The Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University presents Melissa Mohr, Margot Mifflin and Bill Downing, with Robin Abrahams, discussing "Hell in a Handbasket: The Decline of Taboos" from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the C. Walsh Theatre, 55 Temple St., Boston.

Not long ago, we lived in a world where cursing was verboten; only sailors had tattoos; and smoking marijuana was limited to bohemian artists and students. This forum will ask whether these personal expressions and acts are today met with less disdain than in the past or if these trends are a harbinger of societal disaster. “Miss Conduct” etiquette columnist Robin Abrahams moderates the discussion with Melissa Mohr, author of Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing, Margot Mifflin, author of Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo, and Bill Downing, former president of MassCANN/NORML, which works for the decriminalization of marijuana.

The Ford Hall Forum is the nation’s oldest free public lecture series. It promotes freedom of speech and fosters an informed and effective citizenry through events that illuminate the key issues facing our society.

The forum presents knowledgeable and thought-provoking speakers, including some of the most controversial opinion leaders of our times, in settings that facilitate frank and open debate.

Above: Melissa Mohr, Margot Mifflin, Bill Downing and Robin Abrahams