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Commentary

Auchter's Art: Understanding the whole story

Auchter's Art: Carhartt
John Auchter
/
Michigan Radio

This story about apparel company, Carhartt, wasn't necessarily big news this week, but it's the one my brain found interesting. So, yeah, I apologize for my characters needing to explain it in the cartoon. I spent considerable time trying to interest myself in something that would be more snackable, but, you know how it is with brains sometimes.

I came across the story in the Washington Post. (It's behind a paywall, but I'm sure you can search for it elsewhere.) What hooked me was a teaser headline with "Michigan-based company" in it. But as I read on, I found myself doing exactly what the guy in cartoon is doing — looking for a good guy, looking for a bad guy, trying to fit the story into a familiar narrative.

Is Carhartt a hero for looking after the health and safety of its workers and insisting on COVID-19 vaccinations? Or a villain for not accommodating all of its workers? Am I annoyed with conservative media for turning so quickly on a company that makes products championed by its demographic? Does it matter that the workers protesting at its plants in Kentucky are unionized? And so on.

Eventually it occurred to me — I wasn't learning anything, I was only processing. It was simply information — a well-written news story with the facts and context, and it wasn't intended to be pro-this or anti-that.

Anyway, it made me take a beat to consider: Maybe I should try understanding the whole story before trying to figure out who I'm supposed to hate. (And maybe that second part isn't necessary.)

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

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