Synthetic normalcy: When the bio-bubble is a 21st century variant of Marie Antoinette’s cake corner


Look here, I love IPL. I love it as a celebration of the worst excesses of late-stage capitalism, as an amped-up mutation/ mutilation of the base game, and as spice for my social media bile, usually directed at the dumpster fire that is the franchise I support.

But even I have to say that the juxtaposition of images of sporting celebrations with people crawling on the road outside a hospital begging for oxygen with their last dying breaths is, for the want of a better word, obscene. They call it the bio-bubble, the 21st century variant of Marie Antoinette’s cake corner, where a bunch of the fittest men in the country are isolated, provided regular Covid testing and preventative care, all for the glory of buttressing the bottom lines of corporations, while yards away, fiery tendrils of smoke rise up from the funeral pyres of those in whose name it is ostensibly being played for, lives that could be saved if they had access to some of the testing and care that those participating in the “festival of India” are getting.

But IPL is what’s keeping the people inside, people say, preventing them going out. Seriously, is that what it is? Funny. I thought lockdowns, police patrols and the fear of invisible death stalking the streets would be enough to lock people in. But BCCI will make a hefty donation we are sure, wouldn’t that be better than stopping IPL, it’s not as if that will bring those that died back. No it won’t. Nothing will. What might prevent at least one person dying are the testing supplies and the police resources maintaining the bubble, and access to stadiums where patients can be cared for.

But even if you can’t understand that, dear powers-that-are, at least understand the optics. Do you want to be the one showing images of people punching the air at winning a prize on your app, while a prospective customer is saying their last goodbyes to their parent – is that an emotional association with your brand you would want people to live with? If you want to make the idea that the franchises represent their home cities remotely believable, do you think this helps your case that when these very cities are being asphyxiated, what you choose to go with is synthetic normalcy? Forget the morality, is this even good business?

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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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