Tag Archives: Humor

No More Creampuff Journalism: Readers React in Letters to the Editor

1 Feb

No More Creampuff Journalism

Sometime public commentary on the published writings of a journalist can get nasty, sometimes snarky, and sometimes downright witty.

Here, readers react with a series of letters to the editor to an interview I did with Khmer Rouge Prime Minister Khieu Samphan published in the Phnom Penh Post. It wasn’t pretty, but it was witty (mostly).

No More Creampuff Journalism

Phnom Penh Post

Letter to the Editor

No More Creampuff Journalism

Friday, 29 January 1993

I was spending some vacation time in Phnom Penh when I picked up your paper and read the “interview” with Khieu Samphan. What’s going on? This guy is a mass murderer and is single-handedly blocking a U.S. $2 billion international peace effort.

Yet your “reporter” Nate Thayer treats Samphan like he was some kind of elder statesman, asking him what he thinks of the current political situation.

Why didn’t he ask him what it feels like to kill 1,000,000 Cambodians? I’ve read PR handouts that hit harder than this piece of marshmallow.

Do your readers a favor-next time you interview the Khmer Rouge, send a real professional reporter-not a cream puff like this Thayer guy.

Bill Shuller, United States

I responded to that missive with the following: Continue reading

Golf, Cambodia, and the ‘very cornerstone of morality’

19 Nov

Golf, Cambodia, and the ‘very cornerstone of morality’

An example of the often quite interesting, random range of incoming messages I get daily and my sincere reply. From this morning:

Dear Nate,

I have read your missives on Face Book with great interest. You are truly prolific and I walk in your shadow. I hardly ever reply to Face Book. I hardly get the time.

Due to our mutual deep friendship with XXX I am writing after all this time to let you know that I have an article appearing in the Los Angeles Times travel section this Sunday about golf in Cambodia, the substance of which I feel you might disapprove of.

All I can say is that it has changed dramatically since I was there twenty years ago. I understand that there are still large problems, least of which is not corruption. But they are trying. I think now that Cambodia is bursting at the seams with all kinds of opportunity. It is fragile but very promising.

So I went in May and played golf at some great courses. I met the people, visited the temples and enjoyed the experience, in spite of some of the memories that still haunt me.

I had lunch with Keng Vannsak in Paris in 1993 at his home in Montmorency. My French was very rusty but he managed to convey to me in no uncertain terms how things had spiraled out of control under the Pol Pot regime.

So Nate, I hope you may not judge me too harshly.

I love golf and I strongly believe that wherever golf thrives, so does character, humility, and the very cornerstone of morality – concern for other people.

We are strangers to one another but I sincerely wish you health, happiness and success in all that you do.

Kindest regards,

XXXX XXXXXXX

My reply:

Thanks XXXXX,

For the kind words and thoughtful message.

In no way do I harbor any disapproval for your trip playing golf in Cambodia, or your take on golf’s role in the health of people or society.

I can think of uncountable things that are a far more negative use of one’s time than playing golf. Killing innocent people, pillaging and looting valuables that belong to the nation, State, and the greater, common good for personal gain, an unhealthy fondness for domesticated cats, and related nefarious behavior amongst them.

Actually, my step brother has made a career professionally, and a damn good living and a good chunk of change on the PGA tour, out of hitting a little white ball across manicured lawns, for 30 years. As far as i know, he has done no one significant harm while he was distracted enjoying himself doing so, providing for his family, paying his fair share of taxes, providing harmless diversionary entertainment for middle age white people globally, and generally contributing to the greater common good of society.

I mean no snark in the above at all. The more golf in Cambodia can only divert those who can afford it and allow them to mingle with one another during their downtime from their primary focus of deriving their ill gotten loot acquired via the most crude ripping off of state assets and oppression of the commoners.

If those who have a piece of the pie of power can spend more time partaking in that recreation, and therefore avoid focusing their energy on their day job–ruining the lives of the people under their jackboot, I say God Bless golf in Cambodia.

To golf and morality, together, for a better Cambodia, I say two thumbs up.

Really.  I mean it.

I don’t have a better answer, myself.

I hope you remain well,

Nate

The Childhood Education of a Cantankerous Journalist

28 Oct

The Early Education of a Future Cantankerous Journalist: 7th grade English class papers from a 12 year old

By Nate Thayer

October 28, 2013

I recently moved several hundred boxes of books, papers, and various possessions I have acquired through my decidedly nomadic, itinerant life from a storage unit into the basement of my new flat. I have spent many hours in recent days discovering all sorts of treasures which have brought back many long forgotten memories.

Some of the most special forgotten treasures are from my childhood schooldays that my mother had the foresight to know might be meaningful to me someday, and she surreptitiously secreted away and tucked in boxes to keep safe and give me when I was old enough to know they would be meaningful.

I was a difficult child.

I went to 13 schools prior to graduating high school. Let’s just say I did not leave them all by my own choice. “Nate is very smart and finds academics easy and does well in class. He has a bright future if he would only apply himself. He lacks discipline and appears to have some serious problems with authority,” read one report home to my parents on how I was faring, prior to the school insisting it would be in all parties best interest if I did not return to that institution the following academic year.

That was when I was 14. That was the fifth school I had attended in 3 years.

I made it a point, if one is too appoint a very acrobatically creative narrative, to do original research in my youth of the entire spectrum of educational styles and institutions.I went to fundamentalist Christian missionary schools, private day schools, all boys boarding schools, coed private day schools, Christian coed blue-blood boarding schools, alternative open class room schools, and public high schools. That was prior to college.

Most of them were social penitentiaries for the reproduction of the ruling class.

They were a lot of boarding schools. Their purpose was to ensure one did not attempt to poison one’s mind with the misconception that you could think for yourself. By the time, if they were successful from preventing your escape and you were allowed out on parole to the public at large upon graduation, one was 18 or so, and sufficiently safe to be allowed to experience the real world without threat of diverging from the, by then,  quite effective brainwashing.

I went to 13 schools before I was released into the civilian population at 18.

I was required to wear a coat and tie. I was required to attend church daily.

There were a lot of rules. I broke most of them. For lesser infractions, one would be disciplined with “work hours” as penance and assigned a mundane task to perform as punishment, such as janitorial duties etc. At one school, I accrued 578 work hours—an historical school record which, I am guessing, still stands. That was so many punishment “work hours” that there was no hope I would ever be able to complete them prior to graduating, not that the latter chance was either likely or proved true. But I saw this as a plus and a relief, because it really didn’t matter how many more rule breaking infraction hours I accrued as a result. And, hence, how many more rules I broke in the future.

I am finding all sorts of stuff in these boxes of memories.

Yesterday, I found a box with my 7th grade English class school paper assignments, with the teacher’s comments and my responses to his comments.

It is dated October 28, 1972—41 years ago to the day from today.

I was 12 years old. That is 7th grade for the American school system. It was in an all boy’s Christian boarding school in Connecticut.

Every second was regimented. One of my jobs was to get up at 0600 each day and ring the tower school church bell to awake the entire student body sleeping in dormitories. We had exact times to file in for breakfast. Our bedrooms were inspected for cleanliness each day. Church. Class. Recreation, meals–every minute was regimented. All lights had to be out at bedtime—which was 9:30 PM. Everyone had to be up by 0600, showered, dressed in coat and tie, bed made and room clean for inspection by 0630.

An adult dormitory monitor who lived on the dormitory would inspect each room at precisely the assigned hour to make sure innumerable infractions were not violated.

I lasted exactly one semester at that penitentiary, at the age of 12, before the school and I parted company. In this case, I told them—which was not the usual scenario—that I was leaving.

A solemn meeting was held in the principal’s office where a school psychologist was brought in. The stern duo of headmaster and psychologist did their most somber, almost grave best to try and persuade me to stay.

I had, at the time, the highest grades of any student in the school. I remember, because they would post every student’s grades next to their names on a public bulletin board for all to see. What a horrible thing to do to a child, in retrospect, if one was not performing at their peak for whatever reason.

I remember the exact words of the psychologist that day sitting in the principal’s office when I, 12 years old and 4 feet 11 inches tall, informed them I was leaving their institution because I determined it was not in my interest to continue that relationship.

“If you leave this school, you will be a failure. You will never be a man. Men don’t give up.”

I didn’t like that man in 1972, and I don’t like that man today in 2013.

I suppose I was a contrarian then, which has its downside, i am well aware.

Here is an English paper assignment dated October 27, 1972—41 years ago to the day from when I found it in a box this morning.

It includes my original paper and the notes and comments of my teacher, as well as my responses to his comments on the quality of my writing, which I returned to him for review.

Nat Thayer

English 7-1

October 27, 1972

Teacher: Sir Andy Rutman

“Last summer while in North Carolina, I had a chance to go rock climbing. Now rock climbing is my favorite sport and I always jump at a chance to do it.

A party of eight of us went to a gorge in the middle of the Carolina wilderness where we knew were some good climbs. We practiced on many little climbs until we knew we were ready.

Early one morning we woke up, had a light breakfast, and hiked for about two miles down a very steep path. After about an hour we came upon a huge rock, 350 feet in the air. I could not believe my eyes! It looked like an endless wall bounding up into the clouds. I had no hope of going to the top of this mountain rock.

We got all our ropes ready and within fifteen minutes we had started to climb the rock. At 4:30 in the afternoon we were on the top of the rock eating lunch. I had climbed the rock! At times I was sure I was right on my first conclusion. But I had climbed it. I had done the impossible. I had done a “five dollar job”.

The teacher “Sir Andy Rutman” graded the paper a 95%. He commented at the bottom, in all capital letters: “VERY GOOD. BUT IN SOME PLACES YOU LEFT OUT WORDS, SO IT DID NOT MAKE SENSE. QUESTIONS?”

“Sir” Andy made several corrections and criticisms which I detail un-redacted below.

In the second paragraph, first sentence regarding the phrase “A party of eight of us went to a gorge….” Sir Andy circled the two words “of us” and wrote in the margin: “Not necessary.”

I wrote in the margin under his comment: “Yes it is and does make sense!!!”

In the last paragraph, fourth sentence, “I was sure I was right on my first conclusion” Sir Andy put a big question marked and circled it, indicating he didn’t know what I meant.

I scrawled in the margin next to his circled question mark: “Just what I said!”

I wrote, in a summary of my response to his grading conclusions and skills in the returned paper to him addressing his criticisms and comments: “Your corrections do not make sense. You just want to find something wrong.”

Forty-one years later to the day, this now 53 year-old sticks by my then 12-year old comments as correct.

I was a difficult, problem child, I suppose.

And, reasonable people argue,  I am a difficult adult man.

But I still loathe to this day my early English teachers who did their best to suck the life out of a young child’s imagination, in the stead of nurturing and encouraging it.

We won’t even begin to speak of my 9th grade English teacher who failed me for starting my sentences with the word “and”.

I have made a point of starting sentences with the word “and” in hundreds of stories I have published as an adult professional writer in the ensuing years, and I think of him and smile each time. Well, and say a quiet “fuck you”, to be honest.

Pyongyang Porn: “Some readers may find the book objectionable” @NKNewsorg

23 Aug

Excerpts from Pyongyang Porn

“Some readers may find the book objectionable”
BY NATE THAYER , AUGUST 23, 2013
For the full story, go to NKNews.org at http://www.nknews.org/2013/08/pyongyang-porn/ , the news organization that comprehensively provides quality journalism on all North Korea. Below are excerpts…….
cammy-smithwick-pyongyang-fuck-kim-jong-un-ladies-stockings (1)

Artwork by NK News illustrator Cammy Smithwick

 

Mhari Yi, who moved to Edinburgh to attend Napier University and stayed on to work, was excited as she embarked on a new side career as a budding author. She lived happily for ten years in Edinburgh, Scotland, she said in several interviews with NKNews.org

On May 12, 2012, she published a book. On May 14, she wrote on her blog “I am so happy. My first book has been published!” But Miss Yi had also set another precedent: she is the first to penetrate the virgin North Korean porn market, dragging the famously thin-skinned and prudish dictatorship against their will into the hard core world of erotic literature.

The cheeky promotional blurb for Pyongyang F@%K: Deep inside North Korea declares the barely legal protagonist “Dae is a young Korean girl who has just turned 18 and is looking for a little fun. Now is the time for a little excitement deep inside North Korea.“

If the North Korean government gets wind of the erotica author’s work, Miss Yi may find herself on the receiving end of a serious tongue lashing.

In August, 2012 an obscure Australian weekly paper angered North Korea by publishing a graphic of the London Olympic medal count which labeled Pyongyang “Naughty Korea” and its southern neighbor as “Nice Korea.” Pyongyang went ballistic and fired off a missive (that is missive, not missile) over state media for the “sordid behavior” of “challenging the authority of the dignified sovereign state” calling the Melbourne mX a  “naughty paper” and a “symbol of rogue paper for its misdeed to be cursed long in Olympic history.”

But the 31 year old porn writer has been much naughtier………..

BEGGING FOR MERCY

In Pyongyang F@%K: deep inside North Korea, the protagonist, the barely 18 Park Min Dae, engages in a series of bawdy Pyongyang romps using her wicked talents to seduce top party cadre, distracting them from their revolutionary duties, under the gaze of the ubiquitous portrait of the regime’s dictator, Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.

Miss Park, with breasts “like grapefruit” and buttocks “like two luscious juicy melons placed perfectly together” starts “working for the party” as a photographer for the Pyongyang Times.

On her first day on the job, she intends “a lot more than a boring first day at work”, returns to her bosses house and seduces him, only to then have North Korean intelligence agents appear out of nowhere and drag her now ex-boss off to his certain fate. Her future now firmly in the hands of the feared secret police, the very naughty Miss Park prostrates herself in front of the portraits of the Great Leader Kim Il Sung and Dear Leader Kim Jong Il and begs for mercy–and offers other rather risque, specific compensatory incentives to the secret police agents–and she is given a break, only to ratchet up and continue her subversive erotic antics. She returns home and tells her mom that her boss had quit but “the new one may even give me a promotion!”

The British Foreign and Commonwealth office helpfully suggests, in its travel advice offered to UK citizens visiting Pyongyang , to refrain from “perceived insults to, or jokes about, the North Korean political system and its leadership which are severely frowned upon,” adding that visitors have “found themselves in trouble for not paying what was deemed to be a sufficient level of respect.”…………

……………………………………….In Pyongyang F@!!k, Miss Park’s parents leave a life of luxury “in Japan to live in Pyongyang, North Korea. I know reading this now you may think why on earth someone would do something so stupid?” she writes. Her father was then taken by the secret police “who had come at night but I heard many rumors from my friends that my dad had been a bad man and had committed crimes of treason against the state and our Dear Leader.”

She probably made a good choice to use a pseudonym when she penned her no holds barred erotica set in North Korea. The Pyongyang authorities are famously grumpy when it comes to challenging the official propaganda portraying the Godlike virtues of the hereditary Kim family regime.

OFFENDING THE LEADERSHIP

In June last year, upset at South Korean media, North Korea threatened the “reduction to ashes in three or four minutes, by unprecedented unusual means” several offending newspapers.

One particular newspaper in South Korea merited a declaration from the famously thin skinned Korean Central News Agency that military “strategic rocket forces” had “zeroed in” on the journalists and then broadcast the precise military map coordinates of the papers office in downtown Seoul……Less than a week later the newspaper was the target of a sophisticated cyber attack, destroying their databases and temporarily paralyzing production.

“We have dispatched our investigators urgently to the Joongang Ilbo to secure evidence,” Jong Seok-hwa, chief investigator of South Korea’s government Cyber Terror Response Center said in an interview with a Seoul newspaper. ”We have never seen a strong attack like this before.”

KCNA added the international media were “dens of heinous provocateurs hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership” concluding they “should not be allowed to exist.”

In Pyongyang F@#k: deep inside North Korea, after her father was disappeared, her mother then “married the head of the peoples party in our province” who the randy Miss Park proceeds to tease and seduce.

The book is decidedly not family friendly reading.  A disclaimer says “some readers may find the book objectionable, saying it contains references to “voyeurism, exhibitionism, anal play, anal sex, oral sex, extended orgasms, graphic language, vaginal sex and cock sucking. “

It can be assumed that among those “readers who find the book objectionable” would include the ruling officials in the “workers paradise” of North Korea…….

……And she might take special note of the helpful British Foreign Office tip on traveling to Pyongyang that it is “not advisable to bring books” as “these and any other literature deemed subversive or pornographic by the North Korean authorities risk being confiscated from travelers on arrival.”

She might even want to remain alert when in Edinburgh. In July 2010, two North Korean diplomats walked into the Rangoon, Burma office of ……the author of “Kim Jong Il: The Dear Leader of North Korea,” one ordering him to immediately stop distributing his book, while the other diplomat confiscated all the remaining unsold 310 copies. “They said I used two American books as references,’ Hein Latt, 62, told Reuters at the time……

“To tell the truth, I gave the books to them because I am afraid of North Koreans. I know more about them than others because I am writing about them.” He said one spoke “English but the other didn’t. He just stood there and collected the books.” The North Korean diplomats didn’t even offer to pay for them. And the Burmese language book had been approved by the Burmese Ministry of Information Press Scrutiny Department, a government hardly known for its fidelity to press freedoms or tolerance for political controversy.

“If anything came of my silly little erotica, I would love it to be that someone gets more interested in North Korea,: Miss Yi said. “ It really is shocking how little is publicized about the horrors that occur in North Korea!”

Mhali Yi, when asked if she is single, says: “One could say that. I’m not in a serious relationship at the moment. It’s not something I’m currently looking for as I don’t wish to be tied down.”

That likely would be the most pleasant of her possible fates if the North Korean regime got their hands on the Edinburgh lass.

For the full story, go to NKNews.org at http://www.nknews.org/2013/08/pyongyang-porn/ , the news organization that comprehensively provides quality journalism on all North Korea.

News headline of the day: Dog owner’s dispute research women more attracted to men with guitars

12 May

News headline of the day: “Dog owner’s dispute research women more attracted to men with guitars” despite that neither the research nor the news article involved dogs whatsoever

The Gold Star for the news headline of the day goes to my local tabloid daily, the Washington Express: “Dog owner’s dispute research showing women more attracted to men with guitars”

However, neither the research study nor, in fact, the accompanying news story ever mentioned the subject of, or indeed the word dog,

Someone in the newsroom just had either a good sense of humour, a dog, a slow day or, arguably, better taste.

My pal, Lamont, chick magnet

My pal, Lamont, chick magnet

                                      My Pal, Lamont, Chick Magnet in Training 

My Pal, Lamont, insisted I immediately get on the case and both compliment the headline writer and dispute what Lamont is convinced is egregiously flawed scientific methodology most likely financed from slush funds of the guitar lobby.

A recent research study conducted by a psychologist showed men holding a guitar case increased the odds women would give him give their phone number. Researchers had a previously-determined “attractive” man approach with a smile 300 young women in the shopping district of a medium-size city, stating “Hello. My name’s Antoine. I just want to say that I think you’re really pretty. I have to go to work this afternoon, and I was wondering if you would give me your phone number. I’ll phone you later and we can have a drink together someplace.”

When the man was carrying a guitar case, 31 percent of women provided him with their phone number. When the man had no bag at all, only 14 percent of women gave him their phone number. When holding a sports bag, only 9 percent of women gave their phone number to him.

An earlier 2012 study conducted in Israel published in Letters on Evolutionary Behavioral Science showed female students at Tel Aviv University and Ben Gurion University were more likely to accept a man’s Facebook friend request when his profile picture showed him playing a guitar.

A later Israeli study had women requesting male students as Facebook friends found that a woman holding a guitar in her profile picture made no difference to whether men would accept her friend request.

No study is known to have been conducted on the subject substituting a dog for a guitar, so the newspaper headline writer appeared to just kinda make that part up.

Lamont making his case

Lamont making his case

Google search terms which drove readers to my blog: Alert Homeland Security or throw a block party?

9 May

Should I alert Homeland Security or throw a block party? A stroll through internet search terms which sent readers to my blog

By Nate Thayer

May 9, 2013

Here are this week’s listing of perplexing, disturbing and amusing internet search terms which drove people to my blog and provide an intriguing peak into the nooks and crannies of readers of my scribbling’s minds.

I am not sure whether I should alert the Department of Homeland Security or revel in it and throw a block party for my apparently like-minded associates.

Any nominations for the winner of the best search term of the week are encouraged and welcome for the following categories:

Most intriguing

Most disturbing

Most amusing

All around grand prize winner

Call 911 immediately

The search terms used from May 2, 2013-05 to today, May 9, 2013 included:

Mississippi Elvis organ thieves; police Khmer;  ethics of media in the age of internet;  as a journalist do i need to know how to keyboardcheap destinations to live for freelance journalists; British royal family sanctioned murders; what does it mean when someone calls you a cornball?; free oops TV Nate; sex Khmer rouge; Google America free daughter father sex;  media in the internet age; http://www.noradsanta Nate or nice; medical malpractice by psychiatrist turns witches;  brazil prison uniform; freelancer writing emails for work; male dogs fucking women for pleasure; free gay gum eating compile tube; war non-consensual sex fantasy;  what Cambodian movie did Ta Mok play in; godhatesamerica.com; choeung sopheap (Cambodian for “wants peace”); freelance war journalist; robot sex; cum terrorist;  hare Krishna prison gang; the last grenade; secrets of royal family; should a freelance journalist contact an editor if he or she never gets back; Waco extremists with us government;journalist freelance rates; mail to give my pay rate;; wife fuck animal in the wood; white power groups; if i were to be editor of the newspaper for one day;  fantasy underage forced sex clips; royal family assassination; white power pol pot; utube forbidden videos about north Korea;  how many animals has the British monarchy killed?; pol pot song;   the coup 1997,cambodia; http://www.northkoreansex.com; massive computer room with workers; wives who have had sexual experiences with dogs; being a paid email friend; Hun Sen fuck girl in Facebook; Westboro Baptist contact numbers; brunch nude north Korea;  where do journalists post requests; fucking Hun Sen pictures;  freelance writing rates 2013; picture of a man beg the police to spare his life in Cambodia; prison clothes pink; would you like to be a journalist for a day?; What does a cornball brother mean;  who has rights magazine or journalist; north Korea submarine; secrets about British royal family; how to write an email ask for advertise; north Korean submarines; life of a freelancer; nknews.org Nate Thayer; how to be a freelance writer for pay; make a living freelance journalism; how to write for Atlantic;  Kim il sung smoking;  Baptist church Somalia po box; journalists life; koh kong smoke weed;  article 53 of the north Korean constitution;   ilyushin il-62 cabin crew; Hun Sen’s private army; royal family of England; soviet embassy in Phnom Penh 1985 1988; north Korea racism; gialloboy; how i can i get salary if i work as a freelancer; Korean air reviews meal photos; pussy dog abuse dogs; photo reporters do they find easily job; terrorist searched stripped bomb; Khmer rural house roof;  forest gum koryo latex’s; pol pot;  the life of a freelance writer; a freelancer or a journalist;  can you earn a living freelance journalist; Cambodia mass murder; freelancing salaries; does the slang word wood have any meaning in white supremacy?; freelance writer and freelance journalist; according to the central propaganda department, “party control of the media is an unwavering basic principle”6, that meant the party had the right to modify the news or instruct the media institution if their words are not welcome by the state policy; domestic terrorism in the united states from 2000 – 2013; arrow pointing to Texas;   a relative invited to go to and then uninvited u;  which bar allowed smoke ganja Phnom Penh;  freelancer no money to pay anything; artist get paid, writers get paid, photographers get paid, models get paid; what is the salary for a writer working for people magazine; north Korean giant; why i am a journalist; a day in the life of a reporter; death worked at Google left job “has been a blogger since”; freelance writing rate blog post;  koryasex; journalism website that you can email what you have done; the royal family dirty secrets; what is good web site to freelance l and get make to freelance; is freelance writing journalism??; animal rape abuse;  school headmistress; Khmer rouge Russian Nate Thayer; TV live sex show;  serve the aims of strengthening the dictatorship of the proletariat, bolstering the political unity and ideological conformity of the people and rallying them behind the party and the great leader in the cause of revolution; how many articles a week do journalists write; last time i checked the white power are the biggest terrorists; Nate Thayer free; here is my last correspondence; reporting pol pot’s death; ; freelance free life; British royal family tracker; sing a contract when 20 wage rise when 21; Cambodia corruption control; Aryan terror brigade; tourism statistics in the dprk;  what do magazine journalists make?; certificates of recognition; thanking a reporter for the good comments made; live television sex; royal nurse death conspiracy; Cambodian red cross corruption;  massacre in Britain royal family; i got invited for below l north Korean propaganda; Hun Sen net money; “notify me when new comments are added training institute;

 

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