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.

Leader of the Free World Barack Obama Weighs in on Korean Dance Sensation "Gangnam Style"

| Tue Nov. 6, 2012 5:14 PM PST

As the Obama reelection campaign wound down, the campaign committed him to a string of radio interviews noted for their focus on the big issues of our time, such as collateral damage resulting from the administration's controversial drone program, spicy food, football teams, singer-songwriter Flo Rida, singer-songwriter Pitbull, his friendship with George Clooney, and Carly Rae Jepsen's hit single "Call Me Maybe."

And on the day he will find out if he will serve a second term, the president taped a segment with radio station WZID-FM in New Hampshire.

Via the AP, an election-day quote from the president:

During a radio spot with WZID-FM in New Hampshire, the commander in chief was pressed on whether he and first lady Michelle would do a rendition of the South Korean rapper PSY's hit ["Gangnam Style"], which has hundreds of millions of views on YouTube.

"I just saw that video for the first time," Obama replied. "I think I can do that move. But I'm not sure that the inauguration ball is the appropriate time to break that out."

"Maybe," he concluded, "do it privately for Michelle."

So if Obama loses his reelection bid, one of the last things he will have addressed before his defeat will have been "Gangnam Style."

That is the way history will be written.

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A Tale of Two "Seinfeld" Bosses (...and Campaign Cash)

| Mon Nov. 5, 2012 1:56 PM PST
Lippman & Peterman: A Seinfeld house divided.

It's confirmed: Not all of Elaine Benes' bosses vote Republican.

A couple weeks ago, I dug through campaign data and found a bunch of underreported and surprising celebrity campaign contributions (A-Rod going to bat for Romney, Miami Vice's Don Johnson shelling out for Obama, etc.). In the glut of data was actor John O'Hurley, best known for his role as catalog executive J. Peterman, Elaine's idiosyncratic boss on Seinfeld. (You might also know O'Hurley from his work as a host on Family Feud, Professor Beltran on Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, or his fundraising for Mark Cuban's Fallen Patriot Fund.) O'Hurley gave $1,000 to Romney's 2012 campaign.

Shortly after the story ran, Mother Jones received this email from a one Richard Fancy, residing in Southern California:

I played Mr. Lippman, Elaine Benis' first boss on Seinfeld, and I just want you to know that not ALL of Elaine Benis' idiosyncratic bosses support Mitt. I'm a proud, nervous Obama supporter.

(We have Seinfeld fans in the DC bureau. You can imagine our immediate reaction to this.)

You might remember Mr. Lippman: He was Elaine's boss at a New York publishing house called Pendant Publishing. He fired George after George had raucous sex with the cleaning lady in an office cubicle. He sneezed on his hands in the presence of Japanese businessmen, thus setting off a chain reaction that results in the near-demise of Elaine's professional life.

Actor Richard Fancy, with his wife Joanna (and under her name), has donated around $650 in total across the board to Democratic candidates, including Tammy Baldwin, Elizabeth Warren, and Obama. "Obama doesn't excite me; he campaigned on 'hope,' which is bullshit," Fancy told Mother Jones during a subsequent phone conversation. "But Democrats basically believe in giving back some of the money they've stolen...My fear is that if Mitt Romney is elected, he won't have the freedom that a rich white man usually does, and he'll be controlled by the dominant sect of the Republican Party that's become crazified."

Fancy is also noted for his character-actor work on films like Oliver Stone's Nixon (in which he played Defense Secretary Melvin Laird), the 1984 miniseries George Washington (he played Samuel Adams), Being John Malkovich, the heartfelt teen sex romp The Girl Next Door, and the vastly underrated Psycho Beach Party. And he also has a lot of TV credits to his name, including the daytime soap General Hospital, and a role as Vulcan captain Satelk in the Star Trek franchise:

Via wiki Not the only Vulcan who supports the incumbent this year. Via Memory Alpha Star Trek Wiki

This presidential election, you're either a Mr. Peterman voter or a Mr. Lippman voter. Although Mr. Pitt would probably vote for Virgil Goode, so there's always that.

"Movie & An Argument" Podcast: 'Flight,' Denzel, and New 'Star Wars' Movies From Disney (!?!?!)

| Sun Nov. 4, 2012 3:58 PM PST

On this week's episode of A Movie & An Argument, With Alyssa Rosenberg & Asawin Suebsaeng, we discuss (scroll down for the audio):

  • Flight, a bruisingly beautiful character study, in which Denzel Washington plays a self-destructive "hero" pilot. (Read my review here.)
  • The recently announced post-Lucas Star Wars movies from Disney, and what they (could) mean for the franchise. (Alyssa has some great insight on the big news here, here, here, here, and here.)


"Flight": Denzel Washington Drunkenly Flies a Plane Upside Down, And It's Glorious

| Fri Nov. 2, 2012 3:40 PM PDT

Paramount Pictures
138 minutes

Going off of the trailer (embedded below)—and Denzel Washington's recent output—you can't be blamed for expecting Flight to be decidedly low-brow.

Given the available evidence, I was looking forward to a film in which an elegantly cocaine-impaired Denzel Washington flies a burning plane upside down while telling panicking passengers to "BE COOL!" for a solid two hours. (Maybe there'd be East German terrorists thrown into the mix in some way.) After all, American audiences have in recent years been fed a steady diet of Denzel Washington movies in which he efficiently dispatches one-dimensional henchmen and/or deals with imperiled trains barreling down the corridors of Tony Scott's imagination.

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