The Sorensen Monologues

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Archive for 2011

This Week’s Cartoon: “Makin’ it With Mitt”

So Mitt Romney has taken to giving speeches chock full o’ sound bites for the Tea Party, invoking Cold War paranoia and demonizing people who, god forbid, need to use the social safety net during hard times. An excerpt (via Washington Monthly):

“[Obama] seeks to replace our merit-based society with an entitlement society. In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people to enjoy truly disproportionate rewards are the people who do the redistributing — the government.”

What’s remarkable about that quote, aside from the fact that it is ludicrously false, is that Romney and the rest of the Republicans seem hell-bent on destroying what little meritocracy is left in this country, and replacing it with aristocracy. Would Mitt be running for president today had his father not been CEO of American Motors and Governor of Michigan? What if George Romney had been a victim of corporate restructuring instead? Would Mitt still have joined Bain Capital, and would he still be passing on that cool $100 million to his sons? And the fact that son Tagg touts his interest in “private equity” in his Twitter profile… surely that’s just meritocracy in action, having absolutely nothing to do with the Romney legacy whatsoever.

I really enjoyed drawing Mr. Perkins as Mitt, by the way. I think he plays the part well!


Dallas Observer cover

Here’s a fun illustration I did for this week’s Dallas Observer:
cars vs. bikes illustration - Dallas Observer


This Week’s Cartoon: The Rise and Fall of a Gizmo

This week’s cartoon is a “classic” due to freelance projects, early deadlines, and the fact that I always take a week off this time of year because I’m a practicing slowpoke who believes very strongly in vacation. Not that I’m getting one. (Dallas readers: check out my cover of this week’s Observer, out tomorrow!) We’ll return to our regularly-scheduled broadcast of political barbs and jests next week.


This Week’s Cartoon: “Mr. and Mrs. Perkins Go Gift Shopping 2011″

This year’s installment was partly influenced by a recent trip I made to an upscale kitchenware store. Even though I’m not a 1% chef, I do enjoy ogling things like 15-pound cast-iron skillets and knives bearing vaguely-Teutonic insignias.

For those unfamiliar with the Carrier IQ controversy, a guy discovered an unremovable program on his smartphone that was sending his text messages and other data to a third party, the mysterious Carrier IQ. Al Franken has launched an inquiry; Carrier IQ claims the information was sent due to a bug. Of course, I’m following this story closely since I just got an Android phone so I can finally read those $@#! QR codes.


Slowpoke Tumblr

I set up a Tumblr page for those who want to keep up with me that way.


Splitting Goatee Hairs

A number of readers have tweeted, emailed, and commented to inform me that I am confusing the Van Dyke beard with the goatee in this week’s cartoon. I call this goatee strict constructionism — sort of the Clarence Thomas view of facial hair (setting aside the fact that Clarence Thomas is actually a judicial activist). I believe in a broader interpretation, a living goatee, if you will. Or, to quote from previous-post commenter Mike Peterson:

So it turns out that absolutely nobody is wearing goatees these days after all.

The only other possible explanation is that language isn’t frozen in amber but grows and changes with time, and we know that can’t be the case.

I would also point readers to this Cincinnati Enquirer article on the history of goatees, which places the Van Dyke firmly in the chronology of goatee evolution (or devolution, as the case may be).

I mean, when’s the last time someone famous (Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart, Brad Pitt) sprouted one of these and everyone called it a Van Dyke? No, we use the word “goatee.” Oh, and Olbermann shaved his sprouting goatee just a day after this cartoon appeared on Daily Kos. COINCIDENCE???


This Week’s Cartoon: The Rise and Fall of the Goatee

goatee cartoonBefore a torrent of angry, goatee-defending email is unleashed upon my inbox, let me say I am mostly a fan of our furry friend. I find a well-maintained goatee to be far more appealing than a scraggly hipster beard filled with artisanal doughnut particles. What I’m talking about here is how the chin beard has been bastardized, its centuries of coolness diluted by present-day dipwads.

I’d already been thinking of doing a cartoon on the shifting symbolism of goatees when I noticed Pepper Spray Cop had one. He’s clean-shaven in the head shot that’s been floating around the internet, but he does have one in footage of the UC Davis incident (via Queerty):

Pepper spray cop


Daily Kos Interview

Daily Kos blogger Bill in Portland, Maine asks me some interesting questions for his “Cheers and Jeers” column.


Pepper Spray Cop

pepper spray cop spraying JFK Jr.

Here’s my contribution to the Pepper Spray Cop meme. This is an illustration for the Dallas Observer — their concept, for a political column. Poor John John!


This Week’s Cartoon: “Laziness Craziness”

I swore I wasn’t going to do another Occupy Wall Street cartoon since I’ve done so many of them lately, but I couldn’t help myself. I find that there’s much to say about the Occupy movement and surrounding issues, while I don’t have many exciting insights yet about the Republican candidate-buffoons beyond pointing out that they are, in fact, buffoons. I’m sure they will inspire cartoons as the race heats up.

I feel this one violates my policy of trying to show rather than tell, but it makes a point about something that’s been driving me nuts. (See related cartoon from 2007, “The Mental Welfare State,” about people too lazy to pull their brains up by their bootstraps.)


This Week’s Cartoon: “The War on Vegetables”

As you’ve probably heard, Congress recently blocked new USDA rules intended to improve nutrition in school lunches. Among them was a requirement that pizza slices have more than a 1/4 cup of tomato paste in order to qualify as containing a vegetable. Big food heavies such as Coca-Cola, Del Monte, the American Frozen Food Institute, and the National Potato Council weighed in to preserve the school-lunch status quo.

What you may not have heard about is how large companies and industry groups have also managed to infiltrate conferences for nutrition professionals. The biggest one — the American Dietetic Association conference — is now sponsored by the likes of Coca-Cola, Pepsico, and Mars. I highly recommend this entertaining and appalling report on Food Safety News, which comes complete with photos of a giant can of Goldfish crackers dangling from the trade show ceiling and a Coca-Cola booth bearing the slogan “Promoting the Registered Dietician.” Panels included — I kid you not — one called “A Fresh Look at Processed Foods.”


This Week’s Cartoon: “Starve the Beast”

This cartoon, of course, references Grover Norquist’s famous line about wanting to reduce government to the size where he could drown it in a tub, like some unfortunate critter. One concept anti-government types aren’t too clear on is that waste is hardly unique to the public sector. I’m not saying government programs are necessarily more efficient than privately-run ones (although in the case of health care, public plans are massively more cost-effective). But money out of your pocket is money out of your pocket, whether it’s going to the guv’mint or a corporation.


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Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

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