Monday, September 03, 2007

You Make Me Sick

Maybe I'll make the two hour trip to Jacksonville today to witness this Roman gorgefest sponsored by Krystal. They've got a countdown to the final big event in Chattanooga on their website, a fantasy eating league, competitive eater profiles and more. The Jacksonville eat-off is only a qualifying contest. I can't even begin to imagine the disappointment of making it to the qualifying rounds only to be beaten out by "highly-ranked Tim Brown," or "a group of Florida-based eaters including newcomer Elizabeth 'Rubber Gut' Canady".

This is considered a sport, and the official sponsors of Krystal's burger eating contest include Sheraton. Krystal will set aside $35,000 for the top 14 eaters. The winner of the Chattanooga gluttony contest not only gets $10,000, but also walks away with the "coveted Krystal Square Off World Champion's Belt and the Champion's Trophy made out of crystal." Last year's winner ate 97 Krystal burgers in 8 minutes.

This is just one of many competitive eating events taking place every year, mostly here in the United States. Visit the International Federation of Competitive Eating to find out what events are taking place in your area. Apparently, getting your pork-out event "sanctioned" by the IFOCE is a big deal, and the Krystal event is "the only sanctioned hamburger eating contest in the world." (If you take the time to view the video on the homepage of IFOCE's site, be prepared to be sickened. The IFOCE doesn't seem to care that a good portion of the clips they include in their highlight reel are of people like Jon Stewart mocking them. Any press is good press for Richard Shea, apparently the founder of this thing, whose face you will see throughout that highlight reel.)

Not sick yet? Wander on over to the Major League Eating site, an apparent sister organization to the IFOCE, calling itself a "sports franchise that oversees all professional competitive eating events and competitive eating television specials."

Of course pie eating contests or hot dog eating contests at State Fairs and the like have been around for a long time, but now the spectacle of a bunch of people chowing down to excess is deemed "sport." Obviously there's big money in this, and obviously there are fans and sponsors, federations, even fantasy leagues, but forgive me if I find something very, very wrong about all of this. We're talking waste, gluttony, and gorging on a scale unmatched by the most debauched of History's societies. And it's sponsored by huge companies like Pizza Hut and Krystal in the interest of selling more pizza and burgers.

Realizing the inherent PR problem of this "sport," the IFOCE has set up ifoceGIVES, which gives money to hunger related causes. Nice try, Richard, but too little, too late, and completely transparent. You make huge money celebrating and promoting gluttony and then you pretend to care about the hungry? How can I put this mildly, Richard? "You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting."

I suggest that any company involved in these contests is not worth patronizing, to include Krystal, Pizza Hut, Heinz, Nathan's, Sheraton and especially the IFOCE.

Here's a better food idea. Click the burger.

Previously in Gluttonous America:
Jack Bauer Never Eats

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  • “Skip a lunch–Krystal athletes could use your portion for training.”

    By Blogger Make the logo bigger, at September 3, 2007 at 3:51 PM  

  • Are these competitions really any more disgusting than, say, seeing the fast food regulars dining daily at these restaurants—especially on those 2-for-1 deal days? Maybe someone should gather the sponsors and force feed them until they vomit.

    By Blogger HighJive, at September 3, 2007 at 7:37 PM  

  • ...yet one more reason for the rest of the world to hate America. What folly. What waste. The only thing that makes me sick about all of this is KNOWING that people are literally starving to death while these ass-clowns stuff their pie-holes.

    By Blogger thompanilla, at September 5, 2007 at 10:44 AM  

  • Right, Thompanilla - and yet Robert Shea of IFOCE is such a caring soul, donating money to hunger-related charities.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at September 5, 2007 at 10:48 AM  

  • ....matching donations up $10,0000 (according to their website). Is that PER or en masse? Regardless of the philanthropic implications however generous they MAY be (I think not)....the two things MOST people will walk away from this with are 1)we are a bloated and wasteful country and 2)krystal will sell a lot of burgers because of the visibility off this. Do you think charities like Second Harvest, the Joey Fund and Joan's Legacy would benefit more from the event itself or from direct involvment from the company w/o the marketing rhetoric? It's hypocritical, if you ask me. "Let's help other people not starve by stuffing our faces!".

    By Blogger thompanilla, at September 7, 2007 at 5:36 PM  

  • The contests are just a bunch of people having fun. Everything that is done can be construed as wasteful. It is a common practice for marathoners to "carb-load" before a run. Some might look at this and say, "THOSE PIE-WHOLE STUFFING ASS-CLOWNS! THINK ABOUT THE AFRICAN CHILDREN WHO ARE STARVING!"
    I must bring up the notion that one simply has nothing to do with the other. You must think you sound so holier than thou by saying,"think about the African children". It is very true we should always think about the less fortunate. Sitting on your skinny, anarexic, lazy butt saying, "think of the children" will do no more or less for the African children than an obese person sitting down to gorge themselves. Maybe you should try actually helping the African children. If you do, praise the Lord. Next step is to leave other people and what they choose to do for fun alone.
    Someone I know happened to have compete in the contest and I would be willing to be my life that he donates more money to starving people, eats healthier 99% of the time than you, lifts more weights, runs more, goes on more mission trips to Africa, and YES CAN EAT MORE THAN YOU TOO. He contributes 10% of everything he earns to charitible donations to the poor and the hungry. Every summer he spends his own money to fly over to Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and other places to help the hungry and poor personally. At least once a month he also goes to downtown JAX to help out with the soup kitchens and feed the homeless. How is one just for fun 8 minute long contest going to negate all this? I don't think it does.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 21, 2007 at 5:12 PM  

  • Thank you , Anon. That was really moving. I've changed my mind. Roman face-stuffers are really cool people and competitive eating is now my favorite sport.

    I'm glad you were able to justify this practice in your own mind and now can feel good about yourself.

    (You are still a Roman and the rest of the world still looks at you as a privileged tool.)

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at September 21, 2007 at 5:55 PM  

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