Ban Competitive Eating

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This nation is filled with obese people. Highways and city streets are littered by a cesspool of greasy spoons. Everywhere you turn there is a fast food franchise. How on Earth can our society shape up when it’s oppressed by temptation?

It is not at all easy to pinpoint the causes of obesity and the many factors that perpetuate it. But I do know one thing: competitive eating ain’t helping our cause at all. I am having a terribly hard time understanding pie-eating contests and hot dog binging. I mean, really, what’s the point of it? There is no point. In fact, I argue that the opposite is true. These kinds of activities are detrimental to civil order for they glorify eating. Since civil order is the reason why governments exist, they must intervene and take action.

Eating contests must be closely watched by a regulatory agency. I propose the following pieces of legislation:

A) Participants must be licensed. If we license automobile drivers, why can’t we license competitive eaters? Some of them often receive monetary and in-kind prizes and as such they are employees subject to regulation.

B) Participants must be insured. Because the eaters might have a higher than average incidence of heart burn and other complications, it makes perfect sense for them to have primary and secondary insurance otherwise hospitals will have to bear the cost of the eating fetishists.

C) Competitive eating organizers shall be required to provide to audiences brochures and other instructional material about healthy eating. Children who witness these monstrous spectacles could very well be disturbed, their lives forever changed. Society must do whatever possible to prevent damaging the children.

D) Whether it is pies or hot dogs, organizers must provide nutritional information to eaters and the public. This way everyone can see the insane number of calories that they are consuming. Perhaps a “shock and awe” campaign is what we need to eliminate obesity once and for all.

If these proposals seem controversial, they need not be so. There is precedent. Indeed, in the UK, there has been pressure to cut back on calories and pie-eating contestants are heeding government warnings. Other contests are allowing vegetarians to compete. A BBC blogger is also questioning the legitimacy of eating contests. And even CBS news is asking how safe these contests really are!

A civilized society is one in which the repercussions of action are totally accounted for. Only by enacting such progressive policies can we curtail the damage imposed on society by competitive eating. Let’s act now. The world has spoken. May the grassroots campaign about excessive eating begin!

Manuel Lora [send him mail] works at Cornell University as a TV and multimedia producer. Visit his blog.

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