The episode of meat with gold eaten (and hopefully digested) by some players in Qatar is perhaps causing outrage for the wrong reason.
If the images showed Elon Musk in an exhibitionist act with this tacky coefficient, would the noise be so big?
It is certainly not good form, in the middle of a competition like this, held in one of the most violent countries in the world, to go on a spree eating meat worth a thousand reais a bite.
But what if those involved were powerful white men? How would we react? I think the invitation to reflection is pertinent.
I say this because the problem is not exactly the tacky gesture of ostentation. The problem should be that there are such places in the world.
Places like the absolutist monarchy of Qatar, masculinized societies where masturbatory exhibitionism between men is a bargaining chip, where a dinner costs what some families don’t earn in a year of work.
Our fury should be aimed at the system and not necessarily at the people.
Or, if we are going to take people, let us start by criticizing the exhibitionist way of life of men like Musk, Bezos, Dória and Justos, to name a few of our own.
Vini Jr, for example, was one of those on the loose.
Vini Jr’s fame and wealth these are recent things.
Not long ago he was just another young black man from the periphery with few chances in life. So that a Vini Jr. hundreds of thousands prevail, others fell by the wayside.
Elevated to the category of one of the best athletes in the world, he is delivered to what this world says is the measure of success, under the tutelage of one of his idols who, from what I’ve read, was the one who took the gang to this restaurant that serves gold.
The economic system that organizes society in this way almost always escapes criticism.
But everything about the Qatari dictatorship speaks to the horrors of capitalism: the deaths to build the stadiums, the labor exploitation of millions of immigrants, the disrespect for causes involving women and LGBTQ people, the hidden peripheries that shelter workers in precarious life…
Just because it is capitalist, this absolutist monarchy is accepted by all. Or would we be happy with a Cup played in North Korea?
Russia is banned, but the United States was there until yesterday. What’s the logic?
“Ah, Russia invaded Ukraine.” And the United States invaded Iraq and Afghanistan under the guise of bringing democracy to those nations.
Why didn’t they invade Qatar and Saudi Arabia then? What are you waiting for?
Has Iraq become a full democracy or is it a devastated land today?
What about the United States’ terrorist drone campaign over the Middle East that has already claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people? Why is this not talked about?
Criticism of capitalism cannot be illegitimate.
It is not acceptable that we are playing a World Cup within a dictatorship and that this issue is not being widely debated on sports programs, in reporters’ entrances, in newspapers, everywhere.
The feast of meat with gold is a reflection of this economic system that naturalizes the purchase of football teams by billionaires. Hail Ronaldo.
Qatar owns PSG, for example.
That is, Neymar, Messi and Mbappé are playing for those who pay their salaries. How much conflict of interest is there in this relationship? This is pure capitalist juice: everything becomes digestible if the money involved is enough.
Is it admissible that there is a restaurant like this meat and gold restaurant in a world where 200 million people are starving right now?
The fiction of meritocracy is the story told to put people at ease in criticism: if you try hard, tomorrow you could be munching on meat and gold surrounded by flashing lights, servants and sycophants. Just work hard.
Ronaldo went to justify going to the restaurant and made everything worse by reinforcing the lie of meritocracy: he told a famous podcast that he took the gang out to eat gold to inspire young people to seek the same thing for themselves.
This speech is violent, untrue and perverse.
It only benefits those in power and oppresses millions of workers who dedicate themselves to insane hours of work in the name of a dream that will never come true.
Life doesn’t work that way and a few seconds’ reflection will make you realize that the hardest working people you know are not rich, quite the contrary. But some of the laziest ones are very rich indeed.
As many researchers, including liberals like Yuval Harari, explain, hunger today is a political decision.
There are technological resources and there is enough food production to provide the entire world population with a minimally decent life.
How is it possible that we accept living within a regime that prefers throwing food away in the name of profit than feeding the hungry?
Indignation is welcome, but we need to direct it in the right place or we’ll just end up killing each other while an elite few go on shitting gold.