Asawin Suebsaeng

Asawin Suebsaeng

Reporter

Asawin Suebsaeng is a reporter at the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones. He has also written for The American Prospect, the Bangkok Post, and Shoecomics.com.

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A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., Asawin came back to DC with hopes of putting his flimsy Creative Writing major, student newspaper tenure, and interest in human rights and political chicanery to some use. He started cutting his teeth at F&M's student-run weekly, The College Reporter, serving as editor in chief. He has interned at The American Prospect, been a reporter for the Bangkok Post, and scribbled for ShoeComics.com. His favorite movie is either Apocalypse Now or Pirahna 3D, depending on the day or mood.

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Liam Neeson Warns Vladimir Putin About Taking Things, Such as Crimea

| Sun Mar. 9, 2014 6:22 PM EDT

During the cold open for this weekend's Saturday Night Live, actor/UNICEF ambassador/fierce Bill de Blasio critic Liam Neeson delivered a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin: "Crimea had been taken," Neeson growled. "I hate it when things are taken." (The "taken" line is an obvious reference to Neeson's role in the Taken films, in which he plays a loving family man and CIA torturer who massacres ethnic stereotypes who have kidnapped his daughter and ex-wife.)

Here's video of the sketch, where Neeson appears with Jay Pharoah, who plays President Barack Obama on SNL:

Vladimir Putin did not respond to a request for comment on what he thought of Neeson's attempted deterrent.

HBO Hopes to Grow "Game of Thrones'" Audience Through The Power of Hip-Hop

| Thu Mar. 6, 2014 7:16 PM EST

Behold the greatest sentence I've read this week/month/maybe ever:

Time Warner's HBO hopes to attract more rap fans to watch Game of Thrones with a hip-hop mixtape featuring rappers like Big Boi.

Game of Thrones, HBO's hit fantasy saga of blood, sex, and politics, returns for a fourth season in April. The season premiere will be preceded by this 10-song mixtape, titled Catch the Throne, which is set for release on Friday. (Click here for the track list; songs are based on specific episodes of the show.) The featured artists, such as Common, Wale, and reggaeton star Daddy Yankee, seem super-enthusiastic about nerding out over this fantasy epic. For instance, here is "Mother of Dragons" by Big Boi (of Outkast fame), which includes the lyric:

"Fuck the Lannisters and everybody ridin' with 'em / Jon Snow and the Night's Watch finna slide some iron in 'em."

("HBO has not revealed if a Tyrion response track is forthcoming," reported Rolling Stone.)

And here's "King Slayer" by Wale:

"Usin' my king knack for words, as a actual sword / I could decapitate a rapper / If he be lacking, he gone."

(Wale has previously rapped extensively about his love for the TV show Seinfeld, and has even collaborated with Jerry Seinfeld himself.)

George R. R. Martin, the famous 65-year-old author of the books on which the show is based, was not available to comment on the Game of Thrones rap mixtape. "I am sure he loves it but I won't be able to get a quote for ya," says Vince Gerardis, Martin's manager and a Game of Thrones co-executive producer (along with Martin). "I love it," Gerardis added.

While we're on the subject, watch our Game of Thrones attack ads—in which we imagine what it would be like if super-PACs and dark-money outfits existed in the Seven Kingdoms.

How the Contra War and Soviets in Afghanistan Figure Into "The Americans," Season 2

| Thu Mar. 6, 2014 7:05 AM EST

The espionage, sex, and family matters of the Cold War are back on your TV. Season two of The Americans—which airs 10 p.m. EST/PST on Wednesdays on FX—advances the saga of KGB officer Elizabeth Jennings (played by a terrific Keri Russell) and her husband and fellow Soviet spy, Philip (Matthew Rhys, the "Welshman who plays a Russian playing an American"). Their marriage was arranged by the KGB during the Khrushchev era, and the two live in an upper-middle-class neighborhood outside of Washington, DC, with their young daughter and son, in the early Reagan years. Oh, and their neighbor is an FBI counterintelligence agent.

The Americans is one of the best shows on television, and one thing that made the first season so good was its mining of Cold War history for intelligent suspense drama. The episode "In Control," which revolves around the attempted assassination of President Reagan (and the whereabouts of the nuclear football, and then-Secretary of State Alexander Haig's "I am in control here" quote), is wonderful. The first season also uses Reagan's budding "Star Wars" initiative in a story arc. Furthermore, Philip's (ongoing) second marriage to FBI secretary Martha Hanson (Alison Wright) is based on real-life instances of KGB agents marrying the secretaries of government officials to obtain information.

"We can't make the claim of teaching a history lesson, but it can be a springboard for learning about the fascinating real history," says Joe Weisberg, the creator of The Americans who also happens to be a CIA veteran.

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