The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for April, 2022

Highly Selective Health Nuts

It’s easy to laugh at this stuff, but I actually find it more disturbing and sinister than anything. The “alpha male” bro culture of the alt-right ties directly into authoritarian “strongman” rhetoric and the strategically-contrived moral panic about gender that is reflected in the anti-LGBTQ laws sweeping the nation. Put simply, it’s fascist, and many in news media don’t seem to fully connect the dots or grasp the symbolic power at work here.

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Accurate Political Labels

I suppose on the surface this could be read as a simple insult comic, but I’m trying to get at a deeper issue. Our entire political discourse has become plagued with right-wing terminology, much of it false, with the intention of demonizing entire classes of people and inciting moral panic. It is remarkable how how we have no similar language for “conservative elites,” or the overwhelmingly Republican plutocratic class that runs Fox and much of the country. 

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How to Fund Grad Student Workers

One of several unionization efforts in the US right now is the movement to organize graduate student workers at universities. These laborers, who teach college classes and perform research that lends prestige to their institutions, tend to be paid appallingly low wages. The poverty-level paychecks are all the more unethical when you consider how university endowments have ballooned with the stock market in recent years, with many worth billions. Meanwhile, housing prices in college towns have surged, leaving student workers in a terrible predicament. This recent Guardian article provides further details.

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The “Marketplace of Ideas”

The phrase “the marketplace of ideas” has a long history, but seems extra-ubiquitous lately. As Wikipedia puts it, “The marketplace of ideas is a rationale for freedom of expression based on an analogy to the economic concept of a free market.” But markets are about power, money, and advertising. Certain voices are seen and heard more than others. The most “popular” product is not necessarily the best, and is often arrived at through manipulating desires and needs. The entire approach runs counter to the scientific method. You don’t get to choose facts like a brand of deodorant.

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Jen Sorensen is a cartoonist seen on Daily Kos, The Nib, and in magazines and
newspapers throughout the US. 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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