World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Advice column

Article Id: WHEBN0001618484
Reproduction Date:

Title: Advice column  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Margo Howard, Amy Alkon, Miriam Stoppard, JT Tran, Agony aunts
Collection: Newspaper Content
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Advice column

An advice column is a column traditionally presented in a magazine or newspaper, but can also be delivered through other news media such as the internet and broadcast news media. The advice column format is question and answer: a (usually anonymous) reader writes to the media outlet with a problem in the form of a question, and the media outlet provides an answer or response. The responses are written by an advice columnist (colloquially known in British English as an agony aunt, or agony uncle if the columnist is male). The image presented was originally of an older woman dispensing comforting advice and maternal wisdom, hence the name "aunt". An advice columnist can also be someone who gives advice to people who send in problems to the newspaper.

Sometimes the author is in fact a composite or a team: Marjorie Proops's name appeared (with photo) long after she retired. The nominal writer may be a pseudonym, or in effect a brand name; the accompanying picture may bear little resemblance to the actual author.

The term is beginning to fall into disuse, as the scope of personal advice has broadened to include sexual matters — pioneered by the likes of Dr. Ruth — as well as general lifestyle issues. The Athenian Mercury contained the first known advice column in 1690.

Contents

  • Examples of advice columnist 1
  • Typical format 2
  • Advice columns on the Internet 3
  • Ethical issues 4
  • In pop culture 5
  • See also 6
    • Advice columnists 6.1
      • American 6.1.1
      • British 6.1.2
      • Curacaoan 6.1.3
    • In fiction 6.2
    • Periodicals 6.3
    • Other 6.4
  • References 7

Examples of advice columnist

Many advice columns are now syndicated and appear in very few newspapers. Prominent American examples include Dear Abby, Ann Landers, Carolyn Hax's Tell Me About It, and Emily Yoffe's Dear Prudence. Internet sites such as the Elder Wisdom Circle offer relationship advice to a broad audience; Dear Maggie offers sex advice to a predominantly Christian readership in Christianity Magazine; Ask Nina[1] offers broad advice to a multiple areas of the issues present in Curacao, and Miriam's Advice Well offers advice to Jewish people in Philadelphia.

Men as advice columnists are rarer than women in print, but men have been appearing more often online in both serious and comedic formats.

Typical format

Questions are most often asked anonymously, with the signature assuming the problem that is being expressed. For example, someone who is asking about erratic behaviour in their partner may sign their letter "Confused, Johannesburg".

On the Internet, a greater variation on the signature theme is often seen: the person's signature may refer to the problem being expressed, but rather in a phrase which the 'agony aunt' abbreviates so as to spell an appropriate word. For instance, "Confused About My Partner" would become "CAMP". Dan Savage uses this method to comic effect in his Savage Love column.

Advice columns on the Internet

Advice columns on the internet provide ways to share one's interests and expertise. Anyone can be a columnist and create their own advice column. Users can post questions for columnists to answer. Users can also interact with the columnist and with each other to voice their opinions. E-mailing advisers is popular because readers can open up their personal problems without exposing their identity to the world. Popular e-mail advisers include Aunt Vera and Annie.

Ethical issues

Advice columns generally have limited capacity and are unable to answer all the requests they receive. They could potentially be criticised for raising the hopes of their correspondents for commercial gain. For this reason, Marjorie Proops regarded it as a professional duty to answer all the letters received, whether or not they were published.

In pop culture

Inevitably, the "Agony Aunt" has become the subject of fiction, often satirically or farcically. Versions of the form include:

  • An agony aunt whose own personal problems and issues are more bizarre than those of her correspondents. A notable example is the British TV sitcom Agony created by Anna Raeburn, starring Maureen Lipman as the agony aunt with an overbearing mother, an unreliable husband, neurotic gay neighbours, and a career in media surrounded by self-promoting bizarros. Anna Raeburn herself works as an agony aunt on radio call-in shows, much as the main character of the sitcom does.
  • Mrs. Mills deliberately gives terrible advice to her clients, and is a satire of an agony aunt.
  • Another classic example of the agony aunt in fiction appears in Miss Lonelyhearts (1933) by Nathanael West.
  • In Evelyn Waugh's novel The Loved One, a Mr. Slump dispenses advice (on one occasion, it is lethal) under the name Guru Brahmin.
  • As of 2012, Chris Ayres cowrote "Ask Dr. Ozzy" with Ozzy Osbourne for The Sunday Times Magazine and Rolling Stone. The column features readers asking Ozzy personal and health questions, often resulting in a humorous response that includes the fact that Osbourne is not a real doctor and that the reader should consult a legitimate doctor instead.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, the Agony Aunts are elderly but violent enforcers for the Seamstress Guild, pausing in their pursuit of offenders only to shop for bargains at rummage sales.

See also

Advice columnists

American

British

Curacaoan

In fiction

Periodicals

Other

References

  1. ^ http://caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Ask-Nina-27813.html
  2. ^ http://caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Ask-Nina-27813.html
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.