The Sorensen Monologues

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Archive for 2021

Wide Cars

As I have noted before, these are not the pickup trucks of my childhood growing up in rural Pennsylvania. These are ostentatious $70,000 monstrosities that exist to intimidate others and perform some extremist vision of masculinity. I think some people are afraid to criticize them because they view them as work trucks or objects of authentic Americana, and while some percentage may be used for actual labor, these luxury behemoths are faux-working class vehicles often driven for pleasure by affluent people. (It seems safe to assume they’re also luring less-affluent people into debt they can’t afford.)

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Mandatory COVID Measures vs. Forced Birth

You would think that the Supreme Court seeming pretty much okay with state laws forcing girls to bear their rapists’ spawn would create a tidal wave of revulsion. But that would involve “norms,” which are apparently in short supply.

The data cited about maternal deaths among Black women comes from the CDC website. As many of you probably know already, the US has the highest rate of maternal death among developed nations. The $233,610 cost of raising a child is from a widely-cited USDA study announced in 2015. That figure does not account for inflation.

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The “Fancy” Farce

There’s a massive double standard when it comes to how we talk about spending by different groups of people. Republican men can live as opulently as they like and get a pass. Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Trump, Steve Bannon, Rush Limbaugh — all of them are (or were) fabulously wealthy and support policies that hurt working people. There’s also a cult of dandyism and fancy tailored suits on the alt-right. Yet who gets called out again and again? 

When the right pulls these hypocritical stunts over and over and over again, we should recognize them as textbook smears that have nothing to do with actual economic policy positions.

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Tips for Future Protests

It goes without saying that in a country awash in mass shootings, a teenage boy waving an assault weapon around in a crowd, or firing any shots, is going to scare people. Someone is going to risk their life to stop him and protect others, not unlike the passengers of Flight 93 who were lauded for charging at the 9/11 hijackers. Now we have a recipe for intimidation and chaos. And nothing on the horizon to address it, as far as I can tell.

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Ghost Channels

All shows and subjects mentioned in the first three panels of the comic are taken from actual programming on these channels. Most readers will view this strip as non-political, but I think the increasingly unscientific and dumbed-down programming we’re seeing on cable ties directly into politics. It represents a total breakdown of Enlightenment empiricism. If all of this supernatural stuff is happening while scientists say it isn’t real, why trust them about anything? Obviously THEY are hiding something they don’t want you to know! Why believe what THEY say about COVID or climate change? Or who won the 2020 election, for that matter?

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Are Democrats Too…?

Instead of asking what Dems did wrong in Virginia (aside from running an extremely uninspiring candidate), maybe we should be asking why so many people voted for a Trump-allied extremist who’s slippery when asked about Biden’s 2020 election victory. How does that happen? Are a handful of obnoxious activists on Twitter really to blame, or is it more likely that Americans have been sold an alternate reality by Fox and Facebook?

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Blowing the Future

Longtime readers know that I despise leafblowers, and have drawn several strips about them over the years. I had been debating whether it was time to do another comic on the subject when a reader shared an essay in the NYT by Margaret Renkl entitled “The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Leaf Blowers.” I already knew about some of the quoted statistics, such as the Edmunds study that found a Ford F-150 Raptor pickup created the same amount of emissions driving from Texas to Alaska as a half hour of yard work with a crude two-stroke blower. I hadn’t heard that gas-powered lawn equipment now creates more ozone pollution in California than the state’s tens of millions of cars.

This is also very much an environmental justice issue; blowers emit carcinogenic benzene and lung-damaging particulate matter, as well as cause hearing loss in workers exposed to them all day long. Powerful electric alternatives now exist.

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Why do we call corruption centrism?

Often neglected in the more fawning narratives is the fact Sinema is raking in campaign donations from corporate lobbyists and that Manchin has made a fortune from coal and continues to profit handsomely from the fossil fuel industry. The fact that they appear to be serving their benefactors rather than taking principled stands in the public interest does not seem to factor into analysis that puts them in the “brave centrist” box.

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PFAS are Forever

If you haven’t been following this particular environmental crisis, the Environmental Working Group is a good place to start. In good news, the Biden administration announced that the EPA will start cracking down on PFAs soon. While I was researching this cartoon, I found that they’ve also been recently phased out of most carpeting, though the old carpets are everywhere and should be replaced.

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The Way Forward

I’ve been trying to envision a way out of the current political situation, in which Manchin and Sinema seem hell-bent on undermining the rest of the Democratic party (which to its credit, has achieved 96% agreement, uniting progressives with more traditional factions). The truth is, I am having trouble imagining a future in which the voting rights crisis gets resolved and the Big Lie contained enough that America can move forward and have normal elections run by responsible officials — not that there weren’t already voting injustices to begin with.

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The Goatmaster General

This brief video provides a good overview of the destruction DeJoy has wrought and why he needs to go. 

Also: YOU are invited to attend a special series of free online panels at the AAEC Zoomfest on Saturday Oct. 9. We’ve got some fantastic guests! Keith Knight will talk about the second season of his show “Woke” on Hulu. I’ll be interviewing Ruben Bolling, Lalo Alcaraz and Marty Two Bulls will discuss this year’s controversial Pulitzer results. And much more! Check out the details here: https://editorialcartoonists.com/aaec-zoomfest21/

 


Pandemic Weaklings

While both men and women have been irresponsible during the pandemic, gendered interpretations of mask-wearing and vaccines (and the bad barnyard alternatives) continue to plague us. My aim here is not to ridicule people who are getting sick, but to strip away some of the “tough guy” rhetoric.


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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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