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Auchter's Art: Understanding the whole story

John Auchter
Michigan Radio

This story about apparel company, Carhartt, wasn't necessarily big news this week, but it's the one my brain found interesting. So, yeah, I apologize for my characters needing to explain it in the cartoon. I spent considerable time trying to interest myself in something that would be more snackable, but, you know how it is with brains sometimes.

I came across the story in the Washington Post. (It's behind a paywall, but I'm sure you can search for it elsewhere.) What hooked me was a teaser headline with "Michigan-based company" in it. But as I read on, I found myself doing exactly what the guy in cartoon is doing — looking for a good guy, looking for a bad guy, trying to fit the story into a familiar narrative.

Is Carhartt a hero for looking after the health and safety of its workers and insisting on COVID-19 vaccinations? Or a villain for not accommodating all of its workers? Am I annoyed with conservative media for turning so quickly on a company that makes products championed by its demographic? Does it matter that the workers protesting at its plants in Kentucky are unionized? And so on.

Eventually it occurred to me — I wasn't learning anything, I was only processing. It was simply information — a well-written news story with the facts and context, and it wasn't intended to be pro-this or anti-that.

Anyway, it made me take a beat to consider: Maybe I should try understanding the whole story before trying to figure out who I'm supposed to hate. (And maybe that second part isn't necessary.)

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

Since 1995 John has created Michigan-based editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive Newspapers. His cartoons are currently featured at MichiganPublic.org and are syndicated to newspapers through the Michigan Press Association. John is an active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can view an archive of his editorial work and other cartoons at Auchtoon.com.
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