July 2, 2002
8:12 AM   Subscribe

On July 8, watch your newspaper for a picture of a little girl sleeping under a blanket imprinted with an image of the U.S. Constitution, with the caption: "Security Blanket." It's the first installment in a 13-month, $2.5 million advertising campaign by the American Bar Association to promote the Constitution in a time of terror and get people talking about security and democracy. After all, ads sell. And why shouldn't the lawyers pay for a bit of Constitutional image rebuilding? Without that stained, dog-eared, pissed on, misread, half-shredded little 'ol document, they'd be out of jobs.
posted by jellybuzz (26 comments total)
Pity it's not on tv where someone might actually see it.
posted by rushmc at 8:14 AM on July 2, 2002

jellybuzz: Well, there'd still be laws without the U.S. Constitution, presumably (y'know, they existed before), so you're not on firm ground with that last statement, 'xactly.
posted by raysmj at 8:19 AM on July 2, 2002

Title: ABA Launches Ad Campaign to Promote U.S. Constitution

Man, this title could either be a straight story or an Onion article. "Honest guys, we think you should take a look at this Constitution thing, it was really a pretty good idea for its time"

And lawyers are like cockroaches. After they've destroyed every other industry with litigation, they will survive. They don't need no stinkin Constitution.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:21 AM on July 2, 2002

to promote the us consitution? what, were people complaining about the color?
posted by mcsweetie at 8:26 AM on July 2, 2002

After they've destroyed every other industry with litigation

You know, all those great free-market thinkers who cook the books or market dangerous products, all of them, plus the NRA and the tobacco industry and all those other good guys, they're all in favor of tort reform, among other things

There are a lot of silly lawsuits out there, but Americans should cherish the fact that sometimes, not always, but sometimes, a lawsuit can stop or punish (or both) people who knowingly manufacture and sell dangerous shit. In many other countires, consumers are left totally alone
posted by matteo at 8:31 AM on July 2, 2002

And lawyers are like cockroaches. After they've destroyed every other industry with litigation, they will survive.

Yeah, cuz, you know, GE was gonna clean up the Hudson River on its own, anyway...
posted by Ty Webb at 8:37 AM on July 2, 2002

Confused. With all the discussion here about civil liberties and the importance of adhering to the rule of law in regard to terrorism investigation, why are we feeling so snarky about something that will promote the historical foundations of those things in the USA?

Some marketing firm decided to wrap a little girl in the Constitution. Launch the cynics!

Too many people in the USA don't know enough about it, or think it's totally irrelevant to their everyday lives. What's wrong with promoting the fact that the U.S. Constitution is important?

Or are we just accustomed to thinking that anything a group of lawyers do is automatically self-serving, evil, and corrupt?

Disclosure: I'm married to someone who's really nice, compassionate, and who cares about personal rights, privacy issues, and being a decent person. She's also a lawyer. Not all lawyers are subhuman.
posted by jmcmurry at 8:46 AM on July 2, 2002

Sorry, jmcmurry, we actually are all subhuman -- including your wife. You just don't know it yet.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:02 AM on July 2, 2002

I like to think of myself as a really kick-ass monkey with the super-bonus feature of being able to represent people who slip and fall on insomnyuk's sidewalk.
posted by subgenius at 9:13 AM on July 2, 2002

Aha! I don't have a sidewalk.
damn I forgot so many lawyers frequented this place. *ducks*
posted by insomnyuk at 9:16 AM on July 2, 2002

insomnyuk: And lawyers are like cockroaches. After they've destroyed every other industry with litigation, they will survive.

This is one of the most shortsighted, ridiculous and generalized statements I've seen in a while. If it was a troll, congratulations, it worked. Like any profession, people enter it for different reasons and perform in different ways. The issue is not lawyers, it's people. I am entering the legal profession for many reasons, none of which are included in insomnyuk's statement. What are you going to do insomnyuk if you ever need legal help or advice? Lucky for you lawyers have professional and legal duties to help people who feel the way you do.
posted by anathema at 9:18 AM on July 2, 2002

Wrapping a little girl in the constitution?

What bothers me is that an ad like this doesn't encourage you to READ the constitution, or think about what it says. They want you to feel good about it and accept whatever lawyers (or judges) say it means.

Maybe this is because the marketing firm hired to do the ads thinks people would prefer an obvious emotional ploy rather than something substantive. Or maybe the lawyers really dont want to encourage people to read and think about our rights...just accept whatever they say because it feels good.

I hate advertising because it makes whatever it depicts look smarmy and dishonest, even if it isn't. blech.
posted by plaino at 9:19 AM on July 2, 2002

I re-read the constitution and Declaration of Independence last night. What fricking incredible documents. The balls of the guys who signed the DoI were amazing. And the constitution is so well thought out, a really beautiful document.
I'm up for anything that may get people to really read it, rather than quote the pieces that make political sense to them.
As for lawsuits, yes, some (most?) are bad. But then there are the good ones.... Brown Vs. Board of Education, Roe vs. Wade, the one the other day about the "Under God," and countless other "good" lawsuits that have improved this country and made it more just. Not all lawyers are disgusting bloodsucking sots. Just most.
posted by aacheson at 9:26 AM on July 2, 2002

I'm noticing as the new word of the era, "unconstitutional" is replacing the old word, "abortion" from the past, like the 80's.

Well this explains this comment made yesterday.
And I made it.
Yes I did misspell it, there is no "un" in "constitutional."

I have not picked up a paper in some time, who needs too, if you come here. So whose hook is in my mouth, as I bit at that bait. Reminds me what to do on my 4 day weekend, real fishing, large mouth bass.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:27 AM on July 2, 2002

anathema, I think insomnyuk was trying to be humorous. And there's a kernal of truth to what he says. Of course, it's worth remembering that there are two lawyers on every side -- for every lawyer that wants to destroy industry through litigation, there's a lawyer on the other side trying to prevent that from happening.

And, for the most part, anathema is right that lawyers don't just bring cases -- they have to have a client. But there are many examples of lawyers/firms that seek out clients rather than the other way around (a recent example are law firms that specialize in bringing claims against businesses for not being sufficiently accessible to disabled individuals under the ADA. They usually have one "client" who tries to go in many stores/hotels/offices, then files suit. Another example is class action security litigation -- the class is made up of millions of people, and when the dust settles they get like 72 cents each, while the attorneys get fees in the hundreds of millions).

Anyway, if I had to venture a guess, I'd say that the legal profession is overrepresented in the pompous ass, whiny, unethical, and immoral categories. And I say that as a lawyer (who hopes he doesn't fit into those categories).
posted by pardonyou? at 9:36 AM on July 2, 2002

Maybe this is because the marketing firm hired to do the ads thinks people would prefer an obvious emotional ploy rather than something substantive.

Are you actually trying to argue that they wouldn't?
posted by Dirjy at 9:55 AM on July 2, 2002

After they've destroyed every other industry with litigation, they will survive.

insomyuk, i'm confused. maybe you can help me out. i thought libertarians were in favor of private litigation because it is the "free market" solution to economic externalities. every time i argue to a libertarian that the government needs to regulate this or that industry more closely, they respond by saying that regulation is unnecessary because people have the right to sue privately if they feel that the company has broken the law or violated their rights. that way, they protect their rights and government (meaning regulatory agencies) does not have to get involved. of course, libertarians also feel that there is too much law generally, but surely they don't go so far to say that there is nothing that people can do to each other short of a criminal offense that warrants some form of legally cognizable response? otherwise, we're talking about dodge city aren't we?

well, which is it? should gov't regulate or should we just leave it to people to file their own lawsuits?
posted by boltman at 10:15 AM on July 2, 2002

I do think that lawyers are an important safeguard of civil liberties, and that the courts can serve as a means for consumers to receive compensation for wrongs. I am in favor of private litigation, in fact, my family benefited from the services of a lawyer who helped us get our money back from a carpet salesman of ill-repute. I just think the tort system is being perverted and used as a way to bypass contracts and sometimes even create new laws.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:40 AM on July 2, 2002

Let's all rent The Rainmaker is what I say
Written by a lawyer, O.K.
But the voice-over is Michael Herr's baby -- enough said
posted by matteo at 11:00 AM on July 2, 2002

I thank you, good people:- there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

As soon as there's a chicken in every pot, 40 acres and a mule, and honest government, you won't need lawyers.

What would be best would be if the ABA drafted rules that disallowed any lawyer from representing those individuals who think that lawyers are evil. After all, it's the hated lawyers who protect your right to _have_ a lawyer, lawyers who protect your right to free speech (Ashcroftistanian rules notwithstanding), lawyers who protect you when a big mean corporation royally screws you and lawyers who protect you when the government gets the wrong guy.

Hate lawyers? Don't use one. After all, if we're as bad and useless as you say, I'm sure you could do a better job protecting your own damn civil liberties.

Yes, there are bad lawyers. No, the world isn't perfect. Anyone that told you otherwise was either lying or trying to get into your pants.
posted by swerdloff at 7:18 PM on July 2, 2002

I really wish someone was honestly trying to tell me that the world is perfect :)
posted by insomnyuk at 8:42 PM on July 2, 2002

I hate advertising because it makes whatever it depicts look smarmy and dishonest, even if it isn't. blech.

Tell me about it. After owning a Tivo, blocking most internet ads, and listening to college radio for a while things don't seem so bad. Then I use someone else's PC, or actually watch live TV, or heaven-forbid listen to commercial radio and am shocked at how loooong, annoying, condescending, and uncreative ads truly are. Now that the Tivo is in the shop I can't watch TV. The loudmoth commercials are so bad I get up and do something else.

This ad doesn't sound so hot either. Its an emotional plea not a rational one. Its kind of how Ronald Reagan was almost always photographed in front of a flag. Yeah, that made me feel better.
posted by skallas at 9:38 PM on July 2, 2002

All I want to know is did the ABA get this advertisement vetted by the Federalist Society? :) Asscroft will investigate otherwise (speaking of low life lawyers, I think I covered all the worst just now.)
posted by nofundy at 6:34 AM on July 3, 2002

Now that the Tivo is in the shop

You have my condolences....
posted by rushmc at 9:35 AM on July 3, 2002

nofundy: you mis-spelled Ashcroft.

posted by insomnyuk at 6:59 PM on July 3, 2002

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