Why is Each Sequel Worse Than the Last?

Some movie franchises last way too long: Friday the 13th, Rocky, Nightmare on Elm Street.  Each new film is worse than the last, and they’re all worse than the original, which wasn’t so great itself.  The GOP war on energy=efficient light bulbs has the same characteristic — you wish someone would just drive a stake through its heart and kill it.  Only in America could a political party make wasting energy a core element of its core creed.

This year’s version was just announced, according to Greenwire:

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) is continuing his efforts to block federal mandates for efficient lighting with a bill he reintroduced yesterday that would bar the government from requiring compact fluorescent light bulbs to be installed in certain health care facilities.

Burgess’ bill, H.R. 643, would prevent any federal or state mandate to install energy-efficient lighting from requiring the use of any bulbs that contain mercury in a “hospital, school, day care center, mental health facility, or nursing home.” The bill is identical to H.R. 739, which Burgess introduced in the previous session of Congress.

OK, here’s a list of what’s wrong with this law:

  • It increases health care and education costs by raising the facility’s power bills.
  • It’s based on a specious health concern, which is if anything more specious in health care facilities where clean up is likely to be efficient.
  • At the margins, it increases air pollution (again by raising power demand).
  • It increases carbon emissions and thereby climate change.
  • It wastes money and resources to generate unneeded electrical power.
  • It lacks even the “freedom of consumer choice” rationale since the purchasers aren’t consumers.
  • American lighting manufacturers are against it.
  • It tramples on the rights of states that choose to regulate in the matter (what happened to the tea party’s constitutional scruples about the federal leviathan?).
  • All of these institutions have old-fashioned fluorescent lights, which pose the same problem but more so.
  • It also invades state’s rights by forbidding states from telling their own public schools and public hospitals what to buy.

Seriously — is this what our national legislature has descended to? Maybe Rocky XX should feature Sylvester Stallone duking it out with the Democrats in Congress.  Although it seems more like the hundredth sequel of some horror movie.

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Reader Comments

6 Replies to “Why is Each Sequel Worse Than the Last?”

  1. I REALLY have to take issue with the central premise of this post. While perhaps not the norm, many sequels are better than the original, see, e.g., Godfather Part II and The Dark Knight. When there are numerous sequels, the pattern tends to be quite variable, and some of the films you mention are good examples. The third Nightmare on Elm Street, for example, was better than the second (though nowhere near as good as the first). The very last Rocky was also better than the penultimate one.

    As for the substance of the post, the assumptions about energy savings from CFL bulbs are not always realized, and insofar as there is a larger upfront cost, the potential for breakage or failure often makes them a bad deal. There are also some applications — e.g. outdoor lights in cold weather — where CFLs are poor substitutes for old-fashioned incandescents. All of these are good reasons not to prohibit consumers from making their own choices.

  2. I REALLY have to take issue with the central premise of this post. While perhaps not the norm, many sequels are better than the original, see, e.g., Godfather Part II and The Dark Knight. When there are numerous sequels, the pattern tends to be quite variable, and some of the films you mention are good examples. The third Nightmare on Elm Street, for example, was better than the second (though nowhere near as good as the first). The very last Rocky was also better than the penultimate one.

    As for the substance of the post, the assumptions about energy savings from CFL bulbs are not always realized, and insofar as there is a larger upfront cost, the potential for breakage or failure often makes them a bad deal. There are also some applications — e.g. outdoor lights in cold weather — where CFLs are poor substitutes for old-fashioned incandescents. All of these are good reasons not to prohibit consumers from making their own choices.

  3. With respect to the abortion issue, most Americans have no trouble identifying themselves as being “pro-choice,” even though most Americans would not elect to have an abortion if they were required to choose for themselves. Why? Because most Americans recognize that true freedom means being allowed to make wise as well as unwise decisions. Unfortunately, the abortion issue is one of the rare occasions where progressive liberals recognize the value of personal liberty.

    If people or organizations want to install an inefficient type of light bulb, than they should be allowed to do so. Yes, it might be an ill-informed nonsensical decision. Yes, it might be much more expensive for that organization. But they should have the right and the freedom to make unwise decisions. Unless and until their decisions infringe upon the rights and liberties of their neighbors, the government has no moral justification to intervene.

  4. With respect to the abortion issue, most Americans have no trouble identifying themselves as being “pro-choice,” even though most Americans would not elect to have an abortion if they were required to choose for themselves. Why? Because most Americans recognize that true freedom means being allowed to make wise as well as unwise decisions. Unfortunately, the abortion issue is one of the rare occasions where progressive liberals recognize the value of personal liberty.

    If people or organizations want to install an inefficient type of light bulb, than they should be allowed to do so. Yes, it might be an ill-informed nonsensical decision. Yes, it might be much more expensive for that organization. But they should have the right and the freedom to make unwise decisions. Unless and until their decisions infringe upon the rights and liberties of their neighbors, the government has no moral justification to intervene.

  5. Dan said:
    “…It increases carbon emissions and thereby climate change..”

    Does carbon dioxide emissions really cause climate change? Have you got hard scientific proof to back this up? What about water vapor, sunlight, natural cycles? Does Dan know about the things of which he speaks? Probably not.

  6. Dan said:
    “…It increases carbon emissions and thereby climate change..”

    Does carbon dioxide emissions really cause climate change? Have you got hard scientific proof to back this up? What about water vapor, sunlight, natural cycles? Does Dan know about the things of which he speaks? Probably not.

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Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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