Saturday, July 5, 2008

Eater X is the France

Like all Americans, you watched the 93rd Annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on ESPN yesterday. You don’t need me to tell you that last year’s champion Joey Chestnut beat Takeru Kobayashi, the winner of the previous six years. You saw the exciting photo finish, which was declared a tie, and you thrilled to the five-dog eat-off, which ended with Chestnut victorious by a bun heel. But did you see the symbolism? While glued to your television for ten minutes plus a five-dog eat-off, did you notice that all of American history was staring back at you?

First of all, there are the obvious things. What’s more American than rampant waste and excessive eating for absolutely no reason at all? At the Hot Dog Eating Contest, hundreds upon hundreds of hot dogs and buns are dipped in water and swallowed whole, to serve no end at all. The people eating them might not actually become obese, but a regular American who attempted the same feat certainly would.

So how are these processed-food-consuming giants different from the average man or woman on the street? Why, they represent President Herbert Hoover’s ideal of Rugged Individualism, of course! These people trained themselves from nothing – from nothing! – to achieve perfection. Men like Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi can eat as many as sixty-four hot dogs in a single sitting, and that takes an inconceivable amount of work. The rest of the nation can view them as a shining example to look up to. With a little self-motivation, all Americans could be so astoundingly productive at work.

On a completely different level, the Joey Chestnut/Kobayashi rivalry is a metaphor for the battle between the United States and the forces of Eastern Imperialism. Kobayashi is a native of Japan, while Joey Chestnut was born in the United States somewhere, probably. Kobayashi’s six wins were kind of like six Pearl Harbors. Joey Chestnut’s victory last year was the nuclear attack on Hiroshima, and this year’s was Nagasaki. That’s right. Joey Chestnut’s win at the Hot Dog Eating Contest was, in effect, Fat Man.

That’s America, gang.

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