In protest at the dubious morality of awarding the FIFA men’s World Cup to Qatar, Jimmy Andrex has been pointedly ignoring every second of the football matches which have been on his TV this week.
Watching the World Cup with a conscience
You know what? Whatever you’re thinking, you probably have a point. Joe Lycett entertainingly pretended to shred ten grand to highlight the moral flexibility of David Beckham being paid millions to watch top class football teams (and Qatar) competing in a country that imprisons people for being gay. Those concerned with economic injustice will rightly point to the terrible treatment of the workers who built the stadia and facilities. Tory random-bigotry-generator Lee Anderson has probably been locked in a cupboard. Until we lose.
In the meantime, how can right-thinking people with a conscience even enjoy the games? I suggest a novel, educative approach that allows viewers to increase their knowledge at the same time as honing their moral antennae.
How does it work?
I suggest we still watch games but take sides according to various moral and ethical criteria:
- How democratic are they?
- How bloody and unapologetic is their colonial past?
- How ethical is their current regime?
- Will we still have to resort to crap stereotypes about WW2 and penalties?
Below is your cut out and keep guide to each team’s Clear Conscience Supporter rating:
Clear Conscience Supporter
Despotic, autocratic, absolute monarchy who mistreat workers, imprison gays, deeply misogynistic medieval society, petrochemical producers, climate destroyers. Boo.
Representative democracy but also oil producer. Hmmm. Former Spanish colony (so boo them before we even get to them), who don’t appear to have done anybody much harm. Shocking state of affairs, if you ask me. The only moral blot I can find at this time on a Wednesday on the sofa is that their star player, Enner Valencia (formerly of West Ham), once escaped arrest for non-payment of 15k of child maintenance by faking an injury during a game and being stretchered off in a golf cart pursued by 13 uniformed police officers. Trashy but with a certain elan, if I’m honest.
Traditionally liberal leanings are a plus for us woolly leftie types, though their Championship-level colonial history does count against them as does the team’s bizarre mix of laid-back skill and sulky, off-field petulance.
A former African kingdom trashed from the 1400s onwards by wannabe colonists from Portugal (Boo!: Ronaldo, Peri-Peri sauce), the French (le booage historique and poor dubbing of 70’s kids TV series like Belle & Sebastian and The Aeronauts), the British (couldn’t we leave anywhere alone?) and the Netherlands (see above). On the downside, like their Qatari hosts, they outlaw homosexuality, so that might temper post-colonial guilt for the ethically inclined armchair fan.
I know what you’re thinking: he’s not going through the whole lot like this is he? Well, it might have been fun, but I can’t be fussed and (ignorance alert) most of the above I got from Wikipedia. Do your own research during the punditry, especially on what Roy Keane might have been thinking when he grew that beard.
In the meantime, here are a few pointers.
Absolute monarchies V constitutional monarchies: the form book suggests constitutional gets the nod, but the likes of England, Germany, Spain, France and Belgium do punch above their weight in the looting and pillaging stakes, so that has to be borne in mind.
Homophobes and racist governments: a competitive field, you’re on your own with that one, I’m afraid.
WW2 stereotypes: our more Edwardian readers [ED: There aren’t any] might have had fun relishing Germany v Japan, especially as the German manager appears to have been a character in ‘Allo ‘Allo, but it’d be a bit sad. Think of a new one, Kev.
Have Previously Beat Us On Penalties: now you’re really scraping the barrel.
So there you are. Sort it out yourselves, it’ll be fun and you can claim you don’t follow the herd etc etc etc.
Woke footnote: After all this – cheering loudly when Japan beat Germany (old habits etc etc), laughing at Roy Keane’s beard and all the rest – and then you see the German team’s clever but pertinent ‘gagged from speaking’ gesture and your previous certainties come crashing to the ground. Intelligent, humble and pointed. If Manuel Neuer weren’t playing you could almost like them.
But then again, this is football after all…