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Auchter's Art

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Bridge Michigan has done an excellent job summarizing the voting plan Michigan Republicans are proposing. They compare this plan with the package recently put into law in Georgia. It's a good way to get some context because there has been a lot of exaggeration and misinterpretation.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

My brother-in-law is a Michigan State grad and a huge fan of Spartans sports teams. Several years ago, he was watching a men's basketball game on TV late in the evening. His older two children were very much from the same mold — dedicated fans that bled Spartan green. His youngest never had an active interest in MSU or sports in general, but noticing that his older siblings were getting to stay up past bedtime, he expressed a sudden interest in the game.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Last week, a video went public of Michigan state GOP Chairman Ron Weiser addressing the North Oakland Republican Club. In his remarks, Weiser made reference to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel collectively as “three witches.”

I was scrolling through Facebook earlier this week, and I saw this post from Vincent Duffy who is the News Director and my editor at Michigan Radio:

Friend: What's the latest on the mass shooting?

Me: This is America, you'll need to be more specific.

It is almost word for word a conversation I had a few years ago with a work colleague from another country. He expressed concern about a gun violence event here in the U.S., and I had to ask him to clarify which one. How sad is that?

Ben Folds' song "All You Can Eat" is a scathing critique of human behavior, specifically the American variety:

cartoon drawing of someone being happy about vaccines, stimulus payments
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

First, let me be clear — anger and outrage are the very fuel of editorial cartoons. So I am not in any way trying to talk people out of their absolute right to be angry and outraged.

What I am suggesting is that it may not hurt to acknowledge the positive every once in a while.

Before, during, and after drawing a cartoon, my brain is in a constant search for a match — some cartoon or other media where I might have already seen the idea. It's the result of my paranoia that I accidentally commit the worst possible of sins, plagiarism.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

As we come up to the one-year anniversary of the initial shut down here in Michigan, there have been plenty of headlines around our education systems and the challenges the pandemic continues to bring. These three in particular served as food for thought:

four panel cartoon showing Mike Shirkey talking on TV while two people watch and comment on what he's saying.
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey has been on a roll lately. And not in a good way. This week on a radio show he managed to confirm that he is a responsible adult...and then immediately confirm that he is not, in fact, a responsible adult.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Amid the backdrop of, well, everything up to and after the November election, there were some encouraging signs this week in Michigan. A pair of bills were introduced by Republican state lawmakers and supported by Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to clear up confusion and build confidence in the voting system ahead of the next election.

John Auchter

There is a classic skit from the 1960s comedy team of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in which a reporter (Moore) interviews an eccentric gentleman (Cook) who owns a restaurant. A transcript is below, but to truly understand the humor (and their impeccable timing), I encourage you to listen for yourself.

For 27 years, you could reliably find me every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 a.m. playing pickup basketball at my local middle school gym. In fact, for the past 15 years, I've been the one in charge. Well, "in charge" makes it sound more impressive than it really is. Mostly I just bring basketballs, open the doors, and have a general awareness of where the defibrillator is.

A lot of readers may be confused and not recognize much about a cartoon referencing the merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and the PSA Group that finalized this week. But that's kind of the point.

It's remarkable that such a big, big story in the automotive world would seem to have so little resonance with Michiganders. That certainly wasn't the case when Chrysler acquired American Motors, or when Daimler-Benz merged with Chrysler, or when they divorced later. Those were top headlines. Especially in Michigan.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

One of the great things about being Catholic is that you can do whatever you want to do, go to confession, say a few Our Fathers and Hail Marys, and all is forgiven — you are healed and free to start over! Except... that's not really how it works. At least, not the way it's supposed to work.

Wednesday morning I had sketched out kind of a light-hearted, "I know, right?" sort of cartoon to ease us all into the new year. Nothing too edgy. Of course that idea went out the window (along with a great deal of our nation's pride and dignity) with the insurrection later that afternoon. My Thursday deadline loomed.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

When it's a big year for news, political cartoonists have plenty of material. Michigan Radio cartoonist John Auchter definitely took advantage of this year's chaotic news cycle.

Here are his seven most popular cartoons of the year.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

You know what I was talking about, right? Don't make me say it. Please. I don't want to have to say it!

Okay, fine. The Electoral College results are in. The presidential election is over. It's final. It's final, final.

John Auchter

This week's cartoon presented a bit of a challenge. I intended to present two people having a conversation, but I wanted to model good behavior. The conversation itself suggests that the two people haven't seen each other for a while, which implies they aren't "bubbled."

But I couldn't put them indoors and mask them because I wanted to show their smiles fading with each panel. So I put them outside and at a reasonable distance, but still probably too close because I didn't want to draw them any smaller and lose their expressions.

cartoon of betsy devos
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

I drew a variation of this cartoon four years ago. The first panel acknowledged why Christians celebrate Christmas — the birth of Jesus Christ. The second panel reminded readers that the birth was, of course, just the beginning — he eventually grew up and had a few things to say how to treat the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised, and so on. So being Christian is much more than just saying "Merry Christmas." (I know, not much of punchline.)

cartoon
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

Twenty-one years ago, my wife, my two daughters, and I went on a trip to England during Thanksgiving. My brother was living in London at the time and had invited us to stay with him. It was magical. We toured all around. We rode the Underground, we took a motorboat up the Thames, we went to see The Lion King on stage. It couldn't have been more perfect.

editorial cartoon of Mike Shirkey and Lee Chatfield ignoring the coronavirus crisis
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

The posturing around the COVID crisis by Speaker of the Michigan House, Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), and Senate Majority Leader, Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), reminds me of the 2008 animated film Kung-Fu Panda. (Well of course it does — it's only natural.)

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

How utterly disheartening it must be to be a frontline worker right now. Especially for those in health care professions.

I feel this requires no further explanation.

John Auchter / auchtoons.com

Back in the day, I used to play in a lot of 3-on-3 basketball tournaments. (Pre-COVID, I used to play basketball period. *sigh*) A lot of Gus Mackers. A lot of local fundraiser events. The idea was to simulate pickup games, the kind you'd play in a driveway with neighbors and friends. So, no refs. Call your own fouls. Play hard, but have fun. And that worked really great. Until it didn't.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

What can be said about this election that hasn't already been said? It seems like it has all been covered. And with that comes a temptation to slow down when we see the finish line. But now is not the time let up — we all gotta run through the tape and complete the race at full speed.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

There is just so much happening. And keeping up on all the latest developments in the election and pandemic feels like drinking from the proverbial fire hose. But then more news comes that we should all pay attention to. Just this week the story broke of a new report revealing that parents of 545 migrant children separated at the U.S. border cannot be found. That is terrible. And tragic. And overwhelming.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I'm at a loss for words this week. I mean, I can understand how a plot to kidnap a sitting governor could get started. People are passionate. We get ideas. We say crazy, stupid things.

What I don't get is how the plan got far enough that the FBI had to step in. I'm guessing it has something to do with extreme ideology, easy access to weapons, and encouragement from Presidential tweets. But that doesn't mean I understand it.

cartoon depicting senate majority leader mike shirkey
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

Last week I was watching a panel discussion on the current state of editorial cartooning via Zoom. One of my good friends, Angelo Lopez, was one the featured guests. Angelo draws for Philippine News Today, and so much of his work reflects issues related to the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, a murderous despot. As a consequence, Angelo tends to draw a lot of skulls. In the course of his presentation, Angelo casually remarked, "I'm tired of drawing skulls."

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Comedian Jim Gaffigan has a bit where he says, "I'm a vegetarian now. Well, not a strict vegetarian. I do eat beef and pork. And chicken."

I think that sums us up nicely, don't you? Us Americans. Us Michiganders. We sometimes say one thing, and then can completely contradict ourselves in the next breath. Well, not everybody. But enough of us.

cartoon of people talking to police about stolen yard sign
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

It's election season, which brings out the yard signs, which brings out the people who steal and vandalize yard signs. I'm sure you've seen the stories in newspapers and the postings on social media. Maybe you've had first-hand experience.

I try not to be too judgmental. I can imagine how in a moment of passion (or, more likely, drunkenness) an otherwise reasonable individual could have a lapse of reason. Naturally, it would need to be followed up with an apology and full restoration. It's forgivable, right? Yard signs are by their nature ephemeral.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

You are free to take the cartoon however you like, but I feel compelled to say that I intend it in a spirit of camaraderie. It's an incredibly stressful time — the fires, the floods, the ongoing pandemic, all whipped into a frenzy by the upcoming election. I'm with you. I feel you.

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