BATON ROUGE, LA—Defending the deeply personal pursuit of choking down as many ballpark franks as you can cram into your mouth, local man Tim Aveline told reporters Friday he hated how hot-dog-eating contests have reduced the art of eating hot dogs to mere competition. “It’s really gross how these events where they hand out big prizes have exploited our passion for gorging on handful after handful of hot dogs and buns that have been dunked in water to speed their way down our throats,” said Aveline, explaining that a lot of the best hot-dog eaters were not even included in such competitive showcases because they worked outside of mainstream channels or simply did not know the right people. “The crass practice of pitting one person against another in competition strips away everything that makes the craft of eating 60 or 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes such a delicate, highly individual process. There is a unique beauty in the way each practitioner suppresses their gag reflex in order to swallow processed meat as efficiently as possible, and the poignancy of these genuine aesthetic achievements are trivialized when we make it all about winning and losing. Eating so many hot dogs that it makes you violently ill should be a reward unto itself.” Aveline went on to suggest that competitors like world champion eater Joey Chestnut were really more about sex appeal than artistry.