Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: Vol. V

Matt Labash Columnist
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You seem to reveal a great deal of personal information in this column. What does your family think? Do they know? — Jannine D.

Fair question, Jannine. I’d ask them, if they weren’t padlocked in the tool shed out back. It’s cold, and I don’t feel like crossing the yard. (No worries. Their drinking water has antifreeze in it.)

As for the personal revelations, I have two defenses:

1. Much of what I say about myself in this column is grossly distorted, severely exaggerated, or outright fabricated. Example: my family isn’t padlocked in a cold tool shed out back with antifreeze laced drinking water. I’m not some kind of monster. They’re padlocked in the basement with a space heater and several days’ worth of Capri Suns. Their urination bucket gets changed out weekly. About as often as the bandages. You should understand that unlike in my journalism, which is 100 percent Grade A factual truth, in this column, I’m less concerned with factual truth than with emotional truth.

2. The name of the column is “Ask Matt Labash.” Which kind of puts me in a box, self-revelation-wise. I would very much like to share less about myself, and more about other people, which is why I initially pushed the editors to name this column “Ask Malcolm Gladwell.” Then, I would’ve been able to talk about more useful things like blinking and tipping cows and all the things Malcolm Gladwell so skillfully talks about. Also, some readers would confuse me for Malcolm Gladwell, which means I’d be a New York Times bestseller, if only by accident. I hope you enjoy my book, incidentally. It’s called “Fly Fishing With Malcolm Gladwell.” Also available on Kindle.

Why doesn’t Tucker Carlson promote your book on The Bubba The Love Sponge show on Sirius/XM radio where he is on every week? He knows how powerful the Bubba Army is and yet no mention of your book. All he seems to be concerned with is how many followers he has on Twitter and the power of Nicorette gum? What kind of fair-weather friend is he? — Pryor

It’s perhaps Washington’s worst-kept secret that Tucker Carlson, friend though he’s been in the past, has been threatened for some time by my sophistication, my savoir-faire, and my command of the French language (see my use of the word “savoir-faire”). He has clearly sabotaged me at every turn. (Again, not to show off, but “sabotage”—French word). First, he promised top billing on the front page of his website, then he places me at the bottom of a dog pile beneath S.E. Cupp and George Clooney. Next, he promised me a convoluted profit-sharing agreement. I’m not very good at math, but what’s 20 percent of nothing, again?

Granted, I understand why he wouldn’t make mention of me during his regular Bubba the Love Sponge shots. That would interfere with his mission: promoting himself so that he can bang Love Sponge groupies in the parking lot after the show. I mean, let’s face it: chicks dig Nicorette-users, since they’re like regular gum-chewers, but more dangerous. Tucker, however, is now trying to distance himself from me, as he knows I have the goods on his little Daily Caller front operation. It seems that right out of the office of this column’s editor, Moira Bagley, Tucker is running a dog-porn ring. See below:

While I am currently in college studying political science, I really want to be a journalist. All my j-school friends say that journalism is dying and that they now regret borrowing thousands of dollars to learn how to write inverted pyramids. Also, I read online that “reporter” is ranked in between “roustabout” and “sailor” in terms of job satisfaction, stress, and pay. That said, I would like to know if you are happy, and if you think I should become a journalist? — Jessica L.

Fair Jessica, so young and oh so innocent, how to put this delicately? Your friends are nimrods. Journalism is dying? Someone forgot to tell me that. I mean, for the love of Ernie Pyle, look at me. I’m at the top of the journalism heap. I’m answering questions for 20 percent of nothing on a startup Web site for readers with no last names! I know it’s intimidating to somebody like you just starting out. But don’t fret. I had to work my way up to this. I wasn’t born at the top. I arrived here the hard way: by locating little people who stood in my path, then stepping on them.

I would take issue with some of your characterizations. First, I’ve always been under the impression that sailors had high job satisfaction. “Screwing like a sailor on shore leave” suggests a vocation that embodies a sort of lust for life. Second, you said you “read” that. Which means someone had to write it. Probably yet another intolerable journalist boohooing his imminent extinction. This is why you should ignore all reports of journalism’s demise, particularly if they come from sad-sack journalists. Journalists are really negative people and often unpleasant to be around. So if you become one, get some friends outside of work.

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say journalism makes me “happy.” If I were a truly happy person, I’d be of no use as a journalist, since my happiness might get in the way of the solemn oath all journalists take to endlessly feed off of human misery. But I do like it. And I like it for this reason: it helps me keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening Right Now. For instance, right now, as the Internet fails, and people’s attention spans grow longer as they have fewer distractions than ever and are therefore looking for lengthier, more thoughtful, thoroughly reported things to read, it’s a wonderful time to be a print journalist. So by all means, join the club, while there’s still a club to join.

What’s up with the cute little devious smirk in your bio picture? — Donna N.

That can be easily explained: gas.

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 just published from Simon and Schuster. Have a burning question for Matt? Submit it here.