Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: Poison Apple, the death of books, and how to live responsibly by being irresponsible

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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>

No, campaigns and the players who populate them come and go, and are quickly forgotten. But the fish you will catch in southwest Virginia exist outside of time. At least until Apple folds its manufacturing plants in China, and brings them home to some hillbilly haven like southwest Virginia in order to take advantage of cheap American labor (which by then will consist mainly of former writers who can’t make a living off of e-singles), so that their death factories can pump poison into our rivers, thus killing all the fish. In other words, better shirk your duty and fish while the fishing is good. Sometimes the only responsible thing to do is the irresponsible one. And needing to clear your head, while a sign of weakness to some, is not only sensible, but necessary. Don’t be surprised if it makes whatever you write about Santorum and the butter cow even better. As Edgar Allan Poe once wrote in a non e-single, “They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”

Hey, Matt, now that the fiscal cliff has been averted (sort of), what are you going to buy with your middle class tax cut? – Emily Long

You mean what am I not going to buy with my middle-class tax hike? As the payroll-tax holiday expiring now represents thousands of dollars that were formerly mine now riding in the federal government’s pocket. Which is comforting, since I’m sure they’ll be good stewards of it, as they are with the $3.5 billion in debt they rack up each day. It’s the same kind of comfort I derived from my pyromaniac cousin getting a box of Fatwood and a Zippo for Christmas. So the answer is I won’t be buying much. Though if I can scrounge enough change from under the sofa cushions, perhaps I’ll prop up the economy by buying an e-single.

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.