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Spoiler Alert!

Reel DirtSpoiler alert.

That’s simultaneously the most titillating and underused phrase these days. The internet, over the past few decades, has grown from a place through which important information is passed to a frontier for sharing and bootlegging music to a haven for cat videos. More recently, it has become the preferred medium for consuming the world’s entertainment.

Everything has a moment at which it is first available. The question is, when is it OK to talk freely about it and to assume that everyone who is going to see it has seen it?

People are free to say and share whatever information they want. It’s a free country. That’s one of those inalienable rights the Declaration of Independence alludes to. But doesn’t it irk you when you’re about to go see a movie and your friend says, “Oh, you’re going to go see Bloody Murder? Isn’t that the one where, at the end, you find out the butler dreamed it all?”

You get pretty mad when that happens, right? You are looking forward to taking in this story in the manner it was meant to be imbibed. You don’t want to learn things out of order. It completely ruins your ability to enjoy the movie.

We can all relate to this. We enjoy guessing and speculating what’s going to happen as we watch, but knowing what’s going to happen doesn’t make for a rewarding viewing experience.

This is something a lot of people forget once they’ve watched something and want to share that information with others. Maybe you’re just so excited about finding out that Victor’s daughter on The Young and the Restless just came back from the dead. You go straight to Twitter and live-tweet (That’s what the kids are calling it, right? Live-tweeting?) the hell out of the show. You just can’t wait to tell everyone that you knew Rachel wasn’t dead. (I’m making up most of these names. I don’t watch soaps.) You put it up on Facebook and all other means of social media. You just can’t help yourself.

I understand enthusiasm. I have it. What I don’t understand is failing to take other people’s joy and expectations into account, or even worse, murdering said joy and expectations.

So, anyone who’s interested in watching that particular episode and happens across the Facebook, the Twitter, or any of the stuff you’ve posted on won’t be surprised if your post happens across their feed and gives them that information. They won’t get that same joy at the moment of revelation. Sucks for them.

I understand enthusiasm. I have it. What I don’t understand is failing to take other people’s joy and expectations into account, or even worse, murdering said joy and expectations.

I don’t understand people’s disregard for people in the same exact position as themselves. I enjoy Game of Thrones; you enjoy Game of Thrones. Why would you want to spoil the enjoyment of another person who’s part of the same fandom?

As my friend Elaine posted on Facebook in regard to some of her friends not being very restrained in their posting about what turned out to be a pretty earth-shaking episode of GoT:

A message for those who just couldn’t resist IMMEDIATELY posting about last week’s Game of Thrones spoilers, less than an hour after it had aired:

Look, Bitches, try to exercise some self-restraint tonight. You’re not as vague or as clever about “hiding” spoilers in your public posts as you think you are. For the love of Dragons, hold it in AT LEAST 24 hours, alright? Alright.

Jerks.

— Elaine

Seems reasonable, yes? Of course, she could stay off social media for the next day until she saw it, but that’s a pretty big ask in these days and times. And since we are very used to the idea of people seeing movies and plays and reading books, we understand the idea of not spoiling cultural events, and we should recognize that the same concept exists with television. Especially now that so many people get their TV shows via HBO Go/HBO Now, Hulu, and other streaming services that have delays. So I think at least a daylong moratorium on talking freely about the latest episode of Scandal or Law and Order: SVU or whatever show would be delightful.

If you can’t resist, at least have the courtesy to put a big, fat “Spoiler Alert” on your post, OK? Can we at least agree on that?

Also, Rosebud is the sled.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

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About James Brown

James Brown
James Brown is not related, affiliated, or representative to or of the estate of the Godfather of Soul. Any similarity is purely coincidental.

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