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Auchter's Art

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.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

When my kids were in elementary school, they would take AR tests. AR was short for Accelerated Reading, and the idea was positive reinforcement. At any time a kid could take a quick comprehension test on a book that they had read. If they passed, they got points, and there were rewards for a certain number of points.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

The truth is, I have lots more to say about the election next week. Lots and lots. Opinions, comments, bitter asides, personal observations. Oh, and advice. I have a tremendous amount of incredibly valuable advice!

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Health care is a hot topic on the campaign trail this year, nationally and in Michigan. This should come as no surprise — health care is highly relatable. We all need it, we all use it, we all hope for high quality and low cost.

In our early years as a couple, my wife and I used to make a yearly visit to Pennsylvania to visit relatives — grandparents, great aunts and uncles. On one such visit in the fall of 1988, a post-dinner conversation turned to politics. Among the Sanka and Jell-O 3-2-1 Jello, opinions were expressed about the presidential candidates. 

 

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Look, it's not like I'm unaware of my own inconsistencies and, well, let's just say it: hypocrisy. I've drawn cartoons on several occasions expressing my opinion that ballot proposals are a bad idea and, well, let's just say it: stupid.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

As a general disclaimer, my deadline for the cartoon was before the actual hearings with and Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh started.

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