A.J. Clemente Needs Work on When to Drop the F-Bomb


David Hinckley of the NY Daily News does have a problem with very green former anchor A.J. Clement dropping the F-bomb. He just wishes the kid learned when and how to drop it.

Hinckley writes that this week's most famous f-word seems to be the one uttered by rookie TV anchor A.J. Clemente on KFYR in North Dakota.

Yet despite the certification of Mr. Clemente's fleeting fame by David Letterman, Kelly, Michael, Morning Joe and others, I would humbly suggest we might focus instead on the f-word uttered two days earlier by David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox.

Simply put, Big Papi's was a way better F-word.

Comparing these two broadcast incidents also underscores our bigger problem with profanity in America today: not that we use it, but that we don't use it well.

A.J. Clemente, for those who don't keep up with all the news out of North Dakota, was starting his first night Monday as a news anchor on KFYR, an NBC affiliate in Bismarck.

Thirty seconds before he thought he was going live, Clemente blurted out a twofer: the F-word as an adjective and the S-word as a noun.

Unfortunately, he was already live. Oops. He apologized, the station apologized and the station fired him.

It was a sad mini-drama that wouldn't have resonated outside of the KFYR signal area except that these days we have the Internet and YouTube.

Clemente's slip became the viral video du jour — something that got passed around until someone else found a video of, oh, I don't know, a Labradoodle that dances to "Call Me Maybe."

Within that modest window of fame, Clemente got invites to Kelly and Michael, "Inside Edition," "Morning Joe" and "Letterman," among other media stops. Hey, face time is face time.

You just wish that for all this attention, Clemente's F-word had been a little more creative.

He was using the F-word the way most of the world uses it today, to make some point a little more emphatic.

The trouble is, it doesn't.

We use profanity so much, and so casually, that it has become wallpaper.

Intelligent people with the vocabulary and insight to say something in a much more interesting way routinely fall back on four-letter words. It's easy, it's lazy, it's everywhere.

It's also, truth be told, marginal.

Most of history's greatest literature uses no profanity. Hollywood made great movies for 40 years without it. Most of our best TV shows use better, more interesting words.

Still, all that said, profanity can have an impact.

Clark Gable saying, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" at the end of "Gone With the Wind" startled a nation, simply by employing one well-chosen four-letter word.

Which brings us back to David Ortiz.

Ortiz was talking last Saturday at Fenway Park about how Boston would not be intimidated by cowards and killers — a sentiment already surging through the city and the country.

He picked exactly the right time and place to call in a single four-letter word that punctuated the intensity of a moment.

Ortiz didn't need an obscenity. His point would have been clear without it. But at least he used it well.

Unlike A.J., and unlike much of America.

H/T NY Daily News