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Reddit wrote an NSA parody of ‘Les Mis,’ and here’s what it sounds like

The lyrics are great, but there was never a chance to actually listen to it. Until now! 


Fernando Alfonso III


Posted on Sep 7, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 7:07 am CDT

The ongoing saga of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has had more twists and turns than the German autobahn. To help make sense of it all, Reddit user Salacious decided to adapt Snowden’s story into songs from Les Miserables.

“Obama, at last / We see each other clear / ‘M’sieur President’ / Your party shall lose seats next year!” Salacious wrote on Reddit’s r/explainlikeIAmA, an offshoot of the popular forum r/explainlikeimfive, a community where people search for simple answers to life’s questions. (In this case, the answers are all in character.)


The lyrics are great, but there was never a chance to actually listen to it. Until now!

Aja Romano is our fandom reporter. She covers topics like Teen Wolf, comics, and One Direction fans. She’s also a classically trained singer. Late Thursday night, Aja set Salacious’s lyrics to music and uploaded them to Soundcloud.

One of the songs is a parody of the “The Confrontation,” a pivotal scene in Les Miserables. Antagonist Javert enters the hospital to arrest and imprison protagonist Jean Valjean, who is there to mourn Fantine, a former factory worker. Here, the confrontation is between Snowden and Obama.

The other is an adaptation of “I Dreamed a Dream.” Both are fantastic.

OK, Snowden and Les Miserables don’t have much in common. 

Snowden’s tale began in late 2012 when he reached out to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald with classified documents detailing the NSA’s expansive spy programs. Greenwald reported on these documents in June, bringing the NSA under worldwide scrutiny

Snowden was charged with espionage and theft of government property. He was ultimately forced to flee from his hotel in Hong Kong. He is currently in hiding in Russia where President Vladimir Putin has granted him temporary asylum.

It’s not impossible to imagine a Snowden musical, directed by Les Miz‘s Tom Hooper. There’d be a lot of close-up shots. 


Illustration by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Sep 7, 2013, 12:28 pm CDT