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This week, we started a new series over at Roads & Kingdoms. Ha! You thought I was going to say something like, we started a long national nightmare over in the U.S. Well, both are true, but first we’re talking about our series.
On Monday, we ran the first dispatch from reporter Joshua Kucera, who is traveling along the border between Europe and Asia. Where exactly is that, you might ask? Good question. From ancient historians to modern-day authoritarian governments, the consensus is clear: no one knows, because it’s entirely made up. Borders! They’re totally immutable until they’re not; they’re changed constantly yet are revered as inevitable truths. Kucera explores how we use borders to enforce cultural identities and then, as those identities shift, collectively lose our shit over new geopolitical realities.
FOR EXAMPLE: New information is out about plans to severely curtail immigration and refugee admission to the U.S. and, of course, to start building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. That can only go well! Here in the U.S., we’re increasingly sure the wall is to keep us in. Send help!
While we’re talking about borders, this project from NPR about life on the U.S.-Mexico border is a couple of years old, but holds up well. And Slate’s Joshua Keating wrote an excellent installment for our Dispatched series on a soccer federation for unrecognized nations. It’s great. Or take a closer look at the unrecognized state of Abkhazia. Boy, that place is weird. Does a country ever deserve to lose its status as a nation? Maybe we should just abolish states altogether (that article is sort of nuts, btw). Not like nation states are doing such a great job anyway. You can always take to the streets! Or just give territory away.
Moving right along: This story of a young woman’s bizarre murder in Iceland reads like a real-life Twin Peaks, although apparently it’s also eerily similar to the plot of an Icelandic show called Trapped, which I would love to watch, so if anyone knows how to stream it, let me know.
This week in food feuds: Why does White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer hate Dippin’ Dots so much? Seriously, dude HATES Dippin’ Dots. How war creates local cuisines. Let’s make America half an onion in a bag again. Let’s eat in restaurants before it’s too late! In a shocking upset, the U.S. won the food Olympics. Sort of hard to get real patriotic right now, but it’s a start.
Happy New Year! It’s the year of the fire cock, I’m not even kidding. This year, let’s support national parks. Let’s support scientists! Let’s put alcohol in everything. Let’s … be sad? Let’s say goodbye to a legend. Let’s insult some people.
Let’s end on a good note and watch this hilarious video courtesy of our Dutch friends. The Netherlands second forever!
That’s it for this week! I’m off next week, so see you in February for more of the best in food, travel and politics from around the web. As always, keep in touch @caraparks.