Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: The joys of self-entitlement programs, undecided voters — an un-appreciation, and Lizard Kings

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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 burning sensation? Consult your doctor. Have a burning question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

Is Ask Matt dead? And if so, would The Daily Caller level with us? Up until last week, I was prepared to allow that he most likely remained camped out in his favorite all-weather dashiki, working his way through the line for the iphone 5. But the obvious conclusion from the lack of activity on his Pinterest and Instagram accounts is that something more sinister has happened. Has he gone rogue like Scarborough? Collapsed under the weight of his own brilliance like Olbermann? Who else will bring structure and coherence to the gelatinous ooze of amorphous irritation that is life in 21st century America? Let it be known that we won’t passively accept the cheap substitution of some bland imitation like the new Darren on Bewitched. I beseech you Daily Caller, Where’s Matt? – George

Easy, dear reader. I’ve been out and about, far and wide, hither and yon. Also, I’d been working on this 9,000 word exploration of anti-baby killer, Barry Manilow-lover, and all-around-interesting guy, Randall Terry, who is trying to take down the president with dead-baby ads. For the youngsters, it’s called “print journalism.” Which Tina Brown assures us is in its death throes. (As someone who regularly kills magazines, she should know.) So I’m trying to get my last licks in while there’s still time. But the truth is, I’m 42 years old, or twenty-three years away from the traditional retirement age. Though who are we kidding? You really think Social Security is going to be around by the time I can collect? More likely, instead of a monthly check, you’ll get a Starbucks gift card, a pat on the ass, and a bashful apology from your bankrupt government that you spent your entire working life paying into a fund that you can’t cash out of — the last sucker on the bottom of the pyramid scheme. But that’s me — I’m an optimist. More realistically, you probably won’t get the gift card, either.

That’s why you have to take your entitlements where you can. A “self-entitlement program,” I call it. Which is why I’ve officially lowered the semi-retirement age to 42. Because why not? The system might be unreliable, but two can play that game, system. So when you tune in for your weekly, or monthly, or semi-annual dose of Ask Matt, maybe I’m here, and maybe I’m not. You won’t know if I’m here until I am. And I won’t know if you are here either. You, my fickle friends, might be off reading “the good Matt” (Lewis), or Jim “The Anvil” Treacher. (Are you even here now? If so, please email a naughty picture of yourself. I’m so very lonely.) The point is, these are The Final Days. The only thing we can depend on is our mutual undependability. It’s a dark, destructive love — but it’s ours.

Ok…I get it. You don’t like the politics. But you live it. I think that somehow makes it less real to you. Given you’re inside the belly of the beast and I promise not to tell, who’s going to win this thing? – Ken Krueger

I’ll tell you who is going to win this thing since it’s close: feckless, insipid, mouth-breathing undecideds. Mostly from Ohio. Who are too dim to make up their minds after two solid years of relentless campaigning. But who will be rewarded for their dimness with endless attention and coddling from pollsters and pundits and politicians, and silly scribes who use annoying alliteration, which is still nowhere near as annoying as your average undecided.

Note to undecideds: it’s not like you’re looking at a menu, and having to make some subtle choice between pork fried rice, or shrimp fried rice. Here are the choices, one more time. And I’ll go slowly and try to use a minimum of three-syllable words so as not to confuse you. You can vote for a raging liberal who pretends to be a moderate. You can vote for a milquetoast liberal who pretends to be a conservative. Or you can vote for Gary Johnson, if you want to hear a lot of boring speeches about the glories of pot. The distinctions couldn’t be any clearer. So if you don’t know your own mind by now, it’s probably not worth knowing. I think I speak on behalf of Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Gary Johnson when I say, nobody really gives a toss what you think. They are using you, but have utter contempt for you. So on Election Day, stay home and observe your normal routines. Look for change under your sofa cushions so you can go to the Stop’n’Shop and buy yourself lots of fatty foods and scratch-off lotto tickets. Watch your Honey Boo Boo reruns. Sit on the can, and sound out the words in the Sports section. But do your country a service, and don’t vote. You’re unqualified to be a good citizen, so why keep pretending?

Editor’s note – a shameless plug:
Dear Matt, you’re a literary genius with excellent taste. What should I be reading besides you? – Matt Labash

Glad you asked, Matt. The answer is: nothing, if you can help it. I like to think this column collects all the wisdom of the world, and the world beyond, in a convenient 1,000 word package with a cheeky photo. But if you travel beyond these borders, I’ll have to insist you read “The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama’s True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer.” Which is (spoiler alert) a story about lizards and kings. It is written by Jamie Weinstein (the very man to whom I file this column) and Will Rahn (deputy editor of the Daily Caller). Due to office politics and work stresses, I can’t stand either of these people. And yet, I’m still recommending their book, which ought to tell you something. Namely, that you should read it. You will laugh. You will cry. You will learn things about yourself, and not like them. You will cut yourself, as a result of your newfound self-loathing. You will then use the pages of this book to salve your wounds. Except it doesn’t have pages. It’s an e-book. What are you, some sort of clueless undecided voter? Just buy it already.

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.