LOS ANGELES TIMES CARTOON: We’ll Miss Those California Flowers

Tree Flowers

I draw cartoons for The Los Angeles Times about issues related to California and the Southland (metro Los Angeles).

This week:

It looks to be the end of the plastic grocery bag as we know it.

The state assembly appears to have struck a deal in which Californians would pay at least a dime for each recycled paper or reusable plastic bag they get at the grocery store. The currently-ubiquitous single-use plastic bags that have bedeviled litter-control types and environmentalists would be prohibited. That’s a lot of bags. Californians use an estimated 12 billion single-use plastic bags each year.

Plants that manufacture single-use bags would be retooled into recycling facilities, preventing job losses.

Given how hard opponents of a ban have fought over the years, it seemed wrong to this perverse cartoonist not to consider that something (aside from growing the massive plastic trash island in the Pacific Ocean) may be lost. But what?

Following the lead of dark surrealism master director David Lynch, I drank lots and lots of coffee to get my idea juices flowing. This is what I came up with: the plastic bag as weapon.

In self-defense class, they taught me that a folded newspaper can be a surprisingly potent tool for fending off an assailant. (No word yet on whether an iPad can knock a ruffian unconscious.) So can a trash can. What appeals about these strategies is the fact that they’re ubiquitous. Like — you remember the previous use of that word in this little essay — plastic bags. They’re everywhere, hanging from trees! In Africa, people ironically nickname them “African flowers.” What if a “California flower” could be called into service by law-abiding citizens?

Yep. That’s all I got.

Lynch must have drunk more coffee than me.