Navneet Alang

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To be Principled You Have to Avoid Pleasure

I had been trying my best to avoid the World Cup, but ended up watching the final and being as enthralled as everyone else. I felt weird about it.

This piece in Defector captured something important imo –>

The thing about a big, emotional ending is it can paper over a lot of what it took to get to that moment, the ugly parts getting washed away in a rush of adrenaline and sea of tears. That’s what I kept coming back to as I watched the storybook ending to Messi’s storybook international career. It was such a beautiful moment that you could forget everything else: The endemic FIFA corruption. The hostility toward showing support on the field for LGBTQ people. The fact that Qatar’s women’s team hasn’t played a game in eight years. The countless deaths of workers who built the stadiums where these golden moments took place.

Maybe the thing about “taking a principled” stance isn’t just about denial - refusing the thing that’s enjoyable for the sake of making a stand - but acknowledging the role of pleasure in the “immoral”: that you must avoid a thing not because of implicit or material support of your participation, but because once you “give in”, the simple fact of pleasure leads to the ordinary justification that we all do re the myriad of ethically dubious or harmful things that fill our lives.