Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.
Spoiler Alert: It's your fault for not keeping up, not mine
When it comes to spoiling the plot points of popular culture, Vicky Mochama is all for it.
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Whether it is Romeo and Juliet, Harry Potter or the video for Call Me Maybe, I do not believe in spoilers.
A spoiler is a plot point that tells you how a story’s narrative progresses or ends. For example, knowing the line “I see dead people” is kind of a spoiler for the movie The Sixth Sense.
Among civilized people, you’re not supposed to spoil the plot. Tell someone that Matthew dies in Downton Abbey and you end up yelling at them that it aired five years ago while they pout about it. Half a decade apparently wasn’t enough time for them to get caught up on a season three plot-point in a six-season TV show. Spoiler alert: the show goes on without him.
More Views from Vicky:
You can’t talk about any cultural touchstone without providing a spoiler. I was describing Carmen, the opera, to someone when I found myself saying, “Spoiler alert: Carmen dies.” Carmen has been performed at least a dozen times (give or take) since it debuted in 1875. Believe me, it ruins nothing of Bizet’s magnificent score to say Carmen meets her end. Also, it’s an opera: someone important has to die. It’s opera law!
I find that as long as you don’t tell people how and in exactly what order, the knowledge of the plot can actually increase the story’s enjoyment. In 2011, researchers at UC San Diego found that people still enjoy texts even when they know major plot points and how the story end. The research found that participants actually enjoyed stories more when the plot had been spoiled for them.
Knowing the ingredients of a meal doesn’t ruin it for you; rather, it gives you some flavours to look forward to.
And at this point, there is just too much culture. We can’t tiptoe around plots because other people were “busy” at their “jobs” or whatever. Sometimes you just have to say: The world doesn’t end in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Writers have some responsibility. In 2008, culture news and criticism website Vulture established its own statute of limitations for spoilers: it allows for unmarked spoilers in the text of an article on the Monday after a movie opens, but writers have to wait a month before putting spoilers in headlines. There are different rules for books and reality TV shows.
All of that is way too complicated. For my personal policy, however, I’ll be reasonable. I will give you 24 hours. If within 24 hours, you have not viewed, read or listened to a piece of culture, then you have not made it a priority.
Being into culture is a lot like texting while dating: if you don’t get to it within a day, you were never that into it.