From hot dogs to hats, wretched excess is alive and well - Metro US

From hot dogs to hats, wretched excess is alive and well

Greed is not good.

Look where it gets us. Not to sound like an Old Testament prophet, but unless we change our ways — and soon — the end is near.

If you don’t believe me — there’s a respected Wall Street technical analyst who has read the signs and warns the Dow Jones Industrial Average is about to shrink below 1,000 — 9,000 points less than it is today.

At the same time, wildlife is coughing up tarballs from Galveston to Sarasota and the Arctic is melting.

The signs aren’t good.

Nonetheless, wretched excess is alive and well, and if recent events indicate, it recognizes no class boundaries. In short, there is no class.

The Queen, for example, spent the weekend at places and events with her name on them: The Queen’s Plate and Queen’s Park, wearing a couple of selections from the Royal Hat Collection. She has 500 hats. I can understand one for the sun, one for the rain and one for the cold, but 500? At a time when the U.K. is suffering through the longest recession in its history (and that’s some history), the Queen’s hat budget needs to be trimmed. She should endure the same cuts as the rest of the government, 25 per cent across the board, requiring her to take 125 hats to the Goodwill. Off with her hats!

The ruling class is not alone in its unclassy behaviour. Wretched excess is alive and well at the trailer park end of the spectrum, too. How else to explain the annual spectacle of Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, held every July 4, a great American tradition?

This year’s winner, for the fourth year running, was Joey (Jaws) Chestnut, who managed to choke down 54 dogs in 10 minutes. It was not a pretty sight — but that did not deter thousands of people from turning up to watch in 40 degree heat.

Jaws was disappointed: He was reaching for a record 70 dogs in the allotted 10 minutes. Last year, in more temperate conditions, he downed 68. His arch rival, the world’s No. 3 ranked glutton, Takeru Kobayashi, who sat out this year’s contest due to a contract dispute with Major League Eating, crashed the stage and threatened to give the crowd a free demonstration of virtuoso hotdog eating.

The NYPD carted Kobi off to jail and Jaws took the Mustard Belt home for another year. I am not making this up.

My point is simple: No one gets it. From the highest to the lowest, we’re cruisin’ for a correction.

Meanwhile, pass the mustard.

Paul Sullivan is a Vancouver-based journalist and owner of Sullivan Media Consulting;

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