Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 27, 2014

Go, Look: Affordable Care Act Via Personal Experience Cartoons From Mark Martin And Jen Sorensen


The Mark Martin here and through the first picture. Mark Martin is a very good cartoonist, and this editorial may be interesting to some because it is opposed to the latest round of federally mandated healthcare changes, which might strike people as novel.

Martin and his family will apparently be with a worse healthcare situation coming out the other side of it. I'm sorry to hear that. That said, I wish the piece had more of why this happened and why this is a locked-in result as opposed to a lot of the context and some of the political shots taken. First, I think it's way more interesting and vitally important to hear those nuts and bolts things right now. Second, flashes of political rhetoric like the "I never believed your snake oil" scene or whatever that was just make Martin sound like an angry, political guy who had certain preconceptions confirmed. Which is fine, but in terms of the cartoon, those moments make it easy for people with the opposite take going in to dismiss anything Martin has to say.

I haven't been following the story all that thoroughly, so it's hard for me to understand why anyone thinks any policy would not have some people for whom that policy is worse. It's not a magic spell, it's massively compromised legislation. I will say, though, Martin is the only person that I know of so far in comics for whom it's turned out to be a negative at this first stage. That I know of, mind. I'm sure there are others. And if there are, I hope we hear them. I'd really be interested if anyone with a predisposition to love this program was similarly disappointed. For the most part, I hear a lot from people in comics that stand to benefit. Primarily, though, I suspect that most people in comics haven't engaged with this stuff at all.

The Jen Sorensen cartoon is here and through the second picture. She had a more positive experience. I did not notice her cartoon until Mitchell Berger was nice enough to point it out (he served as the editor on both).

The Sorensen cartoon makes it clear that this is a personal-experience assignment, which make that aspect of my criticisms of Martin slightly different in that I have to take into account he was likely emphasizing his personal experience and views in part because that was the gig. So my criticisms of rhetorical strategy would shift onto the assignment itself a bit more. There are some strident elements to Sorensen's piece, too, that I think might make some people roll their eyes and stop reading. For instance, a phone call and a request for documentation to figure out a pre-exisiting condition is a pretty mild visit to Room 101, all things considered. I'm also not sure why the really rough roll-out wasn't fair game: that was important policy, it was brought into existence in lousy fashion, and this even fits into a longer-running national dialogue about such policies being grandly conceived and poorly executed.

Sorensen does get choices for admitting that some people are worse off -- although again, I'd be happier at this juncture knowing more about the whys than simply the whos.
posted 5:57 pm PST | Permalink

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