The Pinnacle of Civilization

05 Jul 2012

Michele Catalano for American McCarver:

What does bother me about the whole IFOCE (yes, competitive eaters have their own federation) is that the people who partake in this stuff take themselves so seriously as to refer to themselves as athletes. Eating is not a sport.

I had the great misfortune of seeing the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest while I was out for lunch as, for some reason, my local Boston Pizza thought that a good time involved watching a man named Joey Chestnut attempt to not puke sausages. It was terrifying and disgusting, but I kept finding myself drawn to the horrific images on the screen. I imagine that I was hardly much of a conversationalist, because I was too busy wondering if this is what Plato envisioned when he spoke about his republic: naked wrestling competitions are an entirely appropriate conduct for citizens, but I am not sure if there is a place in the term “civilization” for forcing watery hot dogs down your throat faster than the guy next to you.

It is not enough to simply be free, we should be worthy of that freedom.