The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for April, 2018

Introducing the Sorensen Subscription Service

At long last, I’m launching the Sorensen Subscription Service. Many readers have inquired about this over the years, with some going so far as to set up their own “service” through recurring donations (thanks!). While I’m still fortunate to have paying clients who make the strip possible each week, it seems clear that reader subscriptions will be a necessary part of my business model going forward. Especially if the GOP destroys the Affordable Care Act and my health insurance premiums approach the cost of porn star hush money.

Those who join the S.S.S. (which may eventually take on a more novel name — The Eagle’s Clutch, anyone?) will, at an absolute minimum, receive the cartoon via email each week as soon as it is ready for consumption. I have big plans to include bonus material, such as behind-the-scenes glimpses of the creative process and photos of what I’m up to. You’ll also stay in the loop regarding public appearances, side projects, and forthcoming books.

So sign up today! It’s cheap and easy and will give you a warm, gentle glow of satisfaction.


Dog Whistles of Our Times: “Identity Politics”

This paragraph from Linda Burnham in the Guardian last year spells out the problem nicely:

It’s never a good idea to enter willingly into a frame your opponent has constructed to entrap you. The term “identity politics” is part of a whole vocabulary including “thought police,” “politically correct,” and “liberal elites”, whose main intention is to undermine the legitimacy of liberal and left politics. Uncritically adopting the “identity politics” language of the right is the equivalent of dropping our guard and waltzing on to their terrain. Master’s tools, master’s house, anyone? We need to recognise a toxic frame when we see one and refuse to be a party to its proliferation.

Once upon a time, “identity politics” was a phrase heard occasionally in the halls of academia (at least, for those of us who were social science majors), typically in discussion of nationalist movements or other phenomena outside of day-to-day US political debate. Now, thanks largely to right-wing media, it has become a noxious catchphrase that lumps together all social justice movements — the fight for civil rights, equality for women, same-sex marriage, immigrant rights, to name just a few — into a belittling abstraction that makes these great historical movements sound frivolous. The phrase has become so normalized, many progressives use it uncritically. We need to wake up and recognize it for what it has become: a sanitized shorthand for “those people” — a dog whistle. You want to talk about these issues? Be specific. Spell out what you mean. Are you referring to Black Lives Matter? Don’t hide behind a sterile, human being-erasing euphemism.


In Trump They Trust

It seems no amount of shady business partners, porn star payoffs, mafia-esque fixers, blatant nepotism, fraud lawsuits, looney tunes campaign advisers, secret contacts with Russians, or income tax secrecy will ever convince some of Trump’s devout followers that he’s a con man. Indeed, some of them would probably cheer Oregon being sold off to the House of Saud; I really just felt like drawing some Portland hipsters.


Fueling Our Demise

When it comes to fuel efficiency and climate change, automakers have been brazenly talking out of both sides of their mouths. To quote from the NY Times:

At auto shows and on dealership floors, automakers are quick to talk about the latest green technology — electric vehicles, hybrids, even hydrogen cars.

But in Washington, the industry is sending a different message. Last month, one of the largest lobbying groups argued in a regulatory filing that the basic science behind climate change is not to be trusted.

In the same filing, the lobbying group, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, also cast doubt on the negative effects of tailpipe pollution on human health.

As the article goes on to explain, they’re actually using the same doubt-sowing tactics that were infamously used by the cigarette industry. A 2013 MIT study found 200,000 premature deaths in the US every year due to air pollution, with “emissions from road transportation” being the most significant contributor. If anything, I lowballed the estimate in the third panel of this cartoon.

EPA chief and beady-eyed corruption sponge Scott Pruitt rightly gets much of the blame for cutting Obama’s CAFE standards, but let’s not forget that the automakers began lobbying for this immediately after Trump took office. As much as they might not want to be publicly linked to Pruitt, they are more than complicit. (And yes, we’ll see what happens with California’s challenge to all of this.)

Other recommended reading: this Greenbiz column on the automakers’ hypocrisy, and one of my perennial faves, Mr. Money Mustache on the folly of gargantuan luxury pickups.


Cartoon: Parkland Potshots

Over the past couple weeks, the right has been grasping at ever more ridiculous krazy straws in its efforts to smear the Parkland school shooting survivors calling for modest gun control reform. Rick Santorum laughably suggested that the students stop looking to others to solve their problem and do something useful like take CPR classes. Laura Ingraham gratuitously mocked student David Hogg for “whining” about not getting into the colleges he applied to. Frank Stallone tweeted that Hogg was, among other things, a “rich little bitch” deserving a “sucker punch” and a “bitch slap.” He also called him “Hogg (breath)” (yes, he went there). Ted Nugent called them “mushy-brained children” who have no soul, which is actually a mild-mannered statement as far as Nuge-speak goes. A recent widely-shared RedState article begged the students’ parents to step in and put a stop to their “bloated sense of entitlement.” The list goes on, but all these bile spewers have accomplished is demonstrating how ludicrous and extreme the right has become.


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.

Archives