Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

David Carr: Your Best Friend

Hamilton Nolan, writing on Gawker:

The first time I met David Carr, maybe seven years ago, I mistook him for a crazy person. (He actually was a crazy person, in the warmest possible sense of the word.) He was a big guy, and he walked with a hunched-over shuffle, and when I spied his indistinct shape walking towards me from a couple of blocks away I assumed he was a homeless man in a trenchcoat, struggling for each step. The fact that he was a feared and respected media figure at a fancy newspaper always seemed like a wonderful cosmic prank against the existence of stereotypes. 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. There is a great story in his book about a surprise birthday party for him where everyone wore t-shirts saying “I Am A Close Personal Friend of David Carr,” and I have no doubt that everyone believed it, because it was true. If you were friends with him then so was your family and so were your friends and so were their friends.

Here’s a beautiful story from Anthony De Rosa:

A common refrain you’ll hear in the stories people will tell about David is that he made you feel comfortable. Sure, he was intimidating at first and intense. He could turn a phrase that often took a second to decipher. But once you settled in, you were under his spell. He knew how to get you to be sincere and at your least self-aware. He was unguarded which led you to be unguarded. This was also a key to why he was such a great reporter, along with the masterful way he could string words together.

And Nick Bilton:

I had come out to Los Angeles for a month to try and escape New York, where the life I had built there was crumbling. Upon my arrival in Hollywood I had taken over an empty desk in the The New York Times L.A. Bureau. While the new environment was a temporary distraction, I often took quick walks downstairs where I burst into tears and felt sorry for myself, overwhelmed by what life was throwing my way.

As I stood outside one afternoon, doing just that, my phone bleated with a message from David Carr. “How are you doing Nickols?” he asked, a nickname he often used for me in lieu of Nick.

In tears, I told him, “Not good.” Explaining that it was over. That my life had fallen apart. That I… and then, he calmly interrupted me, explaining that he was in L.A. on a last minute trip, and instructed me to meet him on the rooftop of The Standard Hotel downtown in 30 minutes. “Don’t take the freeway,” he said. “I’ll never see you again.”

Remember TechMeme on the day Steve Jobs died? It’s just as busy today on MediaGazer: dozens upon dozens of people celebrating the talents of David Carr, and sharing their personal stories and memories.

As for me? I never got the opportunity to meet the man. I was just a reader, poring over every word he wrote for the past several years. He had a singular ability to string words together in a way that felt more like they were hewn from his thoughts than merely words on a page. It clearly took a lot of effort for him to put his stories together — you should watch the film “Page One” — but it resulted in a near-effortless read. And I’m going to miss that greatly.