The Sorensen Monologues

Cartoon: Hillary’s internal debate

Trump’s Tremendous Stamina

If this comic sinks a little low, blame it on Trump. Between his blatantly sexist remark that Hillary didn’t look presidential because she lacked “stamina,” and the fact that I, as a freelance cartoonist, probably pay way more in income taxes than he does, I wasn’t in the mood to pull any punches.

It’s about more than Hillary

The bright side of a Trump presidency

Largely lost in the recent media frenzy over Hillary’s pneumonia was this little reminder of actual policy from Mike Pence, speaking at the Values Voters Summit:

“I want to live to see the day that we put the sanctity of life back at the center of American law, and we send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history, where it belongs.”

Pence vowed to uphold the Hyde Amendment, and added:

“The days of public funding for Planned Parenthood are over when the Trump-Pence administration arrives in Washington, DC,” he said.

It would be nice if we could talk about the millions of low-income women who will be denied access to life-saving health care instead of endlessly babbling about campaign gaffes and frivolous horse-race nonsense. Texas women, especially, have been through enough. Did you know this year’s Democratic platform includes a historic call to repeal the Hyde Amendment? Can we at least try to ground the conversation in the real-world impact on actual human beings?

Hillary eruption

Even if we learned that Hillary could totally shred on guitar, it seems the media would find a way to turn it into a scandal. A few months ago, Vox reported on a study showing that Clinton had received the most negative coverage and the least positive coverage of any candidate. Recently, the normally-staid Washington Post ran an incredulous editorial about the conspiracy-theory-level reporting on the emails. While I certainly don’t believe Clinton should be immune from criticism or examination of her record, the fact that she and Trump have been rendered more or less equivalent is an utter indictment of the way these elections are covered.

The World Reacts to Epipen Price Gouging

The University of Chicago guide to free speech

The University of Chicago recently sent a letter to incoming students that bluntly laid out the school’s stance on freedom of expression. This NY Times article gives more background, but unfortunately suffers from a dopey headline that uses “political correctness” as though it were an unbiased term. This commentary on the issue is also well worth reading.

Students, like anyone else, can take things too far, but the whole concept of “trigger warnings” has now been picked up and blown out of proportion by conservatives. In the age of Trump and Black Lives Matter and campus protests by minority students, this letter is tone deaf and inappropriate. It’s largely name-calling and buzzwords with an attempt at plausible deniability.

Some will claim I’m arguing that students should be shielded from points of view they may disagree with. I have not said that at all. I do think that when a university brings in, say, a known internet harasser who uses his public profile to intimidate and abuse women online, students have the right to protest the legitimacy being granted by the university. If anything, the letter suggests that the leaders of U. Chicago are trying to make a “safe space” for themselves so they can frame criticism they don’t want to hear as anti-free speech.

Update: Some important background info for people who mistakenly think this whole issue is about “silencing offensive speech”: “What University Of Chicago Students Think Of Their School’s Campaign Against ‘Safe Spaces’

Reader mail on right-wing “political correctness”

I appreciated this note from reader Alex, in response to my recent comic on the concept of political correctness:

I’ve been reading your comic for years and I loved your latest one on right wing political correctness—something that seems to get completely ignored!

I’ve made a list of right wing political correctness in the States I thought you’d enjoy:

You cannot critique:
Police officers (particularly policeMEN), firefighters (particularly fireMEN)
Patriotism/Nationalism/Fourth of July
Christian Holidays (and you must say Merry Christmas/Happy Easter)
White victims of crime/trauma
Eating meat

You cannot use:
[The terms] heteronormative, internalized misogyny, implicit bias/racism, white privilege, racist (must say racial bias), sexist
Data, science, statistics that contradicts “feelings” (of white people that is)
Words to describe terrorists other than Islamic extremist .

You cannot talk about:
Drug addicts as victims rather than criminals
Reasons why someone might get an abortion
Birth control
Criminals as people
Terrorists as people
Cycles of poverty
Terrorism committed by white people
Excitement about “first woman” or “first X”

Pod People

Poison control centers received 37,000 calls over two years about kids getting into detergent pods, which resulted in two deaths and two dozen life-threatening injuries. Doctors are urging parents not to buy them. No one really needs clown-colored chemical hackysacks to clean their underwear. Keurig’s plastic packaging poses an environmental problem, to the extent that the inventor of the ubiquitous “K-cup” now has regrets. More on that here.

I was going to use disposable toothbrushes pre-loaded with toothpaste as a gag in the last panel, but it turns out they already exist.

FOX’s female follies

On “political correctness”

If there is any silver lining to the Trump campaign, let it be that America finally wakes up to the Orwellian nature of the term “political correctness,” which has become a catch-all for any progressive values. It’s a one-sided insult that limits debate and critical thinking.

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Jen Sorensen is a nationally-syndicated political cartoonist whose work has appeared in The Progressive, The Nation, Daily Kos, Austin Chronicle, NPR, Ms., Politico, and many other publications. The recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, she tweets at @JenSorensen.