Gluttony is Not a Sport


The ability of one man to scarf down 62 hot dogs in ten minutes is somehow front-page news according to Yahoo. As a paragon of geek culture, I simply can’t fathom why this dubious achievement is worthy of news, let alone the front page. Not only is this dangerous and wasteful, it’s disgusting. To make matters even worse, the video announcer blasts off with racially insensitive remarks concerning the Chinese competitors.

Cute pig picture courtesy of Garwee

The Dangers of Overeating

  • Choking There is a reason why we have teeth. The human esophagus is simply not designed to accept having food crammed down it whole. The competitors are not so much chewing as simply biting off huge hunks an swallowing. If the food is stubborn, they drink with full mouths to help stuff it down. As they say in the comments: AYFKM? You know that panicky feeling you get when you try to swallow something a bit too large? That’s Mother Nature trying to avoid your untimely demise. Learning to ignore this is not a skill. It’s a Darwin Award waiting to happen.
  • Death by Vomiting When you stretch your stomach beyond its capacity, you can and should vomit. To those of us who aren’t sucking down a hot dog in five seconds, this is an annoyance that reminds us to slow down and not eat so much. Competitive eaters will hold back the urge to vomit and keep stuffing more food in. However, the body will do its own version of ‘Do Not Want’ eventually. A 23-year-old student in Taiwan vomited so much that he died after forcing down too much.

The Scientific American published in 2008 that at least five people have died and one person suffered a stroke due to eating competitions. Most have choked to death, and one woman died of water intoxication by refusing to urinate during a water-drinking contest. She was trying to win a Wii for her children.

You Said What?

When the camera pans over to the Chinese competitors around the three-minute mark, the announcer says:

“So brave of these guys to come to Coney Island on the fourth of July to literally eat America’s lunch.”

This gem follows:

“they’re trying to take over at everything, aren’t they?”

What? The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is by invitation-only. Those men had every right to compete. What is this, the fifties?

All in all, I can’t believe this is news. The announcer also maintains that this is a sport because 40,000 people turned up to watch. People in centuries past had the same kind of turn-outs for circus sideshows, beheadings, and all kinds of nasty events- it doesn’t make it a sport. Add in the racially derogatory remarks, and I’m glad that the competition is only 10 minutes long. Any more of this foul ‘entertainment’ and I may have thrown up, too.

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