Spoiling the Narrative

Unpopular opinion time: 

I gotta say I actually enjoy spoilers.

I enjoy knowing what the outcome is and watching the puzzle pieces fall into place one by one with that knowledge. I often read or view things multiple times just to do that.

This for me holds true in any narrative medium, but especially in movie/tv media where  I’m often paying as much attention to the craft as the story because that what I do. I taught VFX for a decade. I’m absolutely disinterested in big VFX action media because I am just burnt out on that crap. I don’t expect others to be, and I generally say nothing about it.

 

If one’s experience of an entire narrative is truly out and out ruined by knowing a plot point in advance then it says something about them, but the majority of the people losing their minds about spoilers are going to still watch/read and enjoy the story.

Both “I don’t watch _______! It sucks and if you like it so do you!” and “You were talking about something I haven’t seen yet so I’m going to yell about it at everyone!!!” are equally self-serving and kinda narcissistic.

Social media raises the bar for high melodrama as people threaten unfriendings and cry like little children because other fans who prioritized the story enough to have watched it don’t self-censor and silence their post-viewing discussion with others who also somehow managed to already read/watch the story.

Everyone must walk on eggshells to cater to the delicate feelings of those who didn’t prioritize that narrative enough to experience it yet. Because people can’t be expected to limit their social media use when there’s something people will be talking about that they know they want to avoid until they see/read it.

And to be very clear, I’m not talking about discrimination or slurs or mass shootings or real mistreatment happening to real people. People are getting more jacked up over fiction than over the horrors we live within 2019.

This begs the question of whether having a plot point from a fictional narrative be known to them too early is really the thing that is so upsetting.  And if it is, that’s a truly terrible reality – one where we gloss over all the hate crimes and domestic terrorism and other real tragedies because we personally consider the misadventures of people in spandex and computer-generated monsters more important. Has our real world just become so horrific that we can no longer cope with it on a human level? Are these comfortable fictions and our dramatic fits about spoiling them just another way of closing our eyes and ears and yelling “lalalala” at all of it?

Are we taking our metaphors more seriously than our reality?

How can we possibly write a better narrative in the real world when we hurl ourselves into a tantrum over an escapist fantasy? How can we find better ways to live and cope inside our spoiled world?

It’s possible to not let information spoil your experience. Letting it be spoiled is a choice. You have options. You can take the information you now have and allow that knowledge to become a part of a good experience. You can be kinder to others using cuts and filters. You can plan your experience to include taking a break from the social media conversation long enough to watch/read the story. You can decide to not let one torn fragment ruin your enjoyment of the entire collage.

Maybe, just maybe, if we learn to not be spoiled by spoilers, we can begin to respond to the real-time drama taking place all around us, day after day.

That said, I promise you will never see any Endgame of Thrones spoilers from me.

Now play nice with each other, m’kay?

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 5.40.24 PM

The image accompanying this post was composited by me, from two images both under Pixabay LicenseFree for commercial use, No attribution required.

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