Thu, Jan. 17th, 2013, 02:14 pm
Farewell, Dear Abby
Great sadness, and the end of an era. Pauline Friedman Phillips
, who wrote under the pseudonym Abigail Van Buren, has passed away
at the age of 94.
I don't know that there's an easy way to sum up Dear Abby's contribution to our culture. Some people made fun of her newspaper advice column; some people collected it. But, no matter what, for decades, Abby was as close of a blogger as we had, dispensing advice and wisdom and a little gentle humor. A product of her time, sometimes she was really wrong. But, when she was right, it was usually the best possible advice. And she was right way more often than she was wrong.
Rest well, Ms. Phillips, and thanks.This entry was originally posted at http://filkertom.dreamwidth.org/1595444.html. You may comment there or here, although LJ tends to have a livelier conversation at this time.
Thu, Jan. 17th, 2013 07:29 pm (UTC)
She had a tremendous talent for saying the sensible thing. I looked this one up to get it right. It's my all time favorite Abby answer:
DEAR ABBY: I am a 36-year-old college dropout whose lifelong ambition was to be a physician. I have a very good job selling pharmaceutical supplies, but my heart is still in the practice of medicine. I do volunteer work at the local hospital on my time off, and people tell me I would have made a wonderful doctor.
If I go back to college and get my degree, then go to medical school, do my internship and finally get into the actual practice of medicine, it will take me seven years! But, Abby, in seven years I will be 43 years old. What do you think? -- UNFULFILLED IN PHILLY
DEAR UNFULFILLED: And how old will you be in seven years if you don't go to medical school?
(My current favorite advice columnist is Carolyn Hax.)
Thu, Jan. 17th, 2013 07:31 pm (UTC)
"And how old will you be if you don't learn Minbari?"
Thu, Jan. 17th, 2013 07:34 pm (UTC)
That's exactly how I'm viewing my current pursuit of a college degree. After being a self-taught programmer for more than 20 years, I decided to go back and get an actual degree. Some days it's really difficult to keep at it ("Is this really worth it?"), especially when I realize exactly how long I have to go before I'm finished.
That answer is the one that keeps coming back to me.
Thu, Jan. 17th, 2013 08:01 pm (UTC)
keep plugging at it...just remember one day at a time.
Fri, Jan. 18th, 2013 05:48 pm (UTC)
At least you don't have to create the curriculum as you pursue the degree. I have an uncle who had to do that as a systems analyst.
Fri, Jan. 18th, 2013 12:30 am (UTC)
Not to disrespect the answer but my first thought was, "Will he be able to practice long enough pay off the school bills?"
Fri, Jan. 18th, 2013 01:49 pm (UTC)
This is precisely my favorite as well, and I was about to look up whether it was a response from Abby or her sister Ann Landers. Thanks for doing the work, and consider this the equivalent of a Facebook "Like"
Thu, Jan. 17th, 2013 08:11 pm (UTC)
Awh, I was a huge Dear Abby fan, even as a kid. I'd take my dad's newspaper when he was done just to look up the column. Sad.
Thu, Jan. 17th, 2013 10:45 pm (UTC)
My mom and I used to play a game, where we'd read the question, and we'd take turns answering, then compare what we'd said to Abby's advice.
One thing I admired about her is that she would publish reader responses who disagreed with her advice, and admit when there were better answers.
Thu, Jan. 17th, 2013 10:49 pm (UTC)
Her daughter has been doing a good job continuing the column. I grew up on Dear Abby. Mom and I loved reading her column. I totally agree, RIP to a great lady.
Fri, Jan. 18th, 2013 12:33 am (UTC)
I haven't read her column much. I haven't had a newspaper in over 10 years. But from what I remember she was sincere and caring. She said what she thought needed to be said and not afraid to tell people they were wrong.
Fri, Jan. 18th, 2013 04:02 am (UTC)
My hands-down favorite reply she ever made was 3 words.
Letter Writer: Dear Abby, some weird women have moved next door. I think they're lesbians! They have strange friends that visit them, and once we even saw two nuns go in the house! What can I do to make my neighborhood a nice place to live again?"
Abby: "You could move."
Fri, Jan. 18th, 2013 04:43 am (UTC)
And that's why we loved her
Fri, Jan. 18th, 2013 05:17 pm (UTC)
palenoue: Lesbian PDA
The response I remember most is when someone wrote to her that she was disgusted by society's acceptance of lesbians and immorality. Why just the other day she saw two women hugging and kissing and making quite the scene of public affection.
Abby replied: "Obviously you've never seen my sister and I when we meet at the airport."