Although we realize that gluttony is one of the Seven Sins for a very good reason, we can’t help but be fascinated by the sport of competitive eating. We previously marveled at the gustatory prowess of Juris “Doctor Bigtime” Shibayama, a Tennessee orthopedist who can put away T-bones like nobody’s business. Today our adulatory gaze turns toward Eric “Badlands” Booker, a New York-based subway conductor currently ranked 13th by the International Federation of Competitive Eating. The heartfelt documentary above gives a good sense of what it’s like to be Badlands, who’s a renaissance man of sorts: In addition to steering the 7 train and downing mass quantities of corned-beef hash, he is also an accomplished rapper. Check out one of his finest public performances here, and pay a visit to his personal website here.
By the way, yes, we realize that competitive eating can seem grotesque in a world in which at least 800 million people are in danger of starvation. We therefore feel obligated to post this rightfully celebrated “Hungry Planet” slideshow as a much-needed corrective.