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When the Constitution Goes Wrong

The First Amendment has outlived its usefulness. Turn on the TV any time of day or night and you'll see ample justification for scaling it back if not just outright repealing it.

Think I'm just a bit right of reactionary? C'mon, do you really think that our founding fathers would have penciled in "freedom of speech" if they knew that 212 years later it would be protecting shows like Suddenly Susan and "World's Most Dangerous Car Chases" from legislation banning crappy TV?

Oh, sure, the First Amendment has done some good here and there, but at what price? Where does society draw the line and say "this kind of expression just will not be tolerated anymore, Constitution be damned."

There's a line in the sand, my friends, and if the price for freedom of speech is having to sit through one more of those Old Navy commercials, then its about time to start packing my bags for Cuba.

The campaign started out awful and has headed down from there. Do you recall the first ads? The one featuring a fashion show starring Magic the dog and the male model who complains because the pooch gets to wear better clothes than he does? Of course, these ads also introduced Carrie the Old Navy Lady, a freakishly mutated old woman with gigantic eyewear, into our living rooms. And for that Old Navy should pay with what remains of their souls.

Who is this she-beast? Apparently, she's some former bigwig in fashion journalism, although why that qualifies her to sully our TV screens five times an hour is still a mystery. I'm sure she's a very nice lady and has a beautiful family with loads of happy grandchildren that call her "gammy" and love her sugar cookies. But the first time she popped up in that ad, all I could think was: "Damn, Larry King has not aged well at all."

The Old Navy spots are the vanguard of a new trend that seems to have swallowed the entire advertising industry: making commercials that are intentionally annoying. The Isuzu people know this tactic well, as do the good folks at Levi's. But it is Old Navy that taken this advertisement-as-torture fad to new extremes.

Is there a single viewer in the vast North American viewing audience that does not recoil in sheer horror when Sherman Helmsley shows off his legs in Old Navy Board Shorts? It seems that an ad that provokes violent and disturbing thoughts in its audience would not be an ad that would stay on the air very long. Yet Old Navy has produced an endless stream of these abominations, and they show no sign of slowing down.

Most of us figured Old Navy had hit bottom with its recent ads featuring wholesome, apple-cheeked models performing the dry-land version of synchronized swimming on top of giant novelty typewriters while Morgan Fairchild and the Old Navy Lady convulsing in an approximation of rhythm. My heart rat-a-tats just thinking about it.

But we were mistaken. Oh, how horribly, horribly wrong we were.

The newest Old Navy abomination omits Morgan Fairchild, leaving the Old Navy Lady at center stage. In this ad, the Old Navy Lady surfs along next to a beautiful couple, the woman sitting on the guy's shoulders. The old woman looks through binoculars, only to spot George and Louise Jefferson standing on the beach looking around for someone to kill them and end their misery.

You can almost hear Weezie bawling out her husband. "Movin' on up? Is this what you call movin' on up, you no-good lying bastard?"

It's hard to believe the creative team -- and I use the term loosely -- at Old Navy is so out of touch that they don't realize the plague they've unleashed upon this great land. That means they're doing this on purpose. There are bright young men and women sitting in conference rooms somewhere on Madison Avenue plotting to continue this horrible plague, possibly for another 600 years or so. At which time the Old Navy Lady's glasses will be just slightly smaller than the sun.

These power-mad freaks must be stopped at any cost. What good is our liberty, if the freedom of expression of a few advertising tyrants saps all America of its will to live? It's up to us, people. Let's not just sit here and wither away under the devil-eye of that old woman. The First Amendment must go!

If not, I hear the Spanish-dubbed Everybody Loves Raymond they show in Havana ain't half bad. Viva Raymundo! Viva la revolucion!


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