This Day in Death

5.13.13: Dr. Joyce Brothers – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:30 am May 15, 2013

JOYCE_BROTHERSBrothers, seen here debuting the perfect transitional wardrobe choice for anyone contemplating a career move from rodeo clown to Atlantic City pimp.


Doctor That’s Surprisingly an Actual Doctor Joyce Brothers is dead this week at the age of 85. I know you all want me to say something snarky and dismissive about her career, but I’m gonna try and have some respect about this one. See, Brothers was the first to publicly disseminate my favorite tool for self-improvement on a national scale: Short, largely meaningless, vaguely existential nuggets of feel-good conventional wisdom without any of the soul searching or personal sacrifice necessary for anything but the most surface level psychological housekeeping. Like this stuff:

“The best proof of love is trust.”

“Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”

“When you come right down to it, the secret of having it all is loving it all.”

“Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.”

“A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success.”

“Marriage is not just spiritual communion, it is also remembering to take out the trash.”

Seriously, what does any of that even mean? I can’t actually apply any of that to my life in any sort of pragmatic way, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling better about myself just by embroidering it on a throw pillow. With that kind of efficiency I can quickly dismiss the periodic flare-ups of shame about the horrible person I’ve gradually devolved into and get back to my lifestyle of bitchin’ debauchery and stealing shoes from homeless people. The key is to wait til the summer when they’re too dehydrated to fight back, it’s not supposed to be a struggle.


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1.16.13: Pauline Phillips, AKA Dear Abby – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:44 pm January 18, 2013

PAULINE_PHILLIPSThough no one took any joy in it, eventually someone in 1997 had to tell Phillips that she had been futilely typing her columns onto an inkjet printer for the past six months.

As most of you know, I get almost all of my life advice from a combination of Archie comics and my racist uncle’s speeches about Hispanics. But for those of you less blessed, you may have resorted to the Dear Abby column at some sad, near-suicidal point in what can generously be called your life.

Back when fish wraps were known as “newspapers” and were used to communicate opinions and information about current events, Pauline Phillips wrote the column under the pseudonym Abigail Van Buren. She kept it up until Alzheimer’s Disease forced her retirement in 2002, which means there were people in the age of the internet who were perfectly happy to put important life decisions on hold for 3-5 weeks in the slim hope that an octogenarian that they’d never met would be able to come down from her Ditropan high long enough to pound out 2 lines of snarky advice. If possible, those people should definitely be on a list somewhere. It’s for their safety as much as ours.

Phillips died Wednesday in Minneapolis after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, said Gene Willis, a publicist for the Universal Uclick syndicate.

“My mother leaves very big high heels to fill with a legacy of compassion, commitment and positive social change,” her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who now writes the column, said in a statement.

Phillips’ twin sister Esther Friedman Lederer famously wrote the Ask Ann Landers column, and the two competed for the same coveted “invalid shut-ins, cuckolded husbands, and bored suburban teenagers who aren’t very good at pranks” demographic for almost 50 years. 50 years! The conflict resulted in decades of animosity between the sisters as Americans desperately struggled to care. It’s like the time Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman both opened acting schools right across the street from one another. So many have tried to help them patch that up, but neither one looks like they’re ever gonna budge.

Source: The Washington Post

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