Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: Replacing Keith Olbermann, the Obama/Ted Wiliams connection, and dirty poetry

Matt Labash Columnist
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Dear Matt, Now that Keith Olbermann is history, would you consider putting your name in the hat for the next host of Countdown? – David Titland (yes, really)

David, I don’t mean to be forward, but I hope you’ll forgive me for noticing that you have nice Titlands. And the answer is maybe – I might consider it. Keeping in mind, I generally believe my place is in front of the television, not on it. People who make their living on television tend to be solipsistic, insufferable and vain. Besides, my brand manager has warned me that television could easily add ten pounds to my package, which is already abnormally large. And MSNBC has enough ratings problems – they don’t need me scaring away female viewers. I suppose I could stay hidden behind a desk. After all, Keith Olbermann did. And my spies at MSNBC tell me that while on-camera, Keith appeared to be a long-torsoed fellow of medium build, beneath the equator, he was shaped like a Bosc Pear. If you punched him – and a lot of my spies wanted to, after all, they knew him personally – the Weeble would wobble, yet not fall down.

Still, if I share some of myself with viewers, it only seems fair to share all of myself. Meaning no desk. Which would mean MSNBC would have to pop for my reduction surgery. And they’d also have to give me a wardrobe allowance which provided for stylish, shorter pants. Market research shows that most viewers tune in to cable news to see lots of leg. And I just got a new elliptical machine. Give the people what they want. What do they want? Fox’s Megyn Kelly. But if you can’t have her, fool them by wearing tastefully suggestive gauchos.

There’d have to be other changes, as well. In my contract, it would stipulate that Ed Schultz could never enter my green room when comestibles are present. He’s always foaming at the mouth about something, and it creeps guests out when they get host-spray on their melon wedge. Also, Rachel Maddow would have to stop smugly smiling all the time. If she thinks something’s funny, she ought to share it with the rest of us. If it’s just gas, she should go see the school nurse. They have stuff she can take for that.

Lastly, for me to enter the lineup, all MSNBC prime-timers will have to stop “leaning forward.” They’re making viewers dizzy. On my show, everyone would be required to lean backwards, to maintain network equilibrium. We’d give you last month’s news whenever we get to it. Why hurry? Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. My intern tells me that the philosopher Carlos Santana said that (though she’s just familiarizing herself with Nexis). But what Carlos didn’t tell you is that if you live in the past, you don’t have to remember anything. You’re already there.

Ted Williams = Barack Obama  (Check out video below.) – Masmidow

I’m sorry, but there are two problems with this question. First, it’s not even a question. I don’t mind a little editorializing from readers, but the name of the column is Ask Matt Labash, not Tell Matt Labash. Don’t mean to get uppity, but I don’t make the rules, I just play by them. Second, your comparison couldn’t be more wrong. Ted Williams was a homeless man wandering aimlessly with nothing but hope, but who was plucked from obscurity despite his thin resume because he had a golden voice  and made people feel all warm and mushy inside, even if, in the end, he turned out to be a disappointment and didn’t quite live up to his billing.

Whereas, Barack Obama was a United States senator who was wandering aimlessly with nothing but hope, but who was plucked from obscurity despite his thin resume because he had a golden voice and made people feel all warm and mushy inside, even if, in the end, he turned out to be a disappointment and didn’t quite live up to his billing. So you know, apples and oranges.

Is there a Lac Labash anywhere near Lac Labarge where Sam McGee was cremated, and, if so, what rhymes with Labash like “marge” rhymes with “Labarge”? I’m thinking about writing a dirty parody of “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” – Stuart Williamson

For our readers who don’t read, you’re referring of course to the 1907 poem, written by the Bard of the Yukon, Robert Service. The first stanza of which goes:

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge at Lake Labarge
I cremated Sam McGee

A side note to Media Matters — save your fire, the Northern Lights are not homophobic because they’ve seen “queer sights” — it’s just an archaic expression.

As for your question, here are some helpful words that rhyme with “Labash”: weapons cache, hot flash, rehash, sour mash, heat rash and white trash. Knock yourself out. I don’t mind that you take my name in vain for your dirty parody project. I just ask that in your composition, you put me somewhere in the vicinity of the girl from Nantucket. I hear she’s quite friendly.

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,” was published this spring by Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.