Spoiler alert: Spoiler alerts are making us all dumber


It was Roger Ebert rooster. He, in death, is still a dick. In 1989, see, among others, dead poets community. They gave it 2 stars – but that’s not the worst of it. And the worst of it was: “The father is a strict, stubborn task official, and the son, who lacks the will to challenge him, kills himself.” kills himself? When I read it as a kid, excited about the show at school the next day, I assured myself that suicide would happen at the beginning of the movie. wrong. Happy’s son, Neil, kills himself near the end. So I spent most of the class knowing it was going to happen – waiting for it to happen. I have never forgiven Ebert for that unforgivable, as we now call it, spoiler.

I, like everyone else, hate spoilers. They are a special kind of soul crush. You do everything you can to avoid them, only to fall victim to a stray tweet, loaded headline, or a tired Wikipedia editor. Or sometimes a diabolical joke. On the day the last Harry Potter book came out – July 21, 2007 – someone called my cell phone at 3 AM. I answered for any reason. There was a heavy breathing, and then two words distorted in sound: “Hermione dies.” Click. Psychologists refer to this as formative trauma. To this day, I have no idea who it was.

Hermione does not die, of course. She lives a lot, and continues to assault Ron until some unwritten death separates her, which is presumably much further away. But how did you know that? I read all Deathly Hallows Convinced that this – no, This is amazing– Wait, here it is – surely it should be now! – It’ll be the part Hermione will finally crave. This is the immense pain of the afflicted condition. Spoilers loom like shadows over a story, removing the light of possibility, and always declaring, like Thanos, their terrible inevitability.

There is only one tool in fighting this darkness, and you know it well: the brake alert! This phrase goes back to the 1980s, when the first computer geeks started online and realized that some of their newer peers had watched more Star Trek and read more comics than they had seen. In order to protect themselves from unwanted knowledge – like how deterministic Thanos is – they’ve asked to officially alert spoilers. Nearly half a century later, this practice has become so common in almost all literature on films, books, and television that it makes equal encrypted What does . refer to? possible The main plot points are to push the social internet into an offensive mode. In other words, we all live under the angst of some teenage obsessed with intelligence.

Well, now I guess I hate spoiler alerts.

The obvious question spoiler alerts ask is: What’s so scary about knowing what’s going on? About knowing, in the end, how it ends? Nobody is afraid of beginnings. In fact, this is not true. Beginnings scare people for separate reasons. Think of artists, I’m not always sure how to start their work that’s sure to be great. Intro song, opening shot of a movie, press illustration – you can practically see blood dripping down their temples as they struggle to stick to this or that track. Fiction writer Patrick Rothfuss has gone through what looks like 40 drafts of the first page of his book the name of the wind. Janet Malcolm did a version of the same when she profiled artist David Salle. In the end, that’s all I posted on it New Yorker: “Forty-one false starts.” We are a society obsessed with stories of the origin of beginnings.



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