The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for January, 2014

Alison Bechdel interview

Last year, The Progressive magazine asked me to interview one of my favorite cartoonists, Alison Bechdel. The interview is finally available online. We had a great chat about her latest book (Are You My Mother?) and the cartooning life, so check it out!


Progressive Kristallnacht

Some people make it easy. Tom Perkins’ letter in the Wall Street Journal comparing those who criticize America’s vast wealth gap to Nazis was over the top, but emblematic of a broader sentiment among certain plutocratic types. See this David Sirota article on Pando for other examples.

As I’ve said before, it’s not that I “hate the rich” — it’s the system that’s slouching toward aristocracy that bugs me.

For a little more background on Mr. Perkins (the person, not my cartoon character of the same name), this Wall Street Journal post sheds some light. The Maltese Falcon has since been sold.


Ignoring the Warnings


Recommended viewing on the so-called moochers

Those who blame poverty on poor people not trying hard enough (and even those who don’t) should watch the Frontline documentary “Poor Kids” about the kids in a few struggling families in the Midwest. I finally got around to watching it myself last night, something I’ve been meaning to do since it was named the winner of a 2013 RFK Journalism Award for Domestic TV. Warning: will make you realize everything is worse than you thought.


Nation of Moochers

Here’s the NYT editorial I quoted in the first panel.

This cartoon was partly inspired by this amazing Fox News graphic that was ridiculed on the Daily Show the other night:

entitlement-nation

The above confirms my belief that we need to call the social safety net something other than “entitlements.” The word, while technically correct, has been hopelessly conflated with “sense of entitlement” by those with a pro-1% agenda.


Hangin’ with the Fed

yellenRFKs

I was happy to learn this week that Janet Yellen has been confirmed as the first female Fed Chair in U.S. history. One of the highlights of last year for me was getting to meet Yellen in person. I was at the RFK Journalism Awards in Washington DC last September, and I noted to a friend sitting next to me that the Book Award winner, Joseph Stiglitz, had recently penned an excellent op-ed in support of Yellen. No sooner had the words escaped my mouth than I turned around to discover Yellen herself sitting in the row behind me. After doing a double-take, I introduced myself, explaining that I had drawn an editorial cartoon supporting her nomination. As it turned out, she had seen it. Both she and her husband, Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof, were very gracious.

I appear tallish in this photo, but in fact I’m only a bit over 5’5″.


Newish Gigs

Some exciting new developments: As of a couple months ago, The Nation began publishing comics regularly in the print edition, as well as online, and I’m honored to be in the rotation. Here’s a recent strip of mine in Comix Nation.

I’m also happy to be part of Medium.com’s stellar new cartoon lineup, which you can check out here. My strip will appear on The Nib on Thursdays.


Cartoon flashback: World’s Scientists Flummoxed by Snowstorm

Cartoon about Global Warming and cold weather

Ah, it’s that time of year: Snowstorms and cold weather inspire a flurry of bad editorial cartoons questioning the science of global warming since, you know, it’s really cold out. To honor the occasion, I’m sharing a strip I drew a few years ago as a reaction to those terrible cartoons.

A few readers failed to detect the snark in this one, and wrote me very angry emails attempting to explain how climate change worked. So please be sure to wear your sarcasm hat.


Know Your Potheads

In his much-discussed column last week, David Brooks admitted to getting stoned in high school, but dismissed legalization, calling for a government that “subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature” and discourages people from getting stoned. I’m all for government that extols the virtues of the arts and nature, but decriminalizing pot is hardly tantamount to encouraging people to smoke it.

Blacks are four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana, even though usage falls evenly across different racial demographics. As travel-guide author and TV personality Rick Steves points out in his statement on the NORML site:

“Last year over 750,000 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges. Many of them were sentenced to mandatory prison time. Our courts and prisons are clogged with non-violent people whose only offense is smoking, buying or selling marijuana. While our nation is in a serious financial crisis, it spends literally billions of dollar annually chasing down responsible adults who are good, tax-paying citizens in all regards except for the occasional use of marijuana.”


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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