35th Anniversary: The Armpit of the Nation

Yessiree, 1976 was the year we decided we were done. Enough. No more rubbing our noses in ineptitude, scandal and dismay. We presented “The Great Cleveland Magazine Scapegoat Contest,” and our readers had a field day.

“Nominate the unofficial armpit of the nation and maybe win yourself $75,” Cleveland Magazine announced in February 1976. By April, we had our winner: “Tough Luck, Dayton,” we proclaimed, “You’re the New Armpit of the

Nation.” The winning entry came from Tess Muharsky, 22, of Willowick, who wrote: “In Dayton they think Ibsen stars in the Beverly Hillbillies and the Nutcracker Suite is a wrestling hold. So culturally void is it that locals insist Twelfth Night is when lovers exchange a dozen lords-a-leaping. And only in Dayton are shrimp cocktails ordered ‘up.’ ”
— A.M.

The scapegoat entry which caused the greatest stir around our offices ... arrived, mysteriously hand delivered, in a large, foreboding cardboard box; scribbled across the top was the notation, “Handle With No Respect.” A bomb! somebody said, sending several people scurrying for cover. Finally, a courageous — or stupid — editor ripped open the package, and inside was this yellow-and-black plunger. It is inscribed: “Key to the City of Buffalo.” Attached to the device on yellow toilet tissue is the scapegoat nomination of Jonathan D. Simon of Euclid, who swears the favorite beverage of Buffalo is Liquid Plumber.
— “Special Honorable Mention With Oak Leaf Cluster for, Uh, Originality ...,” April 1976
Share this story: