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Opening Arguments

S- - - happens

This seems like a misguided protest, or at least a premature one:

LOS ANGELES — An anti-profanity crusader on Tuesday asked ABC to pull this week’s “Modern Family’’ episode in which a toddler appears to use a bleeped curse word.

“Our main goal is to stop this from happening,’’ said McKay Hatch, an 18-year-old college student who founded the No Cussing Club in 2007. “If we don’t, at least ABC knows that people all over the world don’t want to have a 2-year-old saying the ‘F-bomb’ on TV.’’

This isn't a show I usually watch, but I might check out tonight's episode just so see how they handle the situation. TV being what it is, there's always a chance they'll screw it up, but there's also the possibility a touchy subject will be treated with some humor and insight. People all over the world may not "want a 2-year-old saying the F-bomb on TV," but the fact is that it happens all the time in real life. The very idea that a TV show these days would even consider "baby's first profanity" a parenting dilemma is a little quaint, wouldn't you say?

I grew up in a time when children watched what they said in front of their parents and, even more important, parents watched what they said in front of their children. When my father hit his thumb with a hammer and I heard him drop the S-bomb for the first time, it shock the h---- out of me, even though it was a word my friends and I used frequently. That sense of time-and-place appropriateness is something that's been lost with the coarsening of the popular culture.