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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A Farewell to Phyllis Diller and Tony Scott

| Tue Aug. 21, 2012 1:37 AM EDT

On Monday morning, Phyllis Diller was found dead at her Los Angeles home, having passed away "peacefully in her sleep" at the age of 95. Diller, a roaringly funny, trailblazing comedienne, has an extensive résumé in need of no qualification.

Even into her elderly, feeble years, she stayed fierce, endearing, and thoroughly watchable. My introduction to her work came rather late—when I was 17 and had just rented the documentary The Aristocrats in early 2006. She, like the other comedians interviewed for the movie, riffs on the classic improvisational "Aristocrats" joke. On the DVD's special features, there is a deleted scene in which Diller takes a break to tell a Monica Lewinsky joke. In that short bit, she is effervescent, quietly captivating, and, most shockingly, she manages to keep the joke (a Lewinsky joke) from sounding unpardonably dated.

Therein lies what made me such a fan in the first place: It wasn't her big, outlandish moments (as great as they frequently were) that really made her shine—it was the fact that she could floor you with the small moments and the little things, and make it look like a cakewalk all the while.

The following is by the late author Christopher Hitchens (to whom we bid farewell late last year) from back in December 2008, in which he writes about a Christmas card he received from Diller. I mean this in only the best of senses: The anecdote tells you everything you need to know about the woman:

I had never before been a special fan of that great comedian Phyllis Diller, but she utterly won my heart this week by sending me an envelope that, when opened, contained a torn-off square of brown-bag paper of the kind suitable for latrine duty in an ill-run correctional facility. Duly unfurled, it carried a handwritten salutation reading as follows:

Money's scarce

Times are hard

Here's your fucking

Xmas card

Introducing "A Movie & an Argument," With Alyssa Rosenberg and Asawin Suebsaeng

| Sat Aug. 18, 2012 10:50 AM EDT

Today, we're introducing a new weekly feature—a podcast called A Movie & an Argument, with Alyssa and Swin.

Each week, I'll be sitting down to chat with ThinkProgress critic Alyssa Rosenberg (who also does awesome work at The Atlantic and "Double X" at Slate). We'll talk, argue, and laugh about the latest movies, television series, and pop-cultural nonsense—with some politics thrown in just for the hell of it.

Alyssa describes herself as being "equally devoted to the Star Wars expanded universe and Barbara Stanwyck, to Better Off Ted and Deadwood." I (everyone calls me Swin) am a devoted lover of low-brow dark humor, Yuengling, and movies with high body counts. I hope you tune in for this episode and the ones to come.

We'll be featuring guests on the program, and also taking listeners' questions, so feel free to Tweet them at me here, and we'll see if we can get to them.

Below, you'll find the audio for our inaugural episode, in which we discuss:

  • The second season of Boss, starring Kelsey Grammer as a slick, corrupt Chicago mayor (the new season premiered Friday August 17 on Starz).
  • 2 Days in New York, a new indie comedy starring Julie Delpy and Chris Rock.
  • The Expendables 2, the testosterone-sodden ensemble action flick (had its wide release Friday August 17).
  • Copper, a BBC America dramatic series created by Tom Fontana and Will Rokos that takes place in 1860s New York after the American Civil War.
  • The ongoing first season of Aaron Sorkin's HBO series The Newsroom.

 

Thanks for tuning in!

Click here for more movie and TV features from Mother Jones. To read more of Swin's reviews, click here.

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