Ann Landers died Saturday. She dispensed advice in her daily newspaper column to a whopping 90 million readers, the AP reports.
But I had to think back to a small blurb I wrote about her six years ago for "Internet Underground" magazine. Ann had been running disturbing letters about horrible experiences readers had on the internet. (Like this one from "Older But Wiser in Bakersfield.") The stage was set for a high-profile rebuke from Senator Patrick Leahy..."As a 55-year-old happily married man for 33 years, I am living proof that the vast majority of us Internet fans use our computers to browse newspapers, see the treasures of the Sistine Chapel, check the weather in Vermont or read the latest Batman...."
Landers responded to Leahy, "As an advice columnist...you aren't so hot," and added that "The Internet is tailor-made for con men, the lonely and the bored." The next week she admitted to the L.A. Times that she didn't even own a computer. "I don't have to have a computer to know what's out there," she said.
To be charitable, Ann was at least half-right -- new internet users do need to be warned about the possibility of scam artists. But searching the internet six years later, I was pleased to discover Ann had later run a second column in which she published reader letters defending the net.
I never read Ann's column after that, but this morning I realized that I had mentioned Ann in my own web-log just a few weeks ago. Ironically, it was about the time Ann herself fell for a scam.
And here's a second epilogue. My friend Andy from Waxy.org even spotted something in the column where Ann's readers defended the internet."That 'one vote' proverb that she quotes at the end of that column is totally false."
Destiny-land - the Happiest Blog on Earth