The Allure Of Advice
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.
- Jamie Fisher - A writer and researcher with The New York Times
- Danny M. Lavery - Slate's Dear Prudence, co-founder of The Toast, and the author of Texts From Jane Eyre, The Merry Spinster, and Something That May Shock and Discredit You
- Christine Pride - A writer, book editor, and content consultant; her advice column, Race Matters, is on A Cup of Jo, and her debut novel, We Are Not Like Them, is available for preorder
Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show, which originally aired April 1, 2021.