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January 31st, 2011

Dear Abby

It’s surprisingly to me that, in 2011, the Dear Abby and Ann Landers columns still exist in the newspaper. While it was always surprising that anyone would write in to etiquette “experts” for advice, it’s particularly curious that people are still doing so, given that they could get advice that’s just as good by using Hotbot, Altavista, or some other search engine.

One thing that is not surprising is that there seems to be a subculture that’s formed around Dear Abby columns published online. Take this column, for instance, and dig down to the comments. Now, every dummy with a keyboard fancies themselves an etiquette expert (sorry, “expert”) and chimes in with their own opinions on Abby’s responses. References to the first letter start with “L1:” and the second letter with “L2:”.

Want an example of the high quality of these comments?:

If you had stayed, he might have gotten you pregnant, so count yourself lucky.

This was said not in response to a wife who left her husband that had been poking holes in condoms and replacing her birth control pills with Tic Tacs. No, in reference to a woman who wrote about an elementary school friend that she found out, years later, now is in jail. She felt guilty for not staying in touch with him after she moved in elementary school. Yet, Comment Genius seems to think if her family hadn’t moved, then her friend who entered a difficult period in his life would have gotten her pregnant. Just like that.

I did a much better job as Dear Gabby in my 5th grade newspaper (Yes, that was me! The secret’s out!).

Posted in Pop Culture

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