Competitive eating (aka food contests) is enough of a cultural phenomenon that the annual Nathan’s hot dog chokedown is broadcast on ESPN. This weekend Joey Chestnut took the honors, but his greatest threat (and some would argue the “sport’s” true champion), Japanese phenom Takeru Kobayashi, was barred from participating.

We don’t normally busy ourselves with this kind of lowbrow entertainment, but something foul is at work here and it deserves a moment of derision.

You see, something called Major League Eating wouldn’t let the great Kobayashi participate unless he agreed to sign a contract forcing him to eat exclusively for the “league.” Kobayashi refused, but showed up anyway. He was arrested while attempting to take the stage — even though he had the good manners to wait until the contest was over and the crowd was chanting “Let him eat!”

Is this really the message America needs to be sending on our national birthday? Not only do we eat competitively, but monopolistically, and we arrest anyone who gets in the way.

Happy birthday, America. Live fat or die. — PZS

The Guardian:

A former hotdog-eating champion has been arrested after trying to crash the stage of the annual event in Coney Island, New York.

Six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi, of Japan, was in jail yesterday after the 4 July contest.

Earlier in the day, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut ate his way to a fourth consecutive championship. But he was upstaged by the appearance of his biggest rival, Kobayashi, who crashed the eating platform after Chestnut’s win and wrestled with police.

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