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Posts Tagged ‘Matt Labash’s’

Whose Shoes: Revealed

We received a variety of guesses today that ranged from MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann to WaPo’s Carl Bernstein.

Two readers got it right when they wrote in Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens, the owner of these loafers. We shot this picture on the sly at The Weekly Standard’s/Daily Caller’s Matt Labash’s book party the other night held at Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker and Susie Carlson’s lavish home.

The readers who guessed right: Ken Berard (@N_E_I) of Nuclear Energy Institute and Ben Bergman, asst. producer, NPR’s Morning Edition.

As always, thanks to all for playing. Should any of you want to send us a photograph of a journo’s shoes, send to fishbowldcATmediabistroDOTcom.

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Labash Blowout Book Party: Marion Barry Has Arrived!

IMG_0217.jpgThe Weekly Standard/Daily Caller Matt Labash’s book, Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures With Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, And Jewish Cowboys came to life Thursday night as characters from his anthology filed in one by one to the beautiful home of Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson and his wife, Susie. The evening was one of fun, frolic and, of course, drinking, as the Distilled Spirits Council sponsored the party with a well-stocked Scotch-filled bar.

Characters from the book who showed up to the festivities included Democratic political strategist and former campaign aide to Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) David “Mudcat” Saunders, Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens and GOP consultant Roger Stone, who famously taught Labash how to properly tie a tie (he claims Labash still needs help). Stone (in photograph above with Labash) explained that he was leaving later to catch a train to Manhattan – his policy is to never stay overnight in D.C. as the town is too awful a place to remain too long. “I hate it,” he said. “People are phony.” (Stone splits his time between New York City and Miami.)

Soon the party turned into a roast.

“Nice house, not waspy enough,” Stone cracked. “I appreciate the enormous role I have played in making Matt Labash.” Stone joked that people always ask of Labash: ‘What’s with all the Hitler memorabilia?’

Saunders, to whom Labash devoted an entire chapter, said the author was much more than a writer but a life confidant whom he still phones for advice. “He knows enough about me to get me arrested,” he said. Initially, Saunders said, he feared a story about him appearing in The Weekly Standard: “I’m a Democrat. The Weekly Standard ain’t a damn Democrat publication.”

The party was the scene of scenes for D.C. journalists. Faces in the crowd included conservative radio personality Laura Ingraham, The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes and Andy Ferguson, Politico’s Anne Schroeder Mullins, Patrick Gavin, Kiki Ryan, Michael Calderone and Pia Catton. Politico’s Jonathan Martin and NBC “Meet the Press” Executive Producer Betsy Fischer arrived simultaneously. The Daily Caller was represented well with opinion editor Moira Bagley, publisher Neil Patel, V.P. of sales Alex Treadway and congressional reporter Gautham Nagesh as well as Sean “Jim Treacher” Medlock on crutches. Others in attendance: The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard, the New York Post’s Charlie Hurt, Reason’s Michael Moynihan, Edelman’s Exec. V.P. Tony Blankley, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, D.C. media consultant David Bass, former Time scribe Tim Burger and Slate’s Editor David Plotz. The Atlantic’s Josh Green was there and spoke of the story he has been living as of late – that of Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) and the old Navy buddies who told him, among other sordid details, about the ex-congressman’s infamous Massa massage and now compelling “snorkeling”. Green joked, “I feel dirty talking about it.” More seriously, he called Massa the “Andy Dick of Congress.”

Lightening struck when former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry arrived. Late and decked out in a suit and cherry-colored tie, Barry stole the show. And for a good while, it was all guests could do but stare and snap cell phone pictures.

“It took me an hour to find this place,” Barry told the awed crowd, explaining his tardiness. “I wandered here and there and everywhere.”

Initially Labash had no idea that Barry that arrived. “No, no, I don’t publicly speak!” the author was imploring guests, unaware that his most striking character was about to weigh in.

Carlson explained to guests that The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol was sorry he couldn’t attend – he was in Manhattan hanging out with former N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Massa (everyone laughed). Carlson read a note from Kristol that said, in part, “When we hired Labash, we had hoped he’d become a star – we’re still hoping.”

Carlson, who wrote the introduction to Labash’s book, had solemn praise for Labash with a twist. “Matt doesn’t simply write about people,” said Carlson. “He takes them as lifelong friends – almost in a proctological way.” He said when subjects first read the stories Labash has written about them their first response is “horror.”

Then they realize that what Labash has written is true, that the author has maybe captured them more deeply than anyone ever has.

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More party pictures after the jump…

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Matt Labash Unplugged: On Deer Turds, Journalism, Trump’s Hair and Dick Cheney

Fly Fishing with Darth Vader Cover.jpg Today is the debut of The Weekly Standard’s/Daily Caller’s Matt Labash’s first book, Fly Fishing With Darth Vader – And Other Adventures With Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys [Simon & Schuster]. His philosophy on reporting: “The best details always come when you think you already know everything.”

1. If this book were to become a film whom would you want to play you? Daniel Schorr. Because he’s 93, which I think is an accurate reflection of my old soul. If we can’t get him, then Nick Jonas, because the book could easily be re-imagined as a teen musical.

2. Where is your favorite place to write? Due to stacks of books and misplaced files, my home office is basically a dump/archaeological dig. I can’t even get into it without a Hazmat suit. So I no longer write there. I basically find some squatters corner in my house – most often the dining room table. But I might write anywhere that I can find quiet. Though it’s hard to find quiet. Especially with the voices. Who said that?

3. Have you ever gotten stereotypical writer’s block? That’s such a terrifying question, that it could jinx me to even answer it. So I won’t.

4. In writing the Detroit chapter you say, ‘It’s the only time I’ve ever felt like I was going to physically expire while writing a piece.’ Elaborate, please. Did you think you were having a heart attack? Also, you once ended up in the emergency room. Elaborate on that one, too. Actually, I had a writing-induced trip to the emergency room another time. I did a New Orleans trilogy during and after Katrina, over the course of a year and a half. The second installment came after spending a week in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Tough assignment, I know. But I was keeping very late nights and really trying to drill down on the wreckage and misfortune of friends of mine who live there, cutting across all strata of the city. I cared a lot about the piece. Maybe a little too much. About once every year or two, when I’m real fatigued, and my resistance is down – which usually happens when I’m coming off the road – I get this lip edema, some type of allergic swelling that’s triggered by stress. About half your lip grows to the size of a pregnant nightcrawler. Pop a few Benadryl and it goes down. This time, however, it didn’t go down. It just kept growing. I looked like one of those Amazon tribesmen with a plate in their lip. It was troubling, though my kids thought it was hilarious. I was on deadline, but I had to go to the emergency room before my throat started closing up. So while there, I had to keep knocking out interview tape on the laptop while laying on a gurney, or I’d never get done in time. (More on stress after the jump…)

5.How did Donald Trump get reporters like you to agree to go off record for the rest of the luxury flight? In the end, did you like him? What was his hair like up close? His hair is not to be believed. It has to be real. Nobody would buy a rug that bad. Up close, it looks like an abandoned bird’s nest. Or maybe apricot-flavored cotton candy. (More on Trump after the jump…)

6. Your new Daily Caller boss, Tucker Carlson, writes that former subjects still seek your advice. Is journalism a form of psychotherapy? Have you had a subject cry mid-interview and how do you deal with it? Oh, hell yes. Journalism is definitely like psychotherapy. When you successfully get into a subject’s head, you’re their priest, their best friend, their spouse, their bartender, their shrink. They end up telling you, a stranger, things they often don’t tell the people they know best. And you know why? Because you asked (More on journalism as psychotherapy after the jump…)

7. What, if anything, surprised you in the writing of this book? Hard to say, because I get surprised by something almost every story. In fact, I live for those surprises. That’s the best part. If I had to pick one, though, it’s probably that Mudcat is a woman trapped inside a man’s body. He didn’t say that, or anything. But he didn’t have to.

8. One gets the sense reading your book that each word is vigilantly chosen. Tell us about your writing process – do you ever throw out what you’ve done and start over? Do you ever think, ‘Damn, that is good.’? I don’t do drafts. I edit as I go along. So I’m always throwing stuff out. And then when I finish, I read and read and re-read. I do so at the computer about 10 or 15 times, all the way through, hammering things out here and there. Then when I have it pretty close, I print it out, and I read and read and read some more, while I pace. Because walking helps, for some reason. We live in our own heads too much. It’s good to make writing as physical as possible. Sometimes I read out loud, not because I need to sound out big thesaurus words, but because it’s easier to tell if you’re missing a beat or have an extra beat too many. Writing and music – same difference. It’s all about rhythm. And I look like an idiot doing this, quite frankly. During the Iraq War, I roomed with my colleague Steve Hayes, who couldn’t get enough of this process. He told everybody back home that ‘Labash loves to walk around the house reading his own stuff.’ That’s why I don’t speak to Hayes anymore.

9.You profess to despise Facebook and Twitter. You say the tweeters “can tweet until their tweeters fall off” – do you still have accounts in either? Is any of it good or is it all sh-t? Such naughty language, Betsy. Is that how the kids talk in their social networkings? You ask if I still have an account? That would suggest I ever did. The answer is no on both counts. And I’m not getting one, either. Almost all of my friends and colleagues are on both, of course, which doubles my resolve not to join them. My goal is to serve as a totem of their shame. (More on Facebook and Twitter after the jump…)

10. What’s next for Matt Labash? Lunch, I suppose. I try not to think too far ahead.

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In Case You Missed It – DOH!

homer.jpeg We had some technological problems yesterday that I wouldn’t even be able to begin to explain to you, so you might not have seen our news about CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand heading to the Big Apple or The Weekly Standard’s/Daily Caller’s Matt Labash’s recent foray into Dear Abby territory.

We apologize for the error, but here they are again.