Asawin Suebsaeng

Asawin Suebsaeng


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

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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 His favorite movie is either Apocalypse Now or Pirahna 3D, depending on the day or mood.

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Sen. Joe Manchin's Lonely War on MTV's Trashy "Buckwild"

| Tue Dec. 11, 2012 10:00 AM PST

Joe Manchin III, the gun-toting Democratic junior senator from West Virginia who loves coal, is waging a one-man war against MTV's upcoming reality show Buckwild.

In case you haven't heard about Buckwild, it's the show that intends to fill the void in your life left when Jersey Shore goes off the air in late December. Buckwild, premiering Thursday January 3, is an unforgiving cavalcade of cultural stereotypes. The easiest way to describe the show is Jersey Shore, but transposed to small-town West Virginia. The series follows a group of thickly-accented young adults as they swear, fight, carouse, and fornicate their early twenties away. Stars include "Justin Beaver," one of the adrenaline-junkie males, and Shae, a blonde and "spicy" Southern belle who is sexually attracted to degenerates. The cast also enjoy shooting things, blowing stuff up, and operating all-terrain motor vehicles with zero regard for logic or safety.

So instead of exploiting debauched, club-raving Italian-Americans for the sake of ratings, this program will exploit hormonal, mud-wrestling West Virginians for the sake of hopefully comparable ratings.

Sen. Manchin isn't pleased with the above representation of his home state. And last Wednesday, he started tweeting about it. He began by addressing a piece posted to a satirical "fake news" website claiming that Manchin had singlehandedly vanquished Buckwild.

Manchin also wrote a letter on Friday, addressed to MTV president Stephen K. Friedman, requesting the immediate removal of Buckwild from the channel's 2013 lineup:

senator joe manchin letter mtv

(MTV has yet to respond to the senator's plea for cancelation.)

And here he is on The Today Show on Monday, railing against the pop-culture "travesty":

A 6-Word Review of "Playing for Keeps," the New Gerard Butler Rom-Com

| Fri Dec. 7, 2012 2:55 PM PST

Make it stop.

Playing for Keeps
Open Road Films
106 minutes


It has Gerard Butler in it.


Playing for Keeps gets a wide release Friday, December 7. The film is rated PG-13 for some sexual situations and for being a flailing excuse for anything. Click here for showtimes and tickets.

Click here for more movie and TV coverage from Mother Jones.

To read more of Asawin's reviews, click here.

To listen to the weekly movie and pop-culture podcast that Asawin co-hosts with ThinkProgress critic Alyssa Rosenberg, click here.

Controversial Anti-Abortion, Pro-Creationism Evangelist Makes a John Lennon Movie

| Fri Dec. 7, 2012 11:56 AM PST
A still from Christian minister Ray Comfort's (pictured, right) documentary ostensibly about John Lennon.

Ray Comfort, a Christian minister and socially conservative activist from New Zealand, made quite a splash last year when he made a documentary that the Anti-Defamation League slammed for equating the Holocaust to abortion in America. Now he's released a new movie, and its subject matter is a bit odd for a provocateur of the Christian right: John Lennon.

The documentary Genius—released this week to coincide with the December 8 anniversary of Lennon's death—portrays the former Beatle as a conservative-friendly anti-evolution rock icon. "John Lennon didn't believe in the theory of evolution; he said it was garbage," Comfort narrates, citing one quote from a 1980 Playboy interview in which Lennon expresses his doubts about Darwinism. The quote is a favorite among pop-culture-savvy anti-evolution types, even though the full context shows Lennon ripping Young Earth creationism as equally "insane." Comfort also analyzes the supposed godly subtext to "Imagine"—a song reviled by Christian right leaders like Pat Robertson for its anti-capitalist, anti-religious message. Furthermore, the documentarian brushes aside Lennon's famous 1966 "more popular than Jesus" comment as no big deal. At the time, the statement provoked international outrage, public bonfires of Beatles records and memorabilia, and threats from the Ku Klux Klan. Genius does briefly acknowledge that Lennon's flirtation with Christianity in 1977 was short-lived, and that he went on to record the "blasphemous" song, "Serve Yourself."

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