Ode to Not Watching the World Cup

This is an event of such astoundingly obvious wrongness that doing the right thing is easy.

A giant red X illustrated over a blurry photo of a soccer player
Mohamed Farag / Getty; The Atlantic

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I don’t want to overstate this.
I don’t want to say that by watching World Cup 2022,
held in Qatar, on your personal entertainment device,
you’re stepping over the bodies of dead migrant workers,
standing on the heads of incarcerated queer people,
and bankrolling, in a tiny but critical way, the global grift.

Because we’re all compromised, right?
We’re all implicated. We all live in webs of capital.
We’re all stuck in the mesh of consequence.
And oh the conundrums, and oh the dilemmas,
and oh the beauty of soccer, et cetera.

But this—
a cooling fan the size of Lake Geneva
cannot blow the stink off this one.
This is an event of such planetary absurdity,
such gleaming and sharp-edged corruption,
such astoundingly obvious wrongness,
and such dependence on you, the viewer,
that—for once—the right thing is easy.

So listen:  
These games are a moral botch.
How hard is it not to watch?
This time only, you win the prize
by averting your eyes.