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[4.5 Billion Years of Wonder] Spoilers

I've never really understood the near-spastic reaction a lot of people seem to have to spoilers. This is why I'm sometimes really bad about marking for them when I'm talking about movies and the like, though I do try to be conscientious about it.

I've pretty much always been that way, too. I'm one of those awful people that often reads the last few pages of a book first.

Functionally, I feel like there are three general big plot twists that comes as surprises, and I just prefer the warning:

Joss Whedon kills off my favorite character again.
There's a elevator through the center of the Earth. (Alternatively: it was all just a dream!)
The bad guy is actually a good guy! The good guy is actually a bad guy! Nic Cage chews on the scenery!
I have this conversation with friends of mine a lot. Oh, just tell me the spoilers. If I wasn't interested in seeing/reading it anyway, this is your chance to change my mind. Maybe the plot is so indescribably badass I'll change my mind. And if I was planning to spend my time on it to begin with, I'm also unlikely to change my mind unless the plot twist is inescapably stupid. That, I'd rather find out before I'm sitting in a theater with a bag of popcorn purchased at a sob-inducing price. I'm obviously not averse to wasting my time on stupid things, but that has to be on my terms.

The ending is just the ending. The journey is why I'm there.

I wonder if maybe this is also why I love rewatching and rereading things so much. I don't know - people who are hyper-averse to spoilers, do you do much rewatching and rereading?


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 25th, 2012 03:53 pm (UTC)
When I eat an ice cream cone, I want to eat it myself, not have someone else eat it and tell me how it tasted. Not even if they can describe it as perfectly as a Tolkien passage, with every drip and every drop. I want to experience it *myself*. That's the way I view my media: I want to experience it the first time *myself*. I want to be surprised by the surprises, shocked by the shocks, and see if I can suss out the plot on my own without anyone spoon feeding it to me before I experience it myself the first time. AFTER I have seen or heard or read whatever it is, then, yes, I'll happily discuss details and plot and everything with folks, but I want everything to be fresh and new and *unspoiled* the first time through for me.

After I have seen or read or heard whatever it is, though, if it's something I enjoyed? I will reread, rewatch, relisten time and time and time again. My favorite books are so dog-eared that I generally have to get replacement copies in five or ten years (or sooner). My favorite movies? I buy new again on each new format that comes out. Because eveery time I watch it, I tend to see something new, something I didn't notice, or had forgotten that I'd noticed... but when someone spoils something for me, that spoiler *sticks* in my head, and I *lose* that first experience. Especially since, if someone is spoiling something, I'm probably planning on experiencing it soon, so I generally don't even have the opportunity to wait for the memory to fade... of course, once it's been spoiled, until I see or hear or read whatever it is, I don't *have* any other memories to compete with that spoiler, so it's REALLY hard to forget/put out of my mind that spoiler. So, for me, that point, plot, piece, kumquat is forever.... well... spoiled. Ruined for the pure effervenscent pleasure of *experiencing* it and letting that experience unfold as it will, as it was meant to in my own mind.

Now, something that I don't intend on seeing? Or don't intend on seeing for a long long time? (Like Avengers. I KNOW that I will like it. I KNOW I will enjoy it. But having everone and their brother all but screaming at me to GO SEE IT NOW!!! OMG!!!11!11!!111!@ just pisses me off and makes me want to put it off for as long as possible.) Stuff like that? I will go ahead and let people spoil me, because I *know* that I'm not going to be able to be unspoiled. It's just too pervasive. Plus, if someone spoils something cool enough? maybe it will overcome my knee-jerk reflex to resist it. But in those cases? I will ASK for spoilers, or tell someone, okay, go ahead, spoil it for me.

If I don't ask, and someone spoils something I was looking forward to? I will seriously rage, because they have *stolen* that experience from me, and I will never, ever, be able to get it back. And that? Pisses. Me. Off.
Aug. 26th, 2012 01:36 am (UTC)
So you basically said everything I said below, only much more succinctly. :P I am in complete agreement with you.
Aug. 25th, 2012 07:19 pm (UTC)
I'm like you, for the most part I don't care if I'm spoiled
but I have a list of no no's that completely ruin things for me, and if my checklist is approved I'm good to go

it's easier for me to do this with video games, because the list is less nebulous
no laser wires, block puzzles, or QTEs, none of the above, then I will happily play your game
one of them I'll consider it, two or more - NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER
because of it I am never the first to play a game ever since Residen Evil 4 suckered me with this huge QTE battle and followed it by effin' laser wires, i got through them and voila - a bloody block puzzle

you know the new Total recall is a bust for you, planetthru elevators (and really bad physics with it! going through in, 17 mins, my eye)
Aug. 25th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
My opinion on spoilers is that I don't particularly care. The reason I am watching the movie or reading the book, I want to know how they got there. I have to admit I read the end of books and then I go back and read to see how things wound up there.

As far as rereading and rewatching...I've read Wheel of time about ten times, other stories far more than that, and if I really like a movie or an anime I will watch it again and again ^^;

Edited at 2012-08-26 01:53 am (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC)
I am okay with spoilers under certain contexts, but most of the time I dislike them. I am very easily influenced - it's something I have to constantly be aware of, like, in all areas of my life - and while I don't mind if people tell me whether or not they liked something, I do mind being told plot specifics, because I like to soak up the experience of the film without any preconceptions of where things are headed. I hate not knowing whether I only have a certain perception of something because it was coloured by what someone told me, or if I actually feel that way - for example, before I ever saw LotR, someone told me Legolas was hot. Who knows how soon I'd have noticed? Instead of noticing at my own pace, I was waiting for Legolas' appearance to see if I agreed. I don't like that.

In terms of pivotal plot material spoilers, in the case of, for example, a film like "The Forgotten," I wouldn't have wanted to know its premise beforehand, definitely. Because the whole point of that movie (since you don't mind spoilers, I'll tell you) is the tension of not knowing whether she's being deliberately gaslit, or she really did make up her kid, or (as is actually the case)it was an alien science experiment. It's like spoiling the end of Witness for the Prosecution, you know?

In terms of TV, it depends how invested I am in the show. I typically don't object to spoilers for a show I'm only desultorily following, but spoil me for Supernatural and I keel you. I tend to fixate on the things I know are going to happen and wait for them to arrive, and measure all other events against what I know is coming. I prefer not to watch that way, so I like to know as little as possible in advance.

It's also possible that my rabid anti-spoiler stance (on things I'm seriously watching) might have partially been influenced by the fact that my big brother told me the entire plot of Dragon Ball Z before either of us realised I would ever get the chance to watch it. Then I moved out of my parents' house into a basement apartment with cable and YTV was running DBZ from the beginning. XD

And... I re-watch like a fiend. My first, unspoiled watching is the mostly subjective and experiential viewing. Then if I get the chance to watch it again (this goes for both movies and TV, BTW) the analytical part of my brain gets to come out more strongly and I can take a step back from the show to pick it apart a bit. If I really like it, I'll watch it a few more times. I've seen Back to the Future, Conspiracy Theory and The Fugitive countless times. Marty McFly is still my benchmark for cool. I've seen The Matrix so many times I can quote you most of it. I like to watch it and pretend I don't know what happened to the franchise. I've seen the first season of Supernatural about six or seven times because I keep introducing it to people; re-watching with people who are seeing it for the first time introduces a new lens, which always adds a layer of interest for me. Basically, I find that unless it's something I kind of wish I hadn't wasted time on in the first place, I'll usually consider it worth re-watching, since I always catch something new on subsequent viewings. (An exception to this is action movies. I love the Fast & Furious franchise, for example, but I re-watch it because I know I enjoyed the driving or the pretty or the way shit blew up. That's kind of an exceptional subset of re-watch material.) I re-read my favourite books all the time. It's gotten to the point where I almost never get anything new out of the library anymore, which is kind of sad and I should fix that, but... yeah.

I think one of the reasons I like to re-watch is because I have a strongly intertextual perspective; everything I experience goes through a filter of everything else I've experienced. If I watch something, then watch another new show and then re-watch the first thing, my metafilter has assimilated the second thing and I'm quite likely to make connections to the first thing in areas I wouldn't have taken note of the first time around. I realise this sounds very pretentious but I can't think of another way to phrase it that makes sense. I'm not even sure if this makes sense. :P

Anyway, that's my stance on the matter of spoilers and re-watching.

Edited at 2012-08-26 05:39 am (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2012 04:53 am (UTC)
I've never really minded spoilers. In fact, sometimes I'd rather have the plot spoiler so I can appreciate a film or book more as I read it, instead of trying to get through it as quickly as possible to find out what happens.

I wonder if it's because I'm a keen roleplayer- I'm used to being involved in stories while having to not use certain information I know but my character doesn't. Or perhaps because roleplaying can often be about what you do, rather than what eventually happens.
Aug. 26th, 2012 05:05 am (UTC)
Wow, I'm the random weirdo. I am freaking rabid about spoilers. If you spoil a movie/show/book for me I absolutely will not watch/read it. I won't. I love the journey, I do. The journey is only one half of it. There's an end there and I do not want to know what it is before I get there. I want to be shocked/scared/bored/irritated/sniffly/emo/whatever and I want it to be genuine. It isn't if I know it's coming. Once I've read/watched a thing, I don't mind discussing it since that's the best part. Seriously, you should have seen me goobing about Avengers. I *still* goob about Avengers and I've seen it a frightening amount of times in the theater.

Also, I reread/watch like crazy. If I love a book, I read it. Often. Even having gotten to the ending once. Same with movies. I always get something new out of it anyway. No the book/movie hasn't changed, but my perspective has and I always get a new emotional charge out of it.
Aug. 26th, 2012 05:06 am (UTC)
Oooh, not so weird! I missed the top two!
Aug. 26th, 2012 10:33 am (UTC)
I'll reread or rewatch lots of things, because I love catching the nuance I missed the first time. but I relish the journey (and no, I never read the end first--what's the point then?) I love surprises. If someone tells me about it beforehand, I'll probably never bother reading or seeing it, because all I do is think, "Oh, so this must be the part where he..."
Aug. 26th, 2012 04:52 pm (UTC)
I generally agree with the first response: during the first pass through a journey, I want it to be MY journey. I'm really forgiving if it's old stuff -- for example, I tend to avoid broadcast television, so by the time I get into a show, it's old news. I don't mind that most of Angel was spoiled for me -- if I cared enough, I'd have watched it when it was on the air. I've watched a lot of TV on DVD/Netflix in the last year, and most all of it was spoiled simply by being as old as it was.

I'm also really forgiving about accidental spoilers. It happens. I usually shrug those off and move on.

Deliberate spoilers really irk me, though. I remember the delight a lot of people who didn't get Harry Potter took in spoiling Half-Blood Prince when the novel came out, and that it all came back when the movie was released. While I'd managed to miss most of it until it was no longer a spoiler for me, (largely because I stepped away from World of Warcraft while I was reading the book), seeing hundreds of WoW nerds delight in spoiling a climactic scene that had been building up for over a decade really made me angry.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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