Green Assassin


Friday, January 07, 2011

"Green" is still the buzzword for new industry in America, and Studio 360's Scott Blaszak wants in. He’s a green entrepreneur in an unusual field — contract killing — and as the world’s first carbon-neutral assassin, he’s finding innovative ways to make the dirty work of murder a cleaner, greener endeavor. Scott Blaszak's satirical monologue is performed by Mark Price.

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Mark Price

Produced by:

Scott Blaszak

Comments [21]

Brooklyn from New York

As always, Scott Blaszak delivers humor in a brilliant and exciting new way. For anyone who thought ill of the timing and the piece, take a moment to review his personal website where many of his other projects can be found.

Jan. 26 2011 01:09 PM
James from satire savvy in Boston

First and foremost anyone with a scintilla of satire in their marrow must give props to tools of the trade "cotton fiber ropes" and "free range viper venom"!

Seriously if you can't appreciate the creativity of the piece while simultaneously sympathising with the creator for what has to be the worst possible timing then I'm not sure any dose of satire (green or not) could aid you.

Well done Mr. Blaszak!

Jan. 11 2011 04:30 PM
Amanda from Boston

It is certainly unfortunate that Mr. Blaszak’s piece aired on a day when few of us were inclined to find any humor in the subject of assassination, “green” or otherwise. That said, even on the best of days, humor is subjective, and regardless of whether one cares for Mr. Blaszak’s brand of dark comedy, it’s hard to argue with the point he makes about “green.” Like “organic,” we’ve applied—and misapplied—the word so widely, and to things that embody its spirit to such varying degrees, that it no longer carries much weight. Except, of course, as a PR tool: find a slick agency to re-brand your company as “green,” and the public will pay little attention to your business’s actual purpose and practices (see under “BP”). NPR listeners are absolutely right to take offense to the idea of a business that destroys human life while waving the “green” banner—not because it’s outlandish, but because, sadly, it is not.

The letter from Craig in New York looks strikingly similar to one that I, an editor of English textbooks for a major publisher, received not long ago:

To: Mr. Swift, Ms. D------ and P------- H---:

…This piece makes light of infanticide and cannibalism and fails at being funny or informative. In my opinion this piece is not worthy of anthologizing by P------- H--- at any time. The fact that cannibalism is an acceptable and hugely popular theme for entertainment contributes to the problem of cannibalism in our society. I expect more of P------- H---.

Jan. 11 2011 01:21 PM
A. Nother Commenter from Maine

Bad timing - yes.
Avoidable - perhaps.
Original, thought-provoking, fresh, creative & quirky - Absolutely.

It's unfortunate this piece didn't air last weekend for I feel some of these commentors would have been able to capture the humour and satirical nature of the piece.

Bravo, Studio360, for recognizing the true purpose of the piece.

Jan. 10 2011 09:11 PM

Unfortunate the timing of the piece being aired at the time of the Tucson shooting, but like a previous commenter noted, how are the two related? In no way do I think the piece can be taken as an endorsement of a violent crime. The piece was a satire, maybe some of the people taking the time to comment should remember what that means...

Overall the piece was great! Funny and entertaining while at the same time thought provoking. Well done Mr. Blaszak, hope to hear more from you soon!

Jan. 10 2011 11:24 AM
Greg Gagne from Atkinson,NH

This was by far one of the most creative and entertaining pieces I have ever heard on PRI. You can't knock the show for timing this programming was put in place well in advance of some idiots decision to gun down people in Arizona. I agree with one of the other posters that this could make for a hilarious movie- "Nake Gun" style. those of you who took issue with this need to get a grip on reality. The beauty of PRI/NPR is that it's material is relatively uncensored (at least compared to the crap that airs on the mass consumed news products put out for the sheep to view). Keep it coming 360 and you will find a whole new generation of listeners who don't have a thorny stick up their arses.

Jan. 10 2011 08:18 AM
Jeff from Boston

Honestly don't understand these negative comments. I listened to the piece, and we all know about the tragedy in Tucson. I fail to link these two completely separate events together. I also fail to understand how this crusade to blame entertainment for the perpetuation of violence is still going on.

As for this piece... Loved it! Hopefully there is more to come! I am excited to hear, and possibly see, where you chose to go with this!

Jan. 10 2011 07:52 AM
Mark from Arizona

I caught the last half of this being aired the other day, so I logged on to hear what I missed. I must say that I am glad I did! What an original funny piece! Would love to hear more, and I think there is a great opportunity to create more with this piece! Hopefully a few people's unnecessary soapbox stands will not deter Scott, 360 Studios or NPR from developing this character and giving us more.

Jan. 10 2011 07:36 AM
G Sterns

Was this really an ill timed attempt at humor about murder for hire or a humorous discussion about the over exuberance of the green movement? I hope most realize where the author was truly coming from.......The timing was terrible but the piece was excellent.

Jan. 10 2011 12:34 AM
Peter Long

Unfortuante timing, however very clever and entertaining! This is my first exposure to Blaszak, but I hope it will not be my last!

Jan. 09 2011 11:42 PM

I'm a bit late, but I've had this stuck in my mind since I first heard the news a few hours after having heard this Studio360 piece. I worried that the very same self-righteous attitude at which the monologue gently pokes fun would motivate people to leave outraged comments, and sure enough, that's what I found here (or at least comments of deep disappointment). We all agree that this was unfortunate timing for the piece, but it is ludicrous to think that it glorified violence in any way. I'm with "Elizabeth" above: everyone get out your 7th-grade textbooks and look up "satire" before damning the creators of thought-provoking and entertaining work!

Jan. 09 2011 10:52 PM
Leslie healey from Wilmington. DE

Maybe those unappreciative of the satire should review Jon stewart's rant on the Daily Show on the first responders bill passed begrudgingly by congress before Xmas. It was genius, and also misunderstood by many. I an using it at the start of my satire unit

Jan. 09 2011 10:39 PM
Elizabeth from Massachusetts

Geesh, perhaps NPR should air a story on the history and definition of satire? Obviously the timing of the airing of this episode was horrible. But Blaszak's piece, per usual, is witty and clever. I wish I had heard it on a different day.

Jan. 09 2011 10:24 PM
David Krasnow from Studio 360

Craig -- and others who commented above:

I've found that our satire pieces always contain a dividing point. What one listener considers sharp commentary on a subject (in this case, a fascination with violence brought into unlikely juxtaposition with environmental self-righteousness), another may consider an example of stooping to the lowest level.

Humor is notoriously subjective and so I can't say that anyone's read on the piece is more or less right or honest. I was the editor of the piece, and I will say that my sensibility does not incline to violence -- I watch far fewer violent movies (TV, videogames, etc) than the average person. Yet I found Scott's monologue witty and thought-provoking.

The timing with this weekend's disaster certainly could not have been worse, and I'm sure many listeners were bothered by it. I regret this very much.

For the record, Studio 360 is not affiliated with NPR, and NPR is not responsible for our contents. We are coproduced by PRI and WNYC.

I appreciate your writing in. We want our listeners to expect a lot from us, and it's good for us to know when we haven't met your expectations.

David Krasnow, Senior Editor

Jan. 09 2011 01:23 PM
Craig from New York City

To: Mr. Krasnow, Studio 360 and NPR:

The timing was certainly unfortunate. However, the main point is that this piece makes light of violence and murder and fails at being funny or informative. In my opinion this piece is not worthy of NPR airtime at any time. The fact that violence is an acceptable and hugely popular theme for entertainment contributes to the problem of violence in our society. I expect more of NPR.

Jan. 09 2011 12:54 PM
David Krasnow from Studio 360

We very deeply regret the timing of this particular piece of satire.
Our show begins distribution on Thursday, and is live on the web as of Friday. By Saturday morning (Mountain time), when the shootings occurred, many of our 160 stations had already aired our show. Studio 360 has contacted stations to suggest that in light of the tragedy, they may wish to rebroadcast an older episode of the program.
We're grateful to all those who took the time to contact us.

Jan. 09 2011 12:35 PM
karen labonte

It's Sunday morning, 1/9/11, as I write this. The news of the Tuscon shootings still fills the airwaves. I have turned off Studio 360 in the middle of this segment. I am surprised to find myself with tears in my eyes.

What could you possibly have been thinking to make such a segment and imagine listeners could find it amusing?

This may well have been conceived as satire, but the assumptions on which the piece is based are deeply disturbing.The segment takes as a given that murder for hire is a regular career path; the humor supposedly comes from the idea that a killer could be concerned about his carbon footprint and adjust his actions accordingly.

I must reiterate Keith Olbermann's eloquent message in his commentary last night:murder for hire, murder of any kind, is not a source of amusement.

I believe your segment contributes to the culture of violence that permeates our media and leaches into our daily lives. Please, end this practice immediately.

Jan. 09 2011 12:17 PM
Mjbarr from Murfreesboro, TN

this piece was just not funny

Jan. 09 2011 12:01 PM
Craig from New York City

This tasteless piece fails miserably at being amusing or thought-provoking. I see absolutely no reason for NPR to make light of violence and shooting for a few (very weak) chuckles. The piece was not insightful and has no informational value whatsoever. It panders to a juvenile fascination with violence that is a major problem in our society. The editors of Studio 360 and of NPR should be embarrassed for having aired it.

Jan. 09 2011 11:52 AM
A. Listener from earth

Very funny. Scott Blasak could run with this and write a screenplay. Thank you Studio 360 for all the times I never said thank you (but really should have), and also for all the times that I won't thank you in the future for being so awsome!

Jan. 09 2011 11:51 AM
A.D. from Columbia, MD

On my way to the grocery store yesterday (a very short drive), I tuned into 88.5 WAMU, as usual. On the air, this piece, "Green Assassin," was airing. It was hard at the time to determine whether this show was a satire or some sarcastic statement about the environment, or what! As I turned into my parking space, the speaker mentioned how he risked his life to save the environment (or words to that effect).

Imagine the contrast, when coming out of the grocery store, to then hear the news on the hour (3 p.m.) that a shooting had occurred in Arizona. It was a surreal experience, and unfortunate timing, to say the least.

To be honest, as I first heard the show, I was mildly irritated on hearing the words "human assassin," first to not know what it was about, having come in during the middle, but also amazed (again keeping the subject in mind) that this was being aired! Perhaps there need be no redeeming qualities of a piece to be aired on NPR, but, frankly, I am disappointed, having been a contributor to NPR for several years through the Federal Combined Campaign, that any portion of my funds helped produce this particular airing.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Jan. 09 2011 07:22 AM

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