I don't know if anyone here reads his stuff, but I'm fed up reading an interesting letter from someone with a problem and then reading horrid advice from Cary Tennis, which is probably a pseudonym. --adam
I have been holding on to this sentiment, mulling over it, thinking about whether to post on it.
Simply put: replace Cary Tennis.
The format and quality of Salon's advice column is weak compared to many others, such as Slate's and Dan Savage's, and the column does not match the quality of nearly all the rest of Salon's content.
Cary's musings on metaphors -- here, the "emotional broad jump" -- is pseudo-intellectual tripe, merely a replacement of the 1950s-type sentimentality of Dear Abby.
His lack of clarity, or equivocation more accurately, never ceases to annoy me, even after I return day after day, giving Cary another fresh chance. The letters he responds to effectively focus specifically on substance abuse. Even on the topics of the lives of artists, writers, or graduate students (I am one of the latter), he takes the opportunity to write in a half-ass "literary" way, as if his words could cleanse and soothe someone in a particularly uncomfortable social situation (like today's LW). The man may write, but he does not communicate.
Cary Tennis offers few insights or good advice -- and almost never suggests any practical action; instead he proffers "insights." His responses to letter writers are like satires of how a self-absorbed writer would put on a show of being a caring advice columnist.
If Cary were a counselor or therapist, he'd be one you'd want to punch in the face, and never come back to.
As I reflect on Cary's work, I can think only of Humbert Humbert, Nabokov's self-absorbed, shallow, irresponsible and evil narrator in _Lolita_, whose poetic musings draw you in, until you realize that the man is diabolical and concerned only with his debauched pleasure.
Except _Lolita_ is fiction; Cary Tennis puts on all the performances of earnestness and care. This turns his work from comedy to tragedy: these people have real problems.
Evidently Cary has compassion fatigue. Save him his Nathanael West "Miss Lonelyhearts" moment and sack the man.