“Woah, woah, spoilers!”
You’ve all heard someone say this, or more likely have seen it typed snidely online as a comment about a TV show. Maybe you’ve been the guilty party and actually typed it yourself, and that’s okay…but it needs to stop. I remember watching Lost as it aired, and having discussions with co-workers about it. Of course there was one guy who did extensive research and would basically “read ahead” of the show. He would then try to share information that was unbeknownst to the casual viewer and ruin the intrigue. This was a spoiler: someone going out of their way to provide information that no reasonable viewer of the show would have.
It’s been about five years since Lost went off the air, and you’d have an easier time explaining the series finale than clarifying the modern etiquette of spoilers. I’ve had someone tell me that I owe it to them to put a “spoiler tag”, while someone else actually said you should wait four weeks before divulging information that could possibly be considered a spoiler, but whenever I hear someone say anything of the sort, what I really hear is them saying a fan of a show, who watched it when it aired, who gets enjoyment from sharing the experience with their community of other fans, who also watched it when it aired, should keep their opinions to themselves in order to placate the selfish and the entitled who feel if they can’t enjoy it, nobody else should be able to either. Now, I know what you may be thinking, “Not everybody gets to watch a TV show when it airs,” and I completely agree as life has a tendency to get in the way, but more often than not, the issue isn’t that someone is unable to watch, but rather that they prefer not to watch. Yet they still expect everyone to cater their discussions around them. I just can’t seem to believe that all of these spoiler shamers just so happen to work the late shift.
Fear not if you’re a big fan of a TV show and don’t want it spoiled; I have just the thing for you! Watch it when it airs, or avoid social media until you get a chance to watch it. The beauty of this solution is that you alone yield all of the power. If this doesn’t work for you, you could always hope that the tens of thousands of excited Walking Dead fans keep quiet on a Sunday night. I couldn’t say it any better than NBA player Kevin Garnett who said, “At the end of the day, you’re responsible for yourself and your actions and that’s all you can control. So rather than be frustrated with what you can’t control, try to fix the things you can.” Here’s a spoiler alert: none of us get out of this alive anyway.