Thursday, December 6, 2012


"Is Good Advice Timeless?"

pugg_fuggly: Do you find yourself giving different advice than you would have earlier in your career? Or is good advice timeless?

Emily Yoffe: I think I have more of a sense now that some situations just can't be improved very much. Some people would rather kill themselves with booze or drugs, for example, than make their lives better.

Here's a selection of questions advice columnist Emily Yoffe, Slate's dear Dear Prudence, answered yesterday in an "Ask Me Anything" discussion on Reddit. Along with getting to know her better, there are also links to some of the most controversial letters she's ever received. Elsewhere on Slate today: "Do cats ever kill people? Not grown-ups."

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Speaking of our Dear Prudence, did anyone catch the Santa/Mrs. Claus role-play question the other day? That was a joke, right?

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Megan@twitter I have a feeling most of the questions she answers are jokes, and she's not aware of it.


"Some people would rather kill themselves with booze or drugs, for example, than make their lives better."

Yes. Especially the ones asking for help. Just say "I can tell you'd rather just die, since you're boozing and using, so I'm not going to waste my time".


@Brunhilde Agreed. It's like those people with cancer that would rather grow tumors than make their lives better. Why can't they just stop?? Ugh.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Prudie is kind of a dick about alcohol. She treats the whole spectrum of imbibers the same. Whether it's getting drunk one night and being late to let the babysitter leave or a habitual alcoholic, her answers are always the same.

Loose Seal

"several years ago I had a letter from a man who was in love with a woman he wanted to propose to but he'd never let her know that when he was a boy he accidentally killed her father. He and some friends were throwing corn at passing cars and they hit the father who crashed the car."

WHAT. I can't even imagine living with that guilt. I accidentally dented my boyfriend's truck (it was barely even noticeable), and I contemplated not telling him. I lasted for five seconds before blurting out a confession.


@Loose Seal It's like some bad soap opera plot and I'm pretty sure it's fake. Prudie is a mark!


@iffie It's actually pretty similar to a plot I watched on a Korean soap this year! A guy is in this gang of thugs as a teenager and they kill a man, and then almost a decade later after he's all reformed, he falls in love with the daughter of the man he killed, but he is TORMENTED BY THE TRUTH. There was no corn-throwing, though.


@werewolfbarmitzvah I was so disappointed when I got to the last sentence of this reply. NO CORN-THROWING. Alas.


So, Jane, let's be real: you picked that pull quote because that was the best reddit username, right?


Oh Prudence, couldn't even go more than one question without bringing out the puns.


Wait, cats only kill children, or grown-up cats never kill? WHICH IS IT I HAVE TO KNOW


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Only kill children, I think, but I honestly can't be bothered to read the article.


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll It was cats only kill children. Basically there are three things that can happen with cats:

-They can kill you with rabies
-They can curl up right on top of your baby and smother it
-They can attempt to kill an adult and fuck you up pretty bad in the process but not actually kill you


@OhMarie I wonder if my dad heard these stories about cats smothering babies because my mom's cat mysteriously disappeared when she brought me home from the hospital after I was born.


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Thanks for the great cartoon! On a serious note, it was odd that the article missed toxoplasmosis (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001661/), which is a way cats can unintentionally kill babies or grown-ups, if those grown-ups have a weakened immune system and the infection isn't treated in time.


@Plants&Rags I've read that toxoplasmosis is a non-issue if you have an indoor cat that doesn't eat mice/rats.

Springtime for Voldemort

The biggest problem I have with Prudie isn't actually all the problematic stuff, it's the mediocrity of the advice. I never think "oh, yeah, I can see why Slate picked her over other applicants for this job."


I think Prudie's pretty great, minus her weird stance on alcohol that sometimes results in cringe-y, victim-blame-y advice.

The cat article bothered me, though. People are already irrationally afraid of cats-- like, what is the point of outlining some freak incidences? Maybe it's just the mood I'm in today, but I don't like hearing stories about cats fucking get SHOT. I realize it's in response to that stupid "I wanted to murder this dude & blame it on his cat" news story, & that I'm basically whining because I am a cat lady, but ugh.


*fucking getting


@fabel I have never met someone who was irrationally afraid of cats. Irrationally afraid of my corgi and his little waggy stub, yes.


@Megano! A friend of my husbands is really afraid of cats! Dogs are a little weird for him too but it's mostly cats. I really have no idea why. Apparently it effects him enough that he's never talked about why he is so nervous when he is around our cat.


@Megano!. My sister-in-law is afraid of cats. She's a tiny person, though, so perhaps she's worried she couldn't take one in a fight.

Anita Ham Sandwich

I admit to reading Dear Prudence, but it's completely a hate-read to get my ire up about how judgmental she can be.

Give me Dear Sugar any day! No, really, someone lock Cheryl Strayed in a cabin, all Misery-style, and get her to crank out some more columns!


Is this the place where I can talk about how much better Carolyn Hax is than Prudie? Because I love me some Carolyn Hax.


I don't like cat very much, but my girl friend does.
Agarwood oil

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