Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: Why iHate Steve Jobs/Apple products, and Hoffa, SOB’s, and the New Conservative Crybabyism

Matt Labash Columnist

Editor’s Note: Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here

Have I destroyed Apple by resigning? Do the faithful think this is like if Jesus went back to carpentry? –  Fake Steve Jobs

Let’s hope so — fingers crossed. Because the only thing more annoying than Apple products is the people who use them. Not just because they tend to be personally annoying, though they do. But because they never shut up about it. I am sick of your cultists giving me their laundry lists of why my PC is inferior. I’m sure it is. But I unapologetically keep purchasing pieces-of-crap HP notebooks (at a clip of about one every two years, since that’s how often they fail me), just to annoy you and your Kool-Aid drinking iCatamites, to fly the middle finger of resistance in the face of your moony-eyed groupthink and technological triumphalism.

Fake Steve Jobs, I am sick of both you as an individual, as well as being sick of what you represent. I am sick of your trendy untrendiness. Your eternal black turtleneck. You’re freakin’ 56 years old. You’re worth 5.5 billion dollars. Time to change your shirt, man. You smell like stale Speed Stick and sweaty affectation.

I am sick of your never-ending stream of overhyped, overpriced, unnecessary iProducts. Your iPads and iClouds and iToldyouso’s. I’m sick of the way you lowercase your “I’s” for all proper nouns, a transparent act of false modesty, as though the laws of nature and punctuation don’t apply to you. I’m sick of how I can no longer get all the way through lunch without my dining companion succumbing to iPhone interruptus. And I’m sick of the way your iPod has put every record store within a 100-mile radius of me out of business. I can no longer even find one at the mall. But I sure as hell can find an Apple Store, where iDorks stand six deep to get their iProducts iServiced, as they sport your iUniform (mom jeans and New Balance shoes), completely oblivious to the fact that unlike you, they’re not rich enough to get away with dressing that badly.

Fake Steve Jobs, you’re a computer geek, so you’ll understand that life is a binary choice. You are one thing, or you are the other. You are Coke or Pepsi. Stones or Beatles. Dog person or cat person. SUV or Prius. Jesus or Satan. Real or fake. Wood-burning fireplace or gas. Bourbon or vodka. PC or Mac.  Me, I’ve made my choice: Coke-Stones -Dog-SUV-Jesus-Real-Wood-burning-Bourbon-PC. So I have no room in my life for your iClutter.

Don’t get me wrong, you have my sympathies on your health travails. And I’m glad you’ve resigned in order to focus on your physical well-being. Here’s hoping you and your new liver have many happy, healthy years together. That said, I hope your company gets bought out and sold off for parts by a consortium of the record-store clerks you threw out of work, along with the Chinese iSlaves who manufacture your products, though there’d have to be a lot of the latter, since the ones who haven’t killed themselves are only paid about $293 a month, and that, after a 65 percent raise after the rare negative press that ensued after the iSuicides.

Let us pray that Apple is done. Or that at the very least, that smug and snarky little iPunk, Justin Long, shoots a new Apple commercial in which John Hodgman once and for all crushes him and his metrosexual skinny jeans with an old-school IBM mainframe, eats his heart, and picks his teeth with Justin’s bones. That would be iDeal.

I can’t believe James Hoffa said all those nasty things about Republicans the other day with Obama on the stage. Doesn’t that bother you? – Fawn Liebowitz

Not especially. Because I’m a grown man with a fully-developed  life that exists outside the manufactured outrages of some faux news cycle. And I strongly suggest you look into getting one of those as well. Let’s review the facts:

1) Did James Hoffa call Republicans “sonsofbitches”?  Yes.
2) Was Obama, who has called for the need for civility in our discourse, present as Hoffa advocated on his behalf with such remarks?  Yes.
3) Is this on its face, hypocritical? Sure, why not.
4) Is Hoffa himself a sonofabitch? One could make a case.
5) Does it trouble me? No.

If you took all the hypocrisy out of politics, it would no longer even be politics. The entire edifice is built upon gassy, divisive rhetoric, unconvincing artifice, and hoping that the other side gets caught fudging worse than yours does. That’s the American way. And if my cynicism sounds complete, it’s because that’s what the system as currently constituted requires of me. In fact, I’ve always found  it useful to think of politics as the British writer Ernest Benn framed it: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” Stake your identity on it at your own peril.

Though that seems to be the problem these days, people internalizing this stuff way too much. The expletive hadn’t even left Hoffa’s lips before every conservative commentator within screaming distance let loose with blood-curdling indignation. Considering paranoid, hypersensitive leftoids will use any opportunity to portray overheated or even underheated Tea Partyish rhetoric as hate speech, this is understandable. So on the one hand, fair’s fair.

Still, I was troubled less by the sonofabitchiness of the comment, than by  the New Conservative Crybabyism, in which my winger brethren have become as comfortable on the language-police beat as the left, which once had the market cornered on screechy political correctness, but sadly, no longer does. Whether incessantly caterwauling over sexism or bias or hurt feelings, the right has, with alarming regularity, started sounding as whiny and pussified as their ideological rivals. If you find that kind of company desirable, why be a right-winger at all?  Why not just become an associate professor of semiotics and communication theory at Oberlin, or get your own show on MSNBC?

Did Hoffa sound like a union thug? Of course he did. He is a union thug. That’s his job. With declining membership and an ever-shrinking manufacturing base, the labor movement doesn’t have a lot left to offer. So let them have an off-color word or two as a rallying cry, to remind them of past glories and what relevance once felt like. But as my friend Jonah Goldberg, who was virtually alone among conservatives, pointed out on Fox, “We are in a really weird place where the head of the Teamsters can’t talk tough. I mean, I guess ex-cons are the only ones left who can still talk like men every now and then.”

So toughen up, crybabies and civility scolds. Even if you’re being those things under the guise of tit-for-tat. The whole point of picking sides is that you believe yours to be better. So here’s a wild suggestion: why not prove it by actually being better? All I hear about these days from Tea Party types is what a fight we’re in. And one could easily argue that we are. But if you want to go around getting into fights, sooner or later, you’re going to have to learn how to take a punch without bursting into tears.

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.