Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash Vol. XLV: Dogs to Michael Vick and Obama: ‘Bite me’

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Matt Labash
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      Matt Labash

      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:

      <i>Matt Labash is a senior writer with The Weekly Standard. His first book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Fly-Fishing-Darth-Vader-Evangelical/dp/1439159971">Fly Fishing with Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys</a> will be published next month by Simon & Schuster.</i>

Editor’s Note: Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here

I love Tucker Carlson to death, but what was he smoking when he said Michael Vick should be executed? – Craighton J.

The giggle weed of enlightenment? The crack pipe of karmic justice? Look, I know Tucker’s pronouncement wasn’t the least controversial thing in the world to say. So there was a predictable level of blowback: spittle-flecked denunciations, Tweets of outrage, stale bow-tie jokes, all three of which were perfectly embodied by public intellectual/TV weatherman Al Roker, whose iPhone damnation read, “Tucker Carlson’s bowtie has finally cut off oxygen to his brain. Only explanation for odious Michael Vick comment. Or maybe he’s an idiot.” This hardly seemed sporting – making a dated bow-tie joke a half decade after Tucker quit wearing one. It’d be like me making fat jokes about Al Roker, though he’s had his stomach stapled since 2002.

One can always expect, of course, a certain level of Tucker-bashing no matter what he says. Despite his general good cheer and nondoctrinaire libertarian politics, he has a knack for eliciting irrational hatred among the left. So it’s small surprise that Tucker was this roundly denounced for beating up a cold-blooded dog murderer like Michael Vick. One gets the sense that if Tucker came out squarely against necrophilia, a high percentage of The Nation readers would rush to the local morgue to pick out life partners by that afternoon. Since Tucker’s against capital punishment, it’s pretty clear his suggesting Vick should be executed was hyperbolic (look it up, Twitterers, it’s just a page or so over in the dictionary from “hypersensitive” and “hysteria.”)

That said, Tucker’s larger point – that Michael Vick is a degenerate asshole, guilty of unspeakable crimes against man’s best friend – stands. I say that not as a Cowboys fan, but as a fierce dog-lover (a tribe of which Tucker is chief — Tucker’s been known to take his dogs to restaurant drive-thrus to reward them, and his brother even bears a tattoo of their long-deceased spaniel on his leg). For Barack Obama to take the occasion of calling the Philadelphia Eagles’ owner to congratulate him on giving Vick a second chance (which is what precipitated Carlson’s comment in the first place) is an abomination. I don’t pretend to speak for dogs, but if Bo, Obama’s beloved Portuguese Water Dog, could talk, I’m fairly certain he’d say to both his owner and Vick: “Bite me.”

Lest we forget precisely what Vick was guilty of, it’s worth revisiting the Smoking Gun website to read the original indictment. Not only was Vick running a dog-fighting ring out of his Bad Newz Kennels. But Vick, in concert with his thuggish fellow torturers, was responsible for wetting down a female pit bull which had lost, and electrocuting it. Likewise, approximately eight dogs that did not perform well in “testing” sessions (meaning they looked to be subpar fighters), were executed “by various methods, including hanging, drowning, and slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground.”

  • toomuchinfo

    “If a “reformed” child rapist now thought it would be a swell idea to adopt…”

    I’m pretty sure one did. We let him. And now we’re investagating his death by overdose.

  • MarshaInAtl

    Totally agree with you Matt. Very impressed that you aren’t intimidated by the media push to ram sick vick down our throats these days, as if he’s the second coming of Christ. This is a sick, demented, sadistic individual. You don’t do the things he did to dogs for over 10 years for his ENTERTAINMENT, then become rehabilitated due to a few months in prison. Sadists and child molesters are two mental disorders that cannot be rehabilitated. Hoping that the Packers put a few hits (GO Clay Matthews!!!) that sick vick won’t soon forget, and ends the Walrus Andy Reid’s and the Eagles playoff hopes!!!

  • riseabove

    I keep clicking on these Vick articles like a rubbernecker at an accident scene. I read some of the article and skim past the parts that describe in vivid detail what he did…and then I scroll down to the comment section rapt in the back-and-forth of those truly repulsed arguing with his staunch defenders.

    And no matter how much I toss things around in my mind, I keep coming back to the same thing; are we seven degrees of seperation from Vick, or maybe only one or two?

    What I mean is, if I’m purchasing food items from chicken farms and slaughterhouses without knowing exactly what takes place on a daily basis, am I guilty of animal cruelty, too? Activists with hidden cameras have exposed often brutal conditions in many of these places, including puppy farms. What about my complacency about poaching? Even though I detest it, I don’t advocate against it in any meaningful way. How does my seafood consumption tie in with the problem of overfishing? What about pesticides and exterminators? How about admittance fees I’ve paid that ultimately goes to supporting circuses, zoos and other shows where animals could be suffering at the hands of abusive trainors? Also, our defense departments often conduct explosion tests in the oceans and deserts that kill and traumatize vast quantities of wildlife.

    Ugh. It kind of gets complicated when you really think about it.

    I could keep going about carbon footprints and all that jazz until it gives me a headache. You see? I wonder if God thinks we’re all guilty of abuse in one way or another?

    But, I’m still horrified that people like Vick do these kinds of things.

    • toomuchinfo

      RA, I served with Michael Vick, I knew Michael Vick, Michael Vick was a friend of mine. RA, you’re no Michael Vick.

      Ease up a bit, would ya? You’re starting to worry me. Maybe you should consider one of Hampton’s valiums after all. When you start raising your own food so you can make it plead for its life before you throttle it, then we might be a little concerned. God told me He thinks you’re doing fine. He’s not happy with Al Gore’s carbon footprint, however, and the way he tips his masseuses.

      • riseabove

        If you have a direct line to God does that mean if you touch one foot to the ground and [innocently] drape your arm around Vick’s shoulder….mmmm…never mind.

        • toomuchinfo

          I’ll do what I can, but I really don’t want to touch Vick. In the meantime become a vegan Amish, and you’ll sleep better. I’ll make sure your share of the beef ribs and high octaine find a good home.

    • MarshaInAtl

      You’re right riseabove, some of the slaughterhouses employ people that cruelly abuse and torture the animals before slaughter. There are rules and regulations involved, but most don’t follow them. There is a new push for a new brand of meat, raised with humane conditions and slaughtered with the best methods possible to reduce suffering to the animal. As for the circuses and such, yep, you’d be doing the right thing to stay away from them, the torture some of these animals are subjected to is unbelievable, and there are animal rights groups working on this too. The puppy mills, yep, animal rights groups working on making them more humane as well. We have a long way to go, but we have won the battle in regard to domesticated animals, and it widely accepted that dogs and cats are not to be treated cruelly nor neglected. Let’s don’t step back on this win, just because there are other issues that need to be addressed. BTW, though, if any slaughterhouse, hunter, circus, or rodeo personnel were to be caught hanging, drowning, electrocuting, or beating an animal to death for fun, they would be brought up on animal cruelty charges too, if caught.

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  • cl696

    Tearing an unborn child from it’s mothers womb is legal but being cruel to animals sends you to jail…such misplaced anger. Vic isn’t the issue but have fun playing with this situation to make you feel better about the inability to correct real problems…what ev

    • toomuchinfo

      I know some dogs that wish Vick had been aborted.

  • SargeH

    Best quote of the year about the national/political climate:

    LABASH: “One gets the sense that if Tucker came out squarely against necrophilia, a high percentage of The Nation readers would rush to the local morgue to pick out life partners by that afternoon.”

    • toomuchinfo

      I’d like to state that I, too, thought the “Nation/life partner,” line was exceptional, but that I failed to properly laud it, and now the Sarge has made me feel ashamed.

  • SargeH

    The Minnesota Vikings had a horrible season. But they did one thing right — two weeks ago they kicked Vick’s sorry butt all over the football field. Just seeing that made the game worth watching

  • besserved cold

    Let’s see… the prez likes Vick- that alone should stand the hair on the back of your neck high. If Michael Jackson were still alive, I’d bet the O would give the King of Pop some stimulation- er stimulus money to open a day care center. Can’t we all just get along? Let’s go into the garden boy and have us a beer- that’ll solve everything. Whoa- now THAT was high drama. The BIG man takes position on everything BUT that which matters to the people. What did he say about the ground zero mosque? Well I guess he representing the people who pay him…

  • ML BELKE

    if you are rich, famous in sports, or a Politician, you can steal or kill with impunity… Unbelievable!

    A Michael Vick refresher:

    “Along with killing underperforming pit bulls, a government informant told investigators that Vick twice placed family pets into the ring with pit bulls because he and his cohorts ‘thought it was funny to watch the pit bulls…injure or kill the other dogs.’

    America, please stop voting you pocketbook vote your heart.

    And again… Off with his head.