The Sorensen Monologues

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It’s Okay if You’re a Republican!

Back in the early aughts, the term “IOKIYAR” — It’s OK If You’re A Republican — was thrown around a bit in progressive quarters online, but I rarely see it anymore. IOKIYAR referred to the double standard by which Democrats and Republicans are judged in the media and the court of public opinion. In short, Republicans can simply get away with stuff that Dems can’t. Consider it a “boys will be boys” approach to politics (the dynamic is, in fact, heavily gendered). Repubs gonna Repub. What are you gonna do? God forbid Hillary Clinton risk national security with a private email server. But Mitch McConnell blocking cybersecurity bills to prevent election hacking in 2020? Whatevs.

For more on the election security issue, this Vox article provides a summary. If you missed E. Jean Carroll’s sexual assault allegation against Trump (corroborated by two other journalists), that’s here. And the video clip of Oregon State Senator Brian Boquist threatening police is here. I didn’t have enough space to mention right-wing militias shutting down the Oregon Capitol with violent threats, but that happened too. IOKIYAROWWG! (It’s OK if You’re a Republican — or a Wingnut With Guns!)

Help sustain these comics — join the Sorensen Subscription Service!


A Quick Housekeeping Note

I’m in the process of updating the site, so if you see some broken bits here and there, that’s why. Of course, when you become a subscriber, the cartoon and commentary are luxuriously delivered to your very own inbox, thus allowing you to avoid the website altogether! 


What is “the Center,” Anyway?

Plutocratic putz Howard Schultz is often referred to as a “centrist” who is outraged at the “leftward” shift of the Democratic party, with special animus towards those Democrats calling for higher taxes on the super-wealthy. I am troubled by the rightward shift of our conception of the political “center” — the product of the right growing ever more extreme while the Dems have, over the years, tended to compromise in the name of bipartisanship. Defining the center as the halfway point between two parties without regard to policy specifics is both meaningless and insane. Even calling Schultz “socially liberal and economically conservative” makes no sense. The two are interrelated, with the latter undermining the former. 

I suspect many of my fellow lefties will recoil at the thought of being “centrist” in any way. But we need to buck the both-sidesism that creates false equivalence between progressive Democrats and the lunatics of the Trump administration.


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.


And now a word about “republics” vs. “democracies”

I’ve received many comments over the past week about my last cartoon, snootily lecturing me that “We live in a republic, not a democracy.” I’m posting my response here so I can point people to it in the future.

1. A constitutional republic is a form of democracy. To quote from this:

The United States is not a direct democracy, in the sense of a country in which laws (and other government decisions) are made predominantly by majority vote. Some lawmaking is done this way, on the state and local levels, but it’s only a tiny fraction of all lawmaking. But we are a representative democracy, which is a form of democracy.

2. It’s not big or small government that I care about; it’s smart or stupid. In other words, it’s about policy, not “the government.” Once you start doing away with government, or the idea that government regulation is necessary, you grant more power to corporations and Wall Street. Government exists as a check on abuses of power by moneyed interests. While government can be corrupt to varying degrees, the fashionably cynical belief that all government is inherently corrupt is an idea that enables corruption.

The primary way to end government corruption is through campaign finance reform and publicly-funded elections. Anti-government libertarians have not supported candidates or policies that would lead to this outcome. Gorsuch will uphold Citizens United, ensuring future corruption of politicians by moneyed interests, furthering the right-wing ideology that government is inherently corrupt. And so the cycle continues.


Reader mail on right-wing “political correctness”

I appreciated this note from reader Alex, in response to my recent comic on the concept of political correctness:

I’ve been reading your comic for years and I loved your latest one on right wing political correctness—something that seems to get completely ignored!

I’ve made a list of right wing political correctness in the States I thought you’d enjoy:

You cannot critique:
Military
Police officers (particularly policeMEN), firefighters (particularly fireMEN)
America
Americanism
Patriotism/Nationalism/Fourth of July
Christians
Christian Holidays (and you must say Merry Christmas/Happy Easter)
White victims of crime/trauma
Football
Eating meat
Guns

You cannot use:
[The terms] heteronormative, internalized misogyny, implicit bias/racism, white privilege, racist (must say racial bias), sexist
Data, science, statistics that contradicts “feelings” (of white people that is)
Words to describe terrorists other than Islamic extremist .

You cannot talk about:
Drug addicts as victims rather than criminals
Reasons why someone might get an abortion
Birth control
Criminals as people
Terrorists as people
Cycles of poverty
Terrorism committed by white people
Excitement about “first woman” or “first X”


A comic essay on medical marijuana

Go check out this piece I edited for Fusion, a comic essay by Adam Bessie and Marc Parenteau that makes a compelling case for letting people use medical marijuana to ease their suffering.
HunterSThompsonPANEL


Odds and ends

A couple things I’ve been up to lately: I edited this illustrated essay by Juana Medina about her Kafkaesque experience immigrating to the U.S. Moving here legally and permanently from another country isn’t as easy as some people think.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing comedy writer Nell Scovell (credits: The Simpsons, The Muppets, Spy Magazine, among many others) for the Austin Chronicle’s SXSW coverage. We had a nice chat about bullshit and women in comedy.


Posting schedule

For the time being, I’m going to try to maintain a more regular schedule of posting my comic here on Monday night/Tuesday morning. My travels and editing work for Fusion have made posting a little unpredictable over the last several months, so to simplify things, let’s say Tuesday morning is the new time.


Comic on marijuana legalization

Over on Graphic Culture, I’ve been working with ace comics journalist Andy Warner on this excellent piece about a grower in California trapped in legal limbo. It’s a fascinating look at entrepreneurship while walking a very fine line until full legalization (probably) happens.

GrowerDan550


Afterword on responses to college rape comic

My recent graphic journalism piece for Fusion about my friend’s sexual assault got a large response. Here’s a post I wrote on the feedback I received.


Announcing my new gig: Graphic Culture

TwitterLogoSome of you have noticed a lack of activity here on the blog, and later posting of cartoons than usual. This is because I have started working as Comics Editor for Fusion, a new media company from ABC and Univision. If you aren’t familiar with Fusion, it’s both a cable channel and digital news outlet aimed at diverse young adults. (It’s OK if you’re not a young adult — you can still enjoy it.)

Last fall, we launched Graphic Culture, a collection of cartoons, comics, and longer-form graphic journalism pieces, as well as occasional animation and articles about cartoonists. The site is still in “Beta” — a whole new site, and Graphic Culture front page, is coming soon. But I invite you to check it out now. We’ve published lots of great stuff already, including this roundup Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

If you’d like to help out, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I’m very glad to be able to create new opportunities for cartoonists and bring new comics projects into the world.

So now you know why I haven’t been blogging much. I have a good excuse!


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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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