The Sorensen Monologues

Back to normal

I’m not suggesting that the climate crisis would end if billionaires abandoned private space flight. I am saying that they are the grotesque embodiment of a sociopathic gilded age, narcissistic pig-men who have a moral obligation to end the system that enabled their stupid fortunes in the first place, as Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife MacKenzie Scott is admirably trying to do. 

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Alito Inconvenienced

Arizona has a terrible history of suppressing Native voters that bears more than a little resemblance to the Jim Crow South; it was one of the states required to get preclearance from the Justice Department to make any election law changes under the Voting Rights Act, until that rule was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013. The laws that were recently challenged forbid ballot collection by third parties (who had assisted Native voters living in remote places far from polling centers) and invalidate all ballots that go to the wrong precinct. This apparently happens with some regularity among reservation dwellers who do not have a regular street address. This Washington Post article about the obstacles faced by Native voters provides some useful background.

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Egalitarian Wave Theory

We’ve seen the right do this over and over, repeating a phrase until it becomes conventional wisdom. Eventually mainstream media outlets and even progressives start using these concocted frames, as Professor Cas Mudde eloquently argued in The Guardian this past weekend.

The GOP has long been at war with academia, and now they seem closer than ever to achieving their dream of shutting down teachers and professors’ ability to teach history, social science, and basic critical thinking skills. Several states already have ridiculous bills pending that would chill academic freedom. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Hungary!



How to Relax this Summer



Welcome to Vultureville

This cartoon was inspired by a Wall Street Journal article about big investment firms buying up homes — sometimes entire subdivisions — to rent out or flip. Obviously rentals are necessary as many people cannot afford to buy, especially in places like NYC. But corporations hoovering up whole middle-class or working-class neighborhoods serves no public good — it’s just driving up prices and exacerbating inequality, continuing ye olde wealth transfer to the already well-heeled (and almost certainly well-housed, for that matter).



Stacking the Democracy Deck

The poll watchers in the third panel were inspired by the Texas bill that would, among other affronts to fairness and decency, “empower partisan poll watchers by allowing more access to polling places and threatening criminal penalties against officials who restrict their movement.” Ah, what could go wrong?

Truth be told, I’ve been trying to come up with a cartoon about the nutty Arizona “recount” and similar undertakings around the country for a few weeks now, but there’s only so much you can satirize sheer lunacy. There’s no concept to even argue against — it’s just an ever-expanding bowl of nonsense Jell-O.

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Who’s Your Lifestyle Guru?



Revelations



Wokester Madness



Video Vortex

In some ways I was spoiled by my time working in a University library with a vast film collection. I also always lived in places with good indie video stores, which I am feeling VERY nostalgic for these days. Streaming has its advantages, but it comes with fragmentation, and the sense that some cultural treasures are slipping through the cracks never to be seen again except by film scholars. 



Crushing Dissent

The criminalization of protest is the biggest attack on First Amendment rights of our time, and a major part of the authoritarian playbook. This Vox article breaks down the dangerous new Oklahoma law, which creates immunity for drivers who are “fleeing.” (Republican sponsors of the bill say it sets a “high bar,” but when it comes to policing and protests, such details seem highly malleable.) Florida, meanwhile, has passed a slew of draconian anti-protest measures that loosely define the concept of a “riot” and pretty much entrap anyone standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, leaving them open to felony charges.



The Defense Rests

Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson argued that the cop who pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes behaved as “any reasonable police officer” would. Nelson’s strategy was to sow doubt and spin alternative narratives, blaming Floyd’s demise on his drug use despite overwhelming evidence he was choked to death. This article enumerates the diversionary techniques that were employed to make jurors question what they could see plainly with their own eyes. 




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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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