensed by some of the major advice columnists in my world--and probably in yours too.
I typically comment on the questions and answers, point out trends I've noticed, and track anything I've submitted and anything that's been printed (it happens, sometimes!). Long term goals include exploring the concept of the advice column in general--how it's changed, what it does, etc.--and commenting on books and movies featuring advice columns and columnists.
I hope you'll contribute your two cents--what do you think of the problems plaguing society today, and the way our (mostly female) fearless advisors approach them? Read something shocking, interesting, or hilarious? I'd also like to hear who you're reading, and how you like them, so I can check them out!