LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Paging Doctor Wallace


I only recently noticed that the advice column of Dr. Robert Wallace is no longer in the paper. It last appeared on Nov. 30. I assume it was discontinued either due to lack of reader interest or to cut costs. While I understand both motivations, please, I beg you: reconsider! Dr. Wallace’s was a voice of reason in a world gone mad.

Dr. Wallace’s column is — or was — vital to promoting understanding between generations. Young readers may apply his advice to their own lives, and their elders may gain otherwise unobtainable insight into the inner thoughts of young people without trying to promote a “rap” session that only embarrasses everyone involved. His zero-tolerance policy toward underage drinking is extremely valuable, especially in a world where such a simple point seems hard to understand, judging from the number of ways children find to ask him about it. He is very patient in reiterating that and other kinds of good advice.

Without Dr. Wallace, I truly believe, as W.B. Yeats wrote, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world ...”

Think I’m exaggerating? Check the Dec. 11 edition of The Star and think again. In the Dear Abby column on that date, Abby advises a septuagenarian woman to give in to her husband’s wish to cavort in the buff at a nudist colony. I’m no spring chicken myself, but let me just say, “Ew.” I know the current Dear Abby is a second-generation advice columnist and is more “with it” than her mother was, but I don’t recall this kind of advice appearing before Dr. Wallace disappeared from the page.

Need more? In the same edition, Dennis the Menace pokes his head out of his dad’s home office and gleefully tattles to his mom about his dad talking to his buddies about “some magazine swimsuit stuff online.” Lest we not get the mental picture, in the background we actually see his dad at his desk, his one visible hand holding a phone to his grinning face, and a picture of a swimsuit gal on his computer screen. We see the mom in profile, receiving this news and taking in this tableau with a stony expression. With Dr. Wallace on hand, Dennis generally ran his mouth and bugged dear old Mr. Wilson; within two weeks of Dr. Wallace’s departure, the column is covering a subject I hesitate to name in a family paper, but it starts with a “p” and it rhymes with “cornography.”

What’s next? Family Circus covering polyamory, or Dolly and Jeffy getting into a switchblade fight while wearing Pepe the Frog tee shirts? Good luck trying to blame ol’ “I Don’t Know” and “Not Me” when you’re in front of a juvie judge, kids.

Only a few weeks with no Dr. Wallace, and the centre has not held. It’s anarchy in the pages of The Star. God help us all.

Chris Jones