Auchter's Art | Michigan Radio
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Auchter's Art

John Aucter / Auchtertoon.com

The topic for this week's cartoon started with news of Michigan Republican legislators pushing for tax cuts ahead of Governor Snyder presenting a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

It seemed irresponsible, given the challenges Michigan faces and the fact that they cannot ever seem to be bothered with identifying the budgets that would require corresponding cutting.

The governor, to his credit, pointed this out.

Auchter's Art: Free market capitalism charade

Jan 27, 2017
AUCHTOON.COM

See? See?! This is exactly why I think it's ridiculous to declare allegiance to any particular political party. Who they are and what they represent is a fluid thing — they change over time. Sometimes very, very quickly.

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

One of the big downsides to January in Michigan is the annual State of the State address. We have not been blessed with governors who are accomplished orators, at least not during the time that I've been editorial cartooning.

John Engler was so bad it was actually part of his charm. (That may be the only published instance where you will see "charm" and "John Engler" in the same sentence.)

He was an effective behind-the-scenes guy who was clearly uncomfortable speechifying. You could almost see the thought balloon above his head as he talked

Auchtertoon.com

The Amazon TV-series The Man in the High Castle explores an America in which the Allies lost World War II and Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan rule over our country. A 2004 mockumentary, C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, considers what might have happened if the South had won our Civil War. These sorts of alternate histories can be highly entertaining and also add perspective to real history through drama and satire.

Auchter's Art: Respect for government workers?

Jan 6, 2017
John Auchter

Earlier this week Governor Snyder offered President-elect Trump some unsolicited advice, as one businessperson who was new to public office to another: Respect that most government workers know what they’re doing.

John Auchter / www.auchtoon.com

ARTIST'S POV:

Here's hoping we get on the right side of history sooner rather than later in the new year. Cheers!

John Auchter is an editorial cartoonist. Views expressed in his cartoons are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan.

JOHN AUCHTER / WWW.AUCHTOON.COM

To all I wish peace, love, and good health this holiday season and throughout the new year!

For my fellow Christians, I also want to note that we have some big responsibilities in 2017. 

I mean, we always do, but because the election of Donald Trump was largely our doing, we owe it to ourselves and our country to be particularly attentive.

The election is finally and officially over, so no matter the reason we voted for Trump (a single issue, the lesser of two evils, wholehearted support), the reason no longer matters.

He will be the President.

Auchter / Auchtoons.com

You may think that I'm kidding about Flint hitting up Russia for a little help. I'm not sure that I am. It's been three years now. Three years of unsafe drinking water in Flint. Michigan. USA. And as recent stories on Michigan Radio will tell you, there is no clear indication as to when the situation will be totally fixed.

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

In writing these little "support" articles for my cartoons over the years, more than a few readers have made a point of telling me how much they hate having the cartoon "explained" to them.

They feel the cartoon should stand on its own, and it definitely should. I get that. My intention is not to explain the cartoon but to add context to the subject, present a counter-view, or provide bonus value.

However, if you are one of those readers, you might want to move on, because I'm gonna straight-up explain this one.

AUCHTOON.COM

When the president-elect nominated Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education last week, the most obvious metaphor seemed to be the fox put in charge of the hen-house. I rolled that around in my head for awhile, but couldn't make it work.

I don't think DeVos is that carnivorous, or the education establishment that docile. (Plus drawing anthropomorphic characters is not really my strong suit. So, as is often the case, laziness wins.)

This cartoon worked much better because it reveals my main issue with the DeVos nomination: She's a crank.

Auchter's Art: Slicing up the voters

Nov 25, 2016
John Auchter / Auchtoon.com

Just one more cartoon on national political affairs, and I'll try to return my attention to more Michigan-based shenanigans. But I couldn't let this one go — it's been festering for some time.

There is not a whole lot to add because we've all just experienced it. For the entire election season Americans have been managed and categorized, sorted and labeled, diced and sliced by both major political parties.

We are not individual voters with actual thoughts and real concerns. We are herds of demographics who think in lock-step on singular issues.

Auchter's Art: No one wants to be a sucker

Nov 18, 2016
AUCHTOON.COM

Here's a theory that might help to unify us in these difficult times: What all Americans really, really hate is to be a sucker.

Whatever else we disagree on — politics, ideology, economics, dessert toppings, the truth — a common bond is that nobody likes being a sucker.

I think that had an enormous effect on getting Trump elected.

Consider this:

AUCHTOON.COM

Earlier this week I was pulling into work when a replay of a Renee Montagne interview with the great Mel Brooks came up on Michigan Radio.

I took the the opportunity to sit in the car and listen to the entire thing. It was good timing all around. Like always, he made me laugh out loud, but he also gave me some perspective.

JOHN AUCHTER / WWW.AUCHTOON.COM

Like most of us, I've pretty much run out of things to say about the election.

Any thoughts — from salient points to outraged rants — have been expressed.

I see many (cartoonists, commentators, Facebook posters) are settling now for "wow, what a messed up election season this has been" reflections. And that's certainly understandable.

Auchter's Art: Why aren't they listening to me?!

Oct 28, 2016
AUCHTOONS.COM

In the spirit of today's cartoon, allow me to tell you some things that you already know:

JOHN AUCHTER / WWW.AUCHTOON.COM

It's getting to be an archaic reference, so for you kids out there: Back in 1975 when Gerald Ford was president, upon arrival on a trip to Austria he stumbled down the stairway when exiting Air Force One.

John Auchter / WWW.AUCHTOON.COM

A common question these days is, "How did it come to this? How did we end up with these presidential candidates?" The simplest answer is, "It's our fault." Would a curious, engaged, and active electorate have generated the current tickets? Probably not.

John Auchter / WWW.AUCHTOON.COM

In 2009, more than 11,000 untested rape kits were discovered in Detroit's abandoned crime lab. Rape kits contain the physical evidence of a victim's sexual assault. When processed, the DNA data generated can be used not only to bring perpetrators to justice, but also to add this information to a national database of sex offenders.

Auchter's Art
JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

Listen, if you got yourself a big ol’ pot of roiling outrage going right now, I’m not the one to tell you to take it off the heat.

It’s election season and who am I to talk you out of the delicious indulgence of indignation? I’m an editorial cartoonist, for crying out loud!

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Who else thought when you first heard Basket of Deplorables: "That's the perfect name for a punk rock band"?

Well I definitely did, and it got me thinking.

Punk rock was in general a reaction to what rock and roll had become by the mid-1970s.

It had more or less bypassed its original audience: the young and the disaffected. Radio stations had become categorized, playlists were standardized, and established acts were given every advantage over the new and different.

Auchter's Art: Crushing student debt

Sep 9, 2016
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

My first instinct was to draw the weighty Student Loan Debt object as an anvil.

You guys know what an anvil is, right?

An anvil is a block with a hard surface on which another object is struck. The block is as massive as it is practical, because the higher the inertia of the anvil, the more efficiently it causes the energy of the striking tool to be transferred to the work piece.

Yeah, that's not very helpful for me, either. How about this:

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Telling the wife of your boss at a dinner party that she is a racist is not a career enhancing move. Turns out, people don't like to be called racist — even if they are.

Let me explain.

AUCHTOONS.COM

CARTOONIST'S POV:

If you spend more than a few moments with my wife's family, there is a pretty good chance you're going to hear a Caddyshack reference. A quote from the 1980 film will work its way into the conversation — sometimes in context, always funny.

So coming off a week's vacation with them, it's not hard to find the inspiration for the punch line in panel three of the cartoon.

Auchter's Art for August 19, 2016.
John Auchter / www.auchtoon.com

There is nothing quite as annoying as the overenthusiastic zeal that comes with the recently discovered — especially when it has been commonly known and readily accessible for years and years.

So I apologize in advance, but, OHMYGOSH, YOU GUYS! HAVE YOU SEEN THE SOO LOCKS?! THEY ARE AWESOMINGLY AMAZING!!! 

Last month, I finally made my first visit to Sault Ste. Marie to see the Soo Locks.

John Auchter
Auchtoons.com

ARTISTS POV:

In the cartoon series South Park, there is a classic episode titled "Gnomes." In that episode, a high-strung, over-caffeinated boy named Tweek is freaked out when gnomes repeatedly sneak into his bedroom at night to steal his underpants from his dresser. Tweek tells his fellow grade-school friends about the gnomes, but they don't believe him.

Auchter's Art: How can people be disillusioned?

Aug 5, 2016
John Auchter / auchtoon.com

There are few universally shared experiences these days. The ability to indulge our varied interests make points of intersection increasingly rare. One of the few exceptions is layoffs. Whether you have direct experience with the swinging axe or just near misses, we are all familiar with the type of "right-sizing" recently announced at Dow in mid-Michigan.

Auchter's Art: That's the mayor of Detroit?

Jul 29, 2016
John Auchter / Auchtoon.com

In her later years, my wife's grandmother suffered from dementia. She was the same extraordinarily sweet, wonderful person she had always been, but her short-term memory faded and her filter disappeared. For a time she lived with my wife's family. Their formal dining room became her bedroom — it was easy to keep tabs on her from the adjacent kitchen. 

She would go to her room to watch the TV news, and as my wife did her homework in the kitchen, she could hear Nana talking to the news anchor or reporter as she watched.

Auchter's Art: Running government like a business

Jul 22, 2016
JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

Artist's POV:

I've worked in the business world for quite some time now. From private to public companies, startups to established corporations, employee to contractor. I even had my own company for a dozen years. So I think I have a fairly broad understanding.

John Auchter / AUCHTOON.COM

At one time there were plenty of political cartoonists. Just about every newspaper had one, but with the decline of the newspaper industry, it seems the cartoonist was one of the first positions to get the ax when times got hard. In the heyday of newspapers, cartoonists would use their art to get to the heart of a political or social issue in a frame or two. Some would say a frame or two told more than a lengthy op-ed. Now, cartooning has largely been chased from the newspaper to the internet and is more rare. 

Auchter's Art: Finding common ground on guns

Jul 15, 2016

Artist's POV:

A cop shoots a man dead. Is your first thought to want to know their racial profiles?

A man uses a military assault rifle to kill multiple people. Is your first thought to hope for a reason that won't conflict with your political views?

A neighborhood teen takes his own life with a handgun. Is your first thought to wonder why a handgun was available to him at a moment of despair?

A young woman is gunned down in Chicago. Is your first thought to consider how this might affect gun control statistics?

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