Advice For Amy

Here’s an entertaining article I found this morning. It was written for USA Today five long years ago (ok, so it’s not exactly news) when Amy Dickinson (“Ask Amy”) joined the Trib to fill the hole left by Ann Landers’ death. The author, Emily Toth, gives a bit of insight into Amy’s colorful background (reporter? lounge singer? single mother?) and also offers a devoted and affectionate tribute to AL, explaining just why she was so darn good.

In the last 5 years, Amy has definitely held her own–she’s still not so “pithy,” as the article points out, but she doesn’t beat around the bush. She’s fresh and entertaining but consistent, which I think is vital–you don’t want every answer to sound the same, but you do want to understand and be able to anticipate your advisor’s values and attitudes toward various issues–you need to know it’s the same person, the one you trust, writing back each morning. I love her, though I don’t always agree with her. (She’s never printed any of my argumentative responses, alas).

Toth pokes fun at Amy’s apparent WASP-ishness–the best advice-givers have always been Jewish, she claims, and it’s hard to argue with her. But you can’t deny that it takes a certain amount of chutzpah to say, “Sure, I’ll pull up a chair to Ann Landers’ 56-year-old desk and give it a whirl.”

I speak figuratively of course–Ann Landers’ real desk is owned and used by Dan Savage–true story.

And, what? The Chronicle of Higher Education has a column called “Miss Mentor”?? I’ve got to check this out.


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