Thursday, December 5, 2013

Were you offended?

In my opinion, Susan Morgans' to market, to market, to buy a..., running in this month's mtl Magazine and online (saved in Google Docs) goes down as one of the most offensive articles that has come out of the Public Information Office. Somewhere, it is described as lighthearted. Lighthearted, my foot!

In one story, Ms. Morgans managed to offend a large number of people, either by their appearance, their religion, their ethnicity, where they live, their upbringing - gee, did I miss anyone?

It started out as a story about shopping in grocery stores from yesteryear. I am not as old as Susan, but she did forget about the Castle Shannon Post Office building. I am not talking about the pornography warehouse that was in that building, before that. Remember the Golden Dawn? Before that was Thorofare.  And Susan, I think you are old enough to remember Loblaws.

Susan's article took a nose dive. My mom used to buy her meats from Joe Zak or the Greek butcher in Canonsburg. I wouldn't say that my family had big bucks. OK, not too offensive, but she continues.

At Costco, you will shop with people who speak a language other than English. I guess you wouldn't have enjoyed shopping with my family, Susan. But wait, there's more. "Wear comfy clothes—don’t worry, you will never be the fattest person there." I will never be the fattest person at Costco.

Bottom Dollar is where people will think you are poor or cheap or both. You will also think the same of the others. Susan, how else can we afford Mt. Lebanon taxes?

Market District - "Spruce up when you shop here, because you will see your high school boyfriend, your ex-wife or the guy you hope will sponsor you at St. Clair Country Club. Look especially chic on Sundays around noon, cause that’s where the folks who moved to St. Clair from Lebo come after church—and they will want to talk at you. There may be a few St. Louise parishioners at the deli, but it’s mostly the Westminster Presby crowd. Need I say more?" Whew! My church is safe.

Shop 'N Save - where the Mt. Lebanon wannabes shop.

Fresh Market is entertaining.

Finally, Susan's advice is,  "If you don’t want to run into your ex-neighbor who now lives “right by the club,” go at 10 p.m. when the USC folks are relaxing in their home theaters."

Was anyone safe? Or was Susan the only one left unscathed?

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you wanted to personify the worst of Mt. Lebanon the editor's photo would get my vote.

What an arrogant, narcistic, disgusting view of the world, people and businesses.

Anonymous said...

I tried, before reading this article, a few weeks ago to use www.catalogchoice.org to stop delivery of Mt Lebanon Magazine. I recognize it is not a catalog but I was hopeful there was a way to stop delivery.

As I read this, I honestly wondered, "Was she drinking when she wrote this?!". This type of writing reminds me of the unexamined musings of middle school writing. Thankfully, through instruction, children can learn to avoid such harmful perpetuation of stereotypes and judgmental attitudes.

Many other articles, written by other "journalists", reflect the same kind of unedited, careless, negative, and opinionated attitudes.

Anonymous said...

"Thankfully, through instruction, children can learn to avoid such harmful perpetuation of stereotypes and judgmental attitudes."

NOT AT MT LEBANON HIGH SCHOOL

Anonymous said...

I normally think your views are pretty insane and unhinged, but you are spot on with this one.

E. T. Gillen said...

Thanks, I guess. :)
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Funny, is the PIO insinuating that USC is a step above when she made the following comment in the article.
"Look especially chic on Sundays around noon, cause that’s where the folks who moved to St. Clair from Lebo come after church—and they will want to talk at you."

What a pompous piece of work.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly poor taste! And this represents our "community"?! I find it embarassing as it does reflect Mt.Lebanon as a community magazine. Reminds me of the satire piece in our high school paper recently. I personally do not find this type of writing funny and wonder if the magazine will see complaints from residents. Reinforces what other communities don't like about Mt. Lebo, our superior attitude.

Anonymous said...

Well what do expect of the official community magazine of a community that re-elects a commissioner that justifies $1 million worth of turf by saying it gives realtors a place to drive prospective homebuyers by!

E. T. Gillen said...

It makes you wonder who submitted this comment to my June 14, 2013 post.
"Anonymous said...
The one thing that has always been consistent with your blog, is your hatred of certain types of women. Regardless of what you are complaining about, you always have a list of women that you pillory. The classic misogynist is usually a man, but there are exceptions, usually a woman who is incredibly unattractive and insecure. At first I thought your rants were focused on the school board, but when you started on one of the Mt. Lebanon Commissioners, I then realized that you hate a particular type of woman. You obviously hate women who represent everything you are not. The women you vilify are intelligent, well educated, articulate, well groomed, exhibit leadership qualities and, above all, are interesting people. None of these thing apply to you.
June 14, 2013 at 2:32 PM "
Elaine

Anonymous said...

I remembered that post as well, it stuck with me because it was so sick.
I had seveeral candidates in mimd as author, but after the grocery story it narrowed to one.

Anonymous said...

Is that really the type of writing we want to represent Mt.Lebanon. I find it ironic how, in all these years, the magazine has refused to publish opposing views on so many topics because it doesn't want the magazine to be part of such disharmony.

But then they allow hurtful, typecasting, hasty generalizations like this to be put out by their own editor.

Anonymous said...

Does she realize that Mt. Lebanon is ABSOLUTELY not representative of the demographics of the US? Oh wait...is this ALSO supposed to be satire?

God I'm glad we left the Bubble.

Damion Deringer said...

I'm not offended by her words as I don't worry about childish remarks, but I'm certainly disgusted about the tone and representation of Mt Lebanon that it casts. It is attitudes like this that makes people stereotype citizens of Mt Lebanon as haughty-taughty elitists.

Damion Deringer said...

should be hoity-toity. My fingers weren't catching up to the brain.

Anonymous said...

Elaine: I'm pretty certain that post from June did not come from the PIO, as I'm also pretty certain she doesn't know what "misogynist" means, let alone how to spell it.

Anonymous said...

Please email your commissioner or all of them on this. We all need to start speaking up more or we will all be run over.

E. T. Gillen said...

Actually 10:33 AM, the commissioners can't do a thing about it. The person to email is her boss, Steve Feller. His email is sfeller@mtlebanon.org.
I emailed Steve and cc'ed the commissioners and Susan Morgans. Steve should never have allowed this to go to print, in my opinion.
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

9:31 AM, a little piece of trivia. Susan Morgans was Matt Kluck's English teacher.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this in the Holiday edition of Mt. Lebanon Magazine ? Ms. Morgans' rant is not in the spirit of the Holiday Season. Advertisers must be mortified.

Anonymous said...

This article was written in the same spirit as the one a few months ago regarding "Sharing the Road", which I found condescending, careless and insensitive. Yet, the PIO thinks they are providing a "service" when they write articles like these.

The attitudes published in Mt Lebanon magazine are the same ones represented by the higher level administrative staff employed by the municipality. So I highly doubt Mr. Feller will take any action to address the problems.

Anonymous said...

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."
-- Calvin Coolidge

Ms. Morgans is definitely in a state contrary to most Mt. Lebanon residents. Its time for her to go, Mr. Feller. Feller!

E. T. Gillen said...

Yes, 10:55 AM, this was a special edition which the PIO encouraged store owners to spent their advertising dollars.
http://lebomag.com/ allows comments on the volunteer bloggers' submissions, but that feature is not available for any of the staff articles.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

11:04 if the high level administrstors share Ms. Morgans spirit, they need to go as well!

Anonymous said...

Ebeneezer Scrooge's nephew on The Christmas season--
“the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

Our community magazine editor has a heart as black as coal, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Elaine, I disagree. The Commissioners manage the Manager. Mr. Feller cannot manage his people or is this another First Amendment Issue as we witnessed with the opinion piece from the Mount Lebanon Students?

E. T. Gillen said...

Sigh. I am not an attorney, but I hope it isn't a First Amendment issue. We pay her to write fluff. This is not fluff.
You are correct, 2:18 PM. The commissioners do manage the manager. I did ask Steve how he could approve such an article. I have not heard back from anyone.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

I bet that Steve never even read that article before it went out.

Anonymous said...

It's...satire. Yeah that's it. Satire.

Anonymous said...

Elaine - I suspect that not all of the commissioners are happy with Mr. Feller but there isn't enough support to do anything about it. Perhaps, though, they could use this article as a "teaching moment" and if he doesn't do anything about it, the unhappy commissioners might be empowered to push for Feller to go.

Honestly, this article was just highly unprofessional. Writing good satire takes tremendous skill. In my house, we leave it up to Jon Stewart.

E. T. Gillen said...

Satire. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

We sure have lots of "teaching moments" here, don't we, 3:25 PM?
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Sue is a competent writer. I'm guessing she got caught up in the moment and thought she was being extremely funny. I can imagine her cracking herself up as she read what she wrote. But good writing and good judgment don't necessarily go together, and 'ol Sue demonstrated that big time!

News flash: Sue ain't goin' nowhere! Ya'll can call for her resignation all you want, but Sue's cushy job is safe. She's probably guffawing over all of these posts on this blog.

Another news flash: You got some pretty damn good writers right here, and they do it for free!

Anonymous said...

Morgans being a good writer is a matter of opinion. On the other hand as an editor of 'our' community magazine she leaves much to be desired in my opinion. Reread her editorials, etc., over the past couple of years. Ines like cutting through residential neighbors to avoid traffic. The police dept. asks residents not to do it while the PIO writes about her favorite route. There's more but you'll have to judge for yourself if this is what you want representing our community. Personally, I find her writing boorish, self-aggrandizing and dull-witted.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if all of you read her municipal emails you may feel differently about her. You may be very surprised to read what she has to say about the residents of our community.

Why does Feller protects her? There must be a reason.

E. T. Gillen said...

6:33 PM, good things or bad things about the residents of our community?
Elaine

Anonymous said...

6:33, Feller protects her because that is part of the civil servant code!

Anonymous said...

6:33 don't leave us hanging, please one or two examples would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

So many talented folks work or volunteer for that magazine. I can't believe she's allowed to be their boss and is paid what she is paid. I can't believe the Municipal Manager lets it go on and on.

Anonymous said...

Satire? I beg to differ. I firmly believe Susan's "humor" is rooted in arrogance, the same type of immature, spiteful, disgusting arrogance that once resulted in school board member using the word "ghetto" whilst musing over the pending demise of the community due to a Dollar Store. It's the same "keeping up with the Jones" attitude that is evident with people in this community who think there is some high school-like competition between communities. In their little minds, everyone is trying to outdo each other based on some fantastical rivalry.

This sorry, Lebo-centric attitude is not isolated. There are a lot of people in this community who, for some unexplained reason, really believe they're a higher class of people than our neighbors. It's pathetic. It's also the same attitude that leads some of our lower intellect residents to actually believe artificial turf will attract potential home buyers. That stands as one of the dumbest things I've heard in a long time.

But back to the article. It's snotty. I read it twice because the first time through I got dizzy wondering who would print such garbage. People like Morgans actually believe Lebo is the equivalent to Sewickley or Fox Chapel. Hate to break the news but it's not even close. Lebo is a nice, safe, relatively quiet middle class community. Nothing wrong with that at all but let's stay grounded in reality, people. The best part is, people like that walk around with their nose in the air yet do classless things like write that article, use the word ghetto, ignore the will of the majority, etc. Irony.

Anonymous said...

9:46 you nail it, except for the references to Fox Chapel and Sewickley.
Even those areas have their haves and have nots.
What strikes me as funny is that the liberal, progressives that preach love, acceptance and community will read Morgans piece and nod in agreement of her stereotyping.

Anonymous said...

10:36 - I am "liberal, progressive" and I am against the turf and I am opposed to conceiving and publishing articles like Susan's.

I can see why there may an occasional gravitation toward generalizations given the strain of dealing with this PIO and the turf debacle but please take a step back and recognize that every member of a group is not a clone of the worst one(s) you have met.



E. T. Gillen said...

11:37 PM, that is how I feel when people say that we need more Republicans or more Democrats on the school board. I believe both parties have "done us wrong."
I think people would be surprised to know Susan's political
affiliation. It doesn't mean a thing. She offended just about everyone.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Wait a MINUTE! I had to pickup a script for the sick kid and ran into Bottom Dollar for milk and some bananas for the kid's breakfast. What does that me? Do I earn some brownie points for NOT driving all the way to Fresh Market or Giant Eagle? And since when is Shop N' Save bad? It's in Mt Lebanon! Or is it too close to Slum Hills?

Anonymous said...

Elaine I would settle for a group of ADULTS with ZERO connections to the Teacher's union! Guess that just too much to wish for.

Anonymous said...

You're more likely to find a rich person using Bottom Dollar than Giant Eagle. Rich people have too much respect for money than to throw it away. That's how they got rich in the first place. It's only the upper-middle class "rich wannabes" that feel they have to make a show of things. The difference between the truly rich and the rich wannabes is that the rich wannabes can buy almost anything they want on credit, while the truly rich can buy anything they want in cash.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1137. The turf has nothing to do with liberal or conservative. It has to do with selfishness, nepotism and a small-minded view of the world. It's silly and sad to see our tax dollars about to be jettisoned into a black hole for no other reason than image. And that's really what it's all about--image. Just like the high school disaster. We have people running this community who never grew up and never will. We also have municipal employees in the same boat. MtL magazine had its place a long time ago. It was fun, it was cute, it was innovative. It's now a dinosaur. I cringe when I see it in my mail. Most of the articles are about superficial things like houses or who is famous. It's also have advertisement. I get enough of that with the circulars from the grocery stores stuffed into my mailbox. I don't need to see it in high gloss.

The magazine needs to go. It's the age of the Internet. We don't need it. It has run its course and it no longer serves a purpose. If it truly were a "community" publication, it would present different and honest views, like a pro and con side to the turf, a pro and con look at the high school, an honest analysis of what all this BS is going to cost us. But no, we instead get crappy editorials on how to dress to impress people from USC? Are you kidding? Everyone should step up and demand a change in this town. Free up the office space occupied by that rag and let's put it to better use.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't Ms. Morgans' offensive story been removed from the town website?

Anonymous said...

I am ok with the magazine. I don't expect it to be hard-hitting, investigative journalism. For me it something people can read to feel good about the town. There's nothing wrong with that as long as advertisers support the magazine in full and it doesn't cost taxpayers much (if anything) in return.

But what I can't stand is when the editor of the magazine gets away with promoting and projecting this attitude of Mt. Lebanonites as if we all live in the Manor or on Roycroft.

We don't. We are as economically and racially diverse as we have ever been and that trend isn't slowing down anytime soon no matter how much our elected leaders (who have publicly stated they want high taxes to keep the riff-raff out) want to avoid it.

The trend in this town is higher taxes. The elite of this town (of which Morgans clearly belongs) are taxing their way into more "riff-raff" with every budget.

The magazine provides that image (for better or for worse) of Mt. Lebanon as an idyllic 1960s, Leave it Beaver kind of town. The families are white, the kids don't know about drugs, and everyone gets straight A's in school. I mean, the Teen Center article in the magazine writes about organizational skills and time management instead of the dangers of drugs for Pete's sake.

I guess you can see how I see both the good and the bad of the magazine. I see its purpose but I want so much more.

Anonymous said...

7:10 isn't it amazing that the elite on Roycroft and the Manor push for higher taxes to keep out the riff-raff, even though their taxes barely rose andin some cases actually went down in the reassessments.
This can be seen in the excellent study of the revised home values by Tom Moertel on Bloglebo sometime ago.

Anonymous said...

What advertisers? The ones from Sewickley and USC? Why does our community magazine try to support businesses in other towns while insulting them at the same time? That's just in poor taste.

Yeah, idyllic Lebo. Right. There are affairs, drugs, alcoholism, theft, a sexual subculture nobody wants to discuss, residents barely getting by while going further into debt trying to maintain some image and we still get people moving here from other areas. You know, the riff-raff. The people who have a married, two-couple household, busting their butts to make enough money to live in an area that's a little bit nicer than where they were. I can see why our commissioners would want to keep out people like that. We certainly don't want folks with a good work ethic who just happen to buy school supplies at the Dollar Store and drive a car that's more than five years old.

Anonymous said...

I'm still left wondering, what was the purpose of this article being discussed.
Humor? Does the writer find people that are immigrants and probably multi-lingual funny? What was the point in that comment, does different languages offend her?
How about overweight people?
And does she truly believe every Shop 'n Save shopper from outside MTL is just dying to move here?
Sorry, I just don't get the point or satire.
I wonder if Costco or Bottom Dollar customers could intiate a class action lawsuit?

Anonymous said...

A sexual sub culture???????? Really?

Anonymous said...

3:56 that sexual sub culture remark surprised me too, although there is a Sassy Sensations (sp?) store just across the border and they do advertise on Mt. Lebanon Blvd. Maybe we just don't run in the right circles.

E. T. Gillen said...

Hey guys, I am not aware of any sexual subculture. Let's not go down that road.
Elaine