DEAR ABBY: What on earth has become of college education when professors and teachers write that they use dear Abby for English courses? I am horrified that an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher uses your column to teach foreign students our customs. WHAT customs? Unresolved anger? Sibling rivalry? Mistrust of spouses? Broken homes? Drunk driving? Homosexuality? Sexual abuse? Internet pornography? It is insanity that this is what foreign students use to gauge American culture.
Abby, what about the monogamous marriage that has endured hardships? The couple still devoutly loyal and faithful to each other? Kids who still have the same mother and father and are contributing to society? What about the people who give 100 percent of themselves for community involvement with no thought to themselves? You have even said yourself that some people accuse you of making up the letters because they are so bizarre. Some are R-rated at best. And this is what teachers use to teach English? God forbid!
No wonder people in other countries think Americans are idiots. If they get all their information from Dear Abby, they may not be too far off the mark. You may print my name. -- MICHELLE CRIPPEN, HARPERS FERRY, W.VA.
DEAR MICHELLE: Ouch! I cannot agree with you that the people who write to me are idiots. The problems they write about are human relations problems -- and not necessarily unique to the U.S.A. Furthermore, they make interesting reading -- and that, I think, is what motivates the teachers to use my column. By the time people reach adulthood, "See Spot Run" and "The Adventures of Dick and Jane" no longer hold their interest. Face it, my column has it all -- drama, human interest, comedy, sex, drugs -- and solid information that many people relate to.