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Quick Quote: Associate Professor Sheri Parks on Dear Abby

January 18, 2013
Contacts: 

Dave Ottalini 301-405-4076

Sheri Parks 301-405-7364

Sheri Parks, associate professor, American studies, University of Maryland:

Sheri Parks

"Before there were newspaper "Style" sections, there were the Ladies Pages, where female journalists struggled to show that they were intelligent writers despite having to write stories about the mundane, the opposite of news.  Dear Abby provided a spot that demonstrated it was not the topic but the approach that mattered, by addressing the mundane with a decidely unflowerly intelligence.  She was at the beginning of what we call the Oprahfication of American society,  speaking in public about our private problems, showing that other people had them too and that something could be done about them."