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Arts & Culture

The Allure Of Advice

Ann_Landers.jpg
Fred Palumbo, World Telegram staff reporter
/
Library of Congress
Ann Landers

John Dunton started the first advice column in 1690. He called it the Athenian Mercury. John, a bookseller, and his four "experts" wanted to answer "all the most Nice and Curious Questions proposed by the Ingenious of Either Sex." One person wondered why they would trouble themselves "and the world with answering so many silly questions." But it was a hit.

People have always been drawn to advice columns. They're a public forum for private thoughts; they're communal, yet anonymous; they reveal human strength, yet vulnerability. Despite their popularity, until recently, most readers in the recent decades have been white women. That's changing.

Are you an advice junkie? Join us.

GUESTS:

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.

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