Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: The upside of eating fingernails, welcoming the new kids, and picking the scab off Iowa

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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="">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

Dear Matt, Do you have eating problems? I do. I eat too many hearts of palm. Also, my nails. Any advice? Thanks. – Fatso McNulty

Sorry, I have a much healthier relationship with food. That’s not to boast, but to acknowledge that I have a lot of young female readers out there with body image issues. Therefore, I have to choose my words with caution, since many of them look to me as one of their role models, alongside Selena Gomez, that pale chick from the Twilight movies, and Mitt Romney. So basically what I do is eat whatever I want, then politely excuse myself to the lavatory to heave until my ribs go numb. What I lose in esophageal lining, I gain in time not spent doing all that strenuous cardio.

As for your issue, I can’t really speak to hearts of palm. That’s a vegetable, right? I’m not all that familiar with vegetables since they don’t have any meat in them. But I am familiar with fingernails, since I often pick mine and throw them behind the couch. How long do they take to decompose? Hard to say, since Wikipedia has gone black in protest of proposed anti-piracy bills, and since I’m too lazy to do additional research. All I know is from the mounting evidence behind my sofa, it takes a good while. And as any student of medicine will tell you, digestive juices aid decomposition, so eating your fingernails is sort of like cleaning up the environment.

Additionally, fingernails are mostly made of a fibrous protein called keratin. Eat enough protein, and you won’t fill up on all those fatty carbs in vegetables. My suggestion, then, is to ditch the hearts of palm, and eat fingernails until you’re stuffed.

Matt, I’m hearing all about this new organization, the Center for American Freedom, and it’s upcoming news website, The Washington Free Beacon. They seem to have assembled an interesting collection of conservative journalists. What’s your take? Best, Matt

Sometimes, when I push back from a gluttonous afternoon of web-surfing The-Weekly-Standard-Daily-Caller-National-Review-Red-State-American-Spectator-American-Conservative, I think to myself, “What the internet really needs is more conservative commentary.”

Meaning that the debut of the Center for American Freedom is a boon for anyone who likes the point underscored. Such an addition, were it left to less able hands, might ordinarily cause not-another-one-of-those yawns. Except that this new enterprise has a murderer’s row of talent, some of whom are former colleagues and current friends, or who were before they read this plug.

Modeling itself on lefty activist internet gadflies such as Center for American Progress/ThinkProgress, TPM, and the HuffPost Politics page, the Center for American Freedom and its journalistic organ, the Washington Free Beacon, will seek to bring the pain to  lefties of a certain stripe. Those, who in the words of Beacon editor Matthew Continetti, steep themselves in “inside deals, cronyism cloaked in kind intentions, and {the} out-of-the-mainstream shibboleths of contemporary progressivism and its vehicle, the Democratic Party.” Sound scary, o ye lefties of bad faith? I’d buy a protective cup now, before they’re all sold out.

Joining the outfit — which will include a media-monitoring operation — are (among many others) the Washington Times’ longtime national security reporter Bill Gertz, and The Daily Caller’s own C.J. Ciaramella, who Caller readers loved, though not enough to keep him from callously walking out like the cad that he is. (Sorry, ladies. But you’ve still got Jim Treacher, enough man for any woman.)  Also joining the team is my former Weekly Standard colleague Sonny Bunch, who left us to become one of the finest film critics in the land. As any enemy of his could tell you, Sonny is capable of killing men with his bare hands. Though he chooses not to. Words are his weapon. The Center for American Freedom’s chair is another Standard alumnus, Michael Goldfarb, now of the lobbying firm Orion Strategies. Goldfarb is a man so practiced in the dark arts of political and advocacy guerilla warfare, that even Roger Stone and Che Guevara quake in their spats and their grave, respectively. Anchoring the squad is the aforementioned Matthew Continetti, who has most recently left the Standard (I’m seeing a pattern here, Judases), and who is a well-regarded author, editorialist and gimlet-eyed political and cultural commentator. As someone who used to sit two offices away from him, I can testify that Continetti is a man who would be smart enough to conquer any world he entered (be it law, medicine, business or academe). But he chooses journalism. Why? I don’t know. I guess because he likes to feel superior, and journalists aren’t all that bright.

So let’s welcome the new kids on the block, or NKOTB, as their teenage fans already call them. They launch February 1. Bookmark their page now. If you hate double-dealing lefties, you will love them. If you love double-dealing lefties, you will love to hate them. Either way, you’re set.