Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: Bonk/Marry/Kill (election edition), Kwanzaa mascots, and the healing power of obituaries

Matt Labash Columnist

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

Note: Today being Celebrate Fayetteville day at The Daily Caller, all of this column’s questions were provided by one Ali Farnsworth from Fayetteville, Arkansas, home of Arkansas Western Gas (Go AWG!) Ask Matt similarly encourages multiple questions from readers, which he reserves the right to use individually, or to bundle for special theme days such as this one, in which we honor Fayetteville’s service to our country and their prolific gas production.

1. Bonk-Marry-Kill? (Presidential Edition): Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul?

I’d have hoped by now that readers wouldn’t take me for the sort who’d go in for coarse, vulgarian games favored by dorm-room meatheads and morning zoo DJs. But since you do, I’ll play along:

Bonk  — Being a happily married man (to a woman), I could never marry Mitt Romney. Not because gay marriage isn’t for me, or because he’s not a handsome man — though it isn’t, and he is. But because Romney, while undoubtedly a dutiful husband, seems as though he’d be frigid and remote. I like to be held, and told that I’m pretty. So I’d never marry him. Though seeing Romney with bed-head might be worth the bonking toll.

Marry — When I think “Ron Paul,” I think “tender lover.” Also, he’s a doctor, and whose parents don’t want them to marry a doctor? But the chief incentive to plight your troth to Ron Paul is that with his near fetishistic emphasis on personal liberty — he did, after all, say in debate that he opposes a border fence not because he’s against keeping Mexicans out but because he’s against keeping Americans in — you’d never have to worry about him throwing you over if you had an affair with say, Michele Bachmann. Which I just might do. I am nourished by her wolf-eyes.

Kill — I would never willingly kill anyone, except for Al Qaidans, the cast of Glee, and mean people. But purely for the sake of this game, let’s go with Newt Gingrich. You’d never want to bonk him. His head is too large, both figuratively and literally. Nor would you want to marry him, even though he has the most practice of any of the candidates. So through process of elimination, we are left with this unfortunate option. Which is probably for the best. If elected, he could very well make Alvin Toffler Secretary of the Tomorrowland.

2. Whenever I partake in illegal drugs, my friends say, with surprise, “I didn’t know you did that.” What the Daren does that mean? Should I be insulted? Have a comeback?

Clearly, you have a drug problem. Did the cautionary words of Whitney Houston (“Crack is whack”) mean nothing to you? Besides wishing to keep my body a well-oiled machine, both taut and supple like a spring-loaded jungle cat, one of the many reasons I don’t do drugs is so that I can feel superior to people who do. People like you.

Studies that I’m too busy to locate but that I suspect exist show that most people “self-medicate” because they have feelings of inferiority. So my advice is to neither be insulted, nor to have a comeback. Rather, I suggest you get new friends — stone-cold druggie friends who smoke, snort and shoot their way to ruin. Then, and only then, will you start feeling superior, and be able to shed the noxious crutch of drugs, instead channeling your energies into more positive outlets, like drinking heavily.

3. Does Kwanzaa have a holiday mascot? Maybe something like the Kwanzaa Fairy?

The problem I have with Kwanzaa is that it is unnecessarily restrictive by casting itself as an African-American holiday. This is unfair on two levels. First, African-Americans already have their fair share of special days — MLK Day, Tyler Perry film festivals, Alan Keyes Appreciation Week, etc. Second, Black Power activist Maulana Karenga founded Kwanzaa on the principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

These aren’t black or white principles, they’re people principles. I’d therefore propose that Kwanzaa become more ecumenical and seek to broaden its base by featuring as its mascot actor Michael Cera, an extremely white person, as I believe this picture demonstrates.

4. My girlfriend is a vegetarian. I, however, love the taste of almost any flesh. Any suggestions on how we can get along when cooking dinner or talking about food (which happens much of the time)?

Flesh-battered broccoli. Eat in shifts. You eat the flesh while she talks, then push the broccoli florets over to her, and let her finish them off while you talk. Successful relationships are about communication and compromise.

Bonus: How do you save yourself and a failing, family-owned newspaper in Backwoods, Arkansas?

Lots of people say print is dying. To which I say, look around. What isn’t? Personally, I use as my guide star the opening lines of Joe Cocker’s and Jennifer Warnes’s inspiring 1982 hit, “Up Where We Belong”: Who knows what tomorrow brings/ In a world few hearts survive. Those two kids had the right attitude. Let’s review:

1. They knew that the road was long.
2. They knew there were mountains in their way.
3. But they climbed a step every day.

My suggestion, if you want to run a profitable local newspaper, is to go all crime, high school sports, and obituaries. People like everyone else to know that their kid scored a touchdown. People like everyone to know when their neighbor’s kid steals a car. But it is the last of these — obituaries — that I cannot emphasize strongly enough.

What better way to celebrate the decay all around us then to memorialize it in five or six column inches with an old vacation photograph? Throw your townspeople the party in death that they may not have gotten in life. Several years ago, when following a freak candidate around in the recall election that ultimately produced Governor Schwarzenegger, the freakster told me that he loved to read obituaries over any other section of the newspaper. “To some people it sounds morbid,” he admitted. “But to me, it’s actually an uplifting thing to realize somebody didn’t make it through the day. It makes me happier that I’m alive. It trivializes any problem you have, including possibly losing for governor.” Or running a failing newspaper. You might go down. Any of us can go down at any time. But go down publishing.

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.