Hotdogging an Odd Spectacle
Judging by his beaming countenance at the Fourth of July Nathan's 2013 Hot Dog Eating Contest, NYC Mayor Bloomberg apparently feels -- although he chides New Yorkers that they shouldn't eat trans-fats, or salt, or large sodas, or allow retail cigarette displays, or listen to loud music, or use Styrofoam, or have guns -- that it's OK, and even funny, for a human being to eat 69 frankfurters, with buns, in ten minutes.
Refusing to accept that ordinary people living ordinary lives have the right to ordinary preferences -- like french fries or a soda, even if he considers them vices ‑‑ Hizzoner, lending his presence to this debauch, has no such scruples regarding a spectacle of orgiastic gluttony unimagined even in the nightmares of Bosch, or the fantasies of Caligula. He even called it "one of the great sporting events of the year," in an excruciatingly unfunny five-minute video filibuster. So much for gluttony being a sin.
He probably just can't help himself. It's in the nature of control-freak misanthropes to demean people against their will, or to help the willing demean themselves. And after all, he's a politician, and a photo-op is a photo-op.
But, honestly. For 12 years the Mayor has been wearying New Yorkers, and Americans generally, with a tiresome stream of his dour killjoy prohibitions, all couched in urgent preachiness about what's good for us. As if he would know. Each one erodes a little more of our adulthood, judgment, and autonomy. This spectacle surely can't be safe, or good for anybody except a few sponsors who reap the lucre generated by the morbid voyeurism it encourages. Yet, there he is, egging them on. And sure, the $40,000 prize for the winning gorger is a lot of money for an ordinary person. But the competitors' appetites for food, money, and quirky fame can't begin to approach the limitless voracity of an officious, multi-billionaire scold's capacious ego, yearning for attention, deference, and vindication. Twelve years devouring the limelight, and he's nowhere near satisfied. Give it up already, Mr. Mayor. Maybe in retirement, you'll be fulfilled.
* Nutrition facts from this source; 69 dogs @ 684 mg = 47,196 mg.