I'm a big basketball fan. I have been since I was in elementary school. In the early '90s when the Houston Rockets were winning titles, I was obsessed with watching the games. I had superstitions and rituals, all of which I thought would help the team. I sat in the same chair, drank out of the same glass; it was ridiculous.
I was also heavily involved in the game emotionally. I would yell at the television screen and pace around the living room of my apartment. And let's just say my remote control had to be held together by Scotch tape thanks to the numerous times I slammed it on the floor after a disappointing moment during a game.
Then, I realized something. I love the game of basketball, not a game of basketball. I enjoyed the athleticism, the strategy and the precision as much if not more than the dramatic moments. As a means of calming myself down -- nevermind saving remotes -- I began video taping games (this was WAY before the DVR) and finding out the final score before I watched. Suddenly, the games became more interesting and far less stressful.
Later, I employed that same technique as a means of watching scary movies when I knew I was going to have to partake of them. Because I don't like horror films, I blunted the fear with knowledge and I learned that, much like basketball, it wasn't the end result that ultimately kept me interested, it was the story.
I say all this as a means of explaining why I not only don't mind spoilers, but I appreciate them. After the first episode of season four of Game of Thrones Sunday night -- don't worry, I'm not going to tell you anything if you haven't seen it (except that EVERY SINGLE PERSON DIES! - kidding) -- it became clear that, where the Internet is concerned, I am in the minority.
Friends tweeted they would be abandoning the web until they were able to see the show. Websites blocked comments to avoid spoilers being unleashed inadvertently -- or on purpose. No one, it seems, wants a show spoiled before they can watch it.
The problem is that the Internet was built -- at least in part -- on discussion. It is the nature of humans to want to talk about things that interest them. But now everyone has to be overly sensitive to those who didn't watch something the night it was released. It's like child proofing your entire house because your friends and their kid are coming over for dinner. It's overkill because risk is inherent in life and on the web.
The only way to guarantee you won't read something about GOT, a game or something else waiting for you on your DVR is to stay offline. But since the average person checks his smartphone more thsn 100 times per day, that clearly doesn't seem like the answer. In which case, I recommend embracing the spoiler.
This story continues on the next page. I understand you want to experience a moment. Maybe you are the kind of person who lives for that terrifying (or exhilarating) second of discovery. If so, you need to learn to live with disappointment.
I don't go around telling people what happened if they don't want to know, but I also don't feel the need to censor myself in order to ensure a person who just didn't get around to watching a television show isn't given some detail that might ruin it for him. I'm not here to protect you from disappointment any more than you should try to save me from mine. I am sympathetic if you haven't watched an entire series and don't want to know what is coming, but don't expect me to not reveal spoilers to you -- even if it is via a conversation you just happen to stumble upon (particularly online) -- for a show that aired yesterday or last week.
We're adults. It's entertainment. It's totally OK if you learn about a pivotal plot twist before you see it. You won't die. Your life won't even be any less interesting or fun or exciting. You'll go on and it will be fine. If not, TV is not your problem.
And, honestly, the rest of us who just want to talk about our favorite shows and movies and sporting events are tired of tip-toeing around you while we wait for you to catch up. It shouldn't be up to us to protect you. Stay off the Internet if you must, but don't complain when the rest of us do what comes naturally. After all, what you call a spoiler, I call a talking point.
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