Commercialism Ruining Dog Gobbling

By Gus Tate

Hot dog eating contests nowadays make me sick to my stomach. When I see Nathan’s Famous logos plastered over everything from kids’ t-shirts to ketchup bottles, I can’t help but think we’ve strayed nauseatingly far from the humble origins of the game. Am I the only one who remembers the casual backyard fun of swallowing dozens and dozens of hot dogs in one sitting?

Call me old-fashioned, but back in my day we didn’t care what brand of hot dog we ate medically inadvisable quantities of. Sabrett, Oscar Meyer, Hebrew National…. Hell, we’d settle for off-brand dogs as long as we had a few buckets’ worth to go around on a hot summer’s day. But Nathan’s monopoly on competitive eating seems to have brainwashed an entire generation into believing that flashy media hype is more important than choking on and nearly vomiting from pounds and pounds of processed meat.

Christ, when my father first taught me how to stretch my stomach to accommodate over forty hot dogs, I doubt he ever thought he’d see this great American pastime mutate into the grotesque carnival of corporate greed it is today: big-league eaters like Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo gorging themselves not for the love of the sport but for multi-thousand dollar Heinz sponsorship deals.

Is that what I should tell my children? That fame is a nobler pursuit than the adrenaline rush of endless pairs of barely-edible sausages slipping greasily past their tonsils? That money is a greater reward than the sweat-stained thrill of hunkering over a toilet after a big match and pooping out an unbroken train of 58 putrid, undigested weiners?

Not on my watch. Share this post to let Big Meat and Big Condiment know we won’t sit back and let them ruin one of life’s simplest pleasures.