Heyl: Futules repentant? (Bleep) no
What Nick Futules said on Tuesday seems unlikely to enhance his reputation as a political orator.
The brief remarks the Allegheny County councilman uttered won't do for him what the Gettysburg Address did for Abraham Lincoln. They might even get him banned from speaking at any future Rotary Club or Toastmasters International gatherings.
But there's no denying they packed an emotional wallop.
Futules experienced a mercurial meltdown at the end of a contentious meeting in which council agreed to permit natural gas drilling at Deer Lakes Park. After voting in favor of the measure, the Oakmont Democrat got into a verbal confrontation with drilling opponent Ken Weir.
It went like this: Futules instructed Weir to shut up.
Futules then said, “(Expletive) you.”
Weir indicated he hadn't properly heard the statement.
Hoping to clear up any confusion, Futules said, “Capital (expletive) you.”
Weir indicated he now understood. Futules left the room.
It wasn't your everyday elected official-constituent exchange.
Even at the national level, politicians are prone to use salty language — some occasionally, others reflexively. Vice President Joe Biden has a well-earned reputation for having a potty mouth and has publicly dropped the F-bomb; his predecessor, Dick Cheney, once delivered to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont anatomically impossible advice in profane format. On the Senate floor, no less.
But politicians seldom direct profanity toward ordinary folk. Doing so indicates a potentially politically harmful lack of respect for the electorate.
The only local politician I can recall willing to take that risk was the late state Rep. Frank Gigliotti of Brookline, who once famously said, “(Expletive) the people.” But Gigliotti had the good sense to say that, not in public, but on a wiretap shortly before going to prison for accepting bribes.
Does Futules anticipate any fallout from his outburst? At the risk of being called a (vulgar expletive), (extremely vulgar expletive) or (extremely vulgar polysyllabic expletive) for inquiring, I phoned him to find out.
“Any long-term effects? No, I don't think so,” he said. “I've actually been getting phone calls and texts from people complimenting me for standing up for myself.”
Presumably, they aren't coming from that (expletive) Weir and his fellow (expletive) drilling opponents.
Futules said he lost his temper after hours of debate on the drilling issue and after Weir began yelling at two other council members. He admitted his choice of words could have been better.
“I've been an elected official for 15 years — eight years (on) Verona council, seven at the county. Not once have I disrespected anyone,” he said. “I blew up.”
Is Futules sorry the flare-up featured the F-word?
“I apologize to the public, but not to (Weir),” he said. “He doesn't deserve an apology.”
That's what he said. I swear.
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Range Resources to pay $4.15M fine, close old gas drilling impoundments
- Crosby, Malkin to miss start of Penguins camp
- Steelers defense a long way from ‘greatest of all time’
- Parents keep children home from Brookline schools after threat
- PennDOT worker injured in Beaver County
- Video posted online captures Wilkinsburg child’s injuries
- Mini parks coming Friday to Pittsburgh parking spaces
- Events with alcohol help libraries raise funds for extras
- Starkey: Two amazing Pirates fans
- Number of jobs in high-tech industry outpace workers in Pittsburgh, nation
- Police: Cardinals RB Dwyer head-butted wife