Hi, welcome to “Ask Matt Labash.” I’ll be your host, Matt Labash. The idea for this column – if idea isn’t too strong a word – is that it is not a column at all. Rather, it’s a conversation. One in which I do ninety-five percent of the talking. If you did most of the talking, you’d have to watch my eyes go dead and my attention wander until it was my turn to talk again. So trust me, it’s better this way.
For those unfamiliar with me from my day job at The Weekly Standard, I’ll give you a capsule bio by way of introduction: I have the gift of wisdom. Does that sound arrogant? I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t choose wisdom. It chose me. If I had my druthers, I’d have chosen another gift, perhaps the untold riches of Lil’ Wayne, whose teeth are made of actual diamonds, or to be the sexiest man alive, like Rachel Maddow. But wisdom is what they gave me, so wisdom is all I have to give back to you.
This is not, you should know, a mere advice column. If you need advice, I’ll give it. But the only rule here is that there are no rules. You can ask me a question about anything that’s on your mind: current events, pop culture, media, theology, string theory, fishing tips, wicker repair. The only limits we have are those of your imagination. And those of my knowledge base. Which is considerably limited, truth be told. So try not to ask me anything that requires research. Though they tell me I have access to Google on this computer if we need it.
If all goes according to plan, ours will not be a traditional writer/reader relationship. It’s more complex than that. I might empathize or cajole. I might educate, instruct, or inspire. I might pretend to answer your question while actually reporting you to Social Services, since you’re a dangerous person who should not have contact with children. I might tell you to climb up on my shoulders, that you’re not heavy, you’re my brother. Or I might tell you that you are heavy, and that you should hop down until you lose a few pounds. I might just sidle up behind you, put my big strong man hands on the small of your back, and whisper in your ear the words of the poet, Kenny Rogers: “We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?”
To which you’ll say something like, “I can’t, I’ve got to go home and wash my hair.”
To which I’ll say something like, “Shhh. We’ve got tonight babe, why don’t you stay?”
Wherever this takes us, our journey begins now:
What would you do to stop the Somali pirates?
Whoa, Ron. Let’s back up for a second. That’s a mighty large assumption you’re making, that I’d even want to stop Somali piracy. Have you ever been to Somalia? It sucks: anarchy, grinding poverty, famine. Nothing to do for fun but to chew qat and eat your pets. So stop Somali piracy? If the good people of Somalia can make their bleak lives just a little more bearable by downloading music without paying for it, I say we let them.
What do fly fishing and dating have in common?
I fly fish a lot more than I date these days, on account of my wife. Still, dating and fly fishing are practically one and the same. Both involve the excitement of the chase. Both require skill and cunning. Both involve making effective presentations, so that the pursuer can get the pursued to take something firmly in its mouth before it has a chance to spit it out. Finally, being successful at either will probably require you to wash your hands afterwards. Tight lines, Moira!
Which foreign country most deserves to have its leaders removed?
Without a doubt, the country with a leader most deserving of removal is Canada. Mind you, I’m an American, so I forget who’s actually running Canada (Avril Lavigne, I think). But studies have shown Canada ranks last in significant achievements while ranking first in unwarranted moral superiority. A bloodless coup would probably benefit the country as a whole, so long as the government wasn’t taken over by more Canadians.
If you were a billionaire golfer, how many mistresses would you keep?
The most striking detail of the Tiger Woods saga is the white supremacism that lies at the heart of it. At last count, he had something in the neighborhood of 178 mistresses, yet good luck finding any mistresses-of-color. Now I’m not calling Woods a racist. The heart wants what it wants. And I know he says he’s “Cablinasian,” which means that he’s part Asian, part black, part Indian, part Klansman.
But when I was a tyke in Sunday School, we used to sing a song called Jesus Loves the Little Children. One of the lyrics went “red and yellow black and white, they are precious in His sight.” So to answer your question Tony, if I were a billionaire golfer, I think the only moral thing to do would be to keep a mistress of every color. Don’t get me wrong. I like white women. I even married one. But after say, a rousing win at Pebble Beach, do I really want to celebrate by shacking up with the same old vanilla white woman? I might be in the mood for Chinese. Which of course means, that an hour later, I’ll want Mexican. If you want God to bless your extramarital relations, Tony, then it’s like the song says: don’t discriminate.
Pick three government programs you would eliminate. Why?
- Euthanizing Seniors. It’s wrong, and the Obama administration should stop killing our old people, now. Yes, they’re cranky, sickly, and repeat themselves a lot. But if we round them up out of the old folks’ homes, and put them back to work, possibly in camps with empowering “Greatest Generation” themes, then start taxing their labor, we can put an end to both the Social Security and Medicare crises. Not only will there be fewer seniors to support as they’ll begin expiring more readily from natural causes due to the strenuous physical exertion, but they’ll also help share the load for all the Boomer children they had (who are themselves becoming seniors and driving our system to ruin) when they were breeding like jackrabbits, giddy from the success of winning World War II. If I take my kids into a china shop, and they break an expensive serving dish, I have to pay for it. It’s time for the Boomers’ parents to do the same. But they can’t do that so long as the Obama administration keeps killing them.
- Legalized rape. What’s that you say? Rape isn’t sanctioned in this country? Then you must not live in a city with red-light or speed cameras, where it happens every day. Forget for a second that in one-fourth of all automated ticket cases, the ticketed car owner wasn’t the one actually driving the vehicle at the time of the infraction (what other crime-fighting technology do we consider reliable that nabs the wrong person 25 percent of the time?) Just as heinous is that every year, more and more municipal governments pretend that they plant these all-seeing menaces in the interest of “safety.” Yet every year, their revenues tend to increase from the very same technology. Meaning that the only deterrent effect the technology has is deterring your government from being honest about raping its own citizenry. If you’re going to slide me a roofie, Government, at least take me to dinner and a movie first.
- The Department of Justice. Eliminate it. I don’t have a good reason for this. I just want to see Eric Holder out of a job.
Do you know where D.B. Cooper is?
Yes. But I’m not at liberty to say.
My wife is very attractive, and she gets a lot of attention from men. We have a very loving, and trusting relationship, and I know that she would never cheat on me, but I still get angry when men hit on her in public, even though I know that it is not her fault. How do I express my discomfort in these situations without appearing weak and jealous, or even worse, accusatory and malevolent?
You’re wise to know that you should strike a balance, Stu. Women love vulnerability, but hate weakness. Your job is to know the difference. They might quietly wish you’d slay 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, if the situation calls for it. But they’ll also want you to feel conflicted about it. So by all means, show some sensitivity and crap.
Here’s where I break with you, however. I’m not sure why exactly it’s been decided that the modern male should never show jealousy. I have a word for men who show absolutely no jealousy: cuckold. Because that’s what many become when their wife runs off with another man who is overcome with enough desire for her to evidence the minimal amount of possessiveness that passion breeds. If you don’t act like she matters to you, she might think she doesn’t. Which is not to say you should be Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull. Few things look sillier than a grown man getting red in the face at the Greene Turtle happy hour, throwing a jager shot on some poor steak-head at the end of the bar who just gave his lady friend the goggle eye.
If it’s not her fault, as you say, and there’s no danger of her straying, I say let it ride. Flowers need water and sunshine to grow. Outside attentions will make her feel even more desirable and attractive than she already is, revving her up for when she goes home with you for the exclusive after party. But if one of her admirers gets out of hand, don’t be shy about throwing a little chin music at him for her benefit. This way, you’re not accusing her – you’re protecting her – while simultaneously validating that she’s chosen the better, more gallant man. If someone touches her inappropriately or seriously propositions her outright, knowing that she’s spoken for, violence is not an answer. It is the answer. Hit him first, hit him hard.
Short of such egregious violations however, remember that most women don’t want you to fight over them, they just want you to be willing to. Nobody likes a scene. It’s kind of like Cold War politics. The most effective weapon in your arsenal is rarely the use of force, it’s the credible threat of force. So be secure until you have a real reason to be insecure. Though don’t mistake security for passivity. Practice your menacing looks and withering putdowns more than your Krav Maga moves, and you’ll likely be just fine.
Matt Labash is a senior writer with The Weekly Standard. His first book, “Fly Fishing with Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys” will be published next month by Simon & Schuster.
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