Auchter's Art | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

Auchter's Art

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Credit where credit is due — this is a variation of the classic Walt Kelly cartoon where his character Pogo observes the swamp that he and his friends live in (and trashed), declaring, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

cartoon of three people discussing Michigan's new social studies changes
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

To be clear: I'm proud of our nation, our history, and especially our ideals. I am proud to be an American. But some of the things we do just mystify me.

John Auchter cartoon with couple arguing with cops in high lake water
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Hulu has new mini-series of the Joseph Heller novel, Catch-22. It looks intriguing, but I don't know if I'll check it out. It's summer in Michigan for goodness sake — there will be plenty of winter for screen-based entertainment. But also because I read Catch-22 at exactly the right time in my life, as a 17 year-old primed and ready to learn just how ludicrous the world can be. I don't want to mess with the perfect picture in my head.

Gretchen Whitmer in black and white
John Auchter

There is lots that is unfair about comparing Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the recent auto insurance agreement to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the Munich Agreement of 1938. So let's start with what is fair.

John Auchter

Justin Amash is the Congressman from Michigan's 3rd district. When President Gerald Ford was a member of the U.S. House, he represented Michigan's 5th district. District boundaries evolve over time, but both claimed Grand Rapids as their population center, so it's fair to say Amash is a Ford successor.

John Auchter

Sports is often the last refuge for civil conversation. Politics, race AND religion are practically no-go zones these days. But even seemingly benign topics like health or the weather are pocked with landmines:

"It's a bit chilly today." "Yes, it is — so much for your dumb global warming theories!"

John Auchter

What goes on in Betsy DeVos's head? Why would somebody who clearly disdains public servants want to be a public servant by leading an enormous agency of public servants? I don't know, but let's conjecture:

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

A big hat tip this week goes to my boy Jonathan Swift who in 1729 wrote and published an essay titled A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick (or A Modest Proposal for short).

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

The most difficult thing about drawing this cartoon was deciding what the two people should look like. I ended up with two vaguely middle-aged white guys. But it took me a long time to get there.

For cartoons where the appearance of age/sex/race/weight has nothing to do with the point I'm trying to make, I try to vary the character types for diversity. I am a middle-aged white guy, so I fight defaulting to my own biases. But this can be a problem, depending on what the characters are actually doing or how they are behaving.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

In his sci-fi/satire book series, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams tells a story about the planet Golgafrincham.

Flint cartoon
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

There were at least two big lessons to be learned from the Flint Water crisis, and we have the opportunity to apply them both in deciding the best course of action for Line 5, the pipeline that carries petroleum products along the floor of the Straits of Mackinac.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Apologies to those who don't understand the "teal" reference. I'll explain that shortly. But I especially apologize to those who might perceive the cartoon as some sort of partisan dig in the great MSU/UofM rivalry. It's not. Michigan Radio is a licensee of the University of Michigan, but I take no side. [And neither does Michigan Radio –ed.] I'm a Michigan Tech grad, so as far as the rivalry goes, I'm an agnostic. Which is to say, I acknowledge the existence of MSU and UofM, but I worship neither.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Ugh. I know. This guy again. But with his campaign rally in my backyard this week, it kind of forced my hand. So... what exactly is my problem with Donald Trump? Let's peel that onion.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

One of the challenges of editorial cartooning is finding common reference points. This week, I'm banking on most of you being familiar with the musical Hamilton, and that a production just opened in Michigan for the first time — at the Fischer Theatre in Detroit. That's a stretch, and I apologize to those who may feel left out. (Next week, back to the pothole jokes!)

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It is so, so, so deliciously easy to hate somebody without even knowing them. In fact, not knowing somebody as a person but as part of a group is a great help.

John Auchter / Auchtoons.com

One of my pet peeves is when somebody with a good paying, white collar job chooses a ginormous pickup truck for their commuter vehicle and then complains bitterly when the price of gas goes up. The world is not conspiring against you! You made your choice — deal with the consequences!

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It's true. Michigan is building a new bridge with Canada — the Gordie Howe Bridge between Detroit and Windsor. And Canada is indeed paying for it. In fact, credit where credit is due, that's how Governor Snyder made the deal happen — with his own kind of end run around a legislature reluctant to fund it. (The legislative branch constitutionally must appropriate funds, but Canada is taking care of the up-front costs.)

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I can tell you that the cartoon this week is not partisan, but that's really for you to decide. On the surface, it's me quoting the current Democratic leader directly and without comment, then dinging the two previous Republican leaders. But I had a deeper aim. It all started with Governor Whitmer's State of the State address this week.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

There was a story on Michigan Radio this week about the hearing in Detroit's federal court challenging the validity of Michigan's 2011 redistricting maps.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It appears the snow has finally stopped falling here in West Michigan. In a day or two it is supposed to turn reasonably warm enough for me to attend to the non-priority snow removal issues — the roof, patios, walkways. Before the rains come. And then the next freeze cycle. Oy!

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I was listening to a podcast with comedian W. Kamau Bell. It was recorded previous to the incidents on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last weekend, but there were some very timely insights.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

The TV program The Good Place is about... Well, actually, it's one of those shows where the less you know at the start, the more enjoyable it is. So for those of you who haven't started or are not quite caught up, I will say only that the term "good place" is more or less a synonym for "heaven."

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Not too long ago when I would draw a cartoon related to the city of Detroit, a good portion of the feedback I'd get included suggestions to build some sort of wall around to the city to seal it off from the rest of Michigan. At the time, I recognized these not as legitimate proposals, but folks either venting their frustrations or mongering their fears. Now, I'm not so sure they weren't perfectly serious.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

As always, I leave the cartoon open to your interpretation. (My intention is not to tell you what to think — it's more of a nudge to get you to think.)

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Because the lame-duck session of the Michigan Legislature will conclude at some point past my deadline, I didn't feel confident in commenting on what legislation will actually pass. Further, I have no idea what Governor Snyder may sign into law and what he may not.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

On Wednesday this week, Governor Snyder signed a bill into law that will allow a tunnel for a new section of pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac to move forward. The intention is to resolve the status of the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline, which currently is laid across the bottom of the Straits and poses a potential for catastrophic disaster.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It was hard not to notice the stark contrast this week between events celebrating the late President George H.W. Bush's life and the shameless actions of the Michigan (and Wisconsin) lame duck legislatures.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I wouldn't say Michigan's relationship with General Motors is dysfunctional. I think it's more a case of unrealistic expectations. The auto industry is an integral part of our Michigan identity. So we, as people, tend to take it personally when GM does something that affects Michigan people negatively, such as the plan announced this week to layoff workers and close plants in Hamtramck/Detroit and Warren.

John Auchter / Auchtoons.com

I imagine that some Thanksgiving dinners were a lot less tense when The Game took place the weekend before the holiday instead of after. Sure, a certain amount of tribalism is inevitable — it's who we humans are. But usually we're somewhat more civil after a battle.

Whatever your particular situation, I hope you had a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving Day. I hope you were able to share time with the ones you love. I hope you were able to both give and get kindness and acceptance from those around you. And I hope that Michigan beats the crap out of Ohio State.

Pages