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Auchter's Art

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Americans have always been prone to conspiracy theories — from the McCarthyism and the John Birch Society to pizzagate and anti-vaxxers. But it certainly seems to have hit a higher gear lately, hasn't it? Of course it doesn't help having a president who gins up outrage as a matter of course and doesn't feel confined by details (or truth).

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Justin Amash is the current U.S. Representative for Michigan's 3rd congressional district. He was part of the Tea Party wave of Republicans elected in 2010. (I used to draw him as Sarah Palin back then.) He turned out to be a bit more substantive, earning a reputation for being thoughtful and deliberative, holding firm to his beliefs. Some would say (including many of his colleagues) too firm.

comic featuring lee chatfield
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

In my house, the current quarantine binge watch of choice is the comedy series "Veep." My wife and I had seen a few episodes here and there over its run this past decade, but the dearth of live sports events to watch has afforded us the opportunity.

Auchter's Art: It's them, not you

May 1, 2020
auchter's art for may 1
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I have a life hack for you. It applies mostly to guys (at least that has been my experience), but I think everybody could find it useful. Here it is: If you are ever in a situation where people are encouraging you to do something by telling you "don't be a sissy," then don't do it. In other words, never do what they are encouraging you to do. Simple, right? Not following their advice is 100% always the right choice.

Auchter's art for April 24
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Show of hands — who wants to talk more about coronavirus? Yeah, I'm fatigued myself. Unfortunately, it is destined to be a trending topic for quite some time. As German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said this week, "This is not the end phase but still just the beginning." It was a timely reality check from an experienced leader. 

John Auchter

When our son was three years-old, and my wife or I needed to take him away from something he was enjoying (typically a computer game) and move him to something else (typically anything but a computer game), he would get very frustrated and say, "No! I want to do what I want to do." As we forged ahead, he would slow it down: "I want to do. What. I want. To do!" It was so sublimely simple — how could his stupid parents possibly not get it?! He would be totally exasperated with us.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

A stranger comes to your front door, introduces himself as LibTriggerPatriot69, and immediately engages you in conversation about politics. Well, not really a conversation — more like a one-sided rant that you're expected to agree with and share with everybody you know. Would this be acceptable to you?

auchter's art
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I hope and pray you are all dealing with your coronavirus contradictions as best you can.

John Auchter

Admittedly, comparing the financial crisis that precipitated the Great Recession to the crisis we're currently experiencing is kinda apples-to-oranges. Different economics, different timelines, different triggers. Still, am I the only one feeling disorientated by the stunning contrast of the GOP and the bailout money?

John Auchter

Let me be clear: opinion pieces are not all inherently bad. Good ones can provide context for complex concepts and hard to understand situations. The late, great Jeff MacNelly once said this about editorial cartoonists:

"We violate all the rules of journalism. We misquote and slander and distort. [But] the interesting thing is, the political cartoonist usually, if he’s any good, gets a hell of a lot closer to the truth than a responsible reporter.”

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I'm sure many of you have seen the meme going around social media meant to assuage voters whose preferred presidential candidate has dropped. It's just a block of words that says this:

Time to remember the best voting advice I have heard: Voting isn't marriage, it's public transportation. You are not waiting for "the one" who is absolutely perfect. You are getting the bus. And if there isn't one going exactly to your destination, you don't stay at home and sulk — you take the one going closest to where you want to be.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It's interesting the effects of even a small amount of passing time.

4 democrats ignore Elizabeth Warren
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Saturday night, my dad, my son, and I spent 40 minutes in the waiting area of a local restaurant. 

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

There was an article in the Detroit Free Press this week, "Some Michigan libraries join nationwide trend: Eliminating late fees on overdue books." Here's an excerpt:

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I didn't actually watch much of the State of the Union speech. I opted for college basketball. But that turned out to be pretty painful, too, as both Michigan and Michigan State lost their games in the waning seconds. Punishment for not being a good citizen, I suppose.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Story #1: A couple of weeks ago, Michigan State Senator Peter Lucido made an inappropriate comment to Allison Donahue, a reporter for the Michigan Advance. Donahue confronted Lucido and then reported it. Subsequently, two more women reported experiencing inappropriate actions by Lucido.

auchter's art
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

To be sure, there are some people who are perfectly happy working in the gig economy. Lyft drivers who appreciate the flexible hours and social engagement. Shipt pickers who enjoy the challenge of filling grocery orders for other people. 

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Perhaps as Michiganders we are a bit more sensitive to drinking water issues than most Americans. What with our 11,000 lakes (Great and otherwise), we have constant reminders of this precious natural resource. Add to that the recent disasters of the Flint water crisis and discoveries of PFAS contamination, and, well, you could say there is ample reason for our heightened interest.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I certainly don't agree with those who deny the existence of climate change, but I can relate to the mindset. I'm a natural born contrarian, so I get the impulse to resist consensus, especially if people are telling me I have to accept it.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Do me a favor. Open up Google Earth and go to Hamtramck, Michigan. (Go ahead — if you're working, it's still basically the holidays, so your boss won't mind a quick diversion.)

John Auchter / auchtoons.com

The President expresses himself in superlatives: "The transcript was perfect," "I am the chosen one," "I have the best words," and so on. It's an effective rhetorical device. The absolute certainty projects a pseudo-strength that many find very appealing. And the ridiculousness always offers a backdoor escape — if it is received as too over-the-top, supporters can always say, "it was a joke" or "he didn't mean it literally. Duh!"

John Auchter

First, let's acknowledge that the Dr. Seuss's book How the Grinch Stole Christmas is perfection. 

And his collaboration with the great Chuck Jones on the animated special somehow took the story up another level to pure genius. But the Jim Carrey movie and everything after is an abomination. We good? All right. Let's move on then.

John Auchter

Every once is a while I come up with a cartoon that says all I have to say about a topic, so I don't really have any backstory or additional commentary. I'm just truly mystified.

cartoon showing people talking about toll roads
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

So you're vacationing with a large group, and you're hungry. You've rolled up to, through, and now well past dinner time. Several plans have been suggested and (you thought) agreed to, but never quite executed for reasons that run the gamut from passive-aggressiveness ("Oh, I guess seafood is fine. I usually break out in hives and my throat closes, but that's okay.") to over-the-top rejections ("NO! Absolutely not! Applebee's is dead to me! They know what they did!")

John Auchter

It's not that there wasn't anything going on in Michigan this week. There was plenty. 

John Auchter

Who knows? By the time this cartoon is published, maybe Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Governor Gretchen Whitmer will have worked out the state budget for 2020. But I doubt it. For the very reasons why the budget was not really done on the October 1st due date: Political posturing has priority over actual work. The pollsters, the advisors, the party insiders are making the decisions.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I was at a training conference this week for my day job. It was about the future of communications (specifically public relations and marketing communication), and while I would say that it was definitely worthwhile and I learned a lot, the best conversations I had weren't about the conference topics. That seems often to be the case with me — what I find most enjoyable is not what I'm actually supposed to be doing.

John Auchter

I know this is a fairly obscure reference but hang with me - there is a point to it:

Thirty-ish years ago the late, great Phil Hartman had a recurring character on Saturday Night Live called The Anal Retentive Guy. A sketch would have him as an instructor demonstrating how to do something. For example, a chef showing you how to create a certain dish. The humorous conceit was that he was so overly meticulous that he would never get around to doing what he was actually supposed to do. In the end, he'd pleasantly acknowledge that he'd run out of time as he continued to be sidetracked.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

A few years ago when President Trump was elected, I made a joke that Grand Rapids should be very grateful because they'll be able to power the city with electricity generated by Gerald Ford spinning in his grave. (Well, along with Betty Ford spinning there right beside him.)

the lower peninsula of michigan talking to the upper peninsula
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

After the University of Wisconsin's football team crushed Michigan State University last week (after also crushing both the University of Michigan and Central Michigan University this season), the Twitter handle for the Upper Peninsula tweeted, "It's official, I belong to Wisconsin now." And then as if to drive the point home, the Packers (and arguably the officiating crew) beat the Lions Monday night.

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