On Spoilers: Consideration Has No Statute Of Limitations
I never thought Star Wars and spoilers in general would become more of a hot button jihad inducing topic than religion, politics, Mac Vs. PC, or iOS vs. Android, but it seems it has.
There seems to be a new trend that I’m calling the “Spoilers Rights Advocates” who think that after (T=arbitrary and differing individual lengths of time ranging from 3 days to 10 years) that they no longer have any obligation to be considerate of others and if you haven’t seen the movie then “that’s on you.” I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I disagree. Well, I mean it is true that they have no “obligation” or responsibility to do so, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still a great thing to do.
I know of plenty of people who don’t have the luxury that I have of prioritizing going to see a movie. I have a friend who is always extremely busy, pregnant (not always, but at the moment), and wants to watch the original 6 before she goes to see 7. I’ve read many posts from others with other such reasons for not having seen it yet. And they do care. I’ve had a handful of discussions on the matter over the last few days on social media. Some have been very civil and intellectual. Others have ended up with all kinds of aggression, name-calling and fiery indignation coming my way. “Go outside!”, “Get some friends!”, “Get off the internet!” are just a few choice bon mots. Accusations of grandstanding, martyrdom, gaslighting, and so much more! You’d think you had stumbled into a discussion on race, religion and terrorism. Yes, I am a grade A, top choice, huge ass-hat, like an ass-sombrero for thinking that the world would be a better place with a little more consideration (oh, there’s me playing the victim card again…another accusation). I thought I was coming from a good place. I had no resentment, aggression, negative feelings or anything like that, and yet even apologies were met with outright hostility and indignation somehow twisting my words and attempts to diffuse the situation into more accusations. Eventually I realized there was nothing else to do but leave (which I’d tried to do earlier in the meltdown but that was also viewed as me playing the victim and other “tactics” on my part).
I don’t get it. I don’t get the attitude, the ire, or any of it. It’s really this simple with me: consideration has no statute of limitations. People often come back with “Oh, so are you gonna tag spoilers on [SPOILER FROM ORIGINAL STAR WARS], or, [SPOILER FROM SIXTH SENSE], [SPOILER FROM CITIZEN KANE], [SPOILER FROM THE CRYING GAME], [SPOILER FROM ANY SHAKESPEARE PLAY]?”
Yes. Yes I am. Because it costs me nothing. It doesn’t inconvenience me at all. My quality of life and the enjoyment of it is not in any way adversely affected by not posting that spoilery cartoon. Or at the very least tagging it as such. On several such posts, I’ve commented “SPOILER” not to in any way chastise the poster or try to bend them to my will but simply as a warning to anyone who might stumble upon it and care. And there have been comments from people such as “I haven’t seen it yet…mostly bc I have this little baby and also bc Alamo was sold out when we tried to go over the break. I glanced at your pic and then saw the word SPOILER on your friends comment, so I haven’t looked at it again. Thanks Heath Allyn! (For the record, I’m not a huge Star Wars fan so I wouldn’t cry over a spoiler, BUT I would like to be surprised if there’s a big surprise.)”
So again, I didn’t post asking the person to remove their post, or change it or tag it. I just left a comment explaining why I was leaving that comment as a helpful warning. Which has only been a problem once and led to all the above accusations and name calling. The irony is that I don’t even care that much about spoilers. I do try to avoid them but if I get spoiled, it’s not the end of the world to me and it probably won’t affect my enjoyment, but to others, it is a big deal and I can respect that. I have no reason to say “Fuck you, then! That’s your issue! Stay off the internet because my right to post untagged spoilers after (T: see above) trumps your desire to not be spoiled, which you gave up any way by not seeing the movie fast enough to my liking!”
I actually know of someone who just watched the original trilogy last month. Another friend recently reminded me that she had never seen them until I sent her the VHS tapes somewhere around the early 2000’s. There’s tons of “classic” movies I still haven’t seen. Does that mean I think you’re a big jerkface if you you reveal [SPOILER FROM CAVE PAINTING FROM 550 B.C.]? Of course not, but I certainly appreciate it if you are considerate enough to still tag spoilers or ask if I’ve seen it.
With the reactions of some people you would think I had asked them to strangle a small puppy when all I’m really saying is, some people would really appreciate the tiniest morsel of consideration here, and it’s so effortless and easy. I’m sure I have my share of responsibility in these blowups. Poor phrasing, reacting too emotionally. I know one thing I thought was a good idea but ended up being a mistake was that as I was pruning my feed, there were some folks I wanted to know that though I wouldn’t be reading their posts any more, that I really enjoyed their posts overall and would miss them but that doesn’t work in this context. It just ends up sounding like a big “I’M UNFOLLOWING YOU!” announcement, so lesson learned there.
In the end, there’s some generally great people and some people I don’t know at all who now think I’m the biggest douche-canoe on the planet because I think it would be cool to go beyond our “obligations” and “responsibilities” to maybe, possibly help someone out that you don’t even know would appreciate it and maybe, just maybe make the community of humanity just a little better with a drop of extra consideration.
Of course, the only people who will actually read this are people who probably don’t need to read this, so at least let me say, I appreciate you. And if you can take these genuine, heartfelt words and somehow twist them into something negative, then you don’t know me at all. Which is probably true any way! If this particular form of consideration is just too much for you bear, then try to do something, somewhere, even just the smallest token to make someone else’s world a better place on a regular basis. That’s probably a way better plan any way. I guess all I can hope for is that this is some kind of self-regulating Darwinian mechanism that just keeps me surrounded by only the most amazing people. Seems to have worked so far.