Today is the last official workday for Patrick George, the longest-serving Editor-in-Chief in Jalopnik’s history. In the PG-era the site has done some of its best work, and grown to audience sizes previously unimaginable. He was also our boss, so now we’re going to make fun of him relentlessly. Lovingly, as well. But mostly, relentlessly.
It’s a testament to his impact at this site that I do believe this is the longest blog we have ever published. Everyone had something to say, or had some truly bizarre story to tell. In his last seven (maybe? I haven’t checked and I can’t be bothered to ask him) years at this company, he’s been everything from weekend writer to the EIC and everything in between.
And this is just who we could fit. Everyone else can take it to Kinja.
Lacey Donahue, former Gawker Media Executive Managing Editor
I have two things to say about Patrick:
1) He’s an excellent driver. I once made him drive a rented minivan from the city to New Jersey and he did a good job.
2) He’s the best EIC Jalopnik has ever had.
I wrote this in my car (a hybrid) while stopped at a stoplight.
Sent from my iPhone
Jason Torchinsky, Jalopnik Senior Editor
I remember the moment I heard Patrick George was going to be made Editor-in-Chief of Jalopnik, a position I had spent many thousands of dollars to attempt to secure for myself, mostly through a series of ill-considered bribes to what I later found out was a laundromat in Dayton, Ohio that actually had far less influence with the Jalopnik leadership than I realized.
The moment is memorable to me because up until that point, I had no idea Patrick was even in the running for the job. See, to me, Patrick was always this enigmatic, lanky Texan, talking with a drawl that I was sure had to be fake (and likely learned from years of falling asleep to King of the Hill reruns playing in headphones). Someone showed me a picture of Slim Pickins and I thought it was him for eight months.
From what I understood, Patrick was some kind of newspaper man, a long-extinct subspecies of human that talked like a 1940s movie stoolie and smoked nonstop. I didn’t know what to make of that, either.
On top of all this, just months before becoming the Big Man, Patrick managed a rare and glorious one-two punch of fuckups: getting his ass thrown in jail for driving a Camaro too fast, and then wrecking a Camaro mule on the track.
Why did we keep putting this guy in Camaros? What’s he capable of if he gets in one again? Is this a risk we can take?
And yet now, here he was, running the show after doing two things that you’d think would get your ass fired. This is madness, right? How can this be?
But it did be. Oh, did it be. Patrick became The Boss in a way that hardly ever happens: he came pre-disastered. He fucked up, gloriously and dramatically, and took both those fuckups and turned them into fantastic stories and from that moment on, as a writer under him, you were free, free to take risks and explore and try things, without fear of falling or failure because, shit, look what Patrick did.
People who win all the time are boring and become terrible fucking people. Patrick came into this job with two black eyes and probably a groin pull, and as a result he ended up being the most supportive and honest and trustworthy and loyal boss and friend anyone could ever hope for.
I think Patrick, that Camaro-wrecking, weird-talking jailbird, is the best boss I’ve ever had. So there.
Katharine Trendacosta, former io9 Person
It is nearly impossible to roast Patrick George, as he is one of the only truly nice, dedicated, and normal editors-in-chief Gawker Media has ever had. The rest of them? Very easy to roast, they were all incredibly bizarre people that made you question the existence of a just and loving God. And then there’s Patrick, who stood between his staff and a parade of venal morons from both within and without this company with an unyielding strength, while still being a good friend and kind colleague. This isn’t because Jalopnik had fewer lunatics on staff than the rest of the sites—the unhinged opinions of many of the staff make that clear. It was just Patrick, who single-handedly forced me to give up some of my hatred for Texas. What are you going to make fun of him for? It’s just going to be reference after reference to this, I guess.
Patrick used to always greet me by asking me how io9 “the only good website” was. It was never true, but it was the nicest thing I heard most days. I have referred to Jalopnik as “the only good website” in return ever since. Under Ballaban, that era’s almost certainly over.
So, instead of roasting Patrick, I am going to tell a story I am sure will cause him great embarrassment. I know I will have trouble looking him in the eye after, even though I’m not involved in it at all. Here we go:
Many moons ago, back when I think we were still Gawker Media but who remembers anymore, when Patrick was new to NYC, there was a multi-site meeting of some kind. I do not know what it was about because the two new Gizmodo staffers who were in that meeting couldn’t tell me. All they could talk about was how distractingly attractive Patrick was. They did nothing in that meeting but send each other Slacks extolling on Patrick’s hotness. They still talk about it. He’s “the hot one” in the group chat. I’m sorry to be the bearer of this news, but it’s true. Patrick George: not only the nicest editor-in-chief, but also, apparently, the hottest.
So take note, whoever is lucky enough to employ Patrick next (I assume Tesla’s Cybertruck PR team): he will cause a drop in staff efficiency as he distracts with his handsomeness.
Susie Banikarim, GMG Executive Editor (Ret.)
One of my favorite Patrick memories involves a painful meeting in my first month at GMG with a very painful ... let’s call it ... “partner” who was refusing to “fulfill a contractual obligation” on an important project. After some casual dismissive misogyny that involved explaining a lot of things to me that I happen to know a lot about, the “partner” agreed to our request and the meeting was coming to an end so I asked Patrick if there were any other issues he wanted addressed. Patrick, who is one of nicest people you will ever meet, sighed deeply, turned to the “partner” and said something close to this (a lot of crazy things have happened since so it’s hazy): “I’ve heard about and witnessed some inappropriate comments about the women on my team and that stops today or I will end you.”
That moment encapsulates a lot of things about Patrick. He cares about his team and his work completely (maybe too much?). He always stands up for what is good and right. He will probably end us all one day.
Matt Hardigree, Jalopnik Editor Emeritus
If you love Jalopnik in its current iteration (as I do) or if you hate it (as fools do) then I share some blame. Not because I plucked Patrick out of obscurity (a newspaper) and gave him this job, but because I never fired him.
This may not seem like a big thing, but I’ve had at least two phone calls from Patrick where his first words were something like ‘I’ve got some bad news and I understand if you have to fire me.’
The first time was in 2014 when Patrick made the ill-fated decision to blast up an onramp in a Camaro in front of one of Virginia’s state troopers. Having recently left the Commonwealth I was extremely familiar with the state’s draconian traffic laws so when Patrick got arrested I wasn’t going to hold it against him. I just made him promise that, whatever happened, he’d get a story out of it. It was a great story, though it was less fun when I got a call from his wife on the last day of his release explaining that because of a snafu he might be stuck there a few days longer.
The second time was about a year later and, yeah, it was a Camaro again. I’m not going to detail everything here because, well, I’m sure everyone else will. But I do remember reminding him that he wasn’t fired but he sure as hell better write about it. That’s always been the rule at Jalopnik. A big part of the site was always making things public that other people tried to hide, so we had to hold ourselves to the same standard.
To Patrick’s eternal credit he was down for owning up to both, even though every automotive writer knows most crashes and arrests are never admitted to publicly.
Also to Patrick’s continuing eternal credit he’s had to deal with a lot worse.
When I got promoted up at GMG and I left Jalopnik to Travis to run it was making money, breaking stories, and growing rapidly. We also had a strong staff and I knew Travis was lucky, as I was, to have a great deputy. When Travis decided to suddenly leave after a few months for a dead-end job at an obscure publication I wasn’t worried. Everything was in place.
Here’s a brief history of shit that’s gone down while Patrick was EIC:
- A vindictive Billionaire and everyone’s favorite wrestler broke us.
- We filed for bankruptcy.
- We were bought by maybe well-meaning but otherwise ill-suited owners who quickly realized they didn’t want us.
- GMG was then sold to… people.
- Basically everything that’s happened in the last few months since the above happened.
While no tenure as an EIC as GMG/GMG/G/OWHATEVER is without drama, Patrick’s timing couldn’t have been worse.
And yet… the site’s remained strong. Patrick continued to expand what the site did, hire/keep great people, and get the site to grow again. The influence of Jalopnik cannot be overstated. It’s huge.
I wish Patrick all the luck in the world at his new venture and welcome him to the club of Editors Emeriti. It’s a great job because when you’re EIC of Jalopnik you have to endure a million jerkoffs on the Internet complaining that the site “was better when Spinelli/Wert/Hardigree/Okulski ran it.”
Now that’s Ballaban’s problem!
Jolie Kerr, Jalopnik Contributor and Clean Person
YOU NEVER TAUGHT ME HOW TO DRIVE.
Melissa Kirsch, Lifehacker Editor-in-Chief
It’s not like Patrick is dying, but truth be told I feared if he spent one more minute at “G/O Media,” his big, open, generous heart would give out, and I think I told him this after one particularly atrocious marathon meeting of the GMG bargaining committee. I feel guilty because I drafted him onto the committee thinking he’d be the perfect ally during contract negotiations and I had no idea that when Patrick gives himself to something, he does it totally, with a conviction so pure it truly could stop your heart.
One dark winter day, soon after Patrick moved to NYC, the GMG EICs spent the day in a secret empty office The Onion kept downtown, which should have been a warning that things were going to come crashing down, why did the company keep so much random, disused real estate? We went out for drinks afterward, and Patrick left on a high note, at around 7pm, two hours after which I saw him meander by the window of the bar. I went outside to see what what he was up to and he seemed completely unbothered to announce that he was still looking for a cab. Even the editor of Jalopnik gets stranded at the corner of Varick and Houston sometimes.
Patrick recently ended a passionate exegesis of the various ways in which things were, I guess, fucked, with the exhortation, “Playtime is OVER!” and I have since then frequently exhorted myself with this as a way to put an end to nonsense thinking and inaction. When Kelly found out Patrick was leaving, she said, “Playtime really is over now” and ugh, she’s right.
Patrick has been my comrade-in-arms, wise confidant and dear friend for these past three wild years and I will miss him.
Sam Woolley, former Jalopnik Artist-in-Residence
When it comes to Gawker roasts, they generally go one of two ways—self deprecating anecdotes about the first time the two people met or some random story that’s only “funny” to those two at that moment. This roast will not be either. I was trying to think of something goofy or better yet, a passive aggressive, subliminal dis towards Patrick (as Gawker alum, what did you expect?). I couldn’t come up with one example of this at all. Every memory or story I have of Patrick ends with me thinking, “Damn, what a nice dude.” Patrick is a solid dude, great boss and ideas man whom I suppose is into cars. Nice people like him just don’t make it in this field or this city, but somehow Patrick manages to do it. And do it well.
Eddie Costas, Jalopnik Video Producer
Newsman, car dad, union man, Texan…. These are nouns that come to mind when I think about Jalopnik’s big boss, Patrick George.
When I first sat down with Patrick and deputy editor Mike Balaban on a shitty coffee shop by our old office to discuss the possibility of me joining the video team, I was very intimidated, but actually terrified to be frank. To this day Patrick George intimidates me, but if you ask me why, I couldn’t really tell you. Maybe I have a lot of respect for what he does. Maybe it’s because he’s actually a great boss. Or maybe it’s because of his piercing baby blues. Regardless, I managed to find a way to get over all that when I need to address him about something. And it has to do with this one event that Video Producer Erica Lourd and I experienced one gloomy afternoon in Christiansburg, VA, when we were both down there on assignment to produce the Bubble Cars video series with Patrick George himself and Raphael Orlove.
After a long day of shooting, Erica and I decided to check out the hotel gym to try and stay in shape and offset the southern comfort foods we’ve been privy to. Except that when we got there, we were both stunned by something we were not supposed to see. That something somewhat resembled the shape of a man—but it was actually more like a crossbreed between Frankenstein and Lurch from the Addams Family happened and then decided to go jogging on a treadmill. Just stiff as fuck and shambling, struggling with whatever lied ahead. A man on a battle with himself. And only himself. That man was Patrick George.
I don’t believe Erica and I said a word to one another. Or if we did I don’t remember. One thing was for sure, we telepathically decided to skip the gym, go back to our rooms, and never speak of this event again. Until now. Because ironically, that made me see that our Car Dad Patrick George is actually a human being just like all of us.
Thank you for that Patrick, I will never forget that. And for everything else.
Veronica De Souza, former Director of Audience, Gizmodo Media Group
Patrick is the best EIC Jalopnik has ever had and I wish him the best HOWEVER I am offended that I have not been asked to replace him. You all know how to reach me. Beep beep!
Aaron Brown, former Jalopnik Social Media Editor
Patrick, I owe you greatly.
One, for not listening to Ballaban when he told you not to re-hire me last year. And, two, for always rooting and standing up for me and the rest of us who have had the pleasure to work with you.
I’ll never forget how you backed me up in the comments when I was getting lit up for my (often questionable) Answer of the Day lists, back in the day. Like, just look at this.
Even though you yourself would own me in the Slack DMs, with edits like ‘these lists need to be less like hastily thrown-together homework assignments” (he saw right through me!), you would still fight for all of us both publicly with dickhead commenters and behind the scenes when things got rough internally.
Back then, when I had no idea what I was doing, PG gave me the stern edits my writing required. That’s PG—tough but fair, and always trying to help.
I’ll always respect you as an editor and a mentor, and also fear your deep, cold, blue-eyed, crime reporter soul. “I’ve seen shit I can’t unsee,” PG would often remind me.
Anyways, on a lighter note, hopefully one day you’ll learn to make better car buying decisions, and will stop telling people I was the sole cause of your E23 woes. It was a good buy!
Onward, and, eat shit, obviously.
Chris Perkins, former Jalopnik Intern
I met PG when I was a wet-behind-the-years editorial fellow at Jalopnik in 2014. He drove Raph and Travis from his home in DC to New York after they drove an RS7 all night from Daytona during the 24-Hour weekend, stopping at a few racetracks along the way. I was the welcoming party, and we met at a bar near the old Gawker office early Sunday.
The first thing he asked me was, “so what the fuck’s your story?” That reads as brusque, if not downright rude, but it wasn’t. In a 100-percent matter-of-fact way, he just wanted to know about my life. Why I decided to go work for the car website with the funny name.
At heart, he’s a reporter with a fighter’s spirit, and his Jalopnik was one that pulled no punches. He also worked incredibly hard at diversifying the site, bringing in voices that weren’t previously given a place in automotive media. All while having the unenviable task of dealing with all manner of herbs as Gawker became GMG, and then G-O (the heartbeat of next, if you haven’t heard). He’s the sort of guy you want going to bat for you.
And beyond all that, he’s just the textbook definition of a good dude. He’s probably the nicest person to ever own a Subaru WRX.
Kristen Lee, Jalopnik Staff Writer
Outwardly, Patrick George has all the trappings of a great boss. He’s caring, decent and will fight for you until the (near) death. But here’s what many of you don’t know. In reality, Patrick George is a good-for-nothing thief.
I started at Jalopnik before Patrick moved to New York. I’d never had a remote boss before—an abstract, online entity that would Slack me every so often, yelling, screaming, crying, carrying on—so it was new and fun.
Eventually, Patrick did come to New York for a visit and took the empty desk next to me. I’d packed myself a special lunchtime treat that day: three Lindor truffles wrapped in unmistakable orange foil. I laid them next to my mouse so I wouldn’t forget to eat them. In a stroke of generosity, I offered one to my new boss. He accepted.
Lunchtime came and went. I ate one of my truffles and put the last one aside so I’d have something to look forward to the next day. I was called away to an afternoon meeting later that day and afterwards, returned to my desk to find an empty orange wrapper discarded next to my mouse, bereft of chocolate.
“Did you eat my chocolate?” I asked Raph, who also sat in our pod. He said no. He didn’t even know I’d had them. Ballaban wasn’t in the office that day. And the wrapper was lying perfectly between Patrick’s and my laptops. I chose to say nothing.
Another time, a few months later, the team was hanging out in our Airbnb we’d rented for the LA Auto Show. It was at the end of the day, everyone was tired and we were just sitting around in the living room, decompressing. I hadn’t finished the boxed lunch the convention center provided (a dry, sad sandwich, an apple and a bag of potato chips), so I brought it back with me. I put the sandwich and the apple in the refrigerator and the bag of chips on the counter to eat later.
After about an hour, Patrick got up, crossed the room, grabbed my bag of potato chips off the counter, went back to his spot on the couch and started eating the food I was saving for myself right in front of my very eyes! He said nothing to anyone in the room. He merely kept his gaze focused on his computer and munched away on my snack!!!!
I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do or say, except watch in utter disbelief from the kitchen table. Memories of the missing chocolate came rushing back in waves. And by the time I’d gathered my wits, he’d already finished the bag. I chose to say nothing.
Patrick is going to The Drive soon. I hope they have cabinets and drawers filled to the brim with Lindor truffles and potato chips over there, and Patrick can pillage to his heart’s content. It’s clearly something he does without thinking.
So today, I choose to say this: Patrick can eat shit.
Will Sansom, Senior Office Manager, New York, G/O Media
I’ve spent all week trying to come up with one mean thing to say about Patrick, but over the last seven to eight years he’s been nothing but an incredibly positive and friendly person to work with. Genuinely don’t think anyone else is this office is as cheerful as Patrick. The only burn I can think of is I’ve never actually seen him drive a car...
Bill Caswell, friend of Jalopnik
He was one of the few that always listened. Always tried to help. Encouraged me to try new things but to get back to who I was. He had such a big heart. So kind. I can’t think of one bad thing to say. Like not one thing. Ok maybe he was too nerdy for Texas and they finally let nyc have him.. but what the fuck. Why????
Mack Hogan, former Jalopnik Intern
Of all the no-good, crusty-ass Texans with bad taste to ever grace the pages of Jalopnik, Patrick George certainly is one of them. As a testament to his general poor judgment, he hired me as an intern. I’ll always be grateful to Patrick for that and the amazing guidance he’s given me since, but you should all remember that, really, most of the worst opinions in this business come from people Patrick hired. He’ll be missed, but I trust he’ll do a great job rebooting Saab or whatever it is
Mate Petrany, former Jalopnik Staff Writer
Fine, but I would like to point out that I didn’t get a roast, and I’m not sure who to blame.
Steve Martin, former General Motors PR Man, who sat shotgun when Patrick George was pulled over for driving 93 mph in a 55 mph zone
Patrick, you are one of my favorite people in all of the auto industry. My 5 years in automotive PR allowed me to be the beneficiary of your integrity, humor, candor, and talent. I am proud to call you a friend. I have some advice for you: Try not to get sent to jail in your next job.
Aaron Gordon, Jalopnik Senior Reporter
When I joined Jalopnik, Patrick was still anguishing over the state of his ‘87 BMW. In conversations with me, he expressed plans to fix it himself. Obviously, this did not happen, as I have since been told such things never happen with Patrick and his automobiles.
One day, when he had finally given up on that idea and was at peace with selling the ol’ girl, I drove to his apartment in a press car, a Kia Niro EV, to hand it off for his test drives.
As we circled the block, the car humming with the docile tones of electric locomotion, he said something that stuck with me.
“I don’t know if I can buy another gas car, man,” Patrick confessed. “The climate guilt is just too strong.”
This was not the last time Patrick expressed this sentiment to me. Over the next few weeks, either around the office or over Slack, Patrick would say something very similar when some particularly bad climate news came out or some such. The ‘87 Beamer would be his last gas-powered car, he would promise. He just feels too guilty.
Wow, I thought to myself, if even the editor-in-chief of a car blog doesn’t plan to buy another gas car, maybe we really are making progress in this world of ours. Now, I am not one to be hopeful. I am a persistent pessimist genetically predisposed to deep, dark cynicism. But, I allowed myself to dream. Maybe, just maybe, the needle on climate change is shifting. Maybe there is hope after all.
Then, Patrick went out and bought a 2002 4Runner.
When he announced this to the Jalopnik team, I did some quick fact-collecting:
Does Patrick’s 4Runner have an internal combustion engine?
Yes it does.
Does Patrick’s 4Runner have a hybrid engine?
No it does not.
Does Patrick’s 4Runner get good gas mileage?
No it does not.
The 4Runner is a Sport Utility Vehicle engineered for its off-roading capabilities. Does Patrick, who lives in Brooklyn, NY and two blocks from a subway station, ever drive his personal vehicle off-road?
No he does not.
Armed with these facts, I asked Patrick what ever happened to his “no more ICE cars” vow, his climate guilt, all that jazz? He replied, and continues to reply to this day every time I bring it up, “I’ll need an SUV when I move to the woods when the world goes to shit.”
In the eight months I have had the pleasure to work for Patrick, he has been a terrific boss. In fact, he is one of the main reasons I took this job in the first place. He has championed a vision of Jalopnik that makes it so much more than a car blog, something I am honored to be a part of. He has dealt with all manner of corporate shenanigans with more dignity than I could ever fathom while always treating his staff with respect. He cares about the people here and the community Jalopnik has built more than anyone should rightfully care about their jobs. He cared because he dared to imagine things could get better, despite all evidence to the contrary. He still had hope.
And, most importantly, he has done what any good mentor does. He taught me a lesson I will cherish for the rest of my life. Even someone as honorable, respected, admirable, and just downright good as Patrick George will still lie to your face for months. So, on Patrick’s last day, I say: good riddance to a goddamn liar.
Katie Drummond, former Gizmodo Media Group Executive Editor
Patrick George was the best editor-in-chief Jalopnik ever had. Nicest guy, too.
Mate Petrany, former Jalopnik Staff Writer, again
It is happening, stay tuned please Mr. Mike.
Stephen Totilo, Kotaku Editor-in-Chief
My favorite Patrick George moment was when he finally snapped in a meeting with management and furiously declared: “Play time is over!” Or was it: “The time for games is over!”? Either way, some sort of time was over, and I thank Patrick for letting us all know.
Dodai Stewart, former Splinter Editor-in-Chief
Honestly, I *wish* I could viciously roast Patrick George and his relentlessly blue eyes but as far as I can tell he is just the fucking nicest dude who ever crashed a Camaro ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Ryan Felton, former Jalopnik Senior Reporter
Patrick’s the kind of editor any ambitious reporter dreams to have. He brought me on in late 2016, in my mind fully anticipating that he’d hired a grizzled Car Guy from Detroit—only to be let down before my start date, when I disclosed that, in reality, I didn’t even know how to drive stick. I wasn’t much into cars at all. But I liked a challenge, and I liked everything else about cars: the industry’s role in labor; the fundamental role transportation plays in all of our lives; that carmakers were at the precipice of a significantly challenging transition to electric and self-driving cars (the latter of which still seems like a monumental pipe dream).
Lucky for me, PG likes a good story, and his superb reporting at Jalopnik prior to his stint at EIC was half the reason why I had an interest in the first place working here. If the guy dug stories about the government’s penchant for seizing private property and race car drivers running drugs, then I thought I had a decent chance of not eating shit at the job. And it worked! (At least I think it did!) He made me feel at home among some of the most brilliant, fascinating writers (and Mike Ballaban) that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with, and gave me the space to write winding tales—about a Goodyear RV tire, jailhouse snitches, auto financing, and so on—alongside David Tracy’s maniacal expeditions to repair whatever shitbox he bought that week. That’s what has always made this place great—it’s willingness to stretch the limits of what auto journalism is supposed to be, and that’s the type of shop PG realized.
He’s also always ready to help move things along whenever needed. I feel like one of the most common refrains I’d hear from him in Slack is (some variation of): “anything I can do?” And PG, coming from newspapers, knew you always need to be able to work on a moment’s notice. If Tesla decided to drop important news late on a Friday night, he was there to help you get the blog out the door. I can’t razz the guy; I’m indebted to him for taking a chance on me, and I’m eternally grateful for it.
Tom McParland, Jalopnik Contributor
It’s very difficult for me to say anything damning about Patrick. The main reason being that even though I have worked with him for about five years, I maybe have been face to face with Patrick for about 20 minutes. Of course, this is not PG’s fault. As a remote freelancer who with a full-time job and family duty, I don’t get to hang with the cool-kid bloggers a much as I would like to. Though the first time I met Patrick in person I came into the office to visit and he was in a meeting elsewhere. He came into the pod and very loudly I said “Hey PG!” For a brief second, he had the look of “Who the hell is this guy?”And then everything was cool. One of the benefits of being known by just a byline is that most people don’t really know what you look like. So that’s it, folks, the worst thing I can say about Patrick is that he gave me a weird look once because he didn’t know who I was. Other than that, he has been the best boss I ever had and even though we barely hung out in person, I still consider him a friend.
Mary Pharris, wife of Patrick George
I’m the brains of the operation.
Danielle Belton, Editor-in-Chief, The Root
I have no real roast for Patrick, an all-around, stand-up, wonderful guy who was among the first GMG folks to reach out to me as a site lead when The Root became part Gizmodo Media Group in 2017. Patrick is simply a good person, who is kind and always has a sympathetic ear and gives good advice. My only bone to pick is that he is leaving. To which I say, BOO, Patrick. BOO! Boo, hiss, sob, sob, sob. I wish you all the best through my tears!
Andrew Collins, Jalopnik Reviews Editor
One time, Patrick invited me to get lunch with him. So we went to Planet Hollywood in Times Square, one door down from Jalopnik HQ. We ordered, then he realized he had a more important meeting to go to, and left me to eat a soggy salad by myself in the most depressingly cheerful restaurant I’ve ever been in.
Stef Schrader, former Jalopnik Staff Writer
Sometimes I get the impression that Jalopnik has gone soft. We get absurd takes on how cars have too much horsepower or go too fast. Ridiculous arguments against the best non-hearse type of car for hauling bodies and/or turning into a sleeper. Even hot takes that slam the simple automotive joys of hooning or setting lap records! Or sometimes Raph will just huff a fish out of the Gowanus Canal or something, hallucinate about the perpetual greatness of the Toyota Camry of all things and ask, “Do make cars what?”
It appears as though you’ve all gone twenty-ply, or not, because then I remember who’s been at the helm of Jalopnik: Patrick George.
Patrick actually went to jail for having too much fun in a bitchin’ Camaro. He also got kicked out of a drive partially for hitting a wall by trying to drive another Camaro with his arms crossed, but mostly because he believed in serving the readers over General Motors by publishing a big scoop on a newsworthy car. Then he upheld Jalopnik’s grand tradition of owning up to what you crashed, unlike the frauds at other publications who brush their mistakes under the rug to maintain the illusion that they’re driving gods. (Spoiler: Most are not!)
Patrick has been the one constant who has maintained Jalopnik’s high editorial standards throughout the years in spite of the raging dumpster fires that have acquired it. Without his firm pushback on all manner of bad, credibility-torpedoing ideas from above, we’d probably be reading a bunch of thinly veiled sponsored content, or the Lexus-influenced version of whatever it is that the amoral shills at Motor Trend do.
He’s also been one of the few people I can reliably turn to on everything from how the Sites Formerly and Forever Known as Gawker Media were on fire this week to what I should do with my pointless life. He’s been the clear voice of reason who’s talked me out of some of my lowest lows, and offered relief and advice when I probably didn’t deserve it. Would any other outlet besides Deadspin (RIP) stick with a brain-injured writer as they try to remember which button on the phone orders tacos? I don’t know.
I can think of no other editor who’s elevated as diverse and interesting a crew of writers to an outlet as highly read as this one, either. Jalopnik has long been the place to read otherwise unheard perspectives that are sorely needed as the automotive world becomes more accepting to those of us who aren’t cis white dudes.
The future of cars doesn’t look like the all-male list of testers on Road & Track’s Performance Car of the Year, and it especially doesn’t look like a self-parodying monolith of Very Fancy Car Men. Jalopnik’s inclusion of everything from aspirational restomods and boundary-defying athletes to enthusiasts just scraping by and forward-thinking city transit takes has made it one of the most important reads on the ongoing evolution of automotive enthusiasm.
I know soft. I collect Fisher-Price Puffalumps, for Pete’s sake, which are made of 100% pure squish. Patrick George is not soft by any measure, and may Fluffy have mercy on your website in his absence.
Patrick was, however, deeply wrong about one thing. When I saw that Univision was probably going to sell Jalopnik to an even worse set of herbs and got/out accordingly, I was promised there would be myriad opportunities to finally get the battle Cayenne I so desired in life, or at least to sneak in a few more races per year.
The land of Cayennes and plenty does not exist! Not a single job that sounds even remotely promising on this toilet earth wants to hire a shouty woman who lives in Texas. Not a one! At this rate, I’m going to end up living in my broken Volkswagen full of bees.
Screw you, Patrick! You’re all still dead to me for not buying me that Paris-Dakar 959, anyway.
Alex Cranz, Gizmodo Senior Reviews Editor
Someone once said Patrick George “is the EiC that could definitely kill you with his bare hands.” At another miserable going away party I told Patrick this and he lit up and said something like “that’s the nicest thing I’ve ever heard.” He never murdered anyone—to my knowledge—but he is a fellow Texan who moved to New York and gave up a car and I’m pretty sure that murdered the sensibilities of car nerds everywhere.
Megan Greenwell, former Deadspin Editor-in-Chief
I have spent hours trying to remember anything embarrassing or otherwise roast-worthy I have ever seen Patrick do. And I have nothing! All of my experiences with the guy have entailed him being smart and kind and thoughtful and a great listener and wonderful friend. Even when I saw him get mad, it was because he was fighting some cartoonishly evil yet cartoonishly inept bosses on behalf of his principles and his pals. When the newsroom was forced to move to a Times Square hellhole totally unsuited for the needs of its staff, I made damn sure I sat right near Patrick so I could storm into his office to vent about whatever, yet he never told me to go away so he could do his actual work. When I started to come to terms with the fact that our cartoonishly evil yet cartoonishly inept bosses meant I was going to have to leave a website I loved, he was the first person to tell me that walking away the right choice. The extent to which he is a fundamentally good person even when it works against his own interests is a little disgusting!
I don’t really get why he cares so much about cars, though. I recently told him what type of car I own, and he started talking about acceleration power or something? He probably used some Car Knower term instead of acceleration power, but I tuned him out immediately. So what a relief that his cool new job is at The Drive, which I assume is about football.
Hamilton Nolan, World’s Best Car Reviewer
Patrick George, with his stupid smug kind face and his stupid open and generous demeanor and his stupid attitude of modesty and fairness must be one of the most fundamentally respectable bastards I know. This poor, dependable sap is actually trustworthy. You scum. Wherever this conscientious clown washes up is in for a load of freaking sincerity and virtue, I’ll tell you that much.
You supportive and reliable piece of shit.
Go to hell, Patrick—in a car!
Victor Jeffreys II, GMG Events
To my surprise and utter disappointment, Patrick George has taught me nothing about cars. The only thing I know about a carburetor is that it has the word ‘car’ in it, I have never seen The Fast and the Furious, and (10+ years before I met Patrick) I filled a brand new diesel Volkswagen with unleaded gasoline, and Patrick George is 100% to blame for my ineptitude.
After going to multiple Radwoods around the country, hosting an epic car show fundraiser , and drinking booze on Amazon’s bill with Patrick and the Jalopnik team, I realized I have learned nothing from him about cars, because he may not know anything about cars!
I was in a car once with Raymond and Patrick (scary, I know)—and, (not) to my surprise—the car broke down. Patrick opened the hood (which, to his credit, is more than I could have done), did the song and dance, poked around, put his hands on his waist, and voila...he had no idea what was wrong or how to fix it! But you know what he did know how to do, call a Lyft—and for that I am forever grateful.
Jorge Corona, former Deadspin Video Producer
Patrick George has a flaw: he shares a name with me. Don’t mind that his is the English version of Jorge. Behind the veneer of language hide astounding similarities. Our shared name means both Patrick and I are from Texas. It’s a fact. It means that both of us love the look of BMWs from the 80s. Hello, this is Fact speaking, can I take your order? But I’m afraid that, and it brings me no pleasure to say this, our shared name will also always mean that we both pick our noses when no one is looking. I’ve never witnessed Patrick going in for the nostril kill firsthand, which you would think would somehow disqualify this from being another Patrick George fact. But I’ve also never seen Patrick in Texas. I’ve never seen Patrick next to a 1980-era BMW as he quietly nods in approval, arms crossed, sunglasses on. Yet all those seem to be facts about him. Now, the nose-picking is a Patrick George fact, too. Do I make the rules of logic? No. Do I just enforce them every day with my powerful brain? You bet. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, rest confident that with Patrick George you can fraternize about the Alamo, you can appreciate the German car of the “successful” 1980s businessman/lawyer/creature of capital, and you can know that a hearty shovel of mukes will sometimes take place when you’re not looking. I miss my kin. And I’m sure Jalopnik will miss him, too.
Elizabeth Werth, Jalopnik Staff Writer
When Patrick signed me on as the Saturday contributor at Jalopnik, I should have known right then and there to question his sanity. I had exactly no experience doing anything at all aside from attending college, and I was a true and proper mess.
But I still have no idea why in the name of the lord Patrick would pull me into the whole full-time weekday shebang. Let me back it up.
It’s the summer of 2018. I’ve been with Jalopnik for truly the briefest few months, and Patrick decides, hey, since I’m in Texas for vacation and you’re also in Texas, let’s go grab some breakfast at Kerbey Lane. I say, sure, I would love to meet the real live person I actually work for! Patrick says, great, and sends me an Google calendar invitation.
It’s for 3pm. Seems weird, but okay. Maybe ‘breakfast’ at Jalopnik is an afternoon affair. Maybe I misunderstood and this was breakfast for lunch/dinner. I accept the invitation and think nothing of it.
Until I get the ten minute warning for my breakfast with Patrick… at 9am.
As I message PG, panicked, I begin to die a little inside. My dumb ass, incapable of reading a calendar or understanding time zones, did not realize that Google automatically sends your invites in GMT unless you request it to do it differently.
When I was offered a full-time position a few months later, that’s when I knew. Despite the fact that he is infinitely patient and has helped me become the best possible version of myself as a writer, Patrick is an absolute disaster who only hires other disasters such as myself and possibly should not be trusted making Big Decisions of this capacity.
You’ve all been warned.
Aleksander Chan, Splinter Editor-in-Chief
What a lot of people don’t know is that Patrick and I are in a feud: Two years ago, at the old GMG office near Union Square, he and his demon deputy, Mike Ballaban, brazenly stole our rug out from under our desks in the Splinter pod. For months, I dreamed of elaborate retaliations, one of which included hanging (fake) severed heads from the ceiling in the Jalopnik pod and spray-painting “YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID” in blood-red on the wall.
(I did not pursue this because I was certain A) it was maybe a little “too much,” B) it was expensive, and most importantly, C) our saintly office manager Will would have killed me.)
As a matter of personal policy I neither forgive nor forget, including this vicious injustice of office decor. THAT ASIDE, Patrick is wonderful. And not just because we are both from Texas and I tend to trust anyone from home implicitly—although, again, his grave transgression has seriously shaken this faith.
Anyway! I always admired how Patrick’s tenure as Jalopnik EIC placed an emphasis on rigorous, dogged reporting. It astonished me how he would, basically without fail, come to our EICs meeting every week and preview a new, ambitious feature or reporting project. He made all of us step up our game in a way that made the whole newsroom better.
And EVEN THOUGH he is a CRIMINAL who STOLE our rug, I couldn’t have imagined getting through the very tough times at GMG without him and his kindness, patience, and generosity. He was a great union rep, the platonic ideal of a co-worker, and just a stand-up friend—who should watch his back, because I WILL get even one day.
Adam Milt, Senior Producer, Jalopnik
When I first interviewed with Patrick, he ended the process with a single question. “Can you drive stick?” I drove a 2003 VW 1.8L Turbo GTI for most of my early adult life and of course, it was manual so I casually responded: “Yeah, of course!” He then looked me square in the eyes and said to me “That’s good, because you never know when you might have to run from a group of rebels in the jungle and need to pop the clutch...”
A week later I got the job as producer for Jalopnik. I regret not a single day of being able to work with Patrick George. From the beginning of my tenure here at the site, Patrick George has been the strongest advocate for “good” video I’ve ever had. He didn’t want to seek the clicks, he didn’t want dumb, easy video, he didn’t give a crap about what his bosses were telling him to do. He wanted us to make the video we enjoyed making and what we thought you, the audience, would actually watch. He was one of the finest people I have ever worked for and with. Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t link to one of my favorite PG videos as well.
Patrick I wish you luck in whatever your next endeavors might be. Perhaps you might finally achieve your dream of starting that offshore mercenary army like Big Boss.
Mate Petrany, Finally
The only reason I didn’t work with Mike Spinelli at Jalopnik is that I’m a young person. In 2010, I was technically Ray Wert’s unpaid intern in Europe. Two years later, I was hired by an unsuspecting Matt Hardigree, and I somehow managed to make it through the probation period. Thanks Google Translate! Years on, when Travis took over from Matt, life still seemed simple enough at Gawker. But then, our Miata expert decided to move to a fancier glass tower, leaving Patrick to become Jalopnik’s EIC for the greater good. Surrounded by bridges that certainly seemed charred, being promoted to boss man must have been just another item on a long list in inconveniences for our Texan in New York, which included surreal rent fees, bad weather, and so-so barbecue. Of course some say luck has never been on Patrick’s side. I would argue that while challenges build character, Patrick also attracts trouble, be that just an old BMW, or something much more sinister. The source of all this is probably his hair, which is sort of a James Dean after the wreck proposition. Hairdo or not, it’s hard to explain why else he chewed through not just three bosses, but three parent companies in the last three years. And remember his weekend in jail? We’ve all been speeding through deserts. That’s what deserts are for. The UN makes sure nobody gets jail time for that, so there must have been something else our former news reporter casually left out of his story. Maybe his hair insulted the officer. That sounds right. Also, when Patrick got thrown out of that Chevy Camaro event...Frankly, when I was forced to produce video for Gawker on the spot without having a script, any video equipment or practice, the result was simply shockingly bad. Patrick wouldn’t compromise on quality like that, so he escaped the situation by driving into a wall. Perhaps to make a statement, or maybe this is how his hair was trying to sabotage GM’s development program. You should never expect a master plan from some bad hair, yet under that is the brain, all controlled by small electric charges. Power up the right area, and madness can be just a buzz away.
The last time I met Patrick, I wanted to take a picture of our group with a recently purchased film camera I’ve never used before. Without words, Patrick’s hair made me compose the frame so that only he would be visible, plus the barbecue. But not the hair, or other people. If that doesn’t trouble you, feel free to call it luck.
Kelly Bourdet, Gizmodo Editor-in-Chief
There are so many stories I could tell from my years working with Patrick about what an earnest, smart, driven editor and person he is. He made Jalopnik such an incredible destination that I—who is by no means a car enthusiast—found myself reading the site constantly. He was one of my union representatives during our contract negotiation, and I don’t envy him the bullshit and many stressful nights he experienced during that time. But he fought tooth and nail for all of us, and for that I’m so grateful.
The aspect of Patrick that will likely stick with me the most is that the man is an intense and somewhat filterless meeting-haver. If he’s frustrated, or if he thinks someone in the room is full of shit, he will be letting everyone know in a very emphatic manner.
I’m reminded of a recent meeting with various executives in which Patrick, annoyed by something, slammed his laptop closed mid-meeting and absolutely shouted, “Playtime is over!” at some very stunned gentlemen. It was a surreal moment during the course of an even more surreal few months here. And it cheers me up every time I think about it.
I suppose playtime really is over now, Patrick. Drive free.
Emily Lipstein, Social Editor, Gizmodo
one time i sat at patrick’s desk in the old office to talk to justin about something, and when patrick arrived to work, he told me that i was the EIC now. i’ve quietly held the office for months with him as my regent—but now that he’s leaving, my time has finally come. good luck to you all.
Travis Okulski, Jalopnik Editor Emeritus
I’m supposed to tell you how awful Patrick is in hilarious detail. How he had some odd habit that we’d laugh at behind his back or how he was a son of a bitch in the office.
But the years at Jalop with PG were a pleasure. He’s one of the hardest working reporters and editors in this business, with a nose that found news while detecting bullshit from a mile away. He’ll probably say that’s because he’s a Texan (did you know he’s a Texan? He never mentions Texas). And since I left Jalop after the briefest of brief EIC tenures (three weird months), PG and I have frequently commiserated on the highs and lows of running a publication. He’s trustworthy to a fault, the type of friend you want to confide in because you know he isn’t telling anyone anything.
That’s why it’s so tough to roast the guy. I guess I could tell you about the time he tried to make up the most American-sounding name for a race car driver as a joke and came up with “Tom Kristensen,” y’know, the exact name of the Danish driver who won Le Mans nine times. Or how he screamed and jumped the first time he saw a rat on a trip to New York. But I won’t.
There is one bone to pick that I will tell you about: the time he put a damper on a vacation weekend.
I was in New Orleans, it was my girlfriend’s (now wife’s) birthday and I was the best man at a wedding. It was my first time out of the office since becoming editor-in-chief, but the site was left in Patrick’s incredibly capable hands. This particular week was packed with various trips for staff, that happens in the spring. While he wasn’t originally planning to travel, I asked Patrick to go to an event in Michigan at the last minute. Ever the team player, he jumped right in to take care of it.
The morning after the wedding, while massively hungover, I got a text from Matt Hardigree:
The rest of trip was spent stressing on the phone and email instead of drinking Hurricanes and enjoying New Orleans. Imagine if we sent someone else? Imagine if we stuck to my original plan of… sending nobody? It was the only time Patrick caused me any grief. Thankfully, the internet will never let him forget it.
Riley MacLeod, Editor-at-Large, Kotaku
Patrick, and the rest of Jalopnik, were my first outside-my-site friends at the company. I can’t remember how it started; it might’ve had something to do with the Mario Kart tournament Kotaku hosted alongside them, or maybe it was because their pod used to be pretty close to ours and they walked by me a lot. I’ll admit I was a little weirded out to suddenly be friends with the car people, since I know nothing about cars, but it made me feel kind of cool, too. “I’m going to hang out with Jalopnik,” I would proudly tell my site colleagues; I do not think they were impressed, but I still felt like I was showing off. Every time I see an interesting car on the street I think “I should tell Jalopnik about this car!” even though I don’t really have anything to say besides “I saw a yellow car today,” the way a toddler would bring you some crap they found on their walk home. Sometimes Patrick and I rode the subway home together, which was largely comprised of staring tiredly into space and sometimes saying “Work, huh?” to each other. I once held him hostage on the roof of the old office to ask him questions about my career, which he was very gracious about. Him leaving is basically bullshit, and I barely believe one car site exists, much less others, so that’s probably bullshit too. I’ll probably just see him in the office next week, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself, because the truth that I won’t be working at the same company as him is way too sad to actually deal with.
Alex Dickinson, former GMG Executive Managing Editor
Paddy G drove free,,,,,and now he’s dead. In three years working with Patrick, I never once saw him put his own interests above those of others’. That’s a long fucking time to not slip up, take a cheeky piece of the pie for himself. But nope, he’d fight for his team and his fellow EICs every day and never ask for anything in return. He also once recommended I buy a Mazda Miata, which was the first time I ever really felt seen. RIP sweet prince.
Alanis King, Jalopnik Staff Writer
It’s hard for me to fathom a Jalopnik without Patrick. He’s one of those people who is synonymous with this website and who makes it what it is, and not having him around every day—well, I can’t tell you what that’ll be like until it happens. But I can tell you that he’ll leave a huge hole when he signs off this week.
Patrick is a lot of things. He speaks so quickly on the phone that my dumb southern brain can barely process it, but he speaks in a way that’s both authoratative and helpful, because that’s who he is. He’s a fantastic editor, and one who knows cars so well that he could probably just do this website by himself if he had that much time in the day. He’s someone you trust with your reporting questions and you trust with any story draft you could possibly have, whether it be a total mess or something you think is so dumb it’ll never publish. He’s just someone you trust in general.
Patrick was the person who first gave me my shot at Jalopnik, and even more than four years later, it still surprises me how much he trusted me with the role. I was just a college kid he’d been referred to look into for the open weekend-editing role—which is one of the toughest here, because you’re on your own to do everything—and after we met to discuss it, he basically handed me the website on Saturdays and Sundays and let me go. He eased me through the screwups and the countless questions I had, and kept me around in spite of them. He gave me my career, and I only hope I have the ability (and the trust) to do that for some young kid someday as well.
But until then, I’ll have to get used to a Jalopnik without Patrick. That certainly won’t be an easy thing to do.
Erik Shilling, Jalopnik News Editor
When we moved offices recently Patrick enlisted me to help move Jalopnik’s American flag, which is attached to an eight-foot pole. I took the heavy base, while Patrick took the flag and pole, bumping into several colleagues’ desks and putting it into the ceiling at least once as we made our way to the new space and as colleagues looked on in bemusement. It was as good a metaphor as they come.
Virginia Smith, Lifehacker Managing Editor
Turns out it’s incredibly difficult to write a roast for someone who’s so nice as to be un-roastable. As such, I deeply resent Patrick for leaving and putting us all in this position! And I’m just going to go ahead and be earnest. Aside from his unflagging dedication to splicing, I mostly worked with Patrick when we were both on the bargaining committee for last year’s union contract renegotiations. That was a rewarding but bruising process for all of us, and throughout the whole thing, Patrick was always a level-headed, practical, and funny voice to have in the room, and one that I deeply appreciated. This company and this union were very lucky to have him on board for as long as we did. Beep Beep, Unions, and Beep Beep, We’ll Miss You Patrick
David Tracy, Jalopnik Staff Writer
God I’m tired. I’m so damn tired. Last night, I stayed up late making Patrick a gift out of a car part I was worried I wouldn’t be able to smuggle onto an airplane this morning (security pulled me aside to talk about it, but it was fine—I’d tell you more, but I can’t spoil the surprise). I woke up at 3:30 A.M. after only two hours of sleep, and threw the part into my oven, since, it turns out, letting paint dry overnight only works if “overnight” is more than two hours long. Then I drove to the airport, regretting that I’d purchased the least expensive plane ticket I could find, which departed at 6 A.M. God I am a cheap bastard.
But I’m not enough of a cheap bastard to miss Patrick’s final day at Jalopnik. Nope, though I’ve literally purchased engines and lift kits for the same price as my flight, and though the fatigue I feel right now as I type this in the Baltimore airport has me deeply concerned about tonight’s going-away-rager, these are small sacrifices in comparison to those Patrick has made as editor-in-chief. Patrick means a lot to me, and he has meant a lot to Jalopnik as a whole, leading it to astonishing audience growth, and—on a more personal level—helping to turn me from an engineer who can write into a writer who can engineer. That I feel so compelled to go to New York even on a Spirit Airlines flight that cost a third of what I’ve paid for entire automobiles, and that I willingly made my entire house reek of cooked paint (god it was bad) says a lot about Patrick’s leadership.
Anyway, this is a roast, so I’m supposed to talk shit about PG, and not only mention the mushy stuff. The good news is that there’s plenty of shit to choose from, though I’ll limit my discussion to what I consider PG’s greatest flaw as EIC: His threshold for automotive/mechanical bullshit was just too low. Far too low. Look, you’re the editor-in-chief of the biggest general-interest car website on the planet; If anyone on this earth should own an awesome old shitbox, it’s you. And Patrick did, for a while. He owned that BMW 325e that got wrecked after he sold it in his move from Texas to New York, and then when he got to the big city, he bought a manual 1984 BMW 733i, which was pretty much the perfect car for the boss-man of a weird car website.
But PG couldn’t hang with the old Bimmer. Patrick, a man who I believe could easily have been a master wrencher had he put his mind to it, never truly reached the mountaintop of wrenchdom, but instead squandered his potential to do things like “edit articles” and “plan a budget” and “hire new employees.” Look, all of that stuff can wait! You’ve got a water pump, fan, fan clutch, and radiator to swap out. I always felt Patrick had his priorities in the wrong place.
So Patrick spent thousands of dollars to have shops repair his car until eventually, he grew tired of the 7 Series, and—with his bullshit-meter solidly pegged to the max (which, I maintain, wasn’t high enough)—he sold it. He then owned zero automobiles for a while. Zero! Not a reasonable number like, say, seven or—hell, if you’re really feeling bogged down—six. Nope, zero. Instead of telling the website to screw off while he replaced his fan clutch in below-freezing weather, he made sure Jalopnik stayed afloat. I never really got that.
In his defense, PG admits his character flaws in an article he wrote after parting ways with the luxurious old Bavarian sedan. “After too many shit-the-bed breakdowns, expensive repairs and a growing sense of frustration that the car would never function as a car, I gave up a few weeks ago,” he wrote with a melancholy tone. “I was mad at the car, at the city, at myself and my continued hubris, thinking I could ever make this work.”
PG has since bought a cool old 4Runner. I hope he gives it the love it deserves, and I hope he’s able to realize his potential and become the wrenching master I always believed he could be. Next time I’m back in New York, I expect to see him in coveralls, covered in grease, with a headlight strapped to his head, asking a car parts store clerk for a set of “thirty over” crankshaft bearings and some crocus cloth.
Erin Marquis, Jalopnik Managing Editor
We all have a great deal of affection for Patrick George. He was a great boss and a passable blogger. Now that he’s leaving, we can finally answer the question: What the heck does he do here? Well, for one, he taught me a lot about caring about people, and what’s going on in their lives, not just their blogs. He started that lesson pretty much immediately when he still hired me on as managing editor even after I told him my first two months at Jalopnik would be spent dealing with cancer treatments. Maybe it was our shared obsession with the mineral water Topo Chico that made him assume I was worth the wait, I’m not sure. But everyone knows he’s a stand-up guy who can see other’s limitations and pushes them to overcome them. Maybe it was in this spirit that I thought he could handle pretty much anything. Which leads me to my favorite Patrick story about the time he almost became the first casualty of marijuana in my living room.
My favorite memory of Patrick is when he and Raph Orlove drove a 1970 BMW 2500 cross country. They stayed at my place in Detroit on their way back to the Big Apple. They were exhausted but were able to hang out for a little bit, long enough for me to get Patrick to take his first-ever bong rip. I know, what is an adult lady doing with a bong in the first place? Well my normal smoking apparatus had just shattered (RIP) so all I had was the old college bong from the back of the closet. Stuffed into that bong was not the gross, lower-tier stuff most of us did bong rips with back in the day. No, this was a big chunk of my cancer weed, a strain known as Elmer’s Glue. It eased the pain and made the tedium of laying around sick a little more entertaining. I showed Patrick the bong, and he was hesitant, yet intrigued. I offered to help him with its operation, but using a bong and not wanting to die afterward takes some practice.
You know when someone shotguns two lungs full of way too much smoke way too fast and then they cough like they’re going to die? After showing Patrick how to hold it, where the fire goes, and how it works, he ripped it like a pro. But he was not a pro. As soon as I saw tears well up in his eyes I knew this was a bad decision. His pale Irish skin turned beet red and I was worried his lungs were going to try and make a break for it. Did I just kill my boss? I wondered. He was a trooper about it, but sparking a few space rocks of Elmer’s Glue and sending waaaay too much smoke straight to the dome when you’re not expecting it does not make for a nice, smooth smoking experience.
He ended up refusing a follow-up hit (smart) and sleeping deeply on my couch like a little stoned angel. Much like Patrick, the bong is gone now, but the memories we made (or permanently erased) will always remain in my heart.
Erica Lourd, Jalopnik Video Producer
I have a confession to make to you, Patrick. I really hope you don’t hate me after this. I have been bottling it up inside for many months now, and this is tough. When we were in Virginia for the bubble car shoot, I was returning from a coffee run with my dear dear colleague Eddie in the morning of the second (or third, who the hell knows) day. I stopped him in the hallway because I saw you in the gym as we passed by. (I’m so sorry.) It’s just that, as a workout enthusiast, I was so curious as to what you were doing, so I made him stand there and look with me.
You were running on the treadmill. Although I have never been much of a runner myself (I only suffered through two years of cross country in high school), I know what strong form looks like. But I’ve never seen a running style like yours before- frequent, short strides, arms up impossibly high, elbows bent at 90 degrees, and just going for it. It looked wildly uncomfortable. Eddie said, “I feel like I’m seeing something I shouldn’t be seeing,” and started to walk away. It did feel super intimate watching, but don’t worry, I didn’t stay once it was clear Eddie wasn’t coming back. It was such a funny feeling- seeing your boss working out when you shouldn’t, just like in Mean Girls when Janis says, “I love seeing teachers outside of school, it’s like, seeing a dog walk on its hind legs.” I know you did other things besides work with us, but... you know what I mean. I have to admire the commitment to running on a hotel treadmill though, especially one that faces the indoor pool, where anyone can see you (so really, was what I did such a crime?!). Also, running sucks, especially on treadmills. Try climbing.
Anyway, I’m sad to see you go, and even more sad that I only had a year to get to know you. I will always take the treadmill memory with me though, and the radioactive-hazard-level-green margaritas from the most highly-rated Mexican restaurant in Christiansburg, VA. Have fun at The Drive. Enjoy my sloppy seconds.
Joyce Tang, Editorial Director, G/O Media
I’m guessing by this point everyone else has already made the joke about how quickly Patrick can go from zero to 60 (pun very much intended). Those people are all correct. Patrick would usually start his conversations with me saying “Joyce, you know I never want to be a problem child,” and it would somehow end with him talking about cutting a bitch. Really something to witness. But it was always because of how much Patrick cared, about his site, his people, and the potential of it all. The entire time I worked with Patrick he was always trying to aggressively expand Jalopnik’s domain, whether that be into TV, podcasts, or events. Well, we didn’t let him (except for the TV part, and just briefly) so it only makes sense that he’s now leaving to build another car publishing empire (our bad). I pity and envy the staff that’s now going to have to answer to “we need some blogs” in the 7am hour, when I’m guessing Patrick is usually already on his fourth cup of coffee.
Raphael Orlove, Jalopnik Features Editor
The best part about working with Patrick was when little glimmers of his inner mania flashed out. You might be alone in the car with him, halfway into a long road trip and he would look you in the eye and say something like, “there’s man’s law… and then there’s god’s law” with the authority of someone who has killed before.
I remember when Patrick got hired here. I was pissed. I was mad he was getting the next job up the employment ladder and I was not, even though I wasn’t qualified for it. I quickly found out that Patrick was wildly overqualified for the job, something that dawned on me the first time I took him out for lunch by the old old office. He stood there in the tiny dumpling shop, rattling the walls booming about the shootings he covered as a beat reporter, working into the night, wearing himself to the bone, and taking solace in the tuner Subaru he dumped all his money into.
He never lost that attitude working at Gawker’s little car blog that used to sit by the service elevator. He took every office issue, PR drama, and management diktat as a philosophical crisis, one that held his life and the world in balance. He took work personally. There’s a word for this kind of person: a psychopath. I hope in his next job he learns how to log off.
Justin Westbrook, Jalopnik Staff Writer
I’ve never had a stepfather, but if I did, I imagine they would approach me with the same energy Patrick approaches me with every time we talk—slightly uncomfortable but committed to making me feel involved and part of the team, even if we’re both struggling to find something to talk about.
There was the time I tried to get him to watch ASMR, which only lasted for about 10 seconds before he threw down his headphones and said “I’m not fucking watching that shit.” Those same headphones that forced me to have to message him to talk even though he sat two chairs over from me in the office.
There was the time he almost fired me for claiming GM’s Lordstown assembly plant was in Warren, Ohio and not Lordstown Ohio in a blog, despite the GM corporate site claiming Warren at the time and both of those being essentially in exactly the same location regardless, for which he later apologized.
There was all the grief I caused him when Tesla spox would call him angry about something I wrote. And that one time I really upset Lamborghini. And that other time I went rogue and published a blog at 2 a.m. on a Saturday. Sorry about that.
Best boss I ever had.
Michael Ballaban, Interim Editor-in-Chief, Jalopnik
Patrick George was a good editor. He is also, and always will be, a great friend.
And he can forever eat shit.