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Oscar Wilde (1) vs. Joe Pesci; the Japanese dude who won the hot dog eating contest advances

Raghuveer gave a good argument yesterday: “The hot dog guy would eat all the pre-seminar cookies, so that’s a definite no.” But this was defeated by the best recommendation we’ve ever had in the history of the Greatest Seminar Speaker contest, from Jeff:

Garbage In, Garbage Out: Mass Consumption and Its Aftermath
Takeru Kobayashi

Note: Attendance at both sessions is mandatory.

Best. Seminar. Ever.

So hot dog guy is set to go to the next round, against today’s victor.

It’s the wittiest man who ever lived, vs. an unseeded entry in the People from New Jersey category. So whaddya want: some 125-year-old jokes, or a guy who probably sounds like a Joe Pesci imitator? You think I’m funny? I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you?

Again, the full bracket is here, and here are the rules:

We’re trying to pick the ultimate seminar speaker. I’m not asking for the most popular speaker, or the most relevant, or the best speaker, or the deepest, or even the coolest, but rather some combination of the above.

I’ll decide each day’s winner not based on a popular vote but based on the strength and amusingness of the arguments given by advocates on both sides. So give it your best!


  1. When I see a spade, I call it a spade. Wilde’s the one.

  2. Carlos Ungil says:

    I can see Joe Pesci getting ready for seminar and his face when you lead him to the conference room and he realizes there is nobody there…

  3. Yuling says:

    I tend to protect Oscar Wilde by not forcing him to meet the hot dog guy as I find a (suspicious) quote by Wilde: “I can’t stand people that do not take food seriously.”– it is suspicious because Wilde is likely to hold the largest amount of fake quotes. On the other hand, Joe Pesci also enjoyed eating Macaulay Culkin’s finger while they shot the movie Home Alone. In any case, Oscar Wilde has to be more tolerant.

    • But a reliable quote (from The Importance of Being Earnest, from which I also quoted above) runs as follows: “When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed, when I am in really great trouble, as any one who knows me intimately will tell you, I refuse everything except food and drink. At the present moment I am eating muffins because I am unhappy. Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins.”

      This comes from the character Algernon Moncrieff, a self-proclaimed Bunburyist whose culinary tastes may resemble Wilde’s somewhat. It leads me to think that Wilde would be quite content not only in the seminar setting, but in the matches leading up to it, if there were reasonably good refreshments at every stage. The hot dog guy might put him off momentarily, but muffins and cucumber sandwiches would set things right.

  4. zbicyclist says:

    “some 125-year-old jokes”

    But these wouldn’t be 125 year old jokes, but new jokes from a person who’s remained funny for 125 years.

    Let’s give Wilde last 7 days of the NYTimes and the Guardian, and then sit back and listen to a genius talk.

  5. Manuel says:

    Leave Joe Pesci at home alone. Wilde’s jokes may be very old, but he can use slides from The PowerPoint of Dorian Gray.

  6. Jonathan (another one) says:

    I’d definitely rather hear Wilde, but I hate it when speakers aren’t live, and the video connections with Reading Gaol are lousy.

    Please, though. No Frankie Valli stories.

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