Overheard on CNN.com: Why gorge on hot dogs when people are starving?
Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas celebrates her win Wednesday, July 4, at Nathan's annual hot dog-eating competition in Brooklyn, New York.
July 4th, 2012
04:22 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Why gorge on hot dogs when people are starving?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Sure, you can go and see fireworks on July 4, but Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at New York's Coney Island is another tradition of nearly 100 years. Defending champions Joey "Jaws" Chestnut and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas were the wieners, er, winners again. We were dogged by all the comments about the annual event, so we decided to feature a few that cut the mustard.

Hot dog champs defend titles in annual showdown

A few commenters were quick to mention New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's previous moves to ban large sodas, as well as his "frank" advice to "relish" the holiday. (He even asked the Coney crowd,"Who wrote this sh**?")

LBMD: "The irony is not lost on the fact that Mayor Bloomberg thinks it should be against the law to consume a soft drink bigger than 16 oz., yet freely promotes the idea of eating over 60 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Not sure the guy that wants to ban what you drink is the appropriate person to be promoting a day of freedom and liberty for anything especially this. Hilarious ..."

cigarman: "It shows that the Mayor actually has a sense of humor, although if he is the one who is pushing to limit the size of Big Gulps, he has a mental problem. I really believe that New York probably has a few more problems to see to rather than a Big Gulp drink. Maybe he should outlaw hot dogs. Does he really know what those things are made of? YUCK."

Are competitive eating contests misdirecting perfectly good food?

femanvate: "Honestly, these eating contests need to be banned. Every minute a person dies from starvation, while these 'athletes' gorge themselves until they vomit from over-consumption. America holds its heroes as sacred, and gluttons have no part in that. Lets shoot a few of them and restore our values to become the nation we once were and are. Happy 4th of July to all. I'd die to defend your right to eat 68 hotdogs in 12 minutes while shaking my head in disgust ..."

mjb985: "Even if the contest was banned, these hot dogs weren't going to go to a starving person. This restaurant doesn't ship its excess off to Africa. So your entire argument is irrelevant. There is plenty of surplus food even with these contests that we could be giving to starving people, but don't. Stop complaining on the internet and go do something about it. There are plenty of charities to choose from."

Or, more succinctly ...

OIFVvet: "In yo face, world hunger! How about that??? For every hot dog eaten, the contest will allow the hungry people of the world to imagine what it would be like to sit at a table with unlimited food at their disposal!"

Some people are just nauseated.

MsElle: "Oh no, not this thing again. I remember seeing them cover this hot dog eating contest as a kid. I was absolutely ready to hurl just watching the contestants cram hotdogs down their throats one after another. Sometimes dipping the bun in water just to be able to keep it down. This has got to be one of the most nauseating contests out there. I am forever traumatized by this sick, sick ritual. But to each their own!"

Chefpaulo: "This act of senseless gluttony is enough to make me boycott Nathan's forever. Such a competition is tantamount to a major tobacco company glorifying and awarding prizes for how many packs can be smoked in a day. In a nation rife with obesity and all its sequelae, shame on the perpetrators who profit and promote it as good, healthy fun. Furthermore, does one not see the irony of Bloomberg enforcing soda quotas while gleefully beaming with champion over-eaters? Go figure."

How about some "real juicy kumbaya stuff"?

Vumba4: "OK, here's a thought: now that the '80s, '90s, and '00s, are over, how about instead of acting like gluttonous pigs on a certain day of the year, we get together and feed the poor, build a house, start a garden, you know some real juicy kumbaya stuff. This over indulging in eating is embarrassing to us, and most certainly the person, as their mouth distorts in different shapes trying to stuff watered down buns and meat into their open cavity. Let's get away from this type of thing and do something positive...I know, I know, this is real entertainment to some people, but so are bull fights. Nevetherless, enjoy this special day, The Fourth of July!"

Too much food?

Judith Aldridge: "This is the same mayor who wants to stop people eating and drinking too much of the things that are not good for them because of obesity? Hot dogs cause obesity as much as burgers or cola. Now every fool in New York will go into training and eat seventy of them a day to try and become the next New York obesity champion. PS: I did say every fool in New York and not every person in New York."

fredrico1999: "Take a look at the 2 top competitors. They're not morbidly obese or even overweight from the pictures as far as I can see. They're competitive eaters and they do this for competition a few times a year not every day. This is not the same as smoking 2 packs a day because you're addicted."

One person poo-poohed Crif Dogs.

alyce1213: "Too bad Kobayashi has to stuff Crif Dogs down his face. Crif Dogs is supposed to be a cool place, trendy and all, but really - I've been there and their hot dogs are not good at all. They can't even compete with Nathan's. Not that he's actually tasting anything, but still ..."

Are we taking things too seriously? What's up with Kobayashi? Can anyone beat Joey Chestnut?

snowdogg: "(Kobayashi) 'has not participated because of a contract dispute with Major League Eating.' Are you kidding, a contract for a hot dog eating contest?"

downey1: "Kobayashi is a nutcase who needs to just go away! He does not want to play by the rules and is, to put it simply, full of himself."

PrezRomney: "I'm guessing Chestnut has this. He has the record with 68. I don't see anyone beating him."

Then, there's other kinds of eating competitions.

Dhamre: "Meanwhile, the international crack smoking competition is scheduled for this afternoon. If we are going to turn self destruction into a sport, lets go all the way."

How many hot dogs (and buns) can you eat? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. HIDE BEHIND

    Wonder if the dogs were veggie dogs or tofu, naw, would not matter,someone would still not like the event.
    There is a portion of population that you you could beat to death with a. a gold golf club that would say what a waste of money, an iron one would eork.

    July 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rascal Rabble

      lol...I dunno...nothing like lil compromise...gold is too soft and malleable for clubbin' nothin' like iron to toughen the refine...

      July 4, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joan

    I am so sick of these stupid STUPID stories. We give to every country in the world, and more to our own. So because others are starving we should give up our fun and entertainment. If you think eat a hot dog contest, then maybe we should eliminate entertainment. After all, should we laugh and have a good time when others are suffering? Are we responsible for EVERYTHING int the world. What a stupid story to have written.

    July 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Tendofreak

    I feel that the sitting President should not even be paid the 4th year. All they do is work towards getting re-elected and do nothing for us as a tax payer.They do nothing to earn the money we pay them. In fact they should PAY BACK all the monies spent in their travelling around on Air Force One at our expense as they go to dinners that only the 1%' can afford.

    July 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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