Hot Dog King Joey Chestnut Dominates Again


That was the lead story on my newsfeed this afternoon.  Joey won the annual Nathan’s hot dog eating contest for the third year in a row.  YEAH!  And of course, other prominent news outlets could not miss out on this cultural gem: ESPN, CBS, NBC, NY Daily News, Chicago Tribune, etc.

Lead story?  A sad fact which is indicative of the lows to which the pop culture of my adopted homeland has sunk.  OK, in the spirit of our most precious national holiday I’d like to quote myself here: “I may disagree with what you eat, but I will defend to the death (maybe not exactly death) your right to eat it”.  But the lead story?

This contest involves a bunch of guys (guys, of course, for the most part women have better sense than degrading themselves in that way) who compete in how much bad nutrition they can stuff into their by training distended stomachs.  One would hope that the dogs are at least made out of pure beef from grass fed cows and that the buns are non-GMO and gluten free,

But never mind the grossly unhealthy aspect of this idiotic affair, it is the message we are sending to the world that concerns me more.  In the 50s 60s and 70s, American culture conquered most of Europe, including the communist East.  I know it, I was there.  I believe that US culture was more important in eroding communism than missiles pointed at Moscow.  And now this culture has flipped to reverse the healthy influence we have had on the world.  Instead, we are on our way to become the most hated nation on the planet.  Why? There is still real hunger in large parts of the world; there are millions and millions of human beings who do not know where their next meal might come from and here we are broadcasting an egregiously ostentatious waste of food, and junk food for that matter.

And what makes the whole situation so sad is the fact that many of us fail to see the moral depravity illustrated by this gross exercise.  How about a stroll down the path to ancient history?  At the height of decadence in the Roman Empire, the rich Patricians would gorge themselves on food, tickle their throat with an ostrich feather to induce vomiting, and then proceed to devour more.  The Roman Empire eventually turned to dust.  It took centuries, but it was inevitable.  When the moral underpinnings of a society begin to crumble, that society will eventually collapse upon itself. It begins with a loss of sense of decency and humility and it ends in utter defeat.  Happy Fourth!