This Week’s Cartoon: “Bulb Wars”

The silliness and hypocrisy of Republicans’ lightbulb activism — especially their sudden concern about mercury in compact fluorescents after pooh-poohing efforts to limit mercury pollution for decades — was too much for me to resist. I should add here that it’s not just CFLs that they’re opposed to; low-energy incandescent bulbs are also available, and the energy law (passed under Bush) is intended to create a market for these by eliminating the cheaper, less-efficient competition.

While CFLs theoretically reduce mercury pollution by reducing the amount of coal power consumed, I have to admit I’m wary of the expectation that they’ll be OK for the environment as long as people recycle them instead of dumping them in the garbage. “Just take them to Lowe’s!” chirped a woman from the NRDC on a Colbert clip I watched recently. But honestly, how many Americans are going make the effort to do that? See the second panel of this cartoon for a clue. I suspect in 20 years we will have a “WTF were we thinking?” moment.

While Googling images of the tea party, I came across this photo of Sarah Palin supporters from the Christian Science Monitor.

tea party women

Yes, these are the people fighting modern lightbulb technology and threatening to annihilate what’s left of the economy over the debt ceiling.


  • Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle

    C’mon party people!

  • matt

    Overfed and undereducated, they have no shame and this is their constituency.

  • Bill

    Matt Bors’ blog has a turd link to a cartoon by Chuck Assay on this subject, with government bureaucrats putting a CFL bulb in the torch of the Statue of Liberty, while Liberty cries, of course.

  • Tom

    I was out of town so I couldn’t answer earlier (7-day cycling tour Up North). But I love the 3rd panel, when somebody who is questioned about balancing the costs of mercury in CFLs or from coal can only reflexively respond “Freedom filaments!”

    Much like the people with bumper stickers that read “Stand Up for America! Be an American!” Uh, OK, so what does that actually mean? Hey, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Albert DeSalvo, and Jeffrey Dahmer were all Americans! But I think I’d rather have the immigrant fellow down the block living next door.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.