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The Buzz Cut: A Japanese City Used Covid19 Relief Funds To Build a Squid Statue

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May 8, 2021

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Image Credit: Reuters

In The Buzz Cutwe bring you a round-up of all the weird, controversial, and wonderful stories we’ve been reading all week.


India had a ‘been there, done that’ moment this week after news from a Japanese city stirred debate. The coastal town built a 43-foot statue, of a flying squid, for tourism — using money meant for Covid19 relief. Citizens say the $230,000 might have been better spent on testing, medicines, and saving a medical system that is collapsing.

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Melinda and Bill Gates’ split has people wondering: what happens when two of the richest people in the world split up? The rules of divorce are complicated, with somewhere around $180 billion and several charities in the mix. But like other separations, perhaps the Gates’ divorce fell to the fate of modern relationships: “Maybe it asks too much of marriage to expect your spouse to co-chair a billion-dollar philanthropic enterprise with you too.”

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In Illinois, Adolfo Davis was sentenced to life in prison without parole — when he was 16 years old. He was arrested for taking part in a robbery in which two people were murdered, and was tried as an adult. He learned to read and write in prison only so that he could send out letters to law firms saying “Please, help me get a second chance at life.” Davis was released last year after 29 years, “but nothing about freedom turned out as he expected” as he entered a pandemic-ravaged world.

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The stakes are high as journalists cover the story of a lifetime. The process of telling stories of extreme suffering takes an emotional toll on storytellers also, the physical and emotional consequences are becoming evident. “You don’t even realize how much it’s weighing on you,” one reporter says; the discourse around trauma reporting needs a rethink.

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A developmental biologist has dabbled quite a bit in invention: he has coaxed frogs into regenerating severed legs and tadpoles into growing eyeballs on their stomachs by teaching cells and tissues to communicate with each other using electricity. It begs the question: can his skill set apply to humans too — can he help humans learn to regrow their limbs?

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A scene from Marvel’s The Falcon and The Winter Soldier spurred debate about justice in the fictional world of Wakanda when a Black woman disarmed the white Winter Soldier to save him from bloodlust — a subversion of the savior complex ascribed to the West. The criticism of the scene, otherwise thought a remarkable display of a Black woman’s power, ends up showing “not even Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is totally void of white saviors and white supremacy.”

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Vaccine registration in India feels like an arduous, stressful process as people wait with bated breaths for OTPs and slots. But people are finding ways to work the system — by writing a code to get notifications and updates. It is no wonder then that “getting a vaccine slot is like a hackathon right now.”

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Written By Saumya Kalia

Saumya Kalia is Associate Editor at The Swaddle. Her journalism and writing explore issues of social justice, digital sub-cultures, media ecosystem, literature and memory as they cut across socio-cultural periods. You can reach her at @Saumya_Kalia.

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