The dim urge to rant crept up on me today after some casual surfing turned up so many “spoiler alerts” I lost count. What happens to people on the internet that makes them believe it’s okay to spoil something? I mean, spoiling anything isn’t very nice—but stories? What’s more terrible than spoiling a story? Spoiling a child’s birthday, maybe, but that’s about it.
Now, sure, maybe being a writer means I hold a relatively conservative view on the matter, but I tend to think that artlessly recounting crucial details of another person’s narrative is not only deeply disrespectful to the art of storytelling, but also shows a distinct poverty of imagination when it comes to writing an intelligent review of a book.
This leads me to another point. If people generally agree spoiling stories is a bad thing (which must be true since—obviously—we use the word “spoil” to describe the activity), then how does preceding it with the now ubiquitous “SPOILER ALERT” make it okay?
If I decided to cook and eat my neighbour’s dog, but beforehand I put a sign in his window saying, Dear Jonathon, this Saturday, I’m going to stew Montmorency in a borscht and eat him with side of cabbage, it wouldn’t change the fact that I seriously spoiled Jon’s weekend. Also, borscht with a side of cabbage is almost certainly redundant.
In fact, if you warn someone ahead of time that you’re going to do something you know is wrong—like spoil a story, for instance, or cook somebody’s dog—it kinda shows clear premeditation. If that information came out in a court of law, you would sooo go to jail.
So yeah, I don’t like spoilers.