On Spoilers: A Rant (Part 1)
Note: There are no spoilers in this article.
I’m going to say it now. I fucking hate spoilers and I use that word to mean both the content being spoiled and the assholes who do the spoiling. If you’re one of those people, I don’t like you. I make no apologies for that. In my mind you’re right up there with the people who have a chat with their neighbour or answer text messages on a full brightness screen during a movie.
I think you should be taken out back by the ushers and beaten into a coma with heavy boxes of unpopped corn kernels.
There’s a strange conversation these days regarding spoilers. On one side we have the people who are right in suggesting that they not have major plot developments ruined for them. On the other side, we have those people who are assholes and think that having watched the series live, or attended the movie on release day gives them some godly right to deliver plot points and secrets without any hint of remorse.
Take recent release Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I went into that movie a fan of the comics and knowing full well the true identity of The Winter Soldier. For anybody in the comics ‘fandom’ (ugh, I loathe that term and the connotations it brings but it’ll suffice for what I intend to say here) that information was, probably, not that revelatory but you’d be surprised how many people gasped in shock when it was revealed during the preview screening.
The Walking Dead‘s season four episode The Grove contained a stunning performance by Michelle McBride and the events of the episode were truly shocking. Some of us may have seen it coming eventually, particularly those who read the graphic novel series on which the show is based, but even then, the specifics are something I went into blind.
The Red Wedding, one of Game of Throne‘s most shocking scenes, is an event from a book published in 2000. That’s fourteen years ago in today’s math. So surely that heaps it in there with the identity of Luke’s Father in Star Wars, the killer in Saw, or the contents of the box in SE7EN? Right?
No. No it doesn’t.
Lots of people don’t read comics. Lots of people don’t read books. Or not the right books, as the case seems to be. People don’t always keep up, and it’s the responsibility of people who have seen things to ensure they don’t ruin the identity of the Winter Soldier, the events of the Purple Wedding, who dies in The Walking Dead or the names of Hydra traitors in Agents of Shield for people who may not have seen it yet. The onus lies with you, the person who has received this information to ensure that said information doesn’t reach the less informed by your doing. It’s as simple as that. The job is yours not to spoil, or to at the very least ensure that spoilers are clearly marked, using a widely agreed upon hashtag (for muting on twitter) or behind a cut (on Tumblr) or using whatever other system has been mutually agreed upon by those using your shared space.
Somehow though it’s become the responsibility of people who haven’t seen things yet, or don’t read the books, to avoid all social contact (and social media use) until they have watched it. Not only do people post untagged spoilers, but they tag them with potentially obscure methods. They use acronyms instead of just typing the name of the series, assuming everyone uses the same acronyms as they do. Even worse is the current trend of television series stars live-tweeting their own shows while they air. It was bad enough when fans were doing it, but when Clark Gregg and Ming-Na are wantonly tweeting Agents of Shield plot points, often with ludicrous hashtags if any at all, how on Earth is anybody supposed to avoid those?
It gets worse when public figures like Steven King and Gabriel Rodriguez, people not even related to the media property at hand, go about tweeting spoilers for major events from Game of Thrones‘ Purple Wedding just recently. And to be honest, it doesn’t even count in my opinion that it’s a 10 year old book – they aren’t spoiling the book. They aren’t in a discussion of the novels, tweeting about the newest released tome with a suitable hashtag. They’re talking about the series, with people who are watching the series, using a hashtag adopted for the series.
Not everyone reads the books. I don’t. I’m sure they’re great but I haven’t the time nor inclination to wade through six billion pages of prose. I’m just not that kind of reader. There’s certainly a statue of limitations, I don’t think anybody can cry foul about spoilers for Star Wars, Fight Club or SE7EN (those things began their lives as visual media and there is no source material to be in advance with) but when a series or movie is less than a day old, regardless of how old the source material is, you better shut your whore mouth. Whether the book was published in 2001 or 1945 is irrelevant; people are watching the series and for those of us who do not, or cannot watch live, you’re ruining the experience and should feel bad about yourself.
This is particularly irritating as an Australian who could not watch live if he wanted to. Here I am, going about my usual business, when suddenly a spoiler crops up on my feed. As though I am expected to avoid all social media on the air days of potentially spoilerable series. How is that my responsibility? If I adopted that system I may as well just deactivate my Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts. There’s always something on, and these days there’s always someone spoiling. How about you just don’t spoil. Done. Simple. Keep a thought inside your vacuous head for once. Not everything needs to be said to the world.
So where does this leave us? Nowhere. I doubt I am going to change the world with this post. I’m expecting a number of comments and tweets about how I should ‘read a book’ now and then or ‘go do something else besides Twitter, nerd’. I’m expecting that and I say to those people in advance:
Eat a bag of dicks you inconsiderate, selfish and quite possibly puppy-kicking twat.
One day we’ll meet, and I’ll punch you in the face, and then I’ll casually explain how it’s really your responsibility to get out of the way of my fist. The fist is 32 years old. You should know it was there.
Turn in tomorrow for Part 2, where G-Funk takes another view on the issue of spoilers!