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.

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

| Fri Dec. 7, 2012 5:55 PM EST

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.

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

| Fri Dec. 7, 2012 2:56 PM EST
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."

More Trolling on White House Petitions Site: Death Star Edition

| Tue Dec. 4, 2012 11:21 AM EST

That didn't take long.

Last month, "John D" of Longmont, Colorado created a petition on the White House webpage "We the People" titled, "Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016."

The nature of the petition is fairly self-explanatory. Someone reportedly living in a city in Colorado wants Barack Obama to build a real-life version of the Death Star from Star Wars—the gargantuan spacestation officially named the DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, the construction of which Darth Vader himself oversaw:

As of Tuesday morning, the petition has upwards of 1,300 signatures (if a "We the People" petition reaches 25,000 signatures within 30 days, it merits an official response from the White House). It reads:

Those who sign here petition the United States government to secure funding and resources, and begin construction on a Death Star by 2016. By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.

The unfortunately fictional Death Star, the Galactic Empire's moon-sized base capable of obliterating whole planets with a single beam of energy, would be a substantial stimulus project indeed: Students at Lehigh University estimated that the steel alone (assuming the Death Star's mass/volume ratio is roughly equal to that of an aircraft carrier) would cost $852 quadrillion—13,000 times the world economy's GDP. My colleague/Star Wars buff Kevin Drum puts steel costs closer to 1.3 million times world GDP.

So, yes, such a massive, unprecedented project would almost certainly "spur job creation," and the Obama administration's development of a planet-destroying spacestation would likely guarantee an invincible national-security apparatus (save for certain circumstances).

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