A "food fight" has erupted between rival organizers of two Brooklyn-based competitive eating events! "This year's contest is going to be intense," says Joe Loccisano of Rocco's Pizzeria, referring to his slice eating competition which takes place Sunday in Bay Ridge. Loccisano suggested his contest has more credibility because pizza is more authentically Brooklyn than hot dogs, prompting a Nathan's rep to actually say "Brooklyn is the crucible by which the hot dog was transformed into the most American of foods." Loccisano, strengthening his argument against the famous, ESPN-broadcast July 4th Nathan's contest, said, "And let's be honest, dipping hot dog buns into water and rolling them into balls while ramming those precooked artificial meat sticks down your throat is just disgusting."

This made George Shea, the Nathan's organizer, somewhat livid. Referring to the Bay Ridge extravaganza, "It doesn't have real eaters," He told the Daily News, "It isn't officially sanctioned. It sounds like a cheap publicity stunt to me." What is abundantly clear is that neither Nathan's nor Rocco's is engaging in a publicity stunt. Nathan's Famous clearly does not use its contest to sell hot dogs, and Rocco's Famous Pizzeria of Bay Ridge does not want you to know that they will send a pizza to anyone in the contiguous United States via next day air for $59, plus tax.

In other news, ever get the feeling that all of these food eating contests are really just all about well-guarded eschatological anxiety? The countdown clock displayed at Nathan's is like a South Brooklyn cousin to the doomsday-themed National Debt Clock. Did we not learn anything from I Am Legend, where competitive eating contests have all but wiped out mankind?