Monday, February 16, 2015

David Carr's last words

His final column, drawn from the syllabus for his Boston University communications school course, is full of life wisdom and sound pedagogy. I'll be cribbing from it from now on, beginning with the way he introduced himself:
"Your professor... hates suck-ups, people who treat waitresses and cab drivers poorly and anybody who thinks diversity is just an academic conceit. He is a big sucker for the hard worker and is rarely dazzled by brilliance. He has little patience for people who pretend to ask questions when all they really want to do is make a speech.
"He has a lot of ideas about a lot of things, some of which are good. We will figure out which is which together. He likes being challenged. He is an idiosyncratic speaker, often beginning in the middle of a story, and is used to being told that people have no idea what he is talking about. It’s fine to be one of those people... he will strive to be a lucid, linear communicator.
"Your professor is fair, fundamentally friendly, a little odd, but not very mysterious. If you want to know where you stand, just ask.”
He encouraged teamwork. “While writing, shooting, and editing are often solitary activities, great work emerges in the spaces between people,” David wrote, adding, “Evaluations will be based not just on your efforts, but on your ability to bring excellence out of the people around you...”
David warned there would be a heavy reading list. “I’m not sliming you with a bunch of textbooks, so please know I am dead serious about these readings,” he wrote. “Skip or skim at your peril...”
“Who you are and what you have been through should give you a prism on life that belongs to you only... Don’t raise your hand in class,” he wrote. “This isn’t Montessori, I expect people to speak up when they like, but don’t speak over anyone.”
“If you text or email during class, I will ignore you as you ignore me,” David added. “It won’t go well.” 
I'll bet most of his classes went very well. Gonna miss him too.

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