Pauline Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, aka Dear Abby, died yesterday. It made me think about the media.
As a creator and consumer of media, I think about it a lot, obviously, but I’m thinking about the advice that she gave over the years (after she retired her daughter took over). Her advice must seem quaint – maybe even irrelevant – to younger people today, but at one point she was the person to go to for advice (or maybe you could go to Ann Landers – her twin sister!). A woman who had a syndicated column and seemed wise and funny and could help you with your questions.
That was back when this wasn’t quite a regular thing everywhere. She and her sister weren’t the only advice-givers of course, but they were the icons, the one that people read and read and read. Now it seems that everyone is Dear Abby, on Twitter and Facebook and on blogs and web forums and on talk shows and in self-help books. It makes you realize how much of a cluttered society we’ve become. There’s just too much of everything sometimes, you know?
When everyone is a Dear Abby, that means no one really is.
It’s yet another reminder that a certain world we all used to know is going away, day by day. Maybe I’m just in old-fogey mode today but I don’t think I’m wrong.