Episode 96

Qatar World Cup, T-Swift & Ticketmaster, Isolation Epidemic

Ravi and Rikki start with all the moral relativism coloring this year’s controversial World Cup in Qatar, before opening their hearts to the many Swifties burned by Ticketmaster’s latest monopolistic debacle. The hosts then turn to the “isolation epidemic” facing America and what can be done to stem social disconnection.


Ravi lays out all the many controversies surrounding this year’s World Cup in Qatar, as he and Rikki address the outrage as well as the moral relativism case made by right-wing commentators like Piers Morgan and Matt Walsh.

Rikki takes us through the effective monopoly Ticketmaster has over some of the country’s biggest events, resulting in absurd ticket debacles like the Taylor Swift saga. 

Rikki addresses a topic making more and more waves in the national press: rising rates of isolation and loneliness in the American public, and the potential public health crises those trends beget.

Finally, Joe G. makes a triumphant return to thank some listeners voicing concern with his dating habits.

World Cup [3:58]

DNA revealed I’m descended from psychics who ‘spoke’ to the dead (New York Post, 11/26)
Empires of Soccer (The Atlantic, 11/25)
The many, many controversies surrounding the 2022 World Cup, explained (Vox, 11/19)
Piers Morgan: Keep politics and virtue-signalling out of the Qatar World Cup so we can enjoy it – if players don’t like it, don’t go (The Sun, 11/1)
Migrant Workers and the Qatar World Cup (Human Rights Watch, 8/2/2021)
A Spectacle of Scoundrels (The Atlantic, 10/17)
Fitting the World Cup into tiny Qatar (Washington Post, 11/26)
Here’s How to Support Protesters in Iran (Time, 10/9)
“Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy” (Erich Schwartzel, 2022)

Ticketmaster [27:28]

Justice Dept. Is Said to Investigate Ticketmaster’s Parent Company (NYT, 11/18)
Taylor Swift Concert-Ticket Mess Draws Scrutiny for Live Nation and Ticketmaster (WSJ, 11/26)
Taylor Swift says her team was assured ticket demands would be met for her Eras tour (NPR, 11/18)
Springsteen Fans Raged Over Ticket Prices. Experts Say There’s No Easy Fix (Rolling Stone, 8/2)
Tickets: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO, 3/14)
Justice Dept. Clears Ticketmaster Deal (NYT, 1/25/2010)

Isolation // Loneliness  [36:15]

Does solitude equate to loneliness? (Peter Attia, 11/26)
Americans are choosing to be alone. Here’s why we should reverse that. (Washington Post, 11/23)
We Need to Understand the Difference Between Between Isolation and Loneliness (NYT Magazine, 10/18/2021)
The Loneliness Pandemic (Harvard Magazine, 1/2021)
America’s Loneliness Epidemic: Fact or Fiction? (Shaylyn Romney Garrett, 4/5/2019)

Voicemails [50:18]