THE LIGHT IN DAVID RAKOFF'S EYES.
Years later, I was re-introduced to David by a colleague at The New Yorker. His eyes were different: the world had taken some note of his gifts, and there was a light behind the sadness. One felt he couldn’t believe his good fortune, that people actually liked his writing, and everything that went with it: his ineluctable voice, and his wit, which grew out of his melancholy, which is the wellspring for any satirist of the first order. I liked his writing because it was careful, by which I don’t mean it was polite, but well-ordered. It combined the best aspects of reporting—a gimlet eye and an open heart—with a philosophical point of view that skipped ahead of any claim of self-indulgence. I always wondered how he did it because that’s what writers always wonder: How did that writer do it? David was too modest an artist to talk about “process”; he lived by doing what he was meant to do: educate himself in public until illness and then death drew its curtain.