Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: Dare not to dream — an anti-political rant

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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>

As stated before, I’m generally predisposed toward Republicans. Not because I like them, particularly. Nor am I the kind of partisan purist who refuses to believe that Republicans, on balance, aren’t  just as cliché-spouting, power-hungry and demagogic as Democrats. Because they are. (Well, maybe not this year. ) What tilts the balance for me is that all things being equal, Republican dysfunction is preferable to Democratic dysfunction because while both teams repeatedly demonstrate their ability to bung things up, Republicans typically take less of your money while doing so. In that sense — I try to take my temperamental conservatism seriously. Except for my public library system, my road paving crews, and my military, I retain not a hatred, but a natural distrust of most government, not just the side I voted against. Call that nihilism if you’d like. I call it assessing the evidence. If you find a political savior, give him my best. But in four decades on this earth, I’ve yet to make one’s acquaintance.

So to answer your question — is it civically responsible to have no interest in every hiccup, half-truth, and outrage of the day from the belching fire hose of endless, tiresome and often pointless campaign blather? Of course it is. On November 6, hold your nose and vote your conscience, such as it is. But feel free to skip the pre-game show. Unless you’re some swing-state halfwit, your mind isn’t going to be changed. And in all likelihood, you’re not changing anyone else’s. Better for you to go on about your business, leading a full, productive, largely politics-free life in the months before Election Day, instead of being that guy sitting in his own filth in his family room, crushing cheese puffs underfoot while  screaming like a howler monkey at  MSNBC. Your vote is going to have just as much carry as his. (Which if you live in my politically lopsided state, Maryland, is to say not much.) But you’ll be happier, saner, and won’t smell as badly. Your blood pressure will be lower. And perhaps most important of all, you won’t have to endure Touré.

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,” is now available in paperback from Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.