The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for September, 2023

Man of the People

The commentator David Brooks — who has made a career out of piously trolling liberals for their supposed decadence and lack of morals — posted a photo on Twitter with the caption “This meal just cost me $78 at Newark Airport. This is why Americans think the economy is terrible.” Pictured in the photo were a hamburger and French fries with what appeared to be a fairly large glass of whiskey. Social media users quickly identified the restaurant in question, and the owner chimed in to confirm that the food portion of Brooks’ meal cost around $18, with rest of the tab being liquor. The proprietor also noted that a double-shot of whiskey cost $22, suggesting that Mr. Brooks may have been getting plastered on multiple drinks.

Now, I happen to believe that the economy still feels tough for many people because the cost of living is still high relative their incomes, even if inflation is trending down. But what Brooks did here appears to be intellectually dishonest, a lapse of journalistic ethics in the service of a political cheap shot.

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The Real Conspiracy

It’s considered uncool in professional media circles to speak about news events in terms of conspiracies, but the Big Lie surrounding the 2020 election, the January 6 insurrection, the widespread idea that the Trump indictments are grounded in some kind of lawless “weaponization” of the Justice Department, and the plotting of powerful right-wing groups to give authoritarian powers to the next Republican president and destroy climate policy constitute nothing less than a conspiracy to end democracy and destroy the planet for profit. So if people want to be suspicious about something, there’s plenty of material already. 

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Cheeseburger in Paradise

Trump surrogates such as Steve Bannon have been talking about destroying the “administrative state” for years now, as though federal government employees are all in on some grand conspiracy. Now this ridiculous idea has been explicitly codified in a Heritage Foundation plan for the next Republican President, ominously called “Project 2025.” This document, brought to you by a highly influential, oft-cited think tank, is nothing short of a blueprint for authoritarian rule. But don’t take my word for it. Consider the AP headline: “Conservative groups draw up plan to dismantle the US government and replace it with Trump’s vision.”

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Brand New World

Corporations sponsoring sporting events is obviously nothing new, yet the U.S. Open seems to take commercialism to the next level. In addition to the ubiquitous logos of upscale products and financial services splashed on every available surface, there are odd little promotions such as the instant replay (technically a “line call” to determine whether a ball was in-bounds) being rebranded the “Chase Close Call” as described in the comic. At the end of a match, the winner whacks balls into the crowd as part of the “Emirates Ball Flight.” There was also something involving Grey Goose Vodka that I can’t quite recall, aside from the fact that I found myself craving a greyhound cocktail afterwards.

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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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