Why the light bulb obsession?
What makes the lightbulb thing the bestest of current wingnut obsessions is that it's a perfect summation of what makes up the modern wingnut. Should you need to craft a future panic to gin up a bunch of wingnuts, I suggest carefully studying this list, because it's a pretty great blueprint.
1) Bullshit. This is one of the most important aspects. For some reason, they can't get quite as whipped up over something that's true. In some cases, that's beause reality is boring, but clearly that doesn't explain all of it, because even if their claim was true---that the government is banning incandescent light bulbs---that would still be roughly the stupidest thing to get upset about, possibly ever. No, I believe they get more excited over lies than the truth is that believing something that's not true makes them feel like they're in a secret, special club. That other people disagree with them because of our tedious adherence to facts and reality increases their sense of specialness. It also helps feed their sense of victimization. They're oppressed by the facts and all those stupid liberal fascists who insist on them. Because of all this, bullshit is way more interesting to the average wingnut than facts.
2) Pettiness. What's weird is that even if it were true, and the entire country was being forced to move to CFLs for daily use, the rational response would be, "So what?" The wailing from wingnuts on this is that CFLs are "ugly", but what's interesting about this is that they're really not. I have nothing but CFLs in my house, and they work great. You could probably even do some empirical research showing that your ordinary American can't tell the difference between a new incandescent and new CFL. They flicker a bit more when being turned on, and that's it. Small price to pay to reduce our nation's energy usage and forstall global warming, right? But pettiness is where wingnuts find their home. They love turning a molehill into a mountain, because that means that every time they flip on a light, they can burn with rage at the evil liberals who are controlling their lives through light bulbs.
3) Selfishness. They really do find it mildly arousing to say, "Screw the planet, I like my light bulbs the way they are." Sure, they rationalize this by pretending not to believe in global warming, but feigned disbelief is just an extension of the larger selfishness problem.
4) Near-psychotic fear of change. They like the world the way it is, and any change is taken as a personal affront, no matter how inconsequential to their personal comfort.
5) Paranoia. This goes back to pettiness. They love to sweat the small stuff, because it makes the grand conspiracy of liberal fascism they believe in seem omnipresent. This is why wingnuts in the past got so attached to fears about fluoride in the drinking water, and now are crapping their pants over fears of mandatory CFLs. They like to feel that the Illlumnati even have their fingers in how you light a room.
But most importantly of all:
6) It pisses off the liberals. It honestly should. This petty, selfish, idiotic, childish, paranoid behavior should piss off anyone with an ounce of decency. But what's funny is that they've been crying wolf so long that it fails to anger anymore, and instead causes mockery. I mean, they're willing to act like paranoid idiots just to get a rise out of us. Don't they have anything better to do with their time? Get a hobby, like replacing all your incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, and then starting a photoblog showing how nice the light is. But Wingnut America is so committed to the "pissing off the liberals" mentality that they'll try to pretend the peals of laughter aimed in their direction are wails of anger. It's sad, really.
Perfection, thy name is Amanda Marcotte