The F-bomb that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti dropped on the city on Monday has quickly blown up into a debate over what politicians should be allowed to get away with these days.
Speaking in front of thousands of fans at a public rally celebrating the LA Kings’ Stanley Cup victory, Garcetti told everyone there are two things an elected official should never do in public: Appear with a drink in hand, or let loose the F-word.
And then he did, calling it “a big f—ing day.”
That got a roar from the crowd and laughs and applause from the Kings players.
And just to show that the off-color language was intentional, the mayor’s office then posted the quote on Twitter.
But the mayor’s decision to use the word has rubbed lots of people the wrong way. His Facebook page is filled with comments from angry parents, calling him a bad role model for their kids.
Others defended it as a moment of excitement and not out of place in a sports arena.
Tom Hollihan is a professor of communications at the Annenberg School at USC, and called Garcetti’s use of the F-word “a huge mistake.”
“I think that it’s a reflection of the coarsening of society that this word has gained the level of acceptance that it has,” Hollihan said.
Garcetti’s by no means the first politician to use the F-word. But why is it such a big deal in the first place?
“I think that anytime a politician uses a word like this in public, there’s going to be some reaction,” said Jesse Sheidlower, author of “The F-Word” and the President of the American Dialect Society. “And it’s always hard to tell what’s sincere and what’s not.”