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COMMENTARY: Spoiler Culture; What is Wrong with You?

HOUSTON FORWARD TIMES — It varies between movies, television series, and even surprises on musical projects. It appears that no one is safe from spoilers. Stay off social media, they said. Fine. Cool. Then, of course, I innocently turn on a podcast to distract myself from the heinous traffic situation in Houston only to have one of the hosts casually throw in a major spoiler to a film I’d yet to see in a segment UNRELATED TO THE TOPIC AT HAND

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(Image by: forwardtimes.com)
By Grace Boateng

I now understand why superior beings from more advanced galaxies and various dimensions won’t communicate with us lowly humans. It’s because we are simply the worst. How are we the worst, you ask? Well, a singular aspect of popular “garbage-dom” is people’s incessant propensity to spoil plot twists and important details of entertainment.

It varies between movies, television series, and even surprises on musical projects. It appears that no one is safe from spoilers. Stay off social media, they said. Fine. Cool. Then, of course, I innocently turn on a podcast to distract myself from the heinous traffic situation in Houston only to have one of the hosts casually throw in a major spoiler to a film I’d yet to see in a segment UNRELATED TO THE TOPIC AT HAND. Wow. Great. Thanks. That’s my fault, I guess…because I already knew people will find a way to let you down.

I have experienced spoilers in many forms. There is, of course, the coworker whose social interactions are limited to the work-space so they blurt out major spoilers once they hear anyone in the “office” (I use that term loosely, we don’t all work in an office) has begun watching something they’ve watched. There is the person who gets a kick out of provoking other people so they throw their spoiler in with a bunch of other unwanted predictions to pretend like they aren’t spoiling anything. There is the individual who has no self-awareness and as soon as they hear the title they say what happens in the end. I’ve even experienced a person screaming out the ending to the film in a movie theater full of people as the film was playing. Trash behavior.

The way we consume entertainment has certainly evolved over the years. With the rise of on-demand streaming services, the availability and immediacy of the entertainment we consume is like nothing we’ve seen before. I feel like we’re a decade away from having films and videos uploaded into our brains. The other thing that has added fuel to the fire is social media, which, inadvertently, has given everyone a voice. What happened is that in an effort to participate in this virtual community, people are using their newfound “voice” even though no one truly has anything to say. That’s why it has become an echo-chamber of the same memes and jokes and spoilers and rinse and repeat.

I didn’t grow up wealthy or anything like that so going to the movies was rare and a treat. We didn’t have cable so I wasn’t able to participate in watching a lot of the shows of the day. I still managed to get around to watching things on my own time, unspoiled. That is the truth. Things are different for me now. I am able get to the theater more often and stream the shows that are important to me. I check my own privilege and I am mindful that everyone’s priorities and money situations are different and should be respected. Instead of spoiling things for other people, I simply suggest they check it out for themselves when and if they get the chance. I am happy when I am able to direct someone towards some form of entertainment that brings them joy.

There is a new trend now though…it’s a trend of shaming people who haven’t had an opportunity to see the latest movie, or catch the most recent episode of a show. What’s worse is the people that are doing the shaming are completely unapologetic, which is just pathetic.

Here’s a suggestion. Instead of ruining things for the people coming behind you, how about you let people enjoy things, in their own time, and go find you some brand new business. Deal?

This article originally appeared in the Houston Forward Times

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