Friday, January 26

non-human athletes

two weeks from today, a series of sporting events like no other will be aired via youtube for audiences around the world to enjoy: the 2018 Winter Marbleympics.

husband Jeremiah and I discovered these via an amusing (if shouty and quite uncensored) internet-famous Australian fellow who did commentary on a marble race last month. how fateful that discovery turned out to be. who knew there was a whole world of marble racing out there?

from there we discovered Jelle's Marble Runs and over the break between semesters, we feasted on pretty much everything the channel had to offer. including the 2016 Marblelympics and the the 2017 Marblelympics.

it's quite an experience, these videos. they transfix in a way you don't expect them to, really. I still keep trying to figure out exactly why they are so entertaining.

it's the humor and curiousness of juxtaposing inanimate marbles with all the physics and dynamism of athletic competition, I think. it's the adorableness and pure fun of anthropomorphizing those marbles to a nearly absurd degree, and all the dedicated creativity and attention-to-detail in the team names and fan behavior and backstories and everything. the fellow-humans who make these videos happen are to be admired.

if I had the brainpower on this Friday evening to make some additional academicalish comments on how these beautifully-commentated marble races and our fascination with them could link up interestingly with some of the tenets of object-oriented ontology, I would. but I don't know all that much about object-oriented ontology myself, and should probably not let it distract me much more than the Marblelympics already have from writing up nicely finished dissertation chapters about digital ethnography and distributed commons-based peer-production and what that all may mean for technical communication and human culture and such.

you can watch the 2018 Winter Marblelympics (including all qualifying events) here.

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