The Simpsons Beat Me!

In the comments to last week’s cartoon blog post, reader Nick furnished this screenshot from e Simpsons episode, which bears an eerie resemblance to the first panel to last week’s strip.

Simpsons screenshot

Fracking Mt. Rushmore

Pretty eerie, huh? I have no memory of that Simpsons gag, even though I probably saw that episode at some point. But to give credit where credit is due, I thought I’d post them both here. The placement of the well is especially mind-blowing, but I would add that that’s where it goes, composition-wise.


  • Roger Bloyce

    By now I guess it’s no secret that I’m a Jen Sorensen fan, but still, the notion that the Mt. Rushmore fracking illustration is subconsciously derivative is a bit absurd, no? Can anyone think of a better image to suggest the damage hydraulic fracturing does? Is it really that hard to imagine that two satirists could have come up with it independently? And where else could you put the oil rig without throwing the panel out of whack? Or are we to assume Jen saw the Simpsons episode and said to herself, “Great idea! I’ll just steal it and nobody will ever notice.”?
    (I placed this comment under the previous posting by mistake)

  • Tom

    I know it seems unlikely – I took the late cartoonist Doug Marlette to task one time for drawing a cartoon that lampooned Bush & Cheney that was *identical* (right down to the caption) to a 1969 cartoon by Don Wright of the then-Miami News lampooning Nixon and Melvin Laird (Mr. Marlette was NOT amused when I pointed that out, and huffily denied it in no uncertain terms).

    On the other hand, the Maine writer John Gould once said that coincidence is the strangest form of truth. Maybe independent cartoonists, looking for a “monumental” way to depict drilling and mining, would use the same focus point.

    The Doug Marlette episode just showed me that members of the news media (as I knew already) have thin skins. But, he’s gone now (traffic accident). Schaade.

    Come to think of it, Milton Caniff, the creator of “Terry and the Pirates,” got caught in two coincidences. The first was in World War II when he did a series of strips showing our intrepid lands launching an airborned operation into northern Burma, just as the allide armies were, in fact, getting ready to do so. The military censors were not amused. The second came in the early 70s when he decided to do a strip about a rich daughter who gets kidnapped by radicals and welcomes the adventure. He started drawing that just as Patti Hearst was kidnapped.

    Coincidence or causality? Interesting question!

  • Jen Sorensen

    Thought I’d add that the reader who sent the image wasn’t accusing me of ripping off the Simpsons or anything. I appreciate your spirited defense, Roger, and I agree that the gag is not all that hard to arrive at if you’re trying to write one about reckless mining.

  • Bill

    Speaking of originality in political cartooning, I have this great idea for a Steve Jobs obit cartoon you could do. It’s got the Apple logo, okay? And then there’s a bite out of it, but the bite is really a sillouette of Jobs’ face! See? It shows how Jobs has been reincarnated as a worm.

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.