The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for August, 2019

Plastic Straw Man

I realize that straws are merely the tip of the plastic-berg, and that banning them is a small gesture in the grand scheme of things. However, if you’ve been reading The Guardian’s series on the United States of Plastic, you probably aren’t going to be a straw-hugger. (Straw huggers! I wish I’d worked that into the strip.) I am also aware of the fact that some people with disabilities need straws to drink, and I fully support efforts to consider their needs as we take steps to reduce single-use plastics.

Straws are just the latest example of the right seizing on a grave environmental issue to demonize “the liberals” through wild hyperbole. When scientists point out that industrial cattle farming is contributing to climate change, that becomes “the libs want to take away your hamburgers.” In fact, governments, businesses, and individuals are trying to follow the recommendations of science that we drastically reduce plastic and meat use — and relabeling this attempt at responsibility as “liberal” just creates a conspiracy theory out of the only possible ways to respond to these crises. Saying that anyone “wants” to take away your straws is a false, alternate explanation of what is going on. I wish we could go on using straws without consequence!

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America Responds to Mass Shootings

I half-wrote this one last week, but thought I’d wait to make sure nobody in a position of power responded in a meaningful way to the recent shootings. Yes, a few Republicans have mumbled things about red flag laws, much to the consternation of other Republicans. But I think we can safely assume nothing much will change.

To be fair, some advertisers have apparently disappeared from Tucker Carlson’s show in the wake of his outrageous claim that white supremacy is a “hoax” perpetrated by Democrats, though as of this August 8 report from Daily Beast, neither Fox nor its sponsors were commenting on Carlson’s statements. Look, this isn’t complicated. No responsible company should be supporting the vile hate-for-profit racket that is Fox. The entire network should be radioactive, not just Tucker Carlson. The same goes for Breitbart and other white nationalist media outlets. Somehow these scandalous remarks — that once upon a time may have been career-ending — just fade into the ether, and then it’s back to business as usual. Nothing is going to change until hate media is thoroughly delegitimized.
 

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Shooter Stupidity

After years and years of drawing cartoons about mass shootings, I’m finding it increasingly challenging to say anything new. How many times can you say that our gun laws are insane and the Republicans are awash in NRA blood money? Or that Trump’s racist rhetoric is inciting violence? What I tried to do here was put this rhetoric in the mouth of a mass shooter to show the self-evident absurdity of his worldview but also the overlap between the right’s now-mainstream white supremacist discourse and violent neo-Nazi ideology. It’s not even a stretch, as the El Paso shooter referred to a “Hispanic invasion” and wanting to “send them back.” And it’s not just Trump. Media Matters has a roundup of the fear-mongering language increasingly used by right-wing fundraising efforts and media personalities.

I also wanted to demonstrate the ridiculousness of the argument that these ideas are somehow not racist, as many Republicans seem to think. They’ve completely redefined the meaning of racism.

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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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