David Carr, 1956-2015

New York Times Exceptionaism

Those of us who covered media were told for years that the sky was falling, and nothing happened. And then it did. Great big chunks of the sky gave way and magazines tumbled — Gourmet!? — that seemed as if they were as solid as the skyline itself…. So what do we get instead? The future, which is not a bad deal if you ignore all the collateral gore. Young men and women are still coming here to remake the world, they just won’t be stopping by the human resources department of Condé Nast to begin their ascent. For every kid that I bump into who is wandering the media industry looking for an entrance that closed some time ago, I come across another who is a bundle of ideas, energy and technological mastery. The next wave is not just knocking on doors, but seeking to knock them down.

— The outpouring of shock and sorrow that accompanied the initial announcement of David Carr’s death yesterday centered mostly around how kind and generous and open he was as a colleague, mentor and friend to so many. This is both correct and appropriate, but an even more important component of his personality was his ability to face the future with complete curiosity and a fearlessness that allowed him to be skeptical (but not dismissive) when necessary but enthusiastic and optimistic about things that few other people of his position or experience were able to contend with. Part of his brilliance was that, in having already lived two lives, he was fully able to embrace the second one no matter what challenges or struggles he faced. Carr was 58.