The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for July, 2010

This Week’s Cartoon: “This Week in Celebrity Imitation”

For more on the Lady Gaga contact lens phenomenon, check out this NYT article.

I’d heard Glenn Beck had started an online “university,” but only got around to looking at the website recently. Do you know what premium Glenn Beck website subscribers are called? INSIDER EXTREME MEMBERS. Somehow, this seems highly appropriate.  Even more appropriate? This image of Beck that appears on the INSIDER EXTREME page. Yes, this man, in a straitjacket of caution tape, is perhaps the most powerful political voice in America. Methinks it says it all.


2010 San Diego Comic-Con Photos

The majority of costumes at Comic-Con fall into standard categories — superhero, sex kitten, Ghostbuster, zombie, warrior, zombie warrior. Oh yes, and steampunk. Lots of begoggled hipsters walking around with vaguely antiquarian-looking contraptions on their backs. But some outfits rose above, and here are a few of them:

Me with flyer man. Someone said he does this every year. A Slowpoke postcard was added to the back of his head.

Gotta give it up for the Jackie O's.

Well done, sir.

In a sea of questionably-enhanced bosoms, it was refreshing to see a few dudes objectifying themselves, however goofily. I liked this guy's pluck.

As expected, the con was a grotesque juggernaut of Hollywood crap. But I did have a soft spot for this Lego Spongebob:

And this frighteningly large My Little Pony reminded me of a Jeff Koons sculpture:

Not-so-little pony

It occurred to me that Comic-Con is basically the internet personified. It’s What Reddit Looks Like. When you think of it that way, it explains a bunch of internet phenomena. Good lord, I don’t even want to imagine all the nerd humping that must have gone on in San Diego over the past few days.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I had lots of fun.


This Week’s Cartoon: “World War III: In It For the Money!”

It’s remarkable how little the self-proclaimed deficit hawks seem to talk about trimming our pork-encrusted military expenditures.  I see on CostofWar.com that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have surpassed a trillion dollars. I’m not sure I feel a trillion dollars safer. For a trillion dollars, I expect the nation to be covered in a climate-controlled biodome that vaporizes terrorists upon entry. Given that we can’t even get Star Wars right, and it took us nearly three months to plug a hole in the ground, I’m guessing a biodome is not in the cards.

Despite all that outlay of lucre, the economy still sucks, so it’s time for full-scale mobilization! And I mean mobilization, right down to the last able-bodied American. I want to see toddlers plugging rivets into tanks! Dogs hauling bags of bullets! That, my friends, is how to get things moving again. And it’s a hell of a lot more acceptable to the pundit class than, I don’t know, stimulus spending that helps people keep their jobs. Or letting the Bush tax cuts for six-figure earners expire as scheduled. Or helping the unemployed.  No, in the immortal words of The Exploited, LET’S START A WAR! But no nukes, please. That would kind of defeat the purpose.


If You Regularly Watch PBS NewsHour…

…you might see a Slowpoke strip in an upcoming segment about digital culture and the book Hamlet’s Blackberry. I don’t know exactly when the segment is scheduled to appear, and I’m too busy these days to watch much TV, so if you happen to spot it, please let me know. (Hopefully it will also be posted on their website, which I will monitor; I’m not 100% sure they’re using the comic, but it sounded probable.)


Slowpoke Does San Diego

I’ll be in attendance at the San Diego Comic-Con next week, hovering around the Andrews McMeel Universal booth. That’s number 1018, or so I’m told. Specifically, I’m scheduled to do a signing from 1-2pm on Friday, but you can probably find me at other times on the 23rd and 24th, and probably part of the 25th as well. If you’re going to the con, please stop by and say hello.


My Chat With Harvey Pekar

As you’ve likely heard by now, the great comics writer Harvey Pekar died on Monday. I didn’t know him personally, and am probably less qualified to share stories about him than those cartoonists who did, but I did get to hang out with him once. It was the summer of 2005, and I was in Cleveland for the Funny Times anniversary party. I’d arrived a little early, and found myself sitting in a small yard behind the Funny Times offices, waiting for other people to show up. I was chatting with the staffers, and maybe one or two other cartoonists, when all of a sudden Pekar appeared and sat down just a few feet away. It’s not every day Harvey Pekar pulls up a seat next to you; I hadn’t known he was coming, and was momentarily overwhelmed with surprise.

We got to talking about the American Splendor movie and his various projects, and I nerdily told him about my senior thesis that referenced a comic his wife Joyce Brabner had written. What I remember most clearly from our conversation was how disarmingly frank and down-to-earth he was about having to make a living again now that the flurry of attention from the movie had subsided. He put on no celebrity airs; he seemed preoccupied with the practical matters of life. Just like in his comics.

I had some audio equipment with me at the time, lent to me by a friend who asked me to interview cartoonists for a podcast. I remember being tempted to get Pekar on tape, but decided against it. It would have ruined the moment. I’m glad I didn’t.


This Week’s Cartoon: “All You Need Is Like”

A little while ago, I was startled to see my Facebook friends popping up on the Washington Post website. More recently, Facebook has added “like” buttons to individual comments, so you can not only like somebody’s post, but the replies to that post. Now, I’ve got nothing against positive reinforcement. I find it encouraging and helpful when people “like” one of my cartoons (which, incidentally, you can do RIGHT NOW on the Slowpoke Facebook page!). But it’s starting to feel like the internet is getting a bit too interactive. Every single infintesimal thing has to be voted upon, commented upon, socially bookmarked, and generally subjected to the fickle whims of the Zeitgeist. And usually, what comes out on top is kitties. Oh, the kitties! Makes me almost yearn for the days of one-way information beams boring directly into your skull.  Those were some good times.


This Week’s Cartoon: “Unemployment Solved!”

Would’ve posted this sooner, but in addition to being busy with moving, the internet at my current location went down yesterday and shows no sign of returning until the cable company comes tomorrow. (I’m typing this in a coffee shop.) I’m not sure what’s the biggest time-waster: when the internet is working, or when it isn’t. Suddenly everything I need to do has become ten times as complicated.

Sharron Angle is far from the only fruit loop when it comes to unemployment benefits. Most of the Republicans and Democrat Ben Nelson have been sucked into the cruelty cult. Paul Krugman’s Monday column was, coincidentally, a perfect companion piece to the strip. Is it really too much to ask that people running for office understand basic economics? Like, at the very least, that there are way fewer jobs right now than there are people looking? If you can’t grasp that, you should be in remedial math, not in the halls of Congress.


Service Announcement

Thought I’d mention that my online activities may be a little light for the next month or so. Mr. Slowpoke and I will hopefully be moving into our new Seattle digs soon, and I’ve got some freelance work piling up (can’t complain about that!). So I may not be posting much more than the weekly cartoon here until we get settled. In the meantime, I will probably continue to issue occasional bleats on Twitter, and you should, of course, join the Slowpoke Facebook page.


Jen Sorensen is a nationally-syndicated political cartoonist whose work has appeared in The Progressive, The Nation, Daily Kos, Austin Chronicle, NPR, Ms., Politico, and many other publications. The recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, she tweets at @JenSorensen.

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