Based on a tweet that I made to him about not wanting to spoil a book from 1920, Jesse Willis of SFF Audio wrote a post about spoilers and how he hates the whole notion of spoilers.
Go read it. I’ll wait.
Okay, back, good?
So, Jesse’s thesis is that he is annoyed by the rise and use of the term and the idea of spoilers. He considers it self-censoring to limit discussion in this fashion, especially when there is so many more books, movies, TV shows than anyone can consume in their lives. And yet spoilers are something that a lot of people are upset if they get in casual conversation, in blog posts, in reviews. Why?
I think its the problem of novelty in modern culture. Sure, there are more things than ever to consume–and there is a LOT of the “same old same old”. Reboots, reimaginings, reinventions. Let’s show the origin of the Fantastic Four AGAIN. Let’s write yet another epic fantasy series with no real invention. Let’s do another procedural TV show. There is a lot of sameness in culture. Surprise, and novelty are sometimes lacking. I can see how people eschew having that novelty prefigured for them, and not allowed to learn that, yes, it was his sled. Or that the Planet of the Apes had been Earth all along. Or that badass grandpa Obi-Wan was never getting off the Death Star.
So, I eschew giving spoilers, and *especially* when someone is consuming something new. Last night, Sunil Patel was watching Jupiter Ascending for the first time, and livetweeting. I resisted firmly discussing about what was “coming up” because I thought it wasn’t fair for me to not allow him to be surprised at first.
Now for older stuff, I do have a statute of limitations–unless you are consuming it. Case in point: Jesse is reading/listening to Voyage to Arcturus, a book from 1920. I don’t want to prefigure his experience before he has it himself. If he weren’t reading it, I’d be much more inclined to spoil it to him, since its not going to hurt a contemporary and co-temporaneous experience.