Re: Prudie


I was just thinking about this. Nothing of the zingy voice we find from her elsewhere, so style points so far are low. None of the questions I've seen have been likely to spark controversy and she answered them in the obvious way. My verdict -- too soon to say.

Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 2:33 PM
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I'm worried it doesn't tap her vein of creativity - there's no oddball art history to combine with observations about women barely tolerating the man in the picture, or text messages between Hieronymous Bosch and some monk.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 2:41 PM
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I wonder if she's dealing with letters sent to Emily Yoffe. A 28yo perhaps can't strike the right mean-mommy tone when telling middle-aged married people what to do. Letters written specifically to elicit Ortberg's advice might be better.

Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 2:47 PM
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dear prudie can I paint a fish on fire with daggers
to illustrate my love
great! bye

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 2:51 PM
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1 is exactly my reaction and verdict. It's all very flat, but it's a tough gig, and I'm one who thinks Yoffe was actually really good at it.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 2:57 PM
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Dear Prudie:

You are stuck in an elevator with your Slate colleagues. You have a gun with one bullet. Do you laugh or cry first?

Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 3:22 PM
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Yeah, so far it's too boring.

Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 3:37 PM
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soooo. booring. very poor fit. if she got to tell people to do crazeballs stuff it'd be ok, but the premise requires her to play the straightman.

Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 3:44 PM
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I've only read one excerpt but agree with 8. She should be giving absurd, not straight advice.

Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 3:46 PM
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The advice she's giving, or perhaps it's just the questions she's receiving, seems pretty, I dunno, straightforward? There was a pretty good (in the sense of generating some interesting replies) question in one of the live chats where someone basically asked "how can I tell my wife that I don't mind if she has a fling with a sexy local on her upcoming vacation with some female friends without it being all weird/her thinking I'm asking for permission to have a fling with sexy locals myself?".

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 3:50 PM
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I mean, in that situation my response would be something like "I don't know! That sounds hard!"

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 3:51 PM
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I think I was the only person in the world who enjoyed Garrison Keillor's Mr. Blue column, but that was my favorite advice column ever. His response to like 99% of inquiries was, "forget your dreams of becoming a writer, I can tell just from reading this letter that you don't have what it takes," and/or "you sound like an asshole, so you should apologize to your wife/husband/family, because you were probably in the wrong." It turns out that these are both pretty sound bits of advice, and applicable to many situations.

Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 4:08 PM
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I also really liked Emily Yoffe in her Dear Prudence persona, and I'm not so thrilled with Mallory yet. What turned me off was one column where she was dead wrong, in response to a wedding invitation without a plus one. She got the first part right (spouses and serious live-in partners should be invited along with the person), but then said that it was never rude to ask if you could bring a plus one to a wedding when it wasn't listed on the invitation. It's wedding guest etiquette 101 that you don't bring uninvited people to a wedding or ask to do so, since it puts the bride/groom in an awkward position and guest lists are possibly one of the most contentious issues wrt weddings. I don't expect her to be Emily Post, but that's the sort of thing she should have googled before answering.

Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 4:15 PM
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I liked Mr. Blue!

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 4:49 PM
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Third for Mr. Blue!

Posted by: Count Fosco | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 4:53 PM
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There are a lot of new posts and active threads today! I wonder if we'll reach 100 comments soon.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 4:55 PM
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I'm here to stay with you, and no matter what you do, when you're lonely, I'll be lonely too.

Posted by: Mr. Blue | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 5:11 PM
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Hey there Mr. Blue
We're so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do,
Everybody smiles at you.

Posted by: Opinionated Electric Light Orchestra | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 5:16 PM
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13: INORITE? I was incensed.

Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 5:18 PM
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I'd never heard of Mr. Blue but looking at a sample it seems that Garrison Keillor was right on. Who knew.

Posted by: roberto t | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 5:20 PM
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I mean this is a sample. So great!

My big problem is procrastination. I'm a college student -- a junior, assuming I finish writing two term papers and make up a test this summer -- and it's a huge struggle for me to budget my time so I can finish my work. Something better always comes along and I postpone doing what I should do and go have a few beers and wait until the last couple days and then dash like hell to throw something together. My mother and dad say they don't know how I'll ever graduate. My girlfriend predicts that I'll be flipping burgers at McDonald's in the fall. I'd like to change this self-destructive behavior and don't know how to go about it. Do you think that therapy could help? My parents once offered to pay for it if I'd go. Please help.
Too Late
Dear Too Late,
What's the prob, Bob? So you flunk out of school: That's no tragedy. School is for scholars, not for you. You are only postponing the inevitable. Why? It will be such a huge relief when the moment of reckoning finally comes. It's like when your parents went on a trip and you invited 200 friends to the house for a keg party and at 2 a.m. everyone was running drunk in the street and honking horns and throwing up in the roses. You knew the cops were going to come. You knew it. And finally they did, and it was a relief. The uniformed gentlemen got out of their squad cars and walked toward you and they helped you locate reality. Reality is what you crave. An education that consists of four years of scraping by and going through the motions is the worst education of all. Far better to enlist in the Army. You need to get in deeper trouble so you can find a little reality. Stop studying. Don't take the tests. Sit tight. Eventually, someone will come and rescue you from your illusions.

Posted by: roberto tigre | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 5:24 PM
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I had totally forgotten about Mr. Blue!

But now I remember a particular letter writer who went on about this amazing intellectual connection he had with this woman that was like him a very talented writer, and that while he loved his wife, there was something so magical about the chemistry between two brilliant people and how could he deny him this joy and so forth.

And Mr. Blue told him he could tell from his letter that he was a terrible writer, and if he wanted to cheat on his wife he should do it, but not try to pretend there were some kind of superior beings.

Actually, I'm probably remembering it all wrong, but it was great!

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 5:24 PM
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The advice in 22 sounds awesome, the advice in 21 is wrong.

Getting a college degree doesn't mean you are a "scholar," it means you can do marginally well at taking four years of bullshit. This is an essential job qualification. The Army is okay, but it's different bullshit. (This guy does not sound like officer material, an achievement which is worth something.)

Maybe things were different when Garrison was in college.

I love Ortberg on The Toast but she's obviously still finding her voice on Slate. Personally, I'd rather have her be on The Toast full-time, but no doubt "career aspirations," etc.

Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 6:11 PM
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Wow, you guys, I did not know it was possible for me to hate Garrison Keillor more than I do, but this is like watching a full cup get topped off with an entire second cup's worth of froth. It's mesmerizing. What a loathsome consciousness. (My mom recently called to tell me GK was on the radio and she immediately thought of me and how much I hate his voice; I was moved.)

But are there ways to do an advice column beyond boring or asshole? I guess I sympathize with the wish that it be more absurd.

Posted by: Lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 6:23 PM
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What can I say, I love the man now. Instead of "here are my quaint Minnesotan folkways" the advice column is, basically, "fuck you, be more Lutheran."

Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 6:34 PM
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I think you're misreading 21, Dave.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 6:46 PM
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I had dinner with Mallory back in October and it was awesome. My assistant and I had hatched a plan to invite her to our institution to give a gallery talk. It got approved, she accepted, and it was awesome. She hung out with us through the afternoon, did the talk, and then we went for tapas. I let her know in advance that my assistant adored her and she was so great to her--asked that she introduce her as the speaker instead of some mucky-muck, talked horror movies with her, and was just the nicest, most wonderful, funniest person. My assistant was riding high for . . . well, if I need to cheer her up, I just mention that day and all's good.

Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 6:48 PM
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Did I let you know it was awesome? Because it was. Awesome.

Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 6:49 PM
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I wanted to put "I fucked the sky and the concept of regret" on my resume. I figured I'd better just put it in the vita instead. Nobody reads those.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 6:56 PM
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[T]he advice column is, basically, "fuck you, be more Lutheran."

Shut up, Bishop Mynster.

Posted by: Opinionated Søren Kierkegaard | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 6:57 PM
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basically, "fuck you, be more Lutheran."

I didn't realize affairs were such a big part of Lutheranism.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 7:43 PM
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27: once our guestroom is in bettér shape, I hope to do more of that kind of thing with radical authors and cartoonists etc.

Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 7:46 PM
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32: DO IT. My assistant and are now using the success of the event (Mallory drew a great crowd, naturally) to try to get more influence over our programming. We haz ideas.

Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 7:55 PM
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31: They weren't as promiscuous as other sects. Zwingli's followers were colloquially known as "Zwingers".

Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12- 3-15 9:45 PM
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too soon to tell.

I like Ask Polly.

Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 7:26 AM
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The three tiers of advice columnists:

1. Columnists whose advice is actually good: Carolyn Hax, Miss Manners.
2. Columnists you read for their unique perspective or style: Dan Savage, Mr. Blue. (Some would put the intolerable Cary Tennis in this category.)
3. Columnists where you read the questions, but skim or skip the answers: Everybody else.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 9:44 AM
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Most here will probably find her too literary and pretentious, but I generally enjoy Kristen Dombek's take on the genre in n+1:

Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 9:51 AM
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I find Kristen Dombek not so much "literary" as literaryesque. Pretentious is right, though!

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 10:22 AM
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36: I generally find Captain Awkward fits in the first category.

Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 10:30 AM
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Ask polly is good.

Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 11:00 AM
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Let's say most advice columnists fall somewhere on a grid with one axis running from intensely compassionate to misanthropic, and the other axis running from narcissistic to altruistic. Not sure this works as a model, but if it does, it would figure that the misanthropic altruists would be the best loved and most satisfying to read.

Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 11:09 AM
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