Matt Labash’s book ‘Fly Fishing with Darth Vader’ receives wide acclaim

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Matt Labash, Weekly Standard staffer, Daily Caller columnist and friend, has written a book. It’s called “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures With Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys.” And people like it.

Mark Lasswell wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “In a just world, Matt Labash would be celebrated as the heir to Tom Wolfe.” But really, how can Charlotte Simmons’s roommate banging lacrosse players compare to Labash beaning elementary schoolgirls in the face with a dodgeball?

Even better, Labash’s stories are all true. At least, as the Journal put it, “he reels in what feels like the truth.”

Some of those truths are about famous people. We all want to know what they’re like, because they’re not like the rest of us. Slate’s Emily Bazelon described Labash’s tales of bribing his way into Iraq with Chris Hitchens, plotting dirty tricks with Roger Stone and being fed deer turds by Mudcat Saunders as “a collection of inflated egos, delicately punctured.”

“Labash has an innate sympathy for scoundrels, and he brings them to life like no other journalist today,” the Atlantic similarly observed. It’s sympathy that informs Matt’s particular brand of acute-yet-not-unkind humor (the Atlantic also called “Fly Fishing” “the funniest book of the year”), and allows his subjects to feel okay about taking his calls the morning after.

“Fly Fishing with Darth Vader” isn’t all fun and names. If you must know one thing about Matt Labash, know he is honest and thorough in his reporting. That he makes the topical and political so damned entertaining should be taken as proof of his commitment to capturing the world as he sees it. Even the famously nasty David Carr of the New York Times wrote a laudatory review, describing Labash as “the king of hang time, insinuating himself into a subject’s world — remember immersion journalism? — and then writing those encounters up in all their rococo glory.”

That’s probably why Esquire has called Labash, “one of the absolute greatest magazine writers in America.”