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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Your War By War Memorial Day Playlist

| Mon May. 28, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

It's weird when people have Memorial Day parties, mainly because what they're actually doing is celebrating the annual "I get to barbecue and guzzle nothing but Yuengling on Monday when I would otherwise have to be at work all day" day.

The federal holiday, which has its roots in the aftermath of the American Civil War, was established to commemorate fallen soldiers. The spirit of Memorial Day doesn't automatically lend itself to the same kind of party themes or patriotic bacchanalia that Independence Day or, hell, even Bill of Rights Day inspire.

Or as Dr. Steven Metz would say...

Well, people throw Memorial Day ragers regardless. And for those parties, they're going to need music. So if I must, here are my suggestions—good songs that one way or another pay tribute to our men and women in uniform—fallen as well as living.

Given the holiday's origin, let's start with...

"Chernobyl Diaries": Is It Really Any More Insensitive Than Zombie Nazis?

| Fri May. 25, 2012 6:02 PM PDT

Chernobyl Diaries
Warner Bros. Pictures
86 minutes

It sometimes seems as though people who make zombie movies (and zombie-ish movies) are trying to create a monopoly over minimizing tragedy.

This trend continues with Chernobyl Diaries, the new zombie(-ish) horror flick conceived and produced by Oren Peli (the Israeli-American director and ex-video game programmer who brought you the Paranormal Activity series and ABC's The River). A group of upper-middle class white kids from America sojourn to Eastern Europe. They decide to dabble in "extreme tourism" and jump in a van headed to Prypiat, a long-abandoned Ukrainian city bordering the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. It's worth mentioning that these kids have big dreams. One of them is about to propose to his intelligent/hot/super-loyal girlfriend. Another is mulling over plans to relocate to Prague. Another wants to make a name for herself as an artist and photographer.

Well, none of those nice things are ever going to happen because, as previously mentioned, these people made a conscious decision to hike through a radiation-drenched, eerie-ass ghost town—a deserted city where (you guessed it) they are not alone.

By "not alone," I mean to say that there's a large gaggle of flesh-chomping freaks waddling all about the joint. The deranged gaggle of nuclear-undead chase after them in the dark of night. Needless to point out, the young tourists are: [censored].

Chernobyl Diaries does indeed have some chilling atmospherics—for that you may thank first-time feature director and visual-effects ace Bradley Parker. But the movie ultimately falls flat due to its lagging energy and a disappointing, thrill-free final act.

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