'Spoiler police, up yours.'
May 20, 2010 10:46 AM   Subscribe

Death to the spoiler police! Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams takes a stand against people who insist on spoiler alerts: "[O]nce a work enters the pop culture vernacular, it is not society's responsibility to provide you with earmuffs until you finally get around to experiencing it. ... But for the love of God, if you really don't want to know about a book/movie/television show, do the rest of the world a favor and stop hanging out in the online discussion groups about it." Via Roger Ebert.
posted by mcwetboy (151 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, I say death to those who call for the death of the spoiler police!
posted by Mister_A at 10:48 AM on May 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Please - nobody tell me how this thread is going to end!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:49 AM on May 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


IN TEARS.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:50 AM on May 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


Like most things in life, they could be solved by not being a ass about it. If you don't care about spoilers, fine, just realize that others do and that when you spoil things you're ruining the experience for them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:52 AM on May 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


Rocks fall, everybody dies.
posted by kmz at 10:53 AM on May 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


I am not entirely sure I agree, It would depend entirely on the context, and to be honets this seems like she is unable to differentiate between people being douches and simple calls for politeness. Despite protestations she seems to lean towards spoilery extreme of things and kind of obnoxious with it, so I could understand why people would find that annoying from time to time.

That said, if she's implying that the "twist" of Shutter was a plate of shit, and that everyones politeness in not revealing the shitness of the twist may have protected it's box office numbers I'd kind of agree. It's the kind of "twist" that makes you say "oh for fucks sake" and feel like the entire preceeding movie was a waste of time.

I'd say the same about The Ghost Writer, but nobody else saw that.
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's Raining Florence Henderson: "Please - nobody tell me how this thread is going to end!"

<spoiler>

BUS PLUNGE

</spoiler>
posted by brundlefly at 10:54 AM on May 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


This thread will wendell.
posted by sciurus at 10:56 AM on May 20, 2010


sciurus: Indeed; I'm starting to regret posting it.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:58 AM on May 20, 2010


Did you know that this term, Bus Plunge, is where the popular portmanteau "splunge" comes from?
posted by Mister_A at 10:58 AM on May 20, 2010


Let's make a distinction between pop culture spoilers like 'don't tell me how the Sopranos ends' and sports spoilers like 'geez, did you see Armstrong win that stage?' in a general sort of bicycling discussion forum.
posted by fixedgear at 10:58 AM on May 20, 2010


Bus Plunge
posted by fixedgear at 10:59 AM on May 20, 2010


I think this is a pretty poorly thought out piece, to tell the truth. The vast majority of times I'm hoping to avoid spoilers, I'm in a forum whose purpose is not solely to discuss a particular work. On a place like Metafilter, it's just bad form to put spoilers into the front-page part of an FPP, and it's considered courteous to mark discussions that contain spoilers with notes like "SPOILERS INSIDE."

So the author's admonition to avoid online discussion forums dedicated to that particular show or movie is a bit inadequate. Even on single-topic forums, however, there are rules. A Harry Potter forum of my acquaintance marked some threads as spoiler-free and some as spoiler-okay in the run-up to the final book.

So yes, the internet is a ever-changing place where information can come out of nowhere. But one of the things I like about it - about sites like Metafilter, in particular - is the evolution of community standards and conventions for such things.

I think much better advice, then, would be to learn the conventions of the sites you frequent, and act accordingly both in your posting and reading behavior.
posted by Chanther at 11:00 AM on May 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


My only recourse against evil people like this woman is to poison the well.

The boat floats. Rosebud is a pony. Snape kills Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:02 AM on May 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm often perplexed at how people don't understand or just disregard spoilers. It's all I can do to keep my dad from referring to movies like "Oh yeah, the one where Bruce Willis is the ghost", ESPECIALLY in theatre lobbies right after the movie ends. Sigh.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:04 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Snape kills Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense

Only because Bruce was Keyser Soze.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:05 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


[O]nce a work enters the pop culture vernacular, it is not society's responsibility to provide you with earmuffs until you finally get around to experiencing it.

Agreed. And the time it takes for it to "enter the vernacular" is no less than 5 years, perhaps 10 or even 20.
posted by DU at 11:06 AM on May 20, 2010


If you don't care about spoilers, fine, just realize that others do and that when you spoil things you're ruining the experience for them.

Yeah, but what's a spoiler? Is it when somebody maliciously blabs out the endings of current movies or TV shows to general audiences? Or is it when people discuss the themes of 120-year old works of literature long since absorbed into the cultural fabric? Somewhere between those two poles, maybe?
posted by anazgnos at 11:07 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The vast majority of times I'm hoping to avoid spoilers, I'm in a forum whose purpose is not solely to discuss a particular work.

Like, say, the website of a major newspaper that posts a headline to its front page reading "Bobo Face Wins Fox's Super Galactic Weight Loss Death Match!" rather than "Super Galactic Weight Loss Death Match Winner Crowned on Season Finale." Being on the West Coast, I know enough not to hang out in fan forums for Super Galactic Weight Loss Death Match on the day of the season finale, but should I have to worry about visiting the front page of the New York Times too?

The medium that employs the author of that piece is part of the spoiler problem.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:08 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Snape kills Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense.

And it turns out that Snape's a dude.

Also, I like spoilers. I actively go and look for them because I often want to know what the twist is without wasting a couple of hours - liek WTF is going on in "The Lady and the Water"??? I honestly have next to zero interest in the actual movie but I would like to know what the stupid twist is this time. Also - horror movies. No way can I watch shit like Saw. And MeFi's other fave recent surgery-horror flick which I won't even mention the name of. But I have a morbid interest in what the actual plot, such as it is, is. So I'm all for spoilers.
posted by GuyZero at 11:08 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just try to be civil about it and not give away the endidarthevaderislukesfathershit.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:10 AM on May 20, 2010


Splunge.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:10 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please - nobody tell me how this thread is going to end!

IN TEARS.


I know a thing or two about The Crying Game.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:11 AM on May 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


WTF is going on in "The Lady and the Water"

Short summary: Critics are bad and if you critisise this movie you are a bad person, and will be eaten by a wolf.
posted by Artw at 11:12 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


in psycho, he stabs her in the shower...
i can say that now, right....?
posted by HuronBob at 11:21 AM on May 20, 2010


So long as nobody spoils Incident at Owl Creek.
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on May 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wile E. Coyote thrashes, running in place till he realizes there's air beneath him, plunges a mile or so, and gets clobbered to smithereens by a giant boulder.
posted by blucevalo at 11:21 AM on May 20, 2010


All I ask is 24 hours to watch "Project Runway' and "Top Chef" off the Tivo before you (no, not you) Tweet and/or post about it. Especially when it's not to have a discussion but just to say "Wow, SA wins PR"! It's like people who need to post "first!" on blog comments. *grumble*
posted by JoanArkham at 11:23 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


After three days, The Lord Jesus Christ rises from the grave. And kills Dumbledore.
posted by griphus at 11:23 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Right after The Fellowship of the Ring came out my friend suggested buying ad space in one of those slide projectors they run before small town screenings... slide would just say in giant letters "GOLUMN BITES OFF THE RING AND FALLS INTO MOUNT DOOM."
posted by nathancaswell at 11:23 AM on May 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


If, in fact, you tell me directly you've never seen "The Third Man," I will simply say you're in for a treat.

Spoilers aside, that's not how I'd describe the experience of "The Third Man" to anybody. So, yeah, death to Salon.
posted by blucevalo at 11:24 AM on May 20, 2010


Also, someone needs to start a spoiler site for Merchant-Ivor films. Except every title would link to "ending.php" which just reads "$PROTAGONIST stares thoughtfully through a window at the countryside, recalling happier times."
posted by griphus at 11:26 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


/spoiler alert!

Darth Vader is Luke's father, and the prequels suck.
posted by moonbiter at 11:28 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think much better advice, then, would be to learn the conventions of the sites you frequent, and act accordingly both in your posting and reading behavior.

This is great advice. I don't want to ruin people's experience of brand new media, but I do get tired of being told that the entire internet should be free of spoilers for 50-year-old movies. Seriously, if you wander into a conversation thread titled "What did you like about [Movie X]?", you're going to find out a bunch of details about the movie and it's not the fault of the people talking about the movie. (And yes, I've been chewed out for that. The movie had been out for months.)

The concept of spoilers is subjective just in the name: it's what "spoils" the media/sports event/whatever for you. Since it's subjective, it's impossible for people who have different thresholds to know what a particular person's limit is. The advice about how to do it could have been better, but the spoiler police really do need to police themselves.

Like, say, the website of a major newspaper that posts a headline to its front page reading "Bobo Face Wins Fox's Super Galactic Weight Loss Death Match!"

.... but the news isn't that someone won, it's who won, right? If I don't want to be spoiled on a sports outcome, I'm going to stay away from the news. How are competitive reality shows different?

on preview: the prequels suck.

People should thank you for that spoiler.
posted by immlass at 11:31 AM on May 20, 2010


blucevalo - did Anton Karas not have you in a dither with his zither?
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on May 20, 2010



posted by The White Hat at 11:36 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Spoilers make a great litmus test for my interest in seeing a movie.

I go to, The Movie Spoiler and check my desire to read a spoiler about a movie.

If I avoid the spoiler, then I really want to see the movie.

If I'm alright reading the spoiler, then I didn't really care about seeing the movie.

If I don't even care to read the spoiler, then I really really don't want to see the movie.

posted by KaizenSoze at 11:37 AM on May 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


As Regards Spoilification sums up my feelings pretty well.

Also, because of this thread I went and looked up the ending to Shutter Island and man, I'm glad I didn't spend money on that one.
posted by komara at 11:38 AM on May 20, 2010


/spoiler alert for Beatles:

in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.
posted by anazgnos at 11:39 AM on May 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


I was really pissed a few weeks ago when I was unable to watch "Lost" as it aired, and 5 minutes after the show ended a friend posted the main event of the night's plot on Facebook with a "OH NO!" appended. I'm savvy enough not to go into Lost forums and gripe about it, but is a 24-hour moratorium on broadcast TV too much to ask for?
posted by Bromius at 11:39 AM on May 20, 2010


Andre does a lot of talking in addition to the having of dinner.
posted by Babblesort at 11:41 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you haven't read the article yet, here's a spoiler for you: people on the West Coast should just basically just stay off the internet until their program is broadcast.


Bite me.
posted by ambrosia at 11:41 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


[O]nce a work enters the pop culture vernacular

Here's the key phrase. A work does not enter the pop culture vernacular the instant it is released. It's perfectly fine to mention that Rosebud was Kane's childhood sled, or that The Crying Game is about a transvestite, or that Darth Vader is the father of Luke Skywalker; these are all things that are well-known.

The problem is when people seem to want to bust out the spoilers the very instant something comes out, before most people have had a chance to see it. This is especially an issue since the emergence of DVR technology, as more and more people are time-shifting their TV viewing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:44 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm savvy enough not to go into Lost forums and gripe about it, but is a 24-hour moratorium on broadcast TV too much to ask for?

Some people I know on Facebook practically LiveBlog their TV watching. They must be sitting there with their smartphones in their laps. Fortunately, I have only just now started watching Season One of Lost, so by the time I get to the ending, I'll have forgotten everything.
posted by not that girl at 11:52 AM on May 20, 2010


Carrying on from The White Hat:

Andy Garcia isn’t really beheaded by Yakuza, who merely expose him as a Penanggalan. Michael Douglas eventually defeats Garcia by hiding the jar of vinegar.

There can be more than one. Sean Connery just likes beheading people.

Old Tokyo had been destroyed by Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Akira returns to once again cross the streams.

In a surprise twist, the first season of HBO’s Rome ends with Caesar stabbing everyone in the Senate.

The Fifth Element is Bruce Willis’ taint.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:59 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Clearly, the real solution is just to watch everything ever made ever, like, right now.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:05 PM on May 20, 2010


After three days, The Lord Jesus Christ rises from the grave. And kills Dumbledore.
posted by griphus


After being hit by a car, no less.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:15 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Durn Bronzefist: "In a surprise twist, the first season of HBO’s Rome ends with Caesar stabbing everyone in the Senate."

The Senate should have totally just stabbed Caesar.
posted by mindless progress at 12:15 PM on May 20, 2010


In a surprise twist, the first season of HBO’s Rome ends with Caesar stabbing everyone in the Senate.

This sentence is even funnier if you pretend that "Senate" is a euphemism for a part of the body.
posted by brundlefly at 12:18 PM on May 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm still bitter about the time-traveler who told me in 1995 that 15 years later Salon.com would still be publishing crap but Suck.com wouldn't be around to make fun of it.
posted by straight at 12:19 PM on May 20, 2010 [12 favorites]


Having read the article, it seems reasonable to me. It specifically says

It's a reasonable courtesy not to blab the outcome of last night's "American Idol" if it's Thursday morning and a busy co-worker says she's DVR'd it for later., etc.

and is mostly calling for people who are behind to accept their fair share of responsibility.

Anyway, I want to agree with this: Not everything is a whodunit, and a work is more than its outcome. a million times over.

I know someone who got mad when the last line of Ulysses was revealed to them. Which - come on. A) The "your right to claim spoiler" ship has sailed, and B) it's not a "twist" ending! I agree that it's nice to experience a book completely freshly the first time, but sometimes people act like the whole point of a work is the ending. "Oh no, it's spoiled! Now there's no point to reading it, thanks a lot."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:45 PM on May 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


I don't have a TV so I watch Lost on Hulu when it's posted the next day. Only not right away, I wait until it's closed-captioned. So it usually takes about 24 hours. I avoid Tumblr, Twitter, and ONTD in that timeframe and I'm fine.

I'm skeered that ABC will be jerks and not post the finale right away or at all.
posted by desjardins at 12:54 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


And so the Trojans buried Hector breaker of horses.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:55 PM on May 20, 2010


Artw : So long as nobody spoils Incident at Owl Creek.

It turns out that Tim Robbins was actually in Vietnam the whole time.
posted by quin at 12:57 PM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


it seems I can't have a decent water cooler conversation without feeling like I'm tap dancing through a minefield of, "Wait, wait, don't tell me!"

But…

Now, there are different levels of spoilage. It's a reasonable courtesy not to blab the outcome of last night's "American Idol" if it's Thursday morning and a busy co-worker says she's DVR'd it for later.

MAKE UP YOUR FUCKING MIND, ASSHOLE.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:58 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some people I know on Facebook practically LiveBlog their TV watching.

There is a "hide" button for a reason.
posted by mek at 1:03 PM on May 20, 2010


We all die.
posted by joost de vries at 1:11 PM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


MC Frontalot's "Spoiler Alert" Lyrics/MP3 sample
posted by rifflesby at 1:16 PM on May 20, 2010


Not everything is a whodunit, and a work is more than its outcome.

I routinely read the last pages of a novel shortly after reading the first. It's entirely Anne Rice's fault. After feeling sucker-punched by the cliffhanger The Witching Hour which led to the literary horror of the adolescent-rapes-drugged-man opening of Lasher, I want to know what I'm getting myself into.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:18 PM on May 20, 2010


I think this is a pretty poorly thought out piece, to tell the truth. The vast majority of times I'm hoping to avoid spoilers, I'm in a forum whose purpose is not solely to discuss a particular work. On a place like Metafilter, it's just bad form to put spoilers into the front-page part of an FPP, and it's considered courteous to mark discussions that contain spoilers with notes like "SPOILERS INSIDE."

Hear hear!

So long as nobody spoils Incident at Owl Creek.

Up your nose with a rubber hose, as the philosopher says.
posted by norm at 1:45 PM on May 20, 2010


Not everything is a whodunit, and a work is more than its outcome.

Yeah, but thinking you can decide for other people whether or not they should care about hearing the end of something out of context before they've seen or read it makes you an asshole.

Because obviously no work of art is as important as your need to blather about it without restraint.
posted by straight at 1:48 PM on May 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Rules for Spoilers:

1) If someone says "I'm watching/going to be watching x", or you are aware that they have never seen/heard/read x before you must say "Do you mind if I tell you about what happens?". If the answer is no you must respect that and not spoil.

2) Spoilers are always acceptable if signposted enough for people who desire to remain unspoiled are able to do so. Most forums for the discussion of various media will give you a [spoiler] tag that blacks out text. In real time discussions "has anyone here not seen this?" or a simple "spoilers" followed by a pause is typically enough to discharge the duty to signpost spoilers.

3) When in doubt about whether a statement is or is not a spoiler the test "Is this likely to be a spoiler for an average reasonable person?" may be applied. While a statement being judged 'not a spoiler' under this test does not override the spoilers obligation to an individually expressed desire to remain unspoiled as per rule 1, it does place the onus on the individual to remove themselves from the discussion, rather than have the discussion avoid any spoilers. A statement that is judged 'not a spoiler' may be exempted from signposting required under rule 2, unless the would be spoiler has specific knowledge of an individual who wishes to remain unspoiled taking part in the discussion.

4) Spoilers that conform with rules 1 - 2 may not be complained about. Repeated complaints regarding such spoilers may be result in forfeiture of your right to remain unspoiled.

5) Spoilers in contravention of rules 1 and 2 mean that the person who spoiled the media in question and should be treated as a bit of a dick. (See appropriate social rules for dealing with dicks)

I feel silly for writing this out.
posted by Grimgrin at 1:49 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


About five years ago I was out with some married (to each other) friends and somehow the topic came around to The Sixth Sense. I didn't realize they hadn't seen the movie, and gave away the twist. They were mad at me. Normally I try to avoid giving away spoilers, but when it's a movie that is known primarily for being all about a twist ending (they did know it had a twist, they just didn't know what it was) and has been out for five years, I felt like maybe I shouldn't feel bad for spoiling it for them.

I understand not wanting to ruin these things for people, but there has to be some time limit where one can assume that it is safe to talk about potential spoilers in media without having to post spoiler warnings.
posted by nushustu at 1:53 PM on May 20, 2010


Uh, was the end of Shutter Island a secret? I figured out the twist when I saw the trailer. It wasn't exactly a surprise.
posted by sugarfish at 1:54 PM on May 20, 2010


It's kind of a spoiler that it's one of the two stupid overplayed twists you'd assume it to be from the trailer.

I guess there's a sort of semi twist right at the end, but it's not enough to save the thing.
posted by Artw at 2:02 PM on May 20, 2010


We all die.

Boy are YOU in for a surprise!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:07 PM on May 20, 2010


Not everything is a whodunit, and a work is more than its outcome.

Which is fair. I mean, I recognized (after a moment) that it was silly of me to be mildly peeved at an acquaintance who said, "Oh, yeah...funny that she gets XXXXed by a XXXX, right?" when I said I'd just started reading Anna Karenina.

And having just recently begun watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD, I'm well aware that Character X ends up with Character Y (well, until Character Y dies) (repeat ad nauseum) and it doesn't diminish my enjoyment of what's ultimately a pretty silly show.

BUT

when it's a movie that is known primarily for being all about a twist ending (they did know it had a twist, they just didn't know what it was) and has been out for five years, I felt like maybe I shouldn't feel bad for spoiling it for them.

This, too. For a movie that had a decent run and is no longer in theaters, anything is fair game. For TV shows...I would say if you've gone a week since it aired and you don't know what's up, the onus is on you to accept you may be spoiled; whereas the polite thing for people who do know is to wait 24 hours before bringing twists up without considering you're talking to someone who doesn't know. In between in gray.

That said, one shock I really wish I hadn't been spoiled for, in four words: Mad Men. Riding mower.
posted by kittyprecious at 2:09 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I understand not wanting to ruin these things for people, but there has to be some time limit where one can assume that it is safe to talk about potential spoilers in media without having to post spoiler warnings.

I like to give a brief, significant pause, in which the other person can mention "I/we haven't seen that."

A friend of Mrs. Bronzefist was over awhile back and Oldboy comes up.

"MRS. BRONZEFIST HAS NOT YET SEEN THAT," I say pointedly.

"Oh yeah? Well you'll never guess X" is the next sentence out of her mouth. And the reason she isn't invited around much anymore.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:11 PM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I mean, I recognized (after a moment) that it was silly of me to be mildly peeved at an acquaintance who said, "Oh, yeah...funny that she gets XXXXed by a XXXX, right?"

Man, I love Layer Cake, too.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:11 PM on May 20, 2010


"Machadaynu" wins a Grammy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:18 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


straight: Because obviously no work of art is as important as your need to blather about it without restraint.

Well, yes. I make the choice to watch all television and most movies via a video release at a time that's convenient to me. I have no business inconveniencing others because I'm four weeks behind in watching a series or six months behind in watching a movie. And arguments that we should respect spoilers on live events such as the Oscars, Olympics, World Series, or World Cup because someone might be saving it on their DVR is just plain silly.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:30 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am with the original writer of the article. To some degree, you can't expect to keep your virgin ears pure, especially for old media. If you like X show, then don't effing read TV blogs/websites until you've seen the most recent show, FFS, and you might have to avoid the water cooler. If you didn't care enough to see the movie when it came out, then you probably weren't that concerned about staying spoiler-free for it, so accept that you might find out the twist of Y movie five years after it came out. If you must stay virgin and pure, then hop on seeing/reading whatever it was ASAP/when everyone else is. And as for the classics, you probably can't stay "spoiler free" for something that's fifty years old. Who doesn't know what Rosebud is by now?

And well, you can't really help the people who yell out that Snape killed Rosebud in public, online or in real life. Shit happens.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:30 PM on May 20, 2010


I know people who put their hands over their ears and shout "LALALALA" when others discuss the trailer to next week's House episode in front of them.

By god, something has to stop these people. Applause for this article.
posted by mokudekiru at 2:31 PM on May 20, 2010


blucevalo - did Anton Karas not have you in a dither with his zither?

artw: Oh, absolutely. I misspoke. What I meant to say is that saying "you're in for a treat" is, in my mind, reserved for something like "Babe: Pig in the City" or "Chicken Run."

"The Third Man" isn't a treat. It's the main course at the best restaurant in Vienna.
posted by blucevalo at 2:31 PM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Not everything is a whodunit, and a work is more than its outcome."

^ Yeah, but thinking you can decide for other people whether or not they should care about hearing the end of something out of context before they've seen or read it makes you an asshole.


THANK you. Just because it's no less enjoyable for you if you know the end doesn't mean it's the same for other people. I can't understand why that's such a difficult distinction to make.

I am mostly a spoiler junkie for tv, but I avoid spoilers for movies and books (don't ask; no coherent explanation as of yet). Whatever the case may be, I do my best not to spoil anything for anyone, and I ask if they've seen / read it, or if they want to be spoiled, before I start talking about it. It takes no effort at all to make sure you're not ruining the experience for someone, and it's a pretty clear-cut way to keep from bringing people down.

That said, the teenagers behind me who complained that my friend and I ruined the ending of Troy while we were standing in line to get into the theater it can suck it.

Same for what may as well have been the same teenagers at Titanic.
posted by tzikeh at 2:38 PM on May 20, 2010


"...a dither with his zither?"

Which of these two words have I been mispronouncing since Day One?
posted by griphus at 3:03 PM on May 20, 2010


Same for what may as well have been the same teenagers at Titanic.

Wait until you've been bitched out for spoiling Titanic. Trufax!
posted by immlass at 3:12 PM on May 20, 2010


I have no business inconveniencing others because I'm four weeks behind in watching a series or six months behind in watching a movie.

The issue here is that taking a few simple precautions to avoid spoilers is a small inconvenience. Having a movie or TV show spoiled can make a big difference in someone's enjoyment.

Is your pleasure at being able to talk without ever thinking about other people (or write without ever having to use a SPOILER heading) so much more important than the pleasure someone else would get from an unspoiled movie?

It's self-centered jerkishness to complain about having to do a small thing that amounts to a large kindness to someone else.
posted by straight at 3:41 PM on May 20, 2010


> The White Hat

LOST takes place on the same island as Survivor Gilligan's Island, and the season finale is a madcap crossover episode.

[FTFY]
posted by chavenet at 3:44 PM on May 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


One reason why I like Metafilter is that people here are careful dealing with spoilers, and also usually don't talk about sports. Do you have any idea, though, how hard it is to avoid spoilers for the Super Bowl? Considering that it's live, for me, at about 2 am, and isn't rebroadcast until I get home from work.

I do my best to avoid spoilers of things I really want to see (I stopped watching Lost during season 3, but do my best to avoid reading about it), but to some extent, the writer of the article appears slightly tone-deaf towards the idea that people live all around the world, and that they like to communicate with people in different locations about shared interests. Add to that the (sometimes ridiculous) delays in film releases (some movies come out up to a year later in Japan, and it's the rare Sony film that gets same day release here). Obviously, part of my responsibility is to be aware of my own special snowflake situation and act accordingly. On the other hand, I'd like other people to not be dicks. Usually I tell new co-workers (especially if they're into football or basketball) to not talk about this week's Bears game until I've had a chance to watch it (which, due to lots of factors, can mean I don't see it until Wednesday night, and spoiler, Cutler throws three interceptions, Bears lose). Most coworkers respect it, but a couple have thought it fun to ruin it for me. People like that, who knowingly ruin other people's enjoyment of a thing? Assholes.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:49 PM on May 20, 2010


As I've mentioned elsewhere, the blog Heaven and Here, which discussed each new episode of the Wire, did a really good job of separating posts about new episodes. Some people have HBO on demand, and could watch each show a week in advance, and other's didn't, so they would mark posts accordingly. It was a great community united by love for a single show, and respectful of others when it came to spoilers.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:52 PM on May 20, 2010


I for one don't give a crap about spoilers, and think people who whine about them are immature children. It's how the story gets there that's important, not where it actually goes. "She's really a guy" would be meaningless except for the way the story is told getting there, and even if you know the end, the way the story is told is the pleasure of the thing.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:59 PM on May 20, 2010


And MeFi's other fave recent surgery-horror flick which I won't even mention the name of.

American tourists get bum deal.


(Previous comment contains spoilers)
posted by panboi at 4:24 PM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


At my video store, a few years ago, we had an employee named John and a couple came up to rent Soylent Green. (Spoiler coming up, by the way.) The couple asked John if he knew about the movie and he said "not really, just that Soylent Green is people. But everybody knows that!" And what sad faces the couple made -- "we didn't know that," they said.

So the lesson John learned was: there is no statute of limitations on spoilers if someone is just about ready to watch the movie, right that very second, and is in fact just about to give you money for the privilege of doing so.

John only lasted one day and then quit, but there is not actually a causal connection there, I don't think.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 4:52 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bob Dylan was the fifth cylon.
posted by sandswipe at 4:57 PM on May 20, 2010


P.S. it was all a dream.
posted by kersplunk at 4:57 PM on May 20, 2010


Everyone has a spoiler story. Here's mine, where I divulge that the title character dies (as she must) and nearly wreck someone's day.

He eventually cools off, however.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:25 PM on May 20, 2010


HOOD ORNAMENT ALERT
posted by Sys Rq at 6:02 PM on May 20, 2010


I was recently reading "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", which the author mentioned in her article. Usually, if I come across a spoiler, I'm not too perturbed. But then a coworker SAW me reading the book and said, "Oh, are you gonna see the movie? I won't because of the HOVER FOR MAJOR SPOILER." I was livid because I hadn't gotten to that part of the book yet. I was in the middle of reading it.

I know that there are people who say that if the book relies on the element of surprise then it's not a good book in the first place, but in any well-plotted book there are reveals that are timed when they are for a reason, like to show us something specific about a character at a time when it relates to something else.
posted by Night_owl at 6:04 PM on May 20, 2010


I'll even give spoiler alerts to 50 year old movies if they've got a twist, no matter how slight. Why assume someone's seen a movie?

Quick story: Robert Penfold, USA correspondent on Australian TV was reviewing the movie A Beautiful Mind when it first came out and it's "blah blah blah…" [SPOLIER ALERT!] "and of course the first half was all a dream… blah blah blah"

Note that was my spoiler alert, not his. I could have killed him. What a stupid rude man. Indefensible.

I've never bothered to see the movie because of that.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:06 PM on May 20, 2010


clvrmnky - but it's an opera - everone always dies in those!
posted by Artw at 6:24 PM on May 20, 2010


Speaking of sports spoilers, fixedgear, a lot of free-to-air AFL games are delayed telecast.

So off I trot to the bottleshop liqour store to grab a few beers before the game, and the rude ignorant staff have the game blaring live on the radio. I'm too much of a pussy to complain, but it happens all the time. You'd think they'd a] be smart enough to realise that people might be picking up a six pack to watch the game and b] polite enough not to have it playing on the radio.

But because most liqour store staff are young dumb and full of cum, maybe they don't realise? Maybe I'll let it slide. So what's management doing? Why don't they ban live radio on game day? Especially considering the particular store in question is attached the the side of a pub bar that markets itself as a sports bar.

Therefore you'll occasionally see me walking around a liquor store plugging and unplugging my ears doing the "lalalala I am not listening" trick. But at the same time trying to act cool like I'm not actually doing the "lalalala I am not listening" trick, which is basically impossible.

End rant. That feels so much better.

Maybe this doesn't happen in parts of the world where there's a huge take up of cable TV and live sports programming.

posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:25 PM on May 20, 2010


straight: Is your pleasure at being able to talk without ever thinking about other people (or write without ever having to use a SPOILER heading) so much more important than the pleasure someone else would get from an unspoiled movie?

In a word yes. Mind you, I'm not rushing up to people in the ticket queue screaming all the plot twists of a movie (the one exception here is Highlander 2, but I was younger, stupider, and passionately convinced it was a waste of money). Neither am I inclined to censor my post-movie discussion over dinner for the sake of tender ears who might be eavesdropping.

My point is that a little consideration goes both ways here. It's a bad thing to intentionally spoil plot points for other people. But it's also a bad thing to complain about spoilers when the nature of the discussion, conversation, or article is obvious. And the whole notion of complaining about sports news that's on a time-delay broadcast in the United States is entitled bullshit. Unfortunately, I've seen all of the above.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:28 PM on May 20, 2010


Note, I'm specifically not referring to uncanny hengeman's case. But the whole kerfuffle over people in other countries starting conversations about Olympics news without waiting for the tender ears of United States citizens to catch up.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:32 PM on May 20, 2010


Note, I'm specifically not referring to uncanny hengeman's case. But the whole kerfuffle over people in other countries starting conversations about Olympics news without waiting for the tender ears of United States citizens to catch up.

Terrible analogy.

I'm talking:

• I live in a sports loving, football loving city
• team X vs. team Y
• one hour delay on TV
• go to the store to buy beer
• newsflash: PEOPLE LIKE TO WATCH SPORT AND DRINK BEER!
• the management should realise this
• inconsiderate staff have team X vs. team Y on the radio – live, blaring

Indefensible.


Phew! On preview I just noticed the "not" in "not referring to uncanny hengeman's case." I would have felt like an absolute goose.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:45 PM on May 20, 2010


Back in my day we watched a program when it aired on the television and we liked it! We didn't have newfangled tivos and dvrs and internets so we could watch it whenever we wanted! (Get off my lawn!)

This situation is another example of technology changing the way we act as a society and the rules we impose upon ourselves. Cell phones did the same thing with people trying to create etiquette rules on their use. We get this great new technology, and it's good stuff, but we've never had it before so we don't realize how it impacts our lives. Who knew when the dvr (I'd credit the vcr, but who really knew how to program those things anyway?) was invented we 'd be discussing spoiler etiquette in such a way? I know there are lots of other things to spoil (books, movies) but I think the whole technology piece brings it to the forefront.

I find this stuff fascinating.
posted by NoraCharles at 6:51 PM on May 20, 2010


I for one don't give a crap about spoilers, and think people who whine about them are immature children. It's how the story gets there that's important, not where it actually goes. "She's really a guy" would be meaningless except for the way the story is told getting there, and even if you know the end, the way the story is told is the pleasure of the thing.

I'd be inclined to say that the immature child is the one who thinks the way he enjoys a story is the only way anyone should enjoy a story. Keep reading those stories, maybe they'll help you develop some empathy.
posted by straight at 7:04 PM on May 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


My point is that a little consideration goes both ways here. It's a bad thing to intentionally spoil plot points for other people. But it's also a bad thing to complain about spoilers when the nature of the discussion, conversation, or article is obvious.

Consideration goes both ways? It's inconsiderate of people to remind you that your audience might include people who haven't seen what you're talking/writing about?

Someone saying "Hey watch the spoilers" ruins your day the way a spoiler ruins the day of someone who wanted to enjoy a movie and now will enjoy it much less? Really?
posted by straight at 7:09 PM on May 20, 2010


The Sopranos ends with Tony suddenly going blind.

I'm actually mad for having Citizen Kane ruined for me as a child. Somehow I knew that a "rosebud" was integral to the plot, and that what it was was a mystery. But I didn't know what it was until the into to an episode of Animaniacs ended with them holding up a sled with "Rosebud" on it, yelling "Citizen Kaney." at my young age, it was my first spoiler burn, and I'm still not ok with it.
posted by yellowbinder at 7:18 PM on May 20, 2010


Someone saying "Hey watch the spoilers" ruins your day the way a spoiler ruins the day of someone who wanted to enjoy a movie and now will enjoy it much less? Really?

When you have to preface every discussion with it, yes, it does ruin conversations. We've had people brag about how they don't want to spoil 50-year-old movies, other people talk about how people expected operas not to be spoiled, and that's just in this thread. And the part that ruins my personal day about it is that I'm expected, like a mind-reader, to know that some people are crazy sensitive to spoilers and haven't seen/read/enjoyed whatever media I'm discussing and it's my fault for not knowing and having the horrid insensitive gall to carry on a conversation about it in public.

NoraCharles nailed part of it by talking about the technology issue, but there's also an Ask vs Guess culture problem. Non-jackasses will try not to spoil you on last night's episode of Lost or the blockbuster that opened last week, but it's a pretty jackass move back to expect random strangers on the internet not to discuss Citizen Kane because it might spoil you without telling them you haven't seen it and don't want to know. It's this last problem that I suspect most of the people who are rolling their eyes and bitching about immature spoilerphobes are unhappy about.
posted by immlass at 7:23 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm actually mad for having Citizen Kane ruined for me as a child.

Ditto! Especially since it's often in the BEST FIVE MOVIE EVARR lists, often at number one. So the greatest movie of all time was ruined for me. And how didn't that spoiler person not realise?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:24 PM on May 20, 2010


MAKE UP YOUR FUCKING MIND, ASSHOLE.

Inside voice ...
posted by krinklyfig at 7:27 PM on May 20, 2010


I know that there are people who say that if the book relies on the element of surprise then it's not a good book in the first place, but in any well-plotted book there are reveals that are timed when they are for a reason, like to show us something specific about a character at a time when it relates to something else.

Man, wait till you find out what Oedipus did. Insane.

Wait. You haven't read Hamlet, right?
posted by krinklyfig at 7:34 PM on May 20, 2010


So the greatest movie of all time was ruined for me.

Eh. You wouldn't have liked it anyway. Just a bunch of acting and such.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:52 PM on May 20, 2010


I've never been upset by having anything "spoiled" for me so my modest suggestion is people HTFU.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:59 PM on May 20, 2010


yellowbinder: Peanuts ruined it for me.
posted by Toothless Willy at 8:08 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, it is funny to remind people what Oedipus did, and that Hamlet died, and that everyone dies after the fat lady sings.

But Shakespeare is not a novel. Operas are not films. Greek tragedies are not plays in the modern sense.

The very form of the artwork will inform whether or not a "surprise" is an integral part of the story process. Classic tragedies of all types did not have to rely on the death of their main characters to be a surprise, because the audience knew they were going to die. Even if they saw the exact same story elsewhere, the classic tragedies, from the Greeks to the most modern operas hinge on informing the audience at nearly every step that what was once pure and correct and right has been subverted and is failing and every missed opportunity to set things right is a nail in the coffin. The audience would expect no less, as the very end of the flawed characters is known from act I.

There are no spoilers for classic tragedies (or, really, comedies) of this sort. The reveals, as such, are irrelevant to the greater story.

But more modern forms like novels and film and even modern plays that do not rely on these tropes do not follow the same rules. It is easy to write a hackneyed story that falls apart if you guess the outcome of a character, but this does not mean that, as pointed out earlier, a modern thriller like "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" can't both be a good read and be tainted if certain details are revealed too soon.

This is especially so if you are enjoying the story up to that point.

Spoilers suck in this case, and nothing changes that. At some point the statute of limitations runs out; I'm not going to lose sleep if I let slip a Rosebud/sled reference for a laugh and someone doesn't get the joke. But I'm not going to go out of my way to spoil every story.

Mostly because it is boring. My lame Rosebud joke is rarely going to get a real laugh, truth be told, and I prefer making up fake spoilers for those times when someone does reveal too much, and I can obscure the spoiler with ridiculous excesses of imagination.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:22 PM on May 20, 2010


straight: Consideration goes both ways? It's inconsiderate of people to remind you that your audience might include people who haven't seen what you're talking/writing about?

I've said what I find inconsiderate multiple times in plain speech, so I'm confused as to why you don't get the point, especially when you quoted it. For a start, when I do write, I do pay attention to these things and take into careful consideration what I might be spoiling, for whom, and how do I communicate that up front in a way that's more elegant than just shouting SPOILER in front of every sentence.

But to take as a practical example, I'm several chapters behind in reading a book for a book club. It would be spectacularly inconsiderate of me to demand that people who have finished the book not talk about chapters I've not read yet. And online, it's often pretty clear which essays, reviews, and discussions are likely to include spoilers. I've been avoiding news and discussion about "Brown Betty," the musical episode of Fringe for example.

And meanwhile, I don't like the way this discussion is going with the automatic assumption of bad faith on people who leak spoilers. What I find trivial, someone else might find a critical plot detail. What I think might be a critical spoiler, someone else might see as trivial.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:02 PM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like to avoid spoilers for some things, but given that in Australia we don't get movies or tv or even some books until weeks (at best, sometimes many months) after they're first available in the US, it makes general chat online quite difficult. I'd prefer not to have to download every damn movie the minute it premieres just to avoid hearing about all of them first.

I once complained about a spoiler in a spoiler-free area of a forum, and was told "but it aired on the West Coast two days ago". Not the west coast of Australia, though.

Mind you, I think that's just another argument for doing away with regional restrictions. Global releases would solve this angle of the problem.

And for anyone who says "the ending isn't the whole work" well sure, but suspense is generally set up in the beginning of the work, and is supposed to last the whole way through. For many works, the suspense *is* the fun part, trying to solve the crime before the protaganist, wondering if the stress will break them, etc.

I don't mind spoilers for crime or medical procedurals, but I do mind them for things that are more original than that. And yet the more original it is, the more likely it is to be spoiled.
posted by harriet vane at 12:28 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


hours, not days
posted by harriet vane at 12:29 AM on May 21, 2010


next stop, everywhere: spoilers
posted by honest knave at 1:18 AM on May 21, 2010


"She's really a guy"

I fucking hate that film. Well, actually the film itself is okayish from that perspective, in that the main character realises that he's still into her after all, but making the omgtwist of a popular film the ungendering of a trans woman means I have to see that fucking phrase every time people talk about spoilers, and I'd totally be into that conversation except "she's really a guy" makes me too angry and sad to really contribute because all I can now think about is how people I know have died because of "she's really a guy", and how sometimes I'm frightened to leave the house because of "she's really a guy".

next stop, everywhere: spoilers

Heh. I watched that episode again the other day, and I think I was able to enjoy it more because it wasn't bookended by the general awfulness of the rest of the Tennant run.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:12 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


> "She's really a guy"

[SPOILER!]

You just ruined Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, for everyone.
posted by chavenet at 2:47 AM on May 21, 2010


Apparently (according to this book) in the original Hamlet play that was Shakespeare's source, the pretending to be mad ruse worked fine, Prince Hamlet successfully assassinated his usurping uncle and became King of Denmark.

It must have been a bit of a shock to the original audience when all the main characters died in an implausible bloodbath instead.

Not sure if there were Elizabethan versions of Mary Elizabeth Williams shouting "Hamlet dies!" as people queued at the Globe...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:23 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes, and both Dumas pere and Thomas "improved" on Hamlet by having Hamlet and Gertrude survive at the end. Thomas actually wrote two endings, and its sort of the elephant in the room in discussing the opera. You want to know which ending will be performed and the ending is probably the opera's deepest flaw because it's not as developed musically as the previous acts.

Likewise, my disappointment in the movie version of Rent involves plot developments in the second half in relationship to Puccini's treatment of the same story, which I apparently can't mention in something other than vague detail because that would be inconsiderate of those who've not seen a century-old opera and a decade-old movie based on a Broadway musical.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:18 AM on May 21, 2010


And surprisingly, you were able to make your point just fine without boring (or spoiling) us with the details of exactly what happens in the movie version of Rent.
posted by straight at 7:31 AM on May 21, 2010


You want a spoiler? Here's a spoiler: you will die alone.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:39 AM on May 21, 2010


As it happens there's at least one person following this discussion who's interested in hearing the exact details of KJS' complaints about Rent, both on the level of the actual plot details and as fodder for a discussion of folk process.
posted by immlass at 7:58 AM on May 21, 2010


You want a spoiler? Here's a spoiler: you will die alone.

Unless you count the alien bursting from your chest.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:10 AM on May 21, 2010


As it happens there's at least one person following this discussion who's interested in hearing the exact details of KJS' complaints about Rent

Yeah, that's a good point. Sorry, KirkJobSludder, I let The Snark get the better of me there. I'm not trying to argue that you shouldn't be allowed to talk about Rent, or that what you have to say would be boring, although I still can't comprehend why you would feel it's inconsiderate for someone to think that prefacing it with "SPOILERS FOR RENT FOLLOW" would be considerate of you.
posted by straight at 8:17 AM on May 21, 2010


straight: And surprisingly, you were able to make your point just fine without boring (or spoiling) us with the details of exactly what happens in the movie version of Rent.

Well, to point out the fucking obvious, spoilers follow. Many people would consider the revelation that Rent has a different ending from La Boheme to be a major spoiler. And I don't feel I made my point which is that Snow White endings in which a person is saved from certain death at the last minute by the power of love are generally ugly, especially when the bulk of your narrative is about cherishing life and love while you have it.

For that matter, one of the things I can't stand about mainstream comics publishing is the perpetual cycle of death and resurrection.

Yeah, that's a good point. Sorry, KirkJobSludder, I let The Snark get the better of me there. I'm not trying to argue that you shouldn't be allowed to talk about Rent, or that what you have to say would be boring, although I still can't comprehend why you would feel it's inconsiderate for someone to think that prefacing it with "SPOILERS FOR RENT FOLLOW" would be considerate of you.

As I said before, "But it's also a bad thing to complain about spoilers when the nature of the discussion, conversation, or article is obvious." The ugly hack of shouting "SPOILERS" before any detailed discussion of a work isn't necessary in most cases, and is grossly inappropriate in many cases.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:38 AM on May 21, 2010


Please shoot The Snark and start dealing with complete sentences. I'm getting tired of repeating myself.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:40 AM on May 21, 2010


The issue here is that taking a few simple precautions to avoid spoilers is a small inconvenience. Having a movie or TV show spoiled can make a big difference in someone's enjoyment.

The problem is that too many of the spoiler police cast the spoiler net so wide and deep that, if we heeded their dictates, it would border on the impossible to discuss any work of cinema or literature without prefacing every single comment with a "Now here is a spoiler for X..." and then waiting for complaints. Case in point, one of the times around here, the big complaint was that someone said that Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate was a great villain. Now, spoiling a movie that was at the time over forty years old is not particularly spoily, any more than mentioning that Romeo and Juliet die or that Jesus rises again or that Titanic sinks is a spoiler. Add to that the fact that Lansbury is a villain isn't even a spoiler; it's obvious from the moment you see the cast-iron bitch in the movie that she could not be anything but a force for evil. But yet, big kerfuffle.

There's being churlish and revealing plot twists to recent films in a clear effort to, literally, spoil. But one can also be churlish in an insistence that nobody talk about anything you haven't ever seen, because you are more important than everyone else, instead of merely removing yourself from the discussion. And in my experience, self-appointed spoiler police often border on the churlish, made worse because they have seen the things in question and rush to decry anything could conceivably act as a spoiler, even if the things being "spoiled" are utterly trivial points or not even plot points at all.

Or, there comes a point at which someone's extreme and abnormal aversion to "spoilers," even for works that are decades or centuries old and can be expected to be more or less common cultural baggage among adults in a particular social context, becomes their problem to deal with by avoiding discussions that might lead to spoilers instead of everyone else's responsibility to accommodate.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:41 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, the first half of "A Beautiful Mind" is not a dream.
posted by applesurf at 9:04 AM on May 21, 2010


Thanks, KJS (and straight). That's exactly the kind of thing I find interesting in thinking about adaptations: how stories change and why and what the effect is.

People talk about the cost of avoiding spoilers vs the cost of enjoyment to a spoiled person. The cost of avoiding spoilers in this thread is obviously low. Where the cost accrues is if KJS and I are having a discussion about La Boheme and comparing and contrasting elements of Rent and, say, Moulin Rouge. Do we have to stop and think about what might spoil the most sensitive person on the internet and mark for spoilers? That means constantly worrying about spoiling things instead of just talking about them. It's a drag on both that kind of conversation and the people who like to have them. This what ROU_Xenophobe is getting at.

I'm a big believer in the folk process, the way in which stories become legends/myths/part of the intellectual and emotional public domain even if they're not public domain for financial purposes. If people make it such a pain in the ass to discuss Rent vs La Boheme or Rosebud or being Luke's father that nobody ever does, then there's ongoing damage to the folk process. That damage is related in kind, although not in severity, to the legal restrictions on texts and media passing into the public domain on a legal basis through changes to copyright law. The two problems are also functionally related in terms of the moral rights of creators and consumers, which override the rights of (other) consumers. That's a whole 'nother kettle of fish, though.

That's not to say I think it's cool to give away the twist ending to the big blockbuster that opened last week; that's a jackass move. But it's not cool either to demand that no plot elements or stories ever pass into common knowledge and that common knowledge/pop culture/older stories constantly be marked for spoilers.
posted by immlass at 10:07 AM on May 21, 2010


"I for one don't give a crap about spoilers, and think people who whine about them are immature children. It's how the story gets there that's important, not where it actually goes. "She's really a guy" would be meaningless except for the way the story is told getting there, and even if you know the end, the way the story is told is the pleasure of the thing."

If I were about to meet a girl for a date, and I was really excited to see her, and some clairvoyant person told me "she breaks up with you in two months", it's going to alter the "story" going into it.

Call me crazy.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:27 AM on May 21, 2010


What a bunch of ridiculous nonsense.

So our entitlements have gotten to the point that not only do we want to control our access to information regarding entertainment, but we also want to be able to dictate the form of media on which that information is relayed?

Spoiling LOST due to reading twitter feeds? Really? You think you should expect the millions of twitter users to simply not discuss major cultural event #427 because YOU haven't fired up the DVR yet?

Ruining a football game because a radio is on in a public venue? Buy an iPod to distract your hopelessly wandering attention and thank me later.

Seriously think about that a moment... you think the people working in the shop should be denied access to the game, for the entire duration of their shift working there, because the 5 minutes you spend in the shop might "spoil" a tiny portion of the game for you?

I'm going to repeat this again, because it is impossible you have thought about this for even one moment. You want to DENY ACCESS to the entire event to the entire staff of the shop because it might reveal 5 minutes of a 3 hour sporting event to YOU.

That's the problem with entitlements... once granted, no one even notices them anymore.

Grow up.
posted by discountfortunecookie at 10:39 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have a friend who has been slowly absorbing Earth's history since he was in grade school- it started with a fascination with the geological period, then dinosaurs, then prehistoric anthropology. Thirty years on, and he's just now getting to the early civilizations.

The other day I told him "SPOILER ALERT: Hitler loses"
posted by maus at 11:01 AM on May 21, 2010


I'm going to repeat this again

Can I get a witness?!

because it is impossible you have thought about this for even one moment. You want to DENY ACCESS to the entire event to the entire staff of the shop because it might reveal 5 minutes of a 3 hour sporting event to YOU.

You idiot clown. [THANKS JESSAMYN]

The radio blares out things like - are you sitting down? This will blow you away: THE SCORE!

I'm not worried about a five minute section of play. I don't want to know THE SCORE an hour or two before the game starts on TV.

And yes, sizzlechest, I do want to "DENY ACCESS to the entire event to the entire staff." All 2 of them that work in the liquor store. They're there to work. Customer comes first. They can put the top 40 FM station on like they do the rest of the time.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:53 PM on May 21, 2010


No, the first half of "A Beautiful Mind" is not a dream.

Not sure if you're messing with me! And you should have put a spoiler alert before your post. Heh heh.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:13 PM on May 21, 2010


Spoiling LOST due to reading twitter feeds? Really?

I don't know if this was directed at me, but I specifically said that I avoid Twitter feeds until I can watch Lost. People can talk about it all they like; I don't have to read it.
posted by desjardins at 5:24 PM on May 21, 2010


I noticed that too, desjardins.

"It is impossible" discountfortunecookie "thought about their post for even one moment."
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:31 PM on May 21, 2010


The level of entitlement is shocking.

This is what the word "insufferable" was designed for.

You really want people not to play a RADIO in a public venue, because you MIGHT hear the score of a game you are going to watch later?

Like I said, it becomes so ingrained you can't even see it. I don't think you're a bad person, you're just so close to the situation you can't recognize what a douchey thing it sounds like.

You want to determine what they listen to all day, just so you won't be inconvenienced for the tiny sliver of the day you are present. Or would you rather they just watch the door for you, then quickly turn the radio off while you grace them with your presence?

Here's an idea: buy your booze the day before. Or buy an iPod. Problem solved without expecting the rest of the entire world to, quite literally, revolve around you.
posted by discountfortunecookie at 8:51 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


The level of entitlement is shocking.

Jesus Christ. But anyway, do go on...

This is what the word "insufferable" was designed for.

You really want people not to play a RADIO in a public venue, because you MIGHT hear the score of a game you are going to watch later?

Like I said, it becomes so ingrained you can't even see it. I don't think you're a bad person, you're just so close to the situation you can't recognize what a douchey thing it sounds like.

You want to determine what they listen to all day, just so you won't be inconvenienced for the tiny sliver of the day you are present.


Er. I've explained it several times already.

And it's not just me, it's EVERY person who enters the store for the same reason, which I venture will be a not inconsiderable number. And I WILL hear the score of the game - not MIGHT - because they bloody repeat it all the goddamn time.

The staff are there to work, not to be entertained. They can choose 34 other stations if they MUST be entertained at work. Poor little diddums can record the game. They can keep updated some other way that doesn't involve LOUDLY BROADCASTING it.

Also, have a read what people have said above... weighing up the "net doucheness" of spoiling it for everyone vs. missing out on being entertained while they work. "Awwww. Can't listen to the game. Awwww. Whatever will they do? Us nasty nasty customers whose business pays their wages."

The fact that you didn't even know what my gripe was ["might reveal 5 minutes of a 3 hour sporting event" - ha I'm still laughing at that one!] and had to have it explained to you tells me you know Jack about sport. You're just fixing for a fight. You're wrong. You won't admit it. And now you’re dying a coward's death of a thousand cuts.

Insufferable? WTF?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:42 AM on May 24, 2010


So... Did Lost have a proper ending?
posted by Artw at 6:10 AM on May 24, 2010


And according to WikiAnswers [SPOILER ALERT] the meaning of the freakin' numbers was never revealed.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:21 AM on May 24, 2010


One of the more socially oblivious people I know frequents the fan fiction writing sites, and other related activities. For this, he says, he likes to read up on all the spoilers so he can be as current as possible with the characters he's interested in. One day, he ruined not just the ending, but any number of salient plot points, of a film that had been released the day before in the method of 'Oh, is that the one where... ?' We asked why he might do that- he replied quite cheerfully, 'I'm a big bag of spoilers, don't you know?' This provoked a response more akin to 'So I quit the I Never had Sex With a Goat group after last night', rather than 'I have an interesting characteristic.'

Why the movie came up? We were thinking of going.
posted by LD Feral at 7:36 AM on May 24, 2010


weighing up the "net doucheness" of spoiling it for everyone vs. missing out on being entertained while they work.

I don't understand why they're supposed to assume people will be upset at hearing the game score. As things stand, the shop staff, and interested customers, enjoy the game now vs the possibility that some customer might come in, hear the score, and have their enjoyment of watching the game later damaged. The net doucheness is minimal:

- Employees enjoy the game.
- Most customers in the shop are neutral (or enjoy the game, but there's no doucheness either way).
- A smaller group of customers, who may or may not be present in the shop during the game, are upset about hearing the score.

So the calculation is the present enjoyment of known people (staff) vs the possibility of someone unknown being unhappy. If you assume that many people are spoiler-sensitive, they look like douches. But if you assume--as I would in their shoes--that people are more interested in the game as it happens, or at least that most people aren't interested in going home and watching a full game without knowing anything about the score--they look like people who just want to hear the game since it's on.

It's inconvenient for you and anyone else who falls into the last group, but it's not particularly douchey of them to value their current enjoyment over the possibility of someone's enjoyment being reduced. They're not doing it deliberately to ruin your experience of the game. But they're in a public accommodation (a shop) and so are you. People discuss ongoing games in public. That's unfortunate for you, but it happens.
posted by immlass at 8:56 AM on May 24, 2010


uncanny:

No, unfortunately you're just wrong. And you won't admit it. See how effective that is?

Do you not recognize the way you are talking about those working at the shop? Reread your last two posts about them. And that's after you called them "young and dumb". You hold them in a state barely above contempt. Do they even qualify as "real people" to you? Or are they simply soulless drones who must conform to you and every wish you may have, even if it is a secret wish and you can't even be bothered to expressly communicate it. They should just know, as you said.

Or buy your damn beer an hour earlier. For Pete's sake!

Also, I take exception to your statement that it affects every customer that goes in? Wow. I'm surprised it is still in business if it has adopted such an openly hostile approach to their customers. Vote with your dollars, and go somewhere else that doesn't ruin your life by having a sports event playing on the radio.

This has nothing to do with the workers' environment and entertainment. Apparently, it is acceptable and allowable for them to have a radio on at work. So that doesn't figure into it. So let that part go.

I'm not spoiling for a fight, you're just so enmeshed in the situation you can't even evaluate it reasonably. You can't see the forest for the tree 1 inch from your nose.

And as far as dying a death of a thousand cuts, which while a fantastic turn of phrase, is you being overly pleased with yourself. You've not refuted anything, made no salient point of any kind, except for "OMG I can't believe the world doesn't operate exactly to my preferences!".

That's what I meant about being douchey. It is so entitled and elitist and classist. Of course it's only reasonable for THEM to have to wait till they get home to hear the score. I mean, they have to WORK on game day. What a bunch of losers, amirite? They're probably not even real Australians, are they?

Are you going to start screaming at the neighbors that have their windows open on your walk home and also have the game on?

(And special note: You're not like this all the time. You seem like a nice fella, which is why I'm surprised at you treating those that work at a store you frequent like some kind of underclass.

I don't know why you have a particular bug up your bum about this one topic. I'm saying you can't even recognize your own privilege and sense of entitlement, and all you can do is rant and rave YOU'RE WRONG! YOU'RE WRONG!. Where is your perspective? Why can't you examine your own situation and find the absurdity in it?)

posted by discountfortunecookie at 9:22 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why they're supposed to assume people will be upset at hearing the game score.

Yibbida yibbida


Also, I take exception to your statement that it affects every customer that goes in?

Not what I said. Every customer that goes in FOR THE SAME REASON as me. Yibbida yibbida.

And that’s just two random sentences I chose from the last two posts. I’m not even going to bother reading the rest.

"Never argue with morons. The longer the argument goes on the more it is implied there might be some middle ground, when in fact they are simply wrong."

-Richard Dawkins

/paraphrased
//and how!

You're as cold as ice. You're willing to sacrifice our love. You never take advice. Someday you'll pay the price, I know.

I've seen it before, it happens all the time. You're closing the door, you leave the world behind. You're digging for gold yet throwing away a fortune in feelings, but someday you'll pay.

posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:13 PM on May 24, 2010


Never argue with morons.

FWIW i've only read the last 5 posts and you sound like a twat
posted by nathancaswell at 7:35 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just had a thought last night. Presumably these rude fark staff members are football fans. It’s the only time I ever hear an AM radio / non music station playing in the shop.

So this makes them EVEN MORE inconsiderate than I’d first thought, because they’d almost certainly realise there will be a delayed telecast on the teev.

I’ve just invented a new state of consciousness. Where you’re having an argument and you’re correct, but then a few days later you realise you are EVEN MORE correct than what you actually were.

I will call it uber correct, but I will spell it oober correct for comedy reasons.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:28 AM on May 27, 2010


I always knew Australians had a penchant for being clueless outside the sphere of their own influence, but damn.

It must be from hanging upside down off the planet all day long.
posted by discountfortunecookie at 12:36 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I’ve just invented a new state of consciousness.

I think what you've actually invented is a new kind of annoying.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:11 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe I got a bite out of you two clowns. If that wasn't an obvious example of self-fellating satire then I don't know what is.

discountfortunecookie is obviously Big Dog. But who can be Me Too?

nathancaswell, or our sly behind-the-scenes-favoriting-every-moron-comments person, Jimmy Havok?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:39 PM on May 27, 2010


Puh-leez. I'm obviously Ego. Thanks for bringing the discussion back to its proper subject.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:04 PM on May 27, 2010


I am Evil Clown. [goes of to check Ego...]
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:15 PM on May 27, 2010


off
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:16 PM on May 27, 2010


is uncanny hengeman for real? Dude: go back to fark.
posted by nushustu at 12:39 PM on May 28, 2010


OK then, shitheels. Liquor store staff should not have the radio blaring sports spoilers. Discuss.

Also, nushustu, who started the hectoring of fellow Mefites? I've been warned by a Mod a few weeks ago to lay off, and I fully respect that warning. But when someone else starts it then all bets are off.

Who started it? I bet you haven't got the nads to admit it or the brains to work it out. It's just a farking popularity contest with most of you clowns.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:25 PM on May 28, 2010


I'm too much of a pussy to complain, but it happens all the time.

This quote was in the first post regarding the sports spoiler argument. So also please bear in mind that this WHOLE DISCUSSION where my apparently "insufferable" level of "shocking entitlement" is based on something that never happened.

It was just an ITG rant.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:39 PM on May 28, 2010


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