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Hump Day recommendations for October 17th, 2023

Imagine: If it had all gone differently in 1938. That’s what writer Nathan Goldwag proposes is deep in the background of Belgium’s beloved “Adventures of Tintin” comics, which take place between 1929 and 1976 in a world that’s much like our own … but one that seemingly avoided the horrors of World War II. Goldwag breaks it down in considerable tongue-in-cheek detail, but here are the broad strokes: In 1934’s “The Blue Lotus,” Tintin altered the result of the Mukden Incident so Japan never invades China. Emboldened by the check on Japanese imperialism, France, Britain, and Czechoslovakia refuse to appease Hitler during the Munich Crisis, and a brief war breaks out over Sudetenland that sees the Nazis crushed. From there on, Tintin’s escapades occur in a vaguely outlined Western Europe, which Goldwag proposes represents some form of an Anglo-French-dominated European Union. I buy it! – Matt

Listen:Patti Smith performs Prince’s “When Doves Cry.” Sometimes, when one iconic performer channels another, beautiful things happen. This is one of those times. – Willis

Build: a defender out of clay. In the 16th century, the story goes, a Prague rabbi created the “golem,” a giant humanoid warrior made of clay who defended the Jews from antisemitic riots. In 2022, a stoned art teacher in Brooklyn creates a golem of his own, who accidentally trips on acid, learns English from Larry David, and winds up on a mission to kill white supremacists at a Charlottesville-type rally. “The Golem of Brooklyn,” by Adam Mansbach — the best-selling author of “Go the F*ck to Sleep” — is a hilarious romp through the history and present-day of Jewish life and Jewish hate. – Alex


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