Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Spoiler no spoiling!

Before I write anything here, let me get a few things out of the way: The guy in that movie was dead the whole time, Tyler Durden didn't exist, and Darth is actually Luke's dad.

If you're a normal human being on the internet, you sometimes complain about spoilers.

It's especially prevalent in the streaming era, where sometimes an entire season gets dumped on the 'net all at once. Some folks will then binge watch the whole thing in a weekend. Others, like Bobbi and me here at Roseholme Cottage, will watch one episode an evening.

When you stumble across a couple of friends on Facebook or a couple of coworkers at the water cooler talking about the show, and they're binge watchers while you're a trickler, you can blunder into a discussion containing the dreaded spoilers.

We don't have any fixed modern etiquette on when it's okay to drop spoilers into conversation. I mean, conceivably I just ruined Fight Club back there in my opening paragraph for someone who never watched it.

Well, in the immortal words of Professor Farnsworth, "Good news, everyone!"

It turns out that spoilers really don't have any measurable effect on people's enjoyment of a story. I mean, everybody went to go see Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy even though we'd known how it ended for 46 years, right? 

Don't take my word for it, though. Smart people with lab coats have checked the math, and it turns out...
"The truth is, we are just as likely to get caught up in a story even when we know what is coming — perhaps because more significant factors determine our enjoyment of narratives rather than simply waiting to learn or guess their resolution. Humans are hard-wired not just to absorb facts but also to lose themselves in stories and attune themselves to the characters and plots unfolding on the screen."
I still wouldn't go around gratuitously spoiling recent stuff, because that's just tacky, but I'll be less likely to get cross with someone who inadvertently lets slip the fact that Soylent Green is people.