The Sorensen Monologues

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.



Capital Offense

This Citizens for Ethics site breaks down exactly which companies are giving to anti-democratic politicians. 

One of the great mistaken ideas of the Cold War era is that privatization and capitalism go hand in hand with the flourishing of democracy. That “free markets” (a gross misnomer if there ever was one) necessarily lead to “free people.” In the 21st century, it has become abundantly clear that an amoral system of incentives designed to maximize shareholder profits is not going to save us from authoritarianism.



Cartoon: Vigilante Justice

That the Supreme Court would not intervene to stop this radical embrace of vigilante justice hearkening back to the Fugitive Slave Act should send chills down everyone’s spines. To be clear, I am not advocating for vigilantism against the Supreme Court in the cartoon, but rather imagining how they would feel if this sort of “justice” were applied to them, and showing the absurdity of bounty hunting everyone who “aided or abetted” them.

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Horse Sense for Pandemics

I don’t see how humanity can solve its problems with this degree of misplaced trust, bad-faith manipulation, and poor critical thinking skills. Also, what about the animals with parasites? I’ll bet there are some angry cows out there with four stomach chambers filled with worms, just waiting for pills that have been bought up by the stupid humans.

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Ironies of Afghanistan

I find it challenging to boil the whole Afghanistan situation down into a simple cartoon. When the war began, I thought it was overkill that would just inspire more terrorism. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were clearly not to be trusted. But I also felt a certain amount of ambivalence since there was, in theory, a human rights component of stopping the horrific treatment of women. One thing that seems clear is that the Trump administration pretty much gave away the store to the Taliban in the Doha negotiations — you can find that photo of Mike Pompeo with Taliban leader Mullah Beradar here. Now the Trumpers are acting like Biden didn’t follow the terms of their “peace deal.” 




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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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