Categories
Issue 8

Ramy

‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’ is the phrase that this gripping two-season series embodies. The show follows the life of Ramy Hassan, an American millennial with roots in Egypt, and captures how he grapples with his conception of the ideas of spirituality, love, religion, family, and judgement. The comedy-drama encapsulates snippets of what constitutes a sense of belonging for a minority, immigrant community in the United States and humorously captures the cultural conflicts and politics of the two nations that Ramy identifies with, the USA and Egypt. 

While the first season gives us a glimpse of the characters and their ideas, the second season grips one further as Ramy finds himself in unfamiliar terrain in Egypt, falling in love, drifting in and out of religious ideals and finding a Sufi spiritual instructor in Mahershala Ali. The show highlights contradictions between belief and faith, religious practice and understanding, family and loyalty and portrays the characters’ struggles with religious practice in a world of sin and vice. The show takes pace as it highlights religious biases, perceptions about Muslims and Ramy’s ‘well-intentioned sins’ as he tries to navigate between the ‘haram’ and ‘halal’ life while judging those around him.

Quick-one liners, puns on Trump, Islam and its relationship with the USA and a representation of religious performance and faith is what makes Ramy a must watch. Each character in the show has a different story, slowly unfurling in the background as Ramy struggles to juggle between Friday afternoon prayers and Friday night parties.

Categories
Issue 8

Headliner: A Chilling View of How Hate Sells

Headliner is an indie game developed by Jakub Kasztalski, where players are tasked with being the editor of a fictional magazine in a fictional town. Their responsibilities are primarily concerned with choosing which stories get reported in the next day’s news cycle. As the editor, players need to prioritize the news stories that they believe best contributes to the social cohesion of the town, while at the same time ensuring that their newspaper remains profitable. 

The game soon evolves into a test of character, as all the choices that players make directly affect their in-game family and society. Kasztalski effectively establishes conflicts that are hard to navigate – with players’ job security, familial interests and general social atmosphere often placed at odds with one another. Ranging from issues of sensationalism and hateful narratives, to personal biases and ambitions, the game provides its players with an understanding of the complexities within the operation of news media. In an ecosystem where stories that sell better outshine those more worthy of telling, Headliner proves to be an inexplicably valuable tool for highlighting the processes and dilemmas underlying contemporary reportage.