Friday, January 12, 2018

Starting with What Matters, Part 4: David Carr

Think about the emotional climate of America in early December 2001, around the time when the January 2002 issue of The Atlantic hit the newsstands. That issue included David Carr's article, "The Futility of 'Homeland Defense,'" which began with these words:
Get over thinking that America can be made safe. Defending a country as big and commercially robust as the United States raises profound, and probably insurmountable, issues of scale.  
Americans were anxious about preventing another 9/11, yet Carr was there to boldly remind us that the USA must defend 3.8 million square miles in which 300 million people live, 350 million non-citizens visit annually, 700 million pieces of mail and 2 billion tons of cargo arrive daily from overseas (remember Anthrax?), 86 stadiums seat over 60,000 people, and 50 of the tallest 100 buildings in the world are situtated. 

With a straightforward, colloquial style, the writer starts his essay by getting to the point like few other authors do. The times called for such delusion-shattering prose, and Carr delivered it with a finesse that garnered him the admiration of fellow journalists and readers who will long remember him.