Matt Labash


Matt Labash is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard. His collection Fly Fishing with Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys was published in 2010 by Simon and Schuster. He lives in Owings, Maryland, with his wife, his sons Luke and Dean, and his dog, Moses.

Stories by Matt Labash


Among the Palefaces

Yet another effort to start a conversation about race in America
Nov 03, 2014

As a lifelong white person​—​or Person Without Color, for the more sensitively inclined​—​I have nothing against white people. I mean, sure, at this late date in their history, I’m all too aware of the dubious and disheartening white-people statistics. Nearly all Prius owners, Vineyard Vines wearers, and girls named “Addison” are white. Almost 8 out of 10 Canadians are white. And the most reliably annoying person in the world, Gwyneth Paltrow? You guessed it: white.

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Nine Tales of Trump at His Trumpiest

And these just scratch the surface
Feb 01, 2016

It's that magical time in the presidential cycle again, when all the preelection year’s wild conjecture, clueless handicapping, and abject foolishness has ended, so that the election year's wild conjecture, clueless handicapping, and abject foolishness can begin. It's that time when panicked, demoralized citizens, who believe that our country is dying, compose themselves, do their civic duty, and choose the man or woman best suited to finish it off.

To all but the most obstinate poll-science deniers, that man could very easily be Donald J. Trump. In an impossibly large field, Trump has dominated for seven months. He hasn't, in fact, placed second in a national GOP primary poll since early November, when Ben Carson briefly

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Gone but Not Forgotten

Matt Labash toasts auld lang syne
Jan 25, 2016

I've never been one for elaborate New Year’s rituals. I don't thump the walls with bread to rid the house of evil spirits, as some do in Ireland. Nor swing caged fireballs around my head to torch last year's misfortune, as they do in Stonehaven, Scotland. I don't make hollow resolutions, since I might fail not in expected ways, but in spectacular new ways yet to be imagined.

If Christmas is about giving, New Year's is about taking. So come New Year's Day, I take a fistful of ibuprofen and a nap. Then, after coming to, I take mental inventory of the old year's final moments, praying it was my wife I goosed as the ball dropped, since a sour-mash fog leaves me easily confused, and all white people start bearing strong

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Growing Old Without Growing Up

Sleepaway camp for adults
Jan 11, 2016

Sanger, Calif.

On this late October day, as I wheel into the Wonder Valley Ranch Resort nestled in the foothills of the spellbinding if drought-scorched Sierras, I'm struck by the notion that it's a bit late in the season to be going to a summer camp for adults. But then, it would seem a bit late to be going to summer camp at all. For at age 45, I am what noted gerontologist Cedric the Entertainer calls "a grown-ass man."

But that hardly matters anymore. For I am also a citizen of Infantilized America, where getting old has gotten old, and youth is no longer just wasted on the young. Maybe it's due to narcissism or nostalgia, or all our institutions atrophying.

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Keep it Moving, No Islamists to See Here

12:18 PM, Nov 14, 2015

As a committed, long-standing Twitter detractor, I’ve exhaustively bashed the social networking site for all imaginable crimes, and even unimaginable ones.

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The Cocked Fist Culture

Crossing the microaggressions minefield
Oct 05, 2015

Seattle
Don’t take this the wrong way, but are you offended? I know I haven’t said anything yet, but it’s never too early to be aggrieved. Studies I’ve invented, since we’re all entitled to our own facts these days, show that 4 out of 10 Americans are offended by something at all times. Ten out of 10, if they’re taking a course containing the word “intersectional” at Swarthmore. 

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Transjennered America

Hero worship in our time.
Jun 15, 2015

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been ignoring Bruce Jenner. As a child of the ’70s, I ignored him in the cereal aisle, where his Olympic-champion mug couldn’t entice me to pick his terminally bland Wheaties over more healthful Sugar Smacks. I ignored him in the ’80s, during his star-turn in Can’t Stop the Music, a disco-tinged Village People biopic that saw him nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for worst actor. In the ’90s, I don’t recall Jenner at all, as I was rather busy ignoring him.

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After Moses, Solomon

Matt Labash, dog listener
Jun 08, 2015

I've had a lot of dogs of many different physical types, but each has come loaded with the same daunting reminder: the countdown clock I can’t help but hear ticking away inside of them. I suppose I come with one of those, too, if I care to confront reality. Denial may be easier on the nerves, but the actuaries don’t lie. Your average American these days lasts 78.8 years. My average large purebred lasts about 8. Meaning over the course of a lifetime, I’ll bid farewell many more times than they will. 

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Casual Podcast: After Moses, Solomon

1:15 PM, Jun 07, 2015

THE WEEKLY STANDARD Casual Podcast, with Matt Labash reading his casual essay "After Moses, Solomon."

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Troublemaker for Tyrants

Thor Halvorssen hammers the Kims
Apr 06, 2015

Seoul
From the moment his dead-of-night emails, texts, and encrypted Wickr messages start flooding my inboxes like a storm surge, it’s clear that Thor Halvorssen, who keeps vampire hours, is not your average clock-punching do-goodnik. 

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Conviction Politician

Out of prison, with a new wife and infant son, Edwin Edwards, 86, hits the campaign trail again.
10:29 AM, Dec 07, 2014

Editor's note: "[F]our-time former governor and ex-convict Edwin Edwards -- a Louisiana icon, both beloved and reviled -- has lost his first, and likely last, political race at the ballot box," the Times-Picayune reports. We're reprinting this article on Edwards's attempted comeback, which originally appeared in the issue dated July 28, 2014, below.

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Marion Barry, Human Being

Matt Labash remembers D.C.'s Mayor for Life
2:43 PM, Nov 23, 2014

The news broke hard in my house this morning that Marion Barry, Washington D.C.’s former Mayor for Life, was dead at the age of 78. Of the profile subjects featured in my 2010 collection, Fly Fishing With Darth Vader, he’s the third I’ve had to eulogize in the last few years.

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They Like Mike

Matt Labash, election observer
Nov 17, 2014

Of all the rituals I count on to give my life shape, there is none so sacred as witnessing my former brother-in-law, Mike Benton, stand for local office in our pleasant burg of Calvert County, Maryland. Though my wife’s sister wound down with Mike two decades ago, he and I have a same-time-next-cycle arrangement, in which we use each quadrennial Election Day to catch up on the families, celebrate public service, and drink until we can’t feel our legs. 

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Casual Podcast: They Like Mike

11:35 AM, Nov 16, 2014

THE WEEKLY STANDARD Casual Podcast, with Matt Labash reading his essay "They Like Mike."

Remember, when you sign up for our digital premium access, many of our print magazine articles are available to you courtesy of our professional readers.

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James Traficant, 1941-2014

5:02 PM, Sep 27, 2014

If I sported a hairpiece, I’d be wearing it at half-mast right about now, upon hearing that the world just grew a little less interesting.  For the most colorful man who ever inhabited Congress, former Ohio Democratic Rep. James A .

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Less Is Less

Matt Labash, maximal minimalist.
Sep 22, 2014

The surest way to know who you are is to understand who you are not. For as long as I can remember, I’ve thought myself a simple man. I prefer hamburgers to fancy cheeseburgers, with all their dolled-up, dairy-fied excess. I have a “Simplicity” calendar with lots of Lao Tzu quotes. I would rather micturate outdoors than indoors, as it connects me to the land while keeping down the weeds. And as long as we’re showing our simplicity cards, I would rather say “squirt” than “micturate.” 

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Conviction Politician

Out of prison, with a new wife and infant son, Edwin Edwards, 86, hits the campaign trail again
Jul 28, 2014

Gonzales, La.

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Through a Google Glass, Darkly

Surveillance of, by, and for the people
Apr 28, 2014

“Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it.” ​—​Philip K. Dick

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My App-Lyfting Story

Matt Labash gets a Lyft
Mar 17, 2014

Now that “software is eating the world,” in the words of Marc Andreessen, every once in awhile, we dinosaur types like to try our luck in the land of Web 2.0, 3.0, or Whatever.0 we’re on at the moment. To that end, I recently applied to become a driver at Lyft, the “ride-sharing” service where drivers who drive their own personal vehicle with a giant pink moustache lashed to the grille (the Lyft trademark) are summoned to your location at the touch of an app. This way, users don’t have to do the unthinkable, like look away from their smartphone while hailing a cab.

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Casual Podcast: Matt Labash's App-Lyfting Story

Introducing the new Casual Podcast
2:15 PM, Mar 10, 2014

THE WEEKLY STANDARD Casual Podcast, with senior writer Matt Labash, reading his recent casual, "My App-Lyfting Story."

Remember, when you sign up for our digital premium access, many of our print magazine articles are available to you courtesy of our professional readers.

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Hard Sell

Going door-to-door for Obamacare
Dec 09, 2013

Hollywood, Fla.

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Blockbuster, 1985-2013

Matt Labash appraises a Blockbuster ending.
Nov 25, 2013

Though four decades shy of being an octogenarian myself, I’m starting to know how they feel. For at the hurtling speed of change these days, even a casual observer of the scene is unwittingly turned into a perpetual obituarist, forever marking the loss of old friends. So it was again last week, when news broke that Blockbuster was shuttering all of its bricks-and-mortar video stores. 

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The Last 24 Notes

Tom Day and the volunteer buglers who play ‘Taps’ at veterans’ funerals across America
Sep 16, 2013

Berwyn, Ill.
Tom Day is not a man given to extravagance. He thinks he’s living high on a reporter’s nickel if he orders a beef sandwich to go at the local Buona sub shop. He shops at Goodwill every Sunday, hoping to pick up bargains, like his handsome $35 suits. But if there’s one superfluity that Day especially can’t abide, it is that of empty rhetoric.

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The Dread Pony

Life as a cartoon.
Aug 26, 2013

Baltimore

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Going Dental

Matt Labash, king of the crown
Jul 08, 2013

Like most civilized people of goodwill and sound reason, I’ve always held that violence isn’t the answer. It is, however, an answer. Which is why if I ever see Larry Randolph again, I intend to knock his teeth out. 

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The Twidiocracy

The decline of Western civilization, 140 characters at a time
May 06, 2013

“The Machine,” they exclaimed, “feeds us and clothes us and houses us; through it we speak to one another, through it we see one another, in it we have our being. .  .  . [T]he Machine is omnipotent, eternal; blessed is the Machine.” —E.M. Forster, “The Machine Stops” (1909)

Austin
At the risk of being abrasive, I am about to say something unthinkable, heretical. I am about to say six words you have likely never heard from a working member of the media, and may never hear again: Do not follow me on Twitter.

 

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Health of Nations

Matt Labash, health nut
Mar 18, 2013

Randall Terry Shoots an Ad

The anti-abortion crusader’s latest campaign
Oct 22, 2012

Romney, W.V. 

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C'est Chick

Matt Labash loves him some hatechicken
Aug 13, 2012

Last week, at the beach with my family, I deliberately ignored all newspapers. Not for the reason most people do—because print is dead. But because whenever I’m surrounded by salt -water, steamed crabs, and even mediocre fishing, I tend to hold that true happiness is having no idea what chronically bothered people are talking about.

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