July 15th, 2009


Spoiler Discussion - (spoiler free)

In the last couple of days I've been in discussion with a couple of different people about spoilers. One of them about BSG season 2 (now two years old) and the other about HP:Half Blood Prince (now four years old), with them considering that as they'd experienced them years ago, they couldn't possibly be considered spoilers.

Which is the exact opposite of how I feel about it. Because there are movies I still haven't seen fronm the 1950s, where discussion of the twist in the tale would spoil the movie for me. And I'm very aware that the majority of people who go to see the new HP movie won't have read the book.

To me, spoilers are all about politeness. If you tell someone the end/twist of something they didn't know, and will possibly experience in the future, when they didn't want to know, then you've spoiled that experience for them. I remember the feeling of watching Empire Strikes Back and discovering that Han and Chewied were lovers. The shock and surprise at the moment of reveal was an integral part of the experience for me, and taking it away from people that haven't seen the movie yet is just plain rude.

Now, you can argue that it being years old, the chances that people on your friends list haven't seen Empire Strikes Back is low. Which is true if you're posting friends-only and have nobody under the age of 20 on your friends list. But it's not like the olden days, when a movie would appear, and then vanish again, when TV that had made the rounds was lost. Nowadays I can go out and buy box sets for TV made before I was born, and watch it entirely fresh. There are more hours of TV and movies out there than I have time to watch in my whole life, and the chances are that some will be watched years out of synch with their original release. And I'd really appreciate you not telling me the details before I do!

Obviously I consider all of the following to be spoilers. I'm curious whether you do too. If you don't then I'd love to know why...

I would consider the following to be spoilers

The end of Battlestar Galactica (2009)
The end of season 2 of Battlestar Galactica (2007)
The end of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2005)
The end of season 2 of Babylon 5 (1996)
The end of The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The identity of "Rosebud" (1941)
The end of Hamlet (1600)


Delicious LiveJournal Links for 7-15-2009


Empathic Failure

One of the strange attitudes on the spoilers post is that of people who seem insistent on telling me how I should enjoy movies.  That I pay too much attention to plot, or that I just shouldn't enjoy a movie less if I know how it's going to turn out.

This seems to be a common thread in discussion on the internet - one person says "I don't like X." and a bunch of people say that not enjoying X is immature, or that it's not that bad, or that they like X a lot, or that  they can't see X at all. 

And they don't seem to be providing this information for general cultural reasons, but in denial that the original person is "correct" to feel the way they do in the first place.

It's something I've seen repeatedly, that if unhappy people would just stop being unhappy then everything would be fine.  That they shouldn't complain about people doing things they don't like - because if they'd just learn to like people doing things they didn't like then nothing would have to change, and everyone would be happy.

You don't have to agree with people who complain - if you feel differently then you feel differently.  You don't have to stop doing the thing they feel unhappy about - that's your judgement to make.  But to hear people expressing their feelings on something and then express anger, disbelief or scorn because they have those feelings strikes me as a basic lack of empathy.

It's an attitude that completely baffles me.