The Problem with Spoilers

Prometheus has been underwhelming UK audiences for a couple of weeks now so when I was reading an article in the Guardian about it this week I was surprised to see a **MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD** sign emblazoned across the top of the piece. Its been two weeks already; surely its fair to assume most people with any major interest in seeing the film have already seen it and are people really that bothered by spoilers that publications have to give warning to their readers in *BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS*? I have never been that bothered about spoilers. When it happens it is a minor annoyance but after a couple of seconds I somehow find the strength to get on with my life. This is why I find those that seem to take grave offence to having the plots of films and television shows petulant and faintly ridiculous.
You only have to type ‘spoilers’ into the twitter search bar to glean their apparently ruinous effects and get a sense of the levels of anger that they can induce in some people. One person was so affected by spoilers that they lost all ability to make grammatical sense: “OH DAMN F**K MY LIFE I F**KING HATE SPOILERS DAMN EVERYTHING”. Another person revealed their fear of the dreaded spoiler, writing “I’m going to see Prometheus tomorrow. I hope there are no spoilers on the Internet.” The naïve fool: he should know by now that spoilers stalk the every corner of the Internet waiting to pounce on unsuspecting victims. Worryingly, it seems that you can’t trust anyone when it comes to spoilers with another tweeter recounting her callous actions: “Just told Laura everything that happens on 90210 #spoilers.” We can only hope that Laura is in a stable condition and surrounded by family and friends at this tough time.
You do have to wonder about people who complain vociferously about spoilers. Out of everything that is wrong with the world what they choose to get angry about is somebody inadvertently revealing what happened in the latest episode of Homeland. Really? Surely, as a species we are better than this now. Generally, those who go on about spoilers are the worst type of people, to be ranked alongside people who use the phrase “just sayin’” and people who think Crocs are a suitable item of clothing.
The reason is that they seem to miss the point by misunderstanding how we actually derive pleasure from films and television. The claim that plot spoilers have a detrimental effect our enjoyment of films is a fallacy. Plot has been wildly overrated: it is merely a vehicle for great writing, directing and acting. Nobody would re-watch films if the majority of pleasure derived from the novelty of not knowing how it ends. Psychological studies have even shown that people actual enjoy spoiled storied to unspoiled ones. So there, psychologists have said it so it is obviously true, right?

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