The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for December, 2012

2012 Wrap-Up: Stuff I Did This Year

Hard to believe it’s time to change the copyright date on my cartoons again, but alas, here we are. I’m both humbled and happy to report that 2012 was my best year yet as a Cartooning Professional. Thanks to all those publications that made it possible by using my comics and freelance illustrations, and thanks to readers who lent their support through print orders, donations, and thoughtful comments here and elsewhere.

Some highlights of 2012:

In March, I found out I was this year’s Herblock Prize Finalist. With my prize money, I purchased an emerald-encrusted mechanical pencil with a burled walnut barrel and deluxe boar leather handgrip. OK, maybe I didn’t.

In May, I flew to Vegas for the National Cartoonists Society annual gathering. There, I mingled with a number of the nation’s comic strip artists amidst the constant presence of cocktails. I felt briefly fancy, then returned home with a suitcase full of dirty laundry and no longer felt fancy.

Road trip Arizona

Road trippin'

Shortly afterward, Mr. Slowpoke and I began an epic road trip from the Northwest to Austin, TX. During the drive, while we were somewhere in the middle of Utah,  Kaiser Health News posted my comic about freelancers and health insurance (“An Open Letter to the Supreme Court About Health Insurance“), which blew up and became one of KHN’s most-read stories ever. (Clearly the SCOTUS decision upholding the Affordable Care Act was all thanks to me. You’re welcome.)

In June, I attended Netroots Nation in Providence, RI, where I was on a panel with fellow Daily Kos cartoonists Tom Tomorrow and Matt Bors. As an added bonus, Paul Krugman showed up in the audience while I was at the podium. Fortunately, I realized this after I sat down.

Jen at Big Nazo

Making new friends at Big Nazo in Providence, RI

Also in June, I found out that I won the 2012 Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards for Best Cartoon. Huzzah!

In September, I covered the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte for the Austin Chronicle and C-VILLE Weekly. I can now say I saw the Foo Fighters live.

Me with the entire Obama family

A few days later, I was off to Washington, DC for the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention, where I gave a few presentations. I participated in the cartoon version of a “Literary Death Match,” in which I was narrowly defeated in the final round by Keith Knight, who drew better blindfolded than I did (I’m sure he cheated).

Clay Bennett, Tom Tomorrow, Jen Sorensen at AAEC

With Clay Bennett and Tom Tomorrow at AAEC. Photo by Bruce Guthrie

My travel season finally over, the fall brought an abundant harvest of freelance work, most notably a series of WPA-style posters for the National Women’s Law Center. This gave me a chance to admire the incredible handiwork that went into the old WWII posters, and to spend way too much time thinking about fonts.

Around this time, the Center for Cartoon Studies unveiled a tribute poster to Matt Groening’s “Life in Hell.” I was flattered to ask to participate. My contribution was published on Slate.

The year was rounded out with a pleasant interview with Tom Racine of “Tall Tale Radio.”

Whew, I’m exhausted just thinking about all that stuff. Here’s hoping 2013 is similarly righteous. I’ll be unleashing a completely revamped website in the new year, so stay tuned for that. Cheers!


If we policed the U.S. the way we do Afghanistan

A blessed rerun this week so that your humble hostess may recharge her batteries. Unfortunately, this one is just as relevant than ever.

A couple commenters on Daily Kos have argued that I am comparing apples and oranges by placing military action in a police scenario. To which I replied:

I am aware that the rules of war are different from the rules of domestic policing. The point of this cartoon is to provide a thought exercise about how we might feel living under the constant existential threat of death from above.

Employing drone strikes (or airstrikes of any kind) to take out a few suspected militants — especially in populated areas — is using excessive force. It’s both cruel and dehumanizing to the Afghan people, and counterproductive strategically.


Respect for the Deadly

As soon as word broke of the shootings in Connecticut, the familiar cries not to “politicize” the tragedy ensued. I find this plea curious on a number of levels. First of all, the people urging others not to “politicize” gun violence seem to come from a particular political perspective with remarkable consistency. You might even say their request is a political statement itself. It’s almost like they think gun control advocacy comes from some random whim wholly detached from incidents such as this. But the ready availability of AR-15s does not happen in a vacuum.

More details on the NRA-ALEC connection.


Fiscal Cliff Funnies

I’ve said it before, but you can’t cut workers’ wages and benefits — and generally destabilize their lives six ways from Sunday — at the same time that you slash the social safety net. That’s simply uncouth.


Podcast interview

Here’s a nice interview I did with Tom Racine of the Tall Tale Radio podcast.


Pop Culture Periscope: New Food Shows

For my birthday a couple months ago, I went to a farm-to-table restaurant that served a dish called “Pulled pig face.” More recently, I found myself reading an article touting the sustainable virtues of hunting, and the hunter’s philosophy of respecting the animal. I support the humane treatment of farm animals and am as much of a fan of The Omnivore’s Dilemma as anyone, but there is some comedic disconnect in how we talk about caring for the animals we find so delicious — i.e., if you really, really respect your dog, you probably won’t eat its face. Just saying.


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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