Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Who wants to read 20,000 words about dog sledding?

Are you free for the rest of the month?

Who wants to read 20,000 words about dog sledding?

Dogs bolted out of the chute in Willow, Alaska, on Sunday to launch the 41st running of the Iditarod Trail Sled-Dog Race. (Bob Hallinen/AP)
Dogs bolted out of the chute in Willow, Alaska, on Sunday to launch the 41st running of the Iditarod Trail Sled-Dog Race. (Bob Hallinen/AP)

Are you free for the rest of the month? If so, you might want to check out Grantland's 20,000-word encyclopedia feature on the Iditarod dog sled race. It's written by Brian Phillips (Deadspin, The Awl, The New York Times Magazine), so it probably turned out pretty swell.

We couldn't find the time to comb through every comma it took to create this behemoth, but it only takes a few seconds on the special portion of Grantland's site to recognize that the layout is pretty spectacular. Phillips writes about following the Iditarod race through the air. As you scroll through his piece, a map appears at the top of your window and updates itself as you scroll through the piece and read Phillips' musings about the corresponding places.

The Grantland folks also included footnotes and a sidebar glossary and illustrations and videos and recordings and tutorials and OH MY GAWD LOOGIT THOSE DOG'S EYES. Seriously, though, the accompanying photographs are stunning.

Here is a random paragraph we decided to block quote without any context because we didn't have time to read the whole thing:

I was staring at a week and a half of bone-deep cold, probable-verging-on-inevitable blizzards, baneful travel conditions, and total isolation from the civilized (read: broadband-having) world. I hate snow, do not play winter sports, keep the thermostat at 65 on a good day, and haven’t logged out of Spotify since 2011. I’m not even a dog person.

The whole package is pretty impressive. The writing. The photography. The accoutrements. The experience. If you read the whole thing, let us know how it is, would ya? We're sure it's wonderful, but 20,000 words could fill an aircraft carrier and—to borrow a line from great Internet philosopher Sweet Brown—ain't nobody got time for dat.

Now, if you'll excuse us, we'll be spending the remainder of the afternoon trying discern whether or not Phillips left any Internet for the rest of us. [Grantland]

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