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.

"Lincoln" Is Like a Hallmark Movie, With Bayonets

| Fri Nov. 9, 2012 7:08 AM EST

Lincoln
DreamWorks Studios
150 minutes

Spoiler alert: He dies at the end.

You can thank me later for spoiling the ending and therefore hopefully zapping your desire to see the movie. If that is the case, I've prevented you from blowing 10 dollars on this listless, heaving waste of cinema space.

For a figure so towering, so revered and reviled as Abraham Lincoln, the bar for a great biopic is almost unreachably high. But this particular Lincoln had Pulitzer Prize-winning Tony Kushner signed on as screenwriter. It's based on (also Pulitzer Prize-winning) historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's 2005 book Team of Rivals. Instead of documenting Lincoln's entire life, the movie zeroes in on a handful of months leading up to the hard-won passage of the 13th Amendment, the Civil War's end, and the president's assassination. The large cast includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Sally Fields, Jackie Earle Haley, James Spader, and pretty much every other estimable actor working in Hollywood today and their mothers. Also, Steven Spielberg is directing. (Say what you want about his recent, franchise-ruining output; he's still the man who helmed this, this, and this.)

The sheer amount of talent invested in Lincoln only serves to underscore and exacerbate the film's epic fail.

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The Pro-Obama Mosh-Pit Party in Front of the White House, Election Night 2012 [VIDEO]

| Wed Nov. 7, 2012 3:09 PM EST
Gleeful liberals. In trees.

"I just got back from OHIO, and all I got was FOUR MORE YEARS," screamed a stumbling but upbeat Obama campaigner.

Following across-the-board cable news projections that President Obama had won a second term, hundreds of supporters flooded the north side of the White House bordering Lafayette Square. There was a lot of whooping, jumping, and delighted liberals climbing trees. It was like the night Bin Laden got shot in the face, only with more partisanship and less bloodlust.

Obama supporters brought conga drums, life-size cardboard cut-outs of the Michelle, Barack, and Joe, and the standard placards and flags. Also, there was this doodle dog wearing an "OBAMA OR BUST!" white cape (according to smaller text on the dog-shawl, the animal was on a "cross-country tour").

Peppered throughout the celebrating crowd were the usual dissenting voices looking to be passively heard. There was that huddle of college-age males repeatedly shouting, "Allahu Akbar!!!" and then grinning at their implied jab at BHO. There was that one guy sermozing about Reaganomics literally through a bullhorn. And then there was a pair of grey-suited conservatives—name-checking Castro, Iranian mullahs, the works— who really did sound like they believed America had just reelected our Mars-traveling, gay-orgy-having, hurricane-making, nose-job-getting leftist overlord.

You know, the expected trolling amidst the partyin'.

And there was, of course, the obligatory pro-Obama mosh-pit:

The Wall Street Journal also has some good footage of the crowd of hundreds ("most of them young") at the White House on Election Night.

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

| Tue Nov. 6, 2012 8:14 PM EST
Obama-endorsed.

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.

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

| Mon Nov. 5, 2012 4:56 PM EST
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 6:58 PM EST

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.)

Listen:

Thu Jun. 12, 2014 5:51 PM EDT
Mon Apr. 28, 2014 12:48 PM EDT
Fri Apr. 25, 2014 6:05 AM EDT
Sun Apr. 20, 2014 11:00 PM EDT
Thu Apr. 17, 2014 6:00 AM EDT