Debate: Lamps or Overhead Lighting?

By Glenn & Jake 

When God said "Let there be light," he did not take into account that it would still get dark. Not only did this prove that God is not perfect, it also created a need for artificial lighting. This is why Humphry Davy created the first incandescent light. He was essentially spitting into the face of God, which we all do daily by masturbating and having protected and premarital sexual intercourse. While God and Davy might have created light, neither could figure out whether to use a lamp or wire the light overhead into the ceiling. This is why I am an atheist and use a Ouija board to insult Humphry Davy at least every few months. This debate is going to attempt to figure out which is better: lamps or overhead lighting.

Glenn: A great man once said that overhead lighting was to lights what the original Terminator was to the Terminator film series. I couldn't agree more. I'm sure lamps were around "first" because they're practically fucking prehistoric. I imagine the Christian founders of the United States probably used lamps when they were debating late at night how many Bible verses to put in the Constitution. Maybe if they had overhead lighting they would have instead taken a more modern approach: god isn't real and secularism is the only way to ensure a nation's long-term survival. Overhead lighting is simply the sweetest and best way to light a room - plus it's simple! When I walk into a room, the feeling I get from flipping a switch and enabling the overhead light has to be similar to the human orgasm. I hope to find out if this is true by being awarded "winner" of this debate.

Jake: To me, flipping a light switch and having a light turn on is like turning a shower on, only to be sprayed with acid. Overhead lighting is disgusting. It's the luminous version of vomit. It casts odd shadows and makes it nearly impossible for me to read my collection of Doonesbury comic strips. I need to know what the talking cigarette has to say, so I can decide whether I should start smoking again. I wouldn't just argue that lamps are better than overhead lighting, but that lamps are better than the sun. I have never gotten lamp burn, nor does a lamp give me melanoma. Lamps direct light where I decide to place it. Overhead lighting is too stationary for a person like me, who loves to change their mind constantly.

Glenn: The same thing you loudly scream as a lamp's biggest advantage is also its biggest disadvantage: its mobility. Do you know how many times - when I used to allow lamps in my house - I would walk into a room and find them in different spots? I'm not going to accuse lamps of moving themselves, but no one else was in the house when it happened. An overhead light cannot go anywhere. It's trapped, just like people in long-term relationships or prisons. If I put a black light into an overhead it completely transforms the room. All of a sudden people are more willing to use glow sticks and my Marilyn Manson poster looks really cool. If I put a black light into a lamp it will just shriek at me and then email my parents Bible verses. Lamps are a fucking hassle to date and a fucking hassle to turn on! If I wanted to walk across a dark room just to turn on a light, I would sink back to the 9th Circle of Hell where I belong.

Jake: Lamps do not move by themselves and can manage a black light quite fine. I know this because I use a black light in a lamp to illuminate my Tupac poster. A lamp can be a friend, unlike an overhead light. You can curl up with a lamp and drift away to an illuminated dreamscape that most of us could not even fathom while awake. An overhead light just sits there like a fucking corpse in John Wayne Gacy's crawl space, doing nothing except taking up space and casting shadows (metaphorical shadows for the corpse and literal ones for the light). You cannot make shadow puppets using an overhead light, but with a lamp they are a breeze-- although my arthritis makes it difficult for me. An overhead light will never get a criminal to confess to a crime he didn't commit (via making them too thirsty/dehydrated), but a lamp will nearly every time.

Glenn: I've spent more time in John Wayne Gacy Jr's crawl space than anyone on this website and I can tell you I'd rather spend another six or seven months there in the dark than with a lamp. Think of the places you're most likely to find a lamp: JCPenny, a psychic's house, and above your seat on United Flight 93. Maybe the simplicity of overhead lights appeal to me. I've seen post-modern lamps that don't even look like lamps. I've never seen an overhead light that looked like anything other than a light. I've never had to "interpret" one. You also said that a lamp is great for reading. Sure, it might illuminate your Janet Evanovich novel a little bit, but you're forgetting what happens if you fall asleep with a lamp: you die.

Now I'm going to tell you what this is all about for me. When I was a child I had a near death experience with a lamp. After having been told I couldn't go camping because of inclement weather I decided to "make camp" on the floor of my bedroom. I set up pillows, blankets and my favorite bedside lamp. so I could read the latest Janet Evanovich novel and "pretend" I was camping. At some point in the night the lamp fell over. I woke up to see a hole burnt through two pillows and all levels of carpet/padding, down to the floor boards. All of this right next to my beautiful adolescent head and face. If you want to defend the actions of that lamp, and basically wish me to be burned alive by a lamp, then please do so. The world is waiting.

Jake: Much like you, I have had a negative experience, but not with lamps, with overhead lighting. When I was hiking through an Arizonan desert at night, I looked up to see what I thought was an overhead light illuminating the sand and cacti. It turned out to be a UFO. For the next three weeks, I spent all of my time being fed Runts and getting anal probed. This was terrible experience-- I hate Runts! The banana one doesn't even taste close to banana, yet it sort of looks like one. It really doesn't make much sense. Ever since this dark period of my life, every time somebody turns on an overhead light, I feel as if I am being abducted and I can practically taste the "banana" flavored Runt.

I have never been double crossed by a lamp. I have been double crossed by family, friends, TV programs and, one time, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and I did a double turn, where the audience double crossed me and "booed" me because I wouldn't let go of a sharpshooter. I was just trying to make a point! Lamps have been one of the only constants in my life.


  1. Wow....seriously. One of the greatest debates you guys have presented! Not only do you leave me in awe, but I feel closer to each of you now.

  2. You feel the closest to lamps!

  3. great debate! in my opinion, overhead lighting wins - not for aesthetic purposes - but because lamps allow for shadows where rat kings can hide until you turn off the light and then it eats you.

  4. Jake - I think you were just tripping balls and staring into the sun for too long. The bad shit always tastes like Runts. I remember wondering across the concrete planes of Grand Forks almost completely nude and soaring like a grand eagle, but then it fucking hit. The sun. Fucking hit me in the face like my roommate did with that pencil in my ass. That ultimate overhead light...the sun. Fucking kill us all, it will. Fucking kill us all with global warming and radiation. Anyways that was besides the point - the X that Bunny gave me started tasting like a shitty grape Runt of all things. It came inside me like a hypersexualized metaphor I'm too drunk to make at this time. Fucking Runts man. I wanted to start screaming in the middle of the street, but it completely dissolved my mouth as the sun continued to probe my ass...

    Then I woke up. I wasn't fucking outside. I just passed out in the nude by a window and had sunburns all over my backside. Boy did I really trip balls, but I learned something that day: overhead lighting is horrible. Well said Jake. Well said.

  5. Glenn and Jake are great debate luminaries.

  6. Jake's Runts joke was practically from the 1950's. Also, this and the bare floors vs. carpet debate both excel in comedic terms even as the subject is so mundane.