RIP
February 12, 2015 9:01 PM   Subscribe

David Carr, journalist and media columnist for the New York Times passed away suddenly earlier tonight.

He wrote openly about his own struggles with addiction to crack cocaine in his 2008 memoir The Night of the Gun. Among other scenes, his starring role in the acclaimed documentary about his embattled newspaper, Page One: Inside the New York Times may perhaps be most memorable for his patient explanations to some douchebros at VICE how real journalism works.
posted by a lungful of dragon (72 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
“It wasn't that I wanted to be a writer; I just didn't want to be stupid.”
― David Carr, The Night of the Gun
/̵͇̿̿/'̿'̿ ̿

.
posted by Fizz at 9:05 PM on February 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Carr interviewed Citizenfour's Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden earlier today.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:06 PM on February 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:10 PM on February 12, 2015


.

(from DC - we loved you)
posted by sallybrown at 9:13 PM on February 12, 2015


.

What a loss for journalism and media criticism.
posted by immlass at 9:13 PM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Damn it. He was a force of nature.

If you haven't already, take the time to watch Page One: Inside the New York Times. Watching Carr at work was fascinating.
posted by vverse23 at 9:14 PM on February 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


David and I did a Sweet Spot once about Twitter as a place for collective grieving. He would appreciate whats happening here tonight.— a. o. scott (@aoscott) February 13, 2015

posted by Fizz at 9:18 PM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I heard him on NPR, just yesterday, and was struck by how frail he sounded...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 9:29 PM on February 12, 2015


.
posted by philip-random at 9:29 PM on February 12, 2015


.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:30 PM on February 12, 2015


.
posted by naju at 9:30 PM on February 12, 2015


.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:30 PM on February 12, 2015


.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:35 PM on February 12, 2015


.
posted by /\/\/\/ at 9:35 PM on February 12, 2015


.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:41 PM on February 12, 2015


.
posted by brennen at 9:41 PM on February 12, 2015


.
posted by holgate at 9:49 PM on February 12, 2015


–30–

.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:55 PM on February 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Its kind of a bitch that someone survives an earlier period like he did, comes out the other side grateful and settled, and then doesn't get to ride that out for a nice long finish.

Feels unfair, to my childish sense of justice. Also, seemed like a mensch and was definitely a great voice.
posted by C.A.S. at 10:00 PM on February 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:01 PM on February 12, 2015


.

I was always a fan. One of my favorite Carr moments was when he is interviewing Shane Smith and the Vice guys, and appropriately paddles them for being dismissive of the NYT in this scene from Page One.
posted by ill3 at 10:11 PM on February 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I lived in DC when he wrote for and edited the city paper. His words crackled. He was different. He was angry but not usually obnoxious. He will be greatly missed.
posted by chaz at 10:12 PM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Working on and off at the Times over the last few years, I never actually spoke to him, but got to ride in the same elevator a bunch of times. The charisma just radiated off him, and everybody in those elevators clearly hung on his every word, and looked at him with such love, and everything I (over)heard him say was perfectly, hysterically droll and totally deserving of all that star-struck-ness. It's like you're working in this place where everyone is a smart clumsy journalism nerd, but also somehow, somewhere among you, is Iggy Pop, and yet he's one of you too, and he wants to chat about the job. All of this beside the fact that he could write like a motherfucker, and covered media without losing or hiding his soul.

RIP
posted by neroli at 10:31 PM on February 12, 2015 [36 favorites]


.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:49 PM on February 12, 2015


.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:16 PM on February 12, 2015


@jelani9: "When David Carr took over the Washington City Paper in the mid 1990s he hired me and @tanehisicoates, as interns. His first year."

@lolaogunnaike: "@jelani9 @tanehisicoates @carr2n just tweeted about how he championed young writers of color. He supported me immensely at the @nytimes."

David Carr's syllabus for his BU class

"W-e a-r-e g-e-t-t-i-n-g h-i-g-h t-o-o"

.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:06 AM on February 13, 2015 [18 favorites]


###
posted by univac at 12:12 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Just because you put on a fuckin' safari helmet and went and looked at some poop doesn't give the right to criticize what we do.
posted by univac at 12:24 AM on February 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


I read "Night Of The Gun" about a month after I quit drinking. It helped me.

.
posted by thelonius at 12:37 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


.
posted by acb at 2:27 AM on February 13, 2015


Wow, this just sucks.

.
posted by octothorpe at 3:43 AM on February 13, 2015


.
posted by Etrigan at 4:18 AM on February 13, 2015


.
posted by valkane at 4:23 AM on February 13, 2015


.
posted by drezdn at 4:32 AM on February 13, 2015


.
posted by Cash4Lead at 4:45 AM on February 13, 2015


I did not know that Carr hired Jelani Cobb and Tahenisi Coates. That makes me like him even more. He had a singular voice and could be counted on to give an unvarnished viewpoint and ask important questions. When I heard his name attached to anything I paid closer attention.
posted by readery at 4:47 AM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


from Nate Silver

.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:59 AM on February 13, 2015


It's not often that my Twitter feed registers quite as unanimous and overwhelming an emotion as the grief there last night. Carr seems to have been genuinely loved and admired by an awful lot of people.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:00 AM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is how David Carr described his relationship with women in the 80's:

"My duplicity around women was towering and chronic. I conned and manipulated myself into their beds and then treated them like human jewelry, something to be worn for effect. And when I was called to account, I sometimes responded with violence."

He routinely beat women, he beat the woman who would become the mother of his children so hard he broke one of her rib bones. Then when he was clean he sold the story of doing this and many other horrific things as a memoir for profit.

I enjoyed his journalism (Particularly his insistence on old school ethics in reporting) and I am pleased he took the chance at redemption and happy he got a second chance which took well and clearly had the talent to deserve. But, let's not pretend that this was a good man. He was a messed up ordinary human who did good things and absolutely horrible things with his life.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 5:04 AM on February 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


.
posted by What'sAPedantWalter? at 5:05 AM on February 13, 2015


.
posted by rmannion at 5:19 AM on February 13, 2015


Talk about dying with boots on; here is a piece he wrote a couple days ago about Brian Willams and Jon Stewart.
posted by bukvich at 5:31 AM on February 13, 2015


.
posted by artsandsci at 5:32 AM on February 13, 2015


I would say someone who recognizes his moral failings and puts himself right is a "good man." And that's not tainted by whatever meager profit he managed to squeeze out of writing about it.
posted by rodii at 6:02 AM on February 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


“I now inhabit a life I don’t deserve,” Mr. Carr wrote at the conclusion of “The Night of the Gun,” “but we all walk this earth feeling we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn’t end any time soon.”

posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:17 AM on February 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


.
posted by Kinbote at 6:23 AM on February 13, 2015




.
posted by antonymous at 6:28 AM on February 13, 2015


Then when he was clean he sold the story of doing this and many other horrific things as a memoir for profit.

He changed. He stopped. That is so incredibly rare and telling the story of how he changed - heck, owning up to what he used to do in a very public way - this makes him a good man. He may not have been at one point, but saying "he routinely beat women" is an incredibly unchararible read on this man's life. Writing a book that contains these stories may help other people to change. It takes incredible courage to stand up, look yourself square in the face, and own up to your past mistakes - and to then tell the story.

.
posted by sockermom at 7:05 AM on February 13, 2015 [23 favorites]


I was a fan of his column in the Times, but I didn't know much of his backstory until he showed up in Bicycling magazine, of all places. I hope he's enjoying a nice ride somewhere warm and scenic.
posted by jalexei at 7:23 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I work at the Times and was up late working in my own small way to contribute to the articles and obit there. So I'm a little bleary-eyed from exhaustion and sorrow right now.

I didn't know him, but like a lot of people, just seeing -- and hearing! -- him around the office thrilled me.

He was such an advocate of journalism, so fearless and honest and clever and humane. It's all over his columns. Here's a recent one I liked where he writes happily about The Washington Post's improving prospects. They are our paper's historical rival, but Carr's take was that "Only a nitwit would root against the health of the daily newspaper in the nation’s capital." And he was so fucking funny. Heres how he opened an email he sent around the time he wrote his book, to drum up publicity: david carr here. as you can see from the non-customized hello, I am spamming you out of self-interest.

I was once coming into the building with two cups of coffee, one for me, one for my boss. The doors on the Times Building are remarkably heavy and hard to open, especially on blustery days, which happen often in the wind tunnels of Manhattan. So I'm sort of balancing one cup on the other, with my chin clamping the lid of the top cup, and gingerly reaching for the all but immovable door as the wind tries to tip my coffee Jenga tower onto the sidewalk and my khakis.

I struggle with the handle for a second and then, grace, an arm reaches past me and throws open the door. It's David Carr, just after a smoking and raspy voiced rap sessions. He was by this point frail, stooped, but still tall and with such a powerful presence. With a theatrical flourish, he gestured inside and bowed his head even lower. He smiled. "After you, you double-fister."
posted by andromache at 7:50 AM on February 13, 2015 [34 favorites]


He was such an advocate of journalism,

Amen. We needed him, and more like him.

.
posted by Miko at 8:22 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Damn. I just saw him on TV two days ago and he looked so frail, but was as insightful as ever. He will be missed.

.
posted by unwordy at 9:49 AM on February 13, 2015


The wonderful piece he wrote in the Times magazine introducing Night of the Gun: Me and My Girls. It's a brilliant reflection on the myth of Recovery, and his own self-myths about his own recovery.

What a loss. One of the most distinctive voices ever at the Times.
posted by jackbrown at 10:24 AM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


What a giant. Journalism will miss him.

.
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 10:38 AM on February 13, 2015


One of my college paper chums texted me about this last night on my way home from work, and I saw it just after pulling up in front of my house.

I was stuck in the car with limp sails for a while. What a shocking, unfair loss.
posted by sacramental excrementum at 11:15 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Eyeveex at 1:18 PM on February 13, 2015




.
posted by adamd1 at 1:51 PM on February 13, 2015


It takes incredible courage to stand up, look yourself square in the face, and own up to your past mistakes - and to then tell the story.

That is one reason why I enjoyed Night of the Gun so much. Because its honesty in its most brutal form. The abuse (along with his drug use) is ugly and abhorrent but he admits it, faces it, and then does his best to learn from it and live a clean life. I would think we need more examples of this in our society.

His passing has hit me harder than I expected. Such a loss.
posted by Fizz at 2:40 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Sphinx at 4:42 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


@tanehisicoates: "Praise pouring out from young journalists over @carr2n's death has a dark side--the fact that this sort of mentorship is so absent, now."
posted by Golden Eternity at 5:03 PM on February 13, 2015 [6 favorites]






The thing I will remember about David Carr is that he paid attention. He learned a lot about people on the bottom because he lived that life. He lived it but as a visitor, with options. He takes time to note in the story about his daughter asleep in the car that the car itself was a gift from one of his brother, not a new car but a car all the same. His parents helped with private rehab and legal costs, both criminal and to gain custody of his daughters. His parents kept his daughters when he was too far in to addiction and facilitated their stay in foster care, remaining as resources. He took the time to relay all the things that gave him a leg up and allowed him a way out.
I think he took two main things from this part of his life. He saw people for what they were. Living with crack heads in sketchy neighborhoods allowed him not to just see poor folks as 'the other'. And being given mercy and a way out made him the kind of person who looked for ways to extend that hand to others. It took both these lessons along with a way with words. In that final panel discussion he initially opens with the observation to Glen Greenwald 'you wear life like a loose garment' as an opening to see the effect of the world of surveillance and Edward Snowden's story on Greenwald's psyche. As always, conveying a lot on the fly.
posted by readery at 7:44 AM on February 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


David Carr Died of Lung Cancer
posted by octothorpe at 4:23 PM on February 15, 2015


Interesting. I just listened to the NPR Fresh Air show with his old interviews, and Terry Gross asked him if his horse voice was from the drugs. He listed his smoking habit, the crack, and the radiation treatments as possible causes but then said he worked the 9/11 Ground Zero for a few weeks after the attack and he actually never had a horse voice before that assignment, he got the nodes after that.

I wonder if that was a factor with the lung cancer
posted by C.A.S. at 10:06 PM on February 15, 2015


King David is Ta-Nehisi Coates' very personal remembrance of David Carr. I highly recommend it.
posted by bruceo at 3:32 PM on February 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


I was just coming here to post that. Great read.
posted by brundlefly at 5:38 PM on February 19, 2015


Worn Stories: T-shirt, by David Carr.
posted by Miko at 8:31 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


That King David story is great. Thanks.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:10 PM on February 22, 2015


Because of David's amazing mentorship, we still get to know him in a small way through the writing of Coates and others. Reading King David has affirmed my admiration of journalism.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:05 PM on February 23, 2015


« Older Remove the Testicle!   |   The first science fiction anthology to focus on... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments