Ask Matt Labash Vol XXII: Journolist dreams, reader penalty box, and stealing Dear Prudence

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Have a burning sensation? Consult your doctor. Have a burning question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

Spencer Ackerman has me cornered in an alley. Somehow the alley is composed entirely of glass. He is wearing a Black Flag t-shirt and nothing else. Could you please interpret my dream? – Jim Treacher

Yes. It’s symbolic. Spencer Ackerman symbolizes Spencer Ackerman, the embodiment of spittle-flecked, finger-sniffing bloggerhood, whereby, some churlish ewok with a Napoleon complex who was likely pushed around by high-school football players who used to hide his lint brushes when he was trying to clean the fresnel lens on the overhead projector (his duty as vice president of the Audio Visual club) is now all grown up, and has found a racket where he can regularly act out his revenge fantasies from the safety of his dank little blogging hole. From there, he has given himself his own comic-book nickname  — “Attackerman” — because he likes to read comics in addition to sniffing his own finger (he doesn’t know where its been — and that excites him!) But if you think that’s a honking dork coming at you in the alley, pants-less in a Black Flag t-shirt, then think again. Because he’s ferocious and you might get attackered. How do we know? Because Attackerman also likes punk rock music, and has multiple tattoos, not unlike many of the lasses on the cast of Jersey Shore.

From his hermetically sealed masturbatorium, he can then rhetorically threaten people who have soft hands and who type about politics for a living, but who could still pound the Bad Brains out of him (punk reference!) if they ever came face to face, even if it devolved into a girls-school windmill slap-fight, which it probably would. Though they won’t come face-to-face, of course, because being a tough-guy Washington blogger is a bit like being a phone-sex operator: you can pretend you’re sexy, even when you’re wearing a ratty terry cloth robe, hot curlers, and bunny slippers. Just like as a tough guy blogger, you can pretend on the outside that you want to crease the skull of Frank Foer with a baseball bat or annihilate Ryan Lizza in front of his toddler, while on the inside, you’re a moony-eyed trembling fanboy who writes unicorn-and-silly-bandz sentences such as “Yes we did!” when your swain wins an election. Which is sooo not punk rock. But that’s where the Black Flag t-shirt comes in. It’s a symbol. And what it symbolizes is that Hackerman is a dangerous man, not to be trifled with, since Black Flag was an ur-punk band whose former lead singer, Henry Rollins, was a genuine American badass, the Attackerman of his day. You could tell this, because he swore a lot, and wore tight black t-shirts. Even now, screwing with Rollins is like making a death wish. There’s no telling what that muscled wall of menace might do. He might write a really bitchy spoken-word piece about you, then release it as a podcast.

The glass alley symbolizes what Hackerman will put your head through, just as soon as he’s done tweeting about one of his favorite bands, Burzum, because they are BAD ASS. They’re kind of like the Attackermans of Norweigan black metal, showing early Tolkien influences since as their Facebook page stipulates, “Burzum” means “darkness” in the black speech of Mordor. The fact that Attackerman is pants-less means he’s flashing you his knob. Because that’s what knobs do: put their dickhood on display.

I’m not a dream interpretation expert, of course. You might want to run this by Hackerman himself. Though he doesn’t seem to be answering many questions lately, not since his Journolist bleatings were released. Instead, these days he’s pretending that he’s a buttoned-up national security reporter for Wired magazine’s website. Some critics think he should be fired due to his history of intemperate outbursts, poseur thuggishness, and all-around crappy writing. I don’t. Wired is a reputable organization. They presumably have an able staff and a good health insurance plan. So here’s hoping they can give Attackerman something he’s desperately needed: mood stabilizers and an editor.
Hi Jim, Is this the funniest haiku you’ve ever read? – Dobby

Obama has failed

The worst President ever

Jimmy Carter smiles!

Okay, a few problems:

a. I’m not Jim.

b. Haiku is never funny.

c. How many Obama-bashing questions is one advice columnist expected to take? How many new ways can I grapple with the discontent of angry readers? Not all of you, or even most of you. But too many of you. What do you want from me? When will your blood-lust be sated? Look, I don’t pretend that this presidency has qualified as a success. Not even the Journolisters who turned to K-Y jelly at his election would pretend that.

But for the love of Malia and Sasha — life is large. It’s about a lot more than politics. It’s about children’s laughter. It’s about sunsets and birdsong and ocean breezes. It’s about eatin’ good in the neighborhood, and thinking outside the bun. It’s about punk rock, and getting bad ass tattoos, and falsely accusing people of being racists and putting your ideological enemies heads through a plate glass window. So turn off your BlackBerries. Go outdoors. Live a little. Then come back, and think hard. We have limited time together in which you can benefit from my Solomonic wisdom, and you’re going to ask me what I think of your Obama haikus? Really?

Sorry, Dobby. I need to make an example out of somebody, so it might as well be you. For the rest of this column, I’m putting my readership on probation. If you’re not going to take my faux advice seriously by asking me semi-real questions about non-Obama related topics so that we can continue this ridiculous charade, then everyone is going into the penalty box. And instead of taking any of your questions, I’m going to raid a real advice columnist’s storehouse for questions that yield real advice. I’ve stolen the following already-answered question from Slate‘s Dear Prudence. Don’t like it?  Don’t complain to me. Talk to Dobby. And now, a question I can work with.
Dear Prudence,

A little more than a year ago, I witnessed a horrible accident. I was hauling my horse and driving the speed limit. A young woman behind me became impatient and attempted to pass a car, a bus, and my trailer around a blind curve. When she realized there was oncoming traffic, she tried to squeeze back in between me and the bus but got broadsided by the car in the other lane. She died on impact, and the couple in the other car was seriously injured. I pulled over and went to see whether I could help the couple. The first words a bystander said to me were, “This is what happens when you drive too slow.” I have suffered tremendous guilt over the death of this young woman. I know it was not my fault, but I still blame myself. I often need to pull over when I drive because I sob uncontrollably. I obsessively run over what I could have done differently to prevent her death. I have told no one about my part in the accident, aside from my husband and therapist. I am so ashamed. How can I move on from this tragic event? – Guilt Ridden

Dear Guilt Ridden,

Thanks for writing me, or rather, for writing Dear Prudence. Yours is a horrific tale, and I sympathize with your plight, and the burden you carry. But you need to forgive yourself. You are not to blame for the reckless decision someone else made behind the wheel. Nor, come to think of it are they to blame. If there is anyone to blame for this senseless tragedy, it’s the failing Obama administration.

– Matt

Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” was published this spring by Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

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