What Inspires You: Meet Our Columnists #HelpGrowTheCFR

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Meet The Clyde Fitch Report columnists during our Kickstarter campaign! We’ll update this page every day to spotlight another of our more than 30 writers and staff.

David Finkle, The Aisle Seat

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David_Finkle_300x400What inspires you?
What inspires me? The list is too long. Better to ask what doesn’t inspire me. Cruelty. Although under certain circumstance, cruelly might inspire me. Boredom. Boredom only inspires me to flee anything causing it. Otherwise, I’m inspired by anything and everything. I’m inspired just by walking down the street. If I keep my eyes and ears open, whatever catches my eye or hooks my ears could turn out to be an inspiration. Other people are endless sources of inspiration. Would anyone disagree with that? My new novel was inspired by a dream. All it took was waking up and realizing what I’d just seen was the start of a story I had to finish.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
Plenty. I’ve never wanted to be considered an intellectual, nor have I ever wanted to hang out with intellectuals. On the other hand, I’ve always admired intelligence, and on The Clyde Fitch Report, I get that in large measures. I’ve always valued humanity and humor, both of which are also in big supply on The Clyde Fitch Report. I’ve also always admired breadth of knowledge. That, too, is in abundance on The Clyde Fitch Report. Writers in many fields are asked to contribute on whatever strikes them as worth having a say on. Another way of describing that is noting that The Clyde Fitch Report is shaped by its contributors and not dictated by its editors.

Share what inspires you in the comments at the bottom of this page! And please support, share and/or like our Kickstarter campaign to Help Grow The Clyde Fitch Report. Thanks!


Past Featured Columnists

Roxanne Gentry, Popular Palimpsest

Roxanne_Gentry_300x400What inspires you?
I have found inspiration in cities, people, television shows and even really amazing tacos. What inspires me the most, though are good stories. What I love about them is that a “good story” means something different to everyone—that as important as critical acclaim and historical legacy are in establishing literary canon, neither really contributes to how we feel about stories. My favorite stories are the ones that make the return to the real world feel jarring, like the story took a piece of me with it. It’s that sensation that makes me continue to study and love stories.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
I came to The Clyde Fitch Report without a real idea of what it had to offer. Clearly, it’s an arts and politics publication, and there are a lot of those, but it didn’t take me long to figure out what makes The Clyde Fitch Report special. The CFR fosters so many different voices, accommodates so much diversity—not only in the background of its contributors, but also in its schools of thought. What inspires me about The CFR is its inclusiveness and diversity, qualities that make its voice feel authentic and relevant to its readers.


Tim Cusack, Culture Askew

Tim_Cusack_300x400What inspires you?
I am inspired by people who think in the plural rather than the singular.
I am inspired by geniuses who talk to children like peers.
I am inspired by people who lack credentials but accumulate achievements.
I am inspired by those who work for the revolution even though they’ll never live to see it.
I am inspired by people who fumigate theorems, do lines of poetry, and Lindy Hop with abandon.
I am inspired by the sunsets over Jersey City and the Milky Way over Fire Island.
I am inspired when one stranger offers another her seat on the F train.
I am inspired by the stubborn persistence required to stay alive and vital.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
The CFR has managed the tricky feat of being at once curated and inclusive, which is like trying to tightrope walk on one’s hands. I have read hilariously snarky posts on street fashion and sobering thoughts on the end of democracy and rise of a post-nationalist oligarchic class. The quality of the writing is the best money can buy, except in the case of this site it hasn’t. The writers give freely of their wisdom and talent. I can’t think of a more contentious, witty and stimulating party I would want to be invited to.


Dillon Slagle, Hidden Performances

Dillon_Slagle_300x400What inspires you?
I am inspired by the hidden stories in the world. Either obscured or forgotten, I love discovering and sharing a part of the story of humanity that has gone missing. This drives my work in dramaturgy, where I tease out a long-dead author’s intent and circumstance, as well as biological anthropology, where I determine a person’s most intimate details. Uncovering how someone lived and died or encountering the details that give a script meaning feels like magic.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
The Clyde Fitch Report inspires me through the absolutely fearless approach of its contributors and curators. This is one of those rare and beautiful publications that embraces contradictions within stories, while allowing and even encouraging posts that run in opposition to each other. There is faith that solid writing will create a constructive dialogue about relevant issues in the arts and politics. A dialogue that inspires positive change in the two most powerful, and stubborn, qualities of our society.


Bill Asti, Asti’s Archway

Bill_Asti_300x400What inspires you?
My inspiration is derived from my exposure to the beauty, the horrors and the idiosyncrasies of the human race.

I try to make sense of what goes on around me and I try to express my understanding of those goings-on through various forms of expression; writing being one of those forms. As an artist, a sculptor and an architect, my platform for expression can be subtle for those who view and can be limitless for me. As a writer, my art of expression is less forgiving and more impatient . . . possibly a function of my age and competence.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
In one place I can read the musings of great writers on a variety of subjects. I can view the unavoidable connections between all human endeavors; connections which give sensible importance to the pursuit of beauty and the rejection of malice.

Many years ago I started what eventually became the largest stand-alone documentary film festival in the world; a platform for our communal quest for truth. For me, The Clyde Fitch Report is an expansion of our communal quest in a new platform.

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Most exciting is that The Clyde Fitch Report doesn’t homogenize life. It reports life unfiltered.


Shawn C. Harris, Crossroads & Intersections

Shawn_C_Harris_300x400What inspires you?
I am regularly inspired by the women of color I encounter everyday who are living, learning and creating in a world that does not value the contributions of women of color. All too often, we internalize those messages and start believing that we have nothing to offer the world. Women of color on stage and screen, women of color participating in fandoms, women of color writing and critiquing, are all my inspirations. And all across the board, there is the cry for more stories with women of color main characters who are fully human, with all the complexity and messiness that entails. From them, I am inspired to keep working, to keep creating these stories for as long as I am able.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
Through The Clyde Fitch Report, I am able to take this inspiration in a direction I never anticipated. Being able to share the things I’ve learned about anti-oppression with a larger audience than I’d get on a personal blog has been so rewarding. It’s helped me introduce and delve into a framework that does not get much focus in most discussions about gender and racial equity. I spent a long time just laying down the defining terms, but now I’m ready and eager to move forward by applying these things to how we go about creating and participating in the larger theatre community. I look forward to seeing what that brings.


Laura Axelrod, Triple Axelrod and The Marbury Project
CFR Senior Curator

Laura_Axelrod_300x400What inspires you?
My driving force these days is tapping into my inner consciousness and writing from that. For so many years, I tried to please other people through my work. I listened to every nugget of advice and criticism until I lost my identity and voice. I think this is a common issue for anyone in the arts. There is plenty of pressure to reflect the world as others see it. But having the courage to look inside, recognize my own vision and express it, is a lifelong lesson for me.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
What I find refreshing about The Clyde Fitch Report is how much people working outside the system are embraced. Other arts publications tend to focus on the same insiders voicing the same ideas. Either that or people are so afraid of offending insiders that what they’ve written is sanitized. At The CFR, people get the opportunity to be themselves. There is no demand for me to agree with staff members or contributors. In fact, the main goal is for people to be themselves. The ability to be heard in an authentic way is one of the reasons I write for The CFR.


David W. Terrell, Off Center: Left

David_Terrell_300x400What inspires you?
I am moved by loyalty, family, friendship, beauty and justice. This last is important for The Clyde Fitch Report, because it means I am motivated jointly by anger and hope. I have spent a lifetime in public service, and know no other way to live. Because I see public policy increasingly tilted toward the interests of those who need the least, and because I know a great deal about public policy, I feel a fundamental responsibility to use the only instrument I have to urge change and build hope.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
Where, other than The Clyde Fitch Report, would one find a journal devoted more or less equally to politics and the arts, in the implicit recognition that the two are viscerally important to the human experience, and are not separate? There, as in few other journals, one can find superb writing, scholarship without condescension or tedium, and genuinely fresh ideas. It is an honor and a privilege to be published in The CFR, and it brings out my very best effort.


Beck Feibelman, The Lorgnette
CFR Chief Curator

Beck_Feibelman_300x400What inspires you?
I’m inspired by humanism, creativity, talent, curiosity, showmanship, vision, cooperation, critical thinking, style, experimentation, rigor, surprise, openness, empathy, complexity. The people who inspire me are nerds, experts, amateurs, activists, artists and anyone who approaches the world assuming new ideas and experiences will be interesting, productive and important. I’m inspired by art forms that grow more and more complex, more and more rewarding to know about, the more time I spend engaged with them.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
I love The Clyde Fitch Report because it is a place for people who form strong opinions about whatever they encounter and need to communicate those opinions. On The CFR, all the writers have something important to say, and they work hard to figure out how to communicate effectively to readers who might agree, might disagree, or might never have considered the issues. The thoughtfulness of the writing lends value, weight and integrity to the diverse perspectives on offer.


Margaret McAleese, McAleese on Life

Margaret_McAleese_300x400What inspires you?
When writers, performers and artists communicate truthfully from the head and heart, I am inspired. There’s a lot to be said for genuineness, and for any artist who bravely portrays honesty in their craft. I find I’m less engaged if a piece of art seems inauthentic—when artists are seemingly trying to write, or perform, or paint themselves not true to who they are, and are trying to be someone else. Finding one’s own voice and communicating that voice is important to the artist and audience. Authenticity paints a picture we can all recognize and admire, and it provides substance for reflection.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
Having one meeting place for conversation and thoughtful reflection is what inspires me about The Clyde Fitch Report. Being able to read different points of view, new perspectives, personal encounters and humorous features gives me a better perspective of our arts and political communities and beyond, and it’s all contained in one site. I feel privileged that I’m part of this community where I can share my own personal ideas and stories alongside these smart and talented folks. I learn from them, and I believe the readers do as well.


David Cohen
CFR Business Advisor

David_Cohen_300x400What inspires you?
I find myself inspired by many things. For example, children’s laughter, particularly my nieces and seeing them express joy and play. I am inspired by the sounds of nature. I find my time away from the city allows me to decompress and revitalize. I have a ritual every weekend morning, in addition to various thought-leader programs, watching CBS’s Moments of Nature. I find inspiration in spending quality time with friends. I am also inspired when witnessing people from diverse cultures share customs, ideas and thoughts.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
What inspires me about The Clyde Fitch Report is the opportunity, platform and promise to have a forum where the sharing of ideas is not only allowed but encouraged. I enjoy discussing issues and debating topics that affect all of us.


James Wilson, Southern in Shanghai

James_Wilson_300x400What inspires you?
I think the what inspires me most nowadays is seeing the good that comes from having driven, determined people working towards a goal.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
The Clyde Fitch Report has great coverage from a number of folks focusing on their areas of expertise and interest. When you have talented people writing to explore ideas, inform an audience and spark conversations on topics that they are truly passionate and knowledgeable about, you can’t help but have a quality publication. Writing alongside these kindred spirits inspires me.


Webb Hubbell, Hubbell’s Telescope

Webb_Hubbell_300x400What inspires you?
What inspires me are mountain ranges, pristine walkable beaches and a comfortable reading chair with a good book. Who inspires me are the people who fight injustice everyday; and the people who are laid off from work, but do odd jobs way below their educational level just to get by with a smile on their face and a song in their heart. I’m inspired by artfully crafted words that bring to life the emotions I feel. I am inspired by music that stays with me long after I’ve heard it, and I’m inspired those who refuse to be defined by their detractors.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
The CFR reports without agenda or boundaries — no “fair and balanced” reporting. I learn about worlds and people that entertain, challenge and inspire without the cynicism that predominates news coverage these days. The people who write for The CFR truly love the arts but understand that to improve, criticism must be used as a helpful tool not a way to inflict pain. Those who write about politics do so because the world can be a much better place, and offer insights that those bound by the corporate agendas of most news sources can’t express. The CFR inspires me because I learn something new every day.


Duncan Webb, Consultant Speak

Duncan_Webb_300x400What inspires you?
I figured out a long time ago that I was not an artist, but I was still motivated to be in the business because of what art and artists could do — create magic and hold a mirror up to ourselves that would change us and our world for the better.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
And that’s where The Clyde Fitch Report comes in, as a place where the arts and politics collide. The arts can and should play a larger role in changing the tone and tenor of political discourse today, and The CFR is well-positioned to highlight efforts being made in that direction by the brave artists and politicians prepared to fight the good fight.


Rik Sansone, Idiots in Ink

Rik_Sansone_300x400What inspires you?
I am inspired when I know that my work has been seen by people and it has affected them in some way. Even if they dislike the point of view, and are angry about what I have expressed, I feel that I have communicated something powerful. Recently an eighth grade student tried to plagiarize one of my pieces for a class report. An innocent mistake at that age, sure, but the fact that he felt strongly enough to use my work in the classroom for a report is actually quite a compliment. So are the over 34000 likes one of pieces revived when shared on Instagram by NBA star Damian Lillard. The comments on it were quite the spirited debate and I’m pleased that a dialogue was happening around the issue depicted in the cartoon.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
The Clyde Fitch Report inspires me because I know that not only my work will be seen by a much wider audience than if it were on my own blog, but also I feel that it fits within the style of the site. It works existing next to the amazing amount of think pieces, editorials and humor on the site itself. On occasion the topics covered will inspire me to contribute my own view on a particular issue or current event.


Jessica Salas, The “F” Word

Jessica_Salas_-_300x400What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the opportunity to be heard and connect with others who are like me. Women and members of the LGBTQ community all inspire me with the amazing contributions they make to society every day. Another inspiration is my mom. She came to this country with nothing, and has been able to build such a good life for herself and her family. I have always been encouraged to be myself, and she has shown me that the key to success is hard work and the drive to never give up, and that is a huge inspiration for me.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
What inspires me about The Clyde Fitch Report is the passion from everyone who contributes to the site. There are so many talented, knowledgeable and inspiring individuals who contribute to The Clyde Fitch Report that it motivates and inspires me to write more intriguing pieces, and to learn and grow. There is so much amazing writing on The CFR, and I am very grateful to be a part of it and to watch it evolve into this great entity that it is becoming. I feel proud to be a part of The CFR, and continue to become inspired by everyone else on the team.


Adam Epstein, Expat Enquiry

Adam_Epstein_300x400What inspires you?
More than anything else, I’m inspired by ambition. It doesn’t really matter exactly where that ambition is directed, but just that it manifests itself somewhere. People who are multi-talented thrive off energy. Dreamers are alive. They are hopeful, and what’s more sexy than forward thinkers who will engineer the awesome results of our eventual collective consciousness? And dreams aren’t just a bit of new age, clichéd nonsense. Thinking is action, and a cause is made when a goal is set. Taking the steps to see that cause to full effect is what ambition is all about. And that never fails to excite and inspire me.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
The Clyde Fitch Report is nothing if not eclectic. It’s a true privilege to be able to try and make the “twain” meet if and when that is possible. In truth, the site might ostensibly be devoted to arts and politics but it has a much deeper brief. Alexis De Toqueville famously analyzed America in the 19th century and he observed that public opinion was an even stronger force than government itself. Culture in and of itself shapes and is informed by public opinion, and it has the power to guide or drive the way people think, feel and even rebel. The Clyde Fitch Report is literary proof of this reality, and it ensures that our national conversation is more than just blogged about nonsense. Given that the site is a heap of intellectual connective tissue, The Clyde Fitch Report insists that a diverse and always rigorous is conversation must be had.


Leonard Jacobs
CFR Founder and Editor Emeritus

Leonard_Jacobs_FINAL_300x400What inspires you?
Bravery inspires me, because I don’t think I’m always as brave as I’d like to be. Honesty inspires me, because I don’t think I’m always as truly, bloodily honest as I’d like to be. Truth inspires me, because even when it’s hard, hurtful and agonizing, at least it’s real—not to promote an ancient cliché, but it really does set you free. I’m deeply inspired by history and family; by loyalty and love; by ambition (when it’s noble, not ruthless); by insight (when it’s enlightening, not mercenary). I’m inspired by words and images and their innate power to inspire others.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
That it exists at all. That so many readers place value in the idea that arts and politics have a natural and enduring affinity, and that so many arts and politics writers and thought leaders are intrigued enough to contribute time and energy toward its success. That this relatively obscure American man, a playwright who proved so monumentally successful and pivotal at a time of a rapidly shifting arts and politics, could signify the rapidly shifting arts and politics of a new era, our own. That is deeply inspiring and I hope it remains so for a long time to come.


Bec Willett, Chicagoin’ and Chicago Playwrights

Bec_Willett_300x400What inspires you?
Inspiration is sometimes so easy to find, and at other times so difficult. It often depends on what medium I’m obsessed with at the time – theatre, words, paint, graphics, film. Most of the time, it’s image and mood based: the way someone’s face on the train flickers with light, the shapes bodies make in response to emotion and place, a moment of sacrifice or generosity from an unexpected party.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
The Clyde Fitch Report is an ever-changing time capsule. What people are thinking about, discussing and creating in their own worlds is brought into one hub, from which it is shared with many. This then starts new thinking, new discussions and new creations. I’m honored and inspired to be a part of that.


Sean Douglass, Chicagoin’ and Chicago Playwrights
CFR Associate Curator

Sean_Douglass_300x400What inspires you?
As to what “inspires” me, I know my plays are always concerned on some level with metaphysical questions or how people create and recognize meaningfulness in their lives. I tend to facetiously say I write about “superficiality,” and by this I mean I want to encourage audiences to have a more critical approach to our culture, especially popular culture, in ways that make life more imaginative, complex, selfless and compassionate. With dramaturgy I can perform a similar function, helping audiences have this kind of engaged, internal, perhaps even incriminating (in a good way!) experience with someone else’s work.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
I write for The Clyde Fitch Report because it doesn’t just want to talk about arts and social issues, but it wants to talk about the two of them in the context of each other. It’s willing to emphasize thriving, but often overlooked, forms like theater and dance, while also asking questions about artistic praxis and how our creative impulses can do real, practical work. It’s less a blogging site, really, and more a collection of accessible, yet enlightening, essays on the cultural and political landscape in which I live. And I am grateful for its eagerness to include Chicago artists in that conversation.


Elizabeth Burke, Burke’s Law

Elizabeth_Burke_300x400What inspires you?
I was asked to write about what inspires me. Well it’s the written word really. Dialog from a play that crosses the page and makes me want not only to play this character but to make everyone I know come and see this amazing story. I am inspired by people who are braver than I am. People who take risks to make this world better give me the courage to express myself through my writing and give a voice to matters I feel are vitally important. Or maybe that just strike me as funny. So words, mine and others, inspire me.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
The Clyde Fitch Report is a repository for writers who weren’t jocks or honor roll or super popular in high school. It is a place where the creative population lives. It’s a place where we have the freedom and ability to write about whatever strikes our fancy. Whether it be about the clown car of politics, the necessity of a camelhair coat or a story on the attacks against the free press in Paris. The CFR is an eclectic place for eclectic writers.


Shane Jewell, Jewell Re: Arts

Shane_Jewell_300x400What inspires you?
There is nothing more inspiring than when an audience breaks tradition to applaud at a time where their actions were not prewritten by the code of ethics of live performance, but by being unable to contain their joy. It affects everyone from the patrons to the performers, and it is a palpable example of how the arts can move a person. Performers do not perform because they like the sound of applause; they perform to make people feel something, good or bad. Applause should be an act of gratitude because without art, this world would feel so much less.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
What inspires me about writing for The Clyde Fitch Report is that it constantly challenges me to truly examine my industry. It is such a common thing for humans to act without thought, to continue their processes without taking the time to consider the reason behind the process. Each time I write an article I spend hours in research, in dissecting the information and looking at it from every possible angle. I have come up with so many new ideas and questions while writing that it has made me much better at what I do, and hopefully it will have a small ripple effect within the arts world. We can all be better.


Jai Sen, Sen and Sensibility

Jai_Sen_300x400What inspires you?
I love looking at new ways of storytelling. Some of the work that’s being done in comics and graphic novels is pure magic, and finding it, reading it and sharing it with others inspires me. As a writer, I’m always reading, and The CFR gives me a way to explore and share the work in this medium that means something to me and really gets me thinking.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
I can always find unexpected points of view in The CFR — ideas I hadn’t through about before, or familiar subjects looked at from new perspectives. I’ve learned a lot from reading The CFR, both in the realms of arts and politics.


Leslie Cargill, The Mix

Leslie_Cargill_300x400What inspires you?
It’s a big word — Inspiration. Not one to be used lightly. If it were “who” rather than “what,” I’d offer a list of names, people I’ve known or longed to know, each having shaped my thinking or being in some way: family members, friends, strangers, neighbors, colleagues, collaborators. Women and men, old and young, smart, sensible, funny, honest, brave, caring, generous, committed, thoughtful, gifted, understanding and wise. Artists, athletes, speakers, writers, musicians, caregivers, caretakers, teachers, preachers, students, workers, thinkers, listeners, leaders, followers, do-ers, comforters, encouragers, supporters, empathizers, sympathizers, example setters. Some recognized, but most who are who they are without celebration.

The question though is “What inspires you?” And that would be character. For me, true inspiration — whether in person, place or thing — can best be found in the strength, uniqueness and integrity of its character.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
Perspective. Diversity. Opportunity. Informed. Breadth. Depth. Openness. Clarity. Vagueness. Knowledge. Answers. Questions. Chance. Honesty. Awareness. Limitless. Edge. Abundance. News. Inquiry. Ambiguity. Accessibility. Imaginings. Facts. Opinion. Belonging. Playfulness. Concern. Exploration. Lessons. Inquiring. Consideration. Collection. Division. Intersections. Creativity. Baiting. Ideas. Motivation. Movement. Enthusiasm. Character. Characters. Advancing. Participation. Discipline. Passion. Place. Stimulation. People. Interests. Data. Happenings. Quests. Reassurance. Pursuits. Emerging. Support. Learning. Choice. Encouragement. Challenge. Smorgasbord. Rumination. Provocation. Inspiration. Bottomless. Accomplishments. Selection. Coaxing. Freshness. Uniqueness. Ease. Humor. Crossings. Push. Pull. Examination. Change. Irreverence. Cross-pollination. Reliability. Unexpected. Curiosity. Credibility. Platform. Range. Partnerships. Topics. Reinforcement. Collaboration. Respect. Growth. Meaning. Encounters. Enlightenment. Musings. Ah-ha. Ta-dah. WTF!?

More a place to see than to be seen, The Clyde Fitch Report is one-stop shopping without a cart. It’s speed dating for the under-informed, romance for the ready. A smorgasbord of selections with a varied menu — insightful it is, and incite it does.


Marc A. Stutzel
CFR Director of Technology

Marc_Stutzel_300x400What inspires you?
I learned a while ago that little moments matter. Life is filled with little interactions, conversations and experiences where that throwaway comment or the unexpected smile from a stranger defines meaning in our lives. We live in these little moments and these little moments feed our big ones. Life and death, joy and sadness, are expressed in little moments that we live through day to day and month to month. As a Lutheran pastor and web programmer, what inspires me are the people who live these moments and invite me to walk alongside and witness that beauty with them.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
As a Lutheran pastor, my job isn’t just to focus on the big moments of births and deaths but also pointing out how our every day experiences, even insignificant encounters, are holy. What we see as small and simple are truly moments of deep meaning. The CFR inspires me by not being afraid to see and explore meaning. The contributors help me see old things in new ways; naming what’s holy and letting us know when we, together, fall short.


Greg Richter, Richter’s Scale

Greg_Richter_300x400What inspires you?
Since I was a child I have wanted to find creative ways to share my thoughts. My parents were supportive of my cartooning of lunar landings at age 5 through a failed attempt at the clarinet and a better attempt at drums. I was inspired by my mom’s faith and my dad’s work ethic. I’ve tried to combine them in a way that would make them proud. My wife is an excellent writer and inspires me to be better. Above all else, I am inspired by God to treat everyone with kindness and respect and keep trying harder to actually succeed.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
The Clyde Fitch Report inspires me to use whatever talents I have to make a difference in how people see each other. It is a pipe dream, but I don’t want conservatives and liberals to see each other only as labels. My personal views are conservative, but I’m libertarian in how I want everyone to be treated. I like to have honest debate with people I disagree with, but won’t respond to people who are only trying to start a fight. I see The CFR as a place where honest debate free of name-calling can flourish.


Caroline Kim Oh, That Nonprofiteer

Caroline_Kim_Oh_-_300x400What inspires you?
My kids. My boy believes that all bad people go to jail, and that all people there are bad. My girl thinks she can save every homeless person she sees with her coins. As of late, they’ve begun to figure out life is not so black or white, that there are grays in between. This makes me proud, but also a little sad. These guys make me want to make the world a little bit nicer. Lately, I’ve been telling them about the reds, the blues and the yellows in the world, and all the lovely colors in between.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
Writing is not something that comes easily to me, even though I have always loved the idea of it. So I’ve been so moved and inspired by the fact that people I’ve never met are reading my column and reaching out to share their thoughts. The common thread has been that my very personal experience of running a nonprofit, starting a family and trying to take care of myself has resonated with them. As Carl Rogers once said, perhaps “what is most personal is most universal.”


Gerd-Theo Umberg, Pocket Vienna

Gerd_Theo_Umberg_300x400What inspires you?
Hope and courage. The Angelus Novus painted by Paul Klee: he fears the crimes and faults of the 20th century — they seem to be back. Hope and courage are required to fight for a more human society. I am not a warrior. I try to have sympathy with my neighbor, to influence my neighborhood, to convince people to quit racism and discrimination.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
The courage and vision of Leonard Jacobs to introduce The CFR. The connection of art and politics and no discrimination. Reading The CFR opens my mind and involves me in subject areas I am not acquainted with.


Scott Walters, Interrobang?!

Scott_Walters_300x400What inspires you?
I love seeing anyone question conventional wisdom. The narratives upon which our society has been built are becoming rigid and are stifling innovation. I’m looking for an earthquake, a revolution. This inertia is particularly prevalent in the performing arts, where little has changed since the 1970s. So when I see somebody point out that the emperor is scantily clad, I celebrate.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
I love that it isn’t only a political site or an arts site, but that it examines the “bloody crossroads” where the two meet. The writing is lively and committed. In many ways, The CFR is what the Huffington Post wanted to be before they decided to be People Magazine.


Roger Armbrust, Peculiar Progressive
CFR Associate Curator

Roger_Armbrust_-_300x400What inspires you?
Honesty. I believe it’s the key to every relationship. I may act like I have a relationship with another, but if I’m not honest, I really don’t. I believe it’s the key that makes us truly human. And honesty is tough to find in today’s society where we’re so hard-pressed to impress for money and power, rather than for love and nurturing growth. I can easily find myself fearfully caught in this trap. So I have to return to William James, and his philosophy of honesty, faith and action. And to art and poetry.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
First, Leonard Jacobs’ courage and vision to start this nexus of arts and politics. Second, its basis in honesty: the honesty of artists in fine art, writing and performing, leading us to a clearer view of ourselves and our humanity. And carrying that basic honesty to challenge politicians and political activists involved in consistent efforts to lie and manipulate, and also make the public aware of those few who don’t. This effort in writing on arts and politics takes dedicated research, insight and honest, clear expression. I consistently find this in The CFR.


Penny Landau, The TV Junkie

Penny_Landau_300x400What inspires you?
There are so many things in the world that inspire me: beautiful music, a breath-taking piece of art or sculpture or a performance that brings me to my feet. What all these things have in common is that they’re created by people. People, that’s what inspires me the most. Today’s world is so screwed up that it pains me to think about it. Then you hear about a man who walks 21 miles each way to his job in Detroit and has for 10 years. People pitch in to help him with money so he can buy a car, but the dealership owner gives him one for free. When I read about people helping someone they don’t even know, out of the pure altruistic goodness of their hearts, that inspires me.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
There are 3 million websites out there in space, some devoted to the arts, some to politics and even more to entertainment. What really gets to me about the CFR, is that it has something for everyone. Yes, I write about television and I do the occasional celebrity interview, but I always find myself wanting to see what my fellow writers are talking about. It could be politics here and abroad and the terrorist situation facing the world or the way government is destroying arts funding, or it could simply be Rik Sansone’s brilliant and spot-on cartoons. That’s the point — whatever floats your boat can be found on the CFR.


Sydney Skybetter, Skybetter Business Bureau

Sydney_Skybetter_300x400What inspires you?
I am continually inspired by the power of individuals constellated by the Internet. It used to be really hard to find folks with similar interests, let alone do shared work on obscure subjects. The Internet has — for better and worse — made it easy to organize, and has produced some of the most phenomenal(ly) useful resources of all time. Yet for every Wikipedia — a platform deploying collective efforts to utopian ends — there is an ISIS, which uses the Internet as a meme-factory of terror. The Internet is thus ambivalent in its impact, aligned as much with industry as with art.

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
The Clyde Fitch Report is a mega-cluster of fierce, fiercely educated wonks of all varietals. To browse the site is to seamlessly traipse from articles examining Marvel comics on TV to transphobia in Eve Ensler’s oeuvre. Everything is a subject of potential interest, and every piece is interesting, frequently controversial, dynamically argued and demonstrably unique. It is as inspiring for its intervention in online journalism as for its subtle proselytizing of mustachios, and I couldn’t imagine my morning coffee without it.