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The Buzz Cut: Reunion Shows Are Rarely Satisfying. So Why Do We Keep Asking For Them?

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May 29, 2021

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Image Credit: HBO Max

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


Friends reunion, the almost two-hour-long special, clutched hard on the nostalgia, made the best of cameos, but did little to address elements that haven’t aged well. The show insists on existing in a cultural and social vacuum, trying to weave a mythical space: “Ubiquity is its own selling point. How could Friends be wrong, when so many people say it’s right?”

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The story of Mo Pinel is also the story of bowling’s rise to popularity. Ponel spent a career perfecting the model of the ball, tinkering with the inner core to let it harness the power of physics. His trial and error ended up revolutionizing the sport as we know it.

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Bihar’s Gaya district is a major center for human trafficking; hundreds of children were trafficked to Jaipur’s bangle workshops. In 2016, some managed to escape, went on to put their trafficker on trial who was sentenced to life imprisonment. They made history: “I had never imagined it. My head was whirling. I didn’t think that what I said in court would have such an impact.”

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Villains in fantasy movies make for fun and caricatured performances; they are bold, free, and passionate. But trying to breathe humanity in them by fleshing out indistinct villain origin stories, like the new Cruella de Vil movie, takes away from the fantasy genre. Not to mention they’re “convenient vehicles for big entertainment franchises to expand their empires.”

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A woman reflects on queer acceptance and choosing our families — in a story of love and healing. The backdrop is one of celebration, as two Bengali brides make sense of a culture in conflict with their identity. Each milestone in her relationship “was a new coming-out process to my parents, over and over again.”

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The collective uprising around George Floyd’s murder sent ripples through a culture of oppression — and reached the corporate culture. The demand for “diversity consultants” — called the diversity-equity-industrial complex — has never been higher, but it might leave equity and inclusion sapped of meaning: “There’s a playbook now and it goes something like: A terrible thing happens to a marginalized community; then we put out a statement of outrage; then we do a listening session; and then we drop it until the next terrible thing.”

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A family WhatsApp group on good days shuffles between good mornings and poems. On bad days, it becomes a hotbed for misinformation with a relentless barrage of forwards: conspiracies, xenophobic sentiments, bigoted views. A woman writes how during the pandemic, “my family turns to WhatsApp for answers, and WhatsApp continues to fail them.”

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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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