“VULGAR”—THEN AND NOW. Kids, my mother often used words like “common” and “vulgar.” You could say that she was “lace curtain Danish.” When we were children, we were discouraged from listening to radio programs (or later watching TV programs) that were “vulgar” or “common.” Jimmy Durante and Milton Berle are examples of performers that we were protected from, but even bland shows like Father Knows Best were considered not worth anybody’s time. When my turn came in the role of protective parent, I would watch South Park with Nick (he was 9). He had a knack for doing spot-on imitations of Cartman and the others, and after the show he would often repeat what he had heard, having them say appalling things that I had missed when I watched the show.

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