On tonight’s episode of Modern Family (perhaps TV’s best sitcom), one of the storylines deals with what happens when a young child starts using curse words. One of America’s more prominent gatekeepers of the public morality, the Parents Television council, immediately lurched into a galloping conniption. That they haven’t actually seen the episode, and hence, have no fudging idea what they’re screeching about, is beside the point.
“It’s not suitable language for a child that young in the real world, and it’s not suitable language for a child that young on television, either.”
Turns out the adorable little child actress is saying “fudge” instead of the more vapors-inducing “fuck.”
It all feels so familiar. Like back in the ’80s when Tipper Gore and her friends got their granny panties in a bunch over things like Ozzy’s “Ultimate Sin” which, despite the hot demonic chick in the video turns out to have been a love song about “how could you leave me?” The album, of course, featured other such Satanic themes as “nuclear war is bad,” so you can understand their pique. Anyhoo, Tippy and the rest of the Concerned Responsible People® in Washington formed the Parents Music Resource Council, a forebear to the PTC, to by jingies slap some labels on all that objectionable comment.
This was a debacle from one end to the other, but their first really huge mistake was in summoning Frank Zappa and then handing him a microphone. What followed was a first-ballot induction into the Beatdown Hall of Fame.
Then later on, they compounded their error by calling Steven Dallas, who was then the manager of heavy metal band Deathtöngue. Here’s how that went down.
Yes, well. We seem to have no fewer narrow-minded zealots than we did a generation ago, nor does our current crop of zealots seem to feel any more obligation than their predecessors did to actually, you know, understanding what they were talking about.
I’m torn. Part of me wants to encourage the PTC to shut the fudge up. But another part of me enjoys watching the self-righteous idiocracy clown itself while the world watches.
In any case, I look forward to tonight’s episode. But I’ll watch it lying down so that I won’t bump my head if I faint.
Credit: Berke Breathed, Billy and the Boingers Bootleg. Little, Brown, 1987. Highly recommended.