Toxic Verbiage

What Would Ann Landers Write?

For 47 years Esther "Eppie" Pauline Friedman Lederer wrote a syndicated advice column under the name "Ann Landers" until she died in 2002. Now her daughter, syndicated advice columnist Margo Howard, is in a brawl with Amy Dickinson, accusing the latter of having "allowed people, if not encouraged them" to consider Dickinson "the new Ann Landers" during recent television appearances. Howard wrote Dickinson an open letter yesterday explaining that no one could be the "new" Ann Landers because "It is a copyrighted name and trademark," and that by law, the only person entitled to be the "new Ann Landers was me. And that was nothing I chose do to. You see, dear, even I knew that there could only be one Ann Landers." Meanwhile, in an interview with Editor & Publisher, Dickinson said she never billed herself as the "new Ann Landers" and doesn't like being introduced that way. "I can't correct the lead-in." During Dickinson's 2003 interview with the New York Times, she also blasted Landers's column explaining that "Without a doubt," her column "will be more entertaining," and calling Landers a "diva."