The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for November, 2010

This Week’s Cartoon: “Snack Gentrification”

In Seattle there’s a bakery called Cupcake Royale, which I suppose planted the seed for this cartoon. It seems the Pacific Northwest is positively exploding with artisinal doughnuts, hamburgers, etc. Not that I’m complaining, really. The trend of gourmet “lowbrow” food just strikes me as an interesting cultural phenomenon. It’s similar to the hipster embrace of Pabst Blue Ribbon, except that unlike PBR, gourmet cupcakes don’t taste like skunk butt. At least, I assume they don’t; I’ve never actually tried a gourmet cupcake or a skunk butt.

I’m not sure how this happened, but the peepmaster in the fourth panel came out looking eerily like Trey Anastasio. Am I right or am I right?

This Week’s Cartoon: “Takin’ One For the Team”

Little-noticed last week amidst the hubbub surrounding airport security machines was the torpedoing of the Paycheck Fairness Act at the hands of Senate Republicans.  The fact that it took me some effort to find out the specifics of the bill shows you just how little it’s being talked about. To put it briefly, it actually gave teeth to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which, while noble in sentiment, was very difficult for women to put into practice. This site gives an excellent rundown of the situation (see point #2 in particular).

Before anyone comments or sends me email about how the pay gap is a myth because ladies make babies, I suggest reading the entirety of the two links provided above. Then you can make your dunderheaded remark that only reinforces my opinion that you’d make a sucky boss. (Actually, most SlowpokeBlog commenters seem pretty smart, so perhaps I’m jumping the gun.)

Also, enough with the corporate-supremacist twaddle that the Paycheck Fairness Act is “bad for business.” As if hordes of suing women are going to upend the economy. Sorry, I think banking deregulation beat us to it! If the GOP trots out its faux concern for small business one more time, I’m… I’m… I’m going to draw another cartoon, dammit.

Kwik Links

A couple interesting reads I’ve been meaning to share lately: The Oct. 25 issue of the New Yorker had a great article about one of my biggest pet peeves, leaf blowers.  (See related cartoon about blowers here; thanks to Matt for sharing his copy of the magazine with me, because he knows how much I hate them.) Only the abstract is freely available online, but if you have a digital subscription, you can find a link to the whole article here.

The gist of the story is how a well-to-do California town has become leaf blower hell, and how one couple’s efforts to do something about it has earned them the animosity of their libertarian neighbors. (Apparently the right to peace and quiet in your own home doesn’t count as a proper “freedom.”). After reading the article to Mr. Slowpoke, he immediately went outside and started raking leaves. With, you know, a good old-fashioned rake. These days, I’m very tempted to say “thank you” to people when I see them raking the neighborly way. Except they’d probably look at me like I was some kind of weirdo.

Also worth reading, apropos of Joe Miller’s defeat: this column on Alaska as welfare state.  Thanks to Adam D. for the link.

This Week’s Cartoon: “New Product Warning Labels”

In case you missed the story about the new cigarette warnings, you can read about it here. This would be one of the good things that Democrats have done that no one knows about (Bush was threatening to veto any law giving the FDA power to regulate tobacco products).

On the other hand, the Dems are on the verge of caving on extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy without putting up a fight. If ever there was a golden opportunity for Democrats to emerge from their morass of mixed messages and effing DEFINE THEMSELVES as defenders of the working class, this is it. Force the Republicans to publicly explain why they are holding middle-class tax cuts hostage in order to make executives even richer! Call them out on the absurdity of bemoaning the deficit at the same time they would contribute vastly to it! Ah, but that would be showing conviction, and we all know “the big tent” doesn’t allow for such things.

I highly recommend reading this little piece in the Washington Post on Bush tax cut myths. As a small-business owner making significantly less than $200,000 a year (like some 98% of small-business owners), I have to laugh every time I hear BS about the upper-crust cuts somehow helping us.

This Week’s Cartoon: Post-Election Punditspew 2010

You know, as upset as I am that the Democrats didn’t go on the offensive enough, I kind of feel sorry for them. Obama bends over backwards to be bipartisan, faces an unbudging wall of opposition that includes some members of his own party, and the Dems still get blamed for not reaching hard enough across the aisle. Meanwhile, Republicans can be as fiery and filibustery as they want to be. To illustrate this double-standard, I thought it would be a good occasion to bring back Mr. Perkins as the flaming conservative. You can see his previous appearances here, here, and here.

I was pleased to see a reader on the Slowpoke Facebook page noticed the spelling of “faeces.” I like to think the Latinized spelling adds to Mr. Perkins’ pomposity, and also classes up the joke a bit. In general, I try to keep scatological humor to a minimum, although I could not resist the idea of projectile-evacuating pigs here.

Hello, Alas Readers!

My friend Barry Deutsch has invited me to be a guest-blogger on his site, “Alas! A Blog.” Those of you reading this there may have already noticed some entries by me showing up already. I’ve known Barry through cartooning for a few years now, and recently moved to his hamlet of Portland, OR. I guess this is how Barry welcomes newcomers: by putting them to work for him! (Just kidding, Barry. I know you are a benevolent overlord.)

A bit about me, which regular SlowpokeBlog readers already know: I draw a weekly comic called “Slowpoke” which appears in the Village Voice and numerous other alternative newspapers around the country. You also may have seen my cartoons in Funny Times or Feminist-wise, I was profiled in the summer issue of Bitch Magazine, and I’ve done work for the Women’s Review of Books and Ms. Magazine.

Lately I’ve been lamenting the fact that people tend to get locked into narrow reading habits online, so I welcome the opportunity to share my work with new readers. And for you SlowpokeBlog regulars, be sure to check out Barry’s new graphic novel Hereville, just out from Abrams.

That Election Thing

I haven’t really been talking about the election much, partly because I’ve been busy with real-life stuff and partly because I don’t have much to say that I haven’t said already about the Tea party. It’s hard to argue policy with people who occupy a fictional universe. As for last night, yes, I’m disheartened. I find it especially ironic that Republicans are winning on economic issues when the biggest threat to the economy is a return to Republican policies. I truly fear for the future of this country.

I’ll add that any discussion of whether Obama should have moved more to the “left” or “right” is setting up a false binary. Obama should have pursued a clear and consistent moral argument. Instead, it seemed like his wires were always crossing; he was sending mixed messages, and he allowed Republicans to claim the traditional position of “the left” — that is to say, the underdog, the representatives of ordinary people. Which they most certainly are not. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, pea-headed pundit class.

[Update: Also, I’d say lockstep Republican obstructionism in Congress, which went largely uncriticized by the media, was highly successful at dampening the enthusiasm of Obama supporters. Let’s not forget that. I watched the Frontline episode “Obama’s Deal” on PBS last night, which really put the ugliness of legislating into perspective.]

This Week’s Cartoon: “Incredible Shrinking Groceries”

I noticed while buying orange juice that the Fred Meyer store brand had a big notice on the carton saying “STILL 64 OUNCES!” I was like, Whoa! Are half-gallons of OJ no longer half-gallons? Sure enough, other brands had gone down to 59 oz. Apparently last winter’s freeze damaged Florida orange crops, making juice more expensive. It will be interesting to see if OJ goes back to true half-gallons in the future, if we have a milder winter.

Yet it’s not just juice — I’ve seen all sorts of products shrink slightly over the past few years. This is a separate issue from super-sizing, which tends to occur with cheap, crappy non-food. Seems like a dollar buys you ever more junk food and ever less real nourishment. It’s a market force in the wrong direction, and I don’t see it going the other way anytime soon.

Farewell, Honorable Namesake

I was saddened yesterday when I learned that JFK’s right-hand man Ted Sorensen had died. We were not related — although I did have a pleasant email exchange with his grandson (or grandnephew?) once. I always thought maybe I’d get to meet Ted someday, and we could rap about our shared Sorensen-ness. Alas, it’s too late. But I did get a kick out of this quote in his NYT obituary:

Mr. Sorensen once said he suspected that the headline on his obituary would read “Theodore Sorenson, Kennedy Speechwriter,” misspelling his name and misjudging his work…

Apparently not even Ted could escape the dreaded “-son” misspelling. Speaking for myself, it has caused countless problems with appointments and reservations. I’m actually surprised when anyone gets it right. But I digress. Here’s to Theodore Sorensen, one of history’s better figures to have shared a name with. (Apologies to all you Nixons out there!)

Jen Sorensen is a cartoonist for Daily Kos, The Nation, In These Times, Politico and other publications throughout the US. She received the 2023 Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning from the National Press Foundation, and is a recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. She is also a Pulitzer Finalist.



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