It’s Tuesday morning, you get to work, you have yourself a cup of coffee and you start talking to your work mates about the latest Game of Thrones episode (yes this happens on Tuesday in Europe). Next thing you know, you find yourself on the floor, 200 pounds of sweating, angry, colleague on top of you – Terry Tate style:
“NO FUCKING SPOILERS IN THE OFFICE!!”
Hands up who has had this happen to them (minus the Terry Tate tackle perhaps). Hands up who has been told to not talk about a film, book or game in a social environment because you might be revealing spoilers. I bet most of you have been in this situation.
And you know what? i think it’s fucking bullshit. Take Game of Thrones. People who don’t watch the latest episode on the day of release (Sunday or Monday depending on where you live), expect a large part of the population who have watched it, to keep quiet, to not discuss it, to essentially refrain from referring to it at all. And if those who have not seen it come across a spoiler, no matter how tiny it might be, they react violently, often out of any proportion to that fact. Heated arguments, tears and (in some rare cases) actual violence follow.
And for what? A bit of entertainment?
Realistically lets look at this, because i understand that everyone wants their entertainment as spoiler free as possible. We all love to discover things on our own, see the twists and turns, see the plot reveals and find out what happened next. I can see that someone telling me ahead of time that Rob Stark was going to die in the Red Wedding could have been a downer (of course that would have had to happen about 5 years ago or so – when i read the book).
But at the same time what do those people who hate spoilers expect? That the world stops until they catch up with all their entertainment products and sports events of choice? That social media enforces a black-out, nobody is allowed to post? That people can’t have water-cooler moments at work and are only allowed to discuss the weather? Or at the very least that we have to wait until we have these water-cooler moments until everyone and their dog have caught up with the shows they watch.
That simply is not going to happen, nor should it! People have a right to post, blog, tweet and say anything they want about any entertainment product or sports event that has been publicly broadcast and has been available for consumption. Those who are in there first, those who watch shit as it happens, as it is broadcast, should not have to shut up or consider those that come behind. That is just stupid.
If people can’t be bothered to pay for SKY or HBO to watch Game of Thrones, if people can’t be bothered to pay 10 Euro to watch a film in the cinema, if people can’t be bothered to pay full price for a new computer game and if people can’t be bothered to get up at 5am to watch a sports event on the other side of the globe, then that’s their own problem really. Those of us who do pay for entertainment or who go the extra length to experience these things as they happen should not then be gagged by those who are not as committed or fanatical. Essentially those that are not there first simply can’t be bothered enough to be there first. So why should the rest respect their wishes for a spoiler free environment?
So in essence what i am saying is: if you don’t want spoilers you have 2 choices. Firstly you can actually show enough interest in something to ensure you are there when it happens. Secondly, if you can’t be there when it happens (for whatever reason, including if it’s not your fault at all), stay clear of all social media. Don’t read the news, don’t read forums, don’t read reviews. Stay clear of anything that could mention something about a program or event which you want to consume later on.
But don’t expect people to shut up about something that they are clearly excited about, something they want to discuss, something they are burning to discuss the moment it finishes – often times something they are burning to comment on via social media while it happens, because it is so good and so exciting and so amazing.
If you cannot consume at the very moment something happens, it is up to you to stay clear of spoilers.
There is only one exception to all of the above that i can see, and that is if people deliberately post spoilers so that others can see it, for no other reason than to be a dick. I.e. someone goes on a friend’s Facebook page and posts the plot for the latest GoT episode, knowing fully well that his friend has not seen it yet. Since it is posted on the friend’s wall, it can’t really be avoided – so that is a dick move. Deliberate spoiling like that is wrong, no question about it. But these, i think, are rare moments and to be honest, if you know people who are dicks like that: you should avoid them altogether.