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Spend Some Time With: Fake Noodles, A Forgotten Musical Genius, and Gang Wars

My weekly three recs for spending slow time with good stuff.

Eat a plate of Pad "Thai" and ponder the fact that what you think is a timelessly Thai dish was actually invented just 80 years ago as part of the government's plan to build a sense of nationhood in an ethnically patchworked country.

See: the documentary Searching for Sugarman, which tells the story of Rodriguez, a talented American folk musician of the early 1970s who bombed in the States but became, unknowingly, a megastar in South Africa, where he was an inspiration to liberal whites during Apartheid. With South Africa's election tomorrow, it's a good time to watch. And don't @ me but I really do think Rodriguez might have been better than Dylan.

Read: A gripping Times feature about block-by-block gang wars in a small city in Honduras. The epidemic of violence in Central America – and the region more broadly – is in part what is pushing so many people to seek refuge and opportunity in United States. How's this for a crazy fact? In just seven Latin American countries, violence has killed more people in recent years than the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen combined.


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