Scrolling through social media this morning, I was saddened to learn that David Carr had passed away at the age of 58.
I’m not one for envy and idolization because I believe we each have unique talents that make us special. That said, David Carr was one of the few people I looked up to. Carr’s ability to express exactly his unique perspective at that moment in time was remarkable and his mastery over language was the reason he became the New York Times’ most recognizable journalist.
Whether Carr was writing or speaking, every word meant something and you felt it. I can’t even hold a candle to his writing, so I feel unfit to eulogize him in text. Instead I’ve gathered some passages across the web in dedication to Carr:
New York Times: A cancer survivor with a throaty croak of a speaking voice and a storklike posture, he was a curmudgeonly personality whose intellectual cockiness and unwillingness to suffer fools found their way into his prose. [more tributes]
Politico: He was a romantic about the press and about life, another reason the New York tractor-beam had to drag him to the cynical city. He was always hungry—for food, for information, for experience. His curiosity and openness served him well. Never was there a man who talked so much but listened so well.
Gawker: Within five minutes of meeting, he was telling the sort of personal stories that most people reserve for their very, very closest friends. Before you knew it, you were telling the same kind of stories. And then you were friends for life.
Medium (Nick Bilton): He then motioned for me to sit down in a poolside chair, where he declared that he was going to offer me two important pieces of advice.
He began with the first, serving up a long soliloquy about life, marriage, journalism, why we’re here, why we die, why things begin, why they end. As someone who had also been through a divorce himself, making a few unscheduled stops in hell before coming back, he was impassioned. He explained that everything — every relationship, every person, every job — has its time in life, and then, as he noted, all of a sudden it doesn’t. He told me I could feel sorry for myself that something was ending, or be excited and appreciative that it had ever even existed.
The Daily Beast: David Carr’s sudden passing Thursday night was a heavy blow to American journalism. Carr was a leader at The New York Times and in the profession, a rock of experience and expertise in an industry changing at an exponential rate all around him.
TIME: The hidden ingredient was stupendous effort. The man did his homework. If a trench needed digging, he grabbed a shovel. In his early years at the Times, David wrote for every page, every section, uncomplainingly. He became the paper’s biggest cheerleader and one of its most original voices.
Gawker: David Carr was one of the luckiest men I ever met. In 58 years, he lived at least 158 years worth of life. Everyone who knew David Carr was lucky too. The only unlucky people today are those who never got a chance to know him, because they would have enjoyed it.
That’s how I am feeling. I wish I had the chance opportunity to meet David Carr in person. Truly. And that’s an urge I don’t have very often. That said, reading his work throughout the years and through the tributes today, I also feel as I did know him.
R.I.P. David Carr.