Many people know I grew up without a television in the house. My sister and brother and I got to see plenty of television shows, just not in our house. At friends’ and neighbors’ houses, all bets were off. But it was difficult if not impossible to stay current with television shows. Anything we watched would have been seen and dissected by our classmates long before we ever saw it.
As a result, I didn’t care about spoilers. Everything I watched had been “spoiled” – not by intent or malice, just by circumstance. Perhaps this was a defense strategy on my part, but I became much more interested in what people refer to today as the meta. Even though I might know the spoiler, there were enough details I didn’t know. It was up to me to fill in the holes and connect the dots. When I did finally see a show that had generated a lot of discussion (think “Who Shot J.R.?” on Dallas), I was much more curious to see how the story had been built than the final reveal.
I asked my girlfriend how she felt about spoilers. She doesn’t like to know what’s going to happen. I’m going to go out on a limb and say most people like that element of surprise. Which is why they get super pissed off when they find out something. (Hint: Dumbledore dies.)
I don’t participate in revealing spoilers (at least, not intentionally). Recently I was talking to an acquaintance about the Kate Chopin novel, The Awakening. I mentioned what happened at the end. I figured the statute of limitations was over, but apparently it wasn’t. He hadn’t finished reading it. Oops.
Even though I didn’t grow up with the internet, I was surrounded by humans who liked to chatter with each other about popular things. The internet definitely amplifies that, but I’ve managed to stay spoiler-free for the things I care about. And if I do happen to learn a spoiler before I consume the story? Well, it takes the pressure off racing through the story so I can focus on how the storyteller got to that point.
How do you feel about spoilers? Do you like them? Do you hate them? Do you like bursting someone’s bubble? Would love to hear your thoughts.