A rising pro-spoiler movement irks noted spoilerphobe Karl Puschmann
This week I encountered one of the most backwards-ass backlashes I've ever had the misfortune to fall ass-backwards into. It was on Twitter, of course, the micro-blogging social media site that was once very funny but has long since become ground zero for every annoyance, irritant and bad take in today's modern world.
I've become fairly adept at navigating the site's treacherous waters, my itchy trigger finger hovering over the mute and block buttons at all times as I chart a steady course between righteous bores on one side and toxic jerkwads on the other.
In fairness, I should only be seeing the witticisms, weirdo gags and news hits from folks and outlets I've personally chosen to follow. But that's not how Twitter works anymore. Instead your Twitter feed is force-fed bunkum like you're a fat old goose nearing the end of your stay at the foie gras factory.
So nestled between the tweets you've chosen to see are oodles of algorithmically suggested tweets you haven't. Which is how I ended up howling with inner rage during an otherwise uneventful morning commute on the bus the other morning when a tweet thread popped up positing in a long, detailed and extremely wrong fashion that there was absolutely nothing wrong with movie and television spoilers and those worried about them need to get over themselves.
As someone with an almost allergic reaction to spoilers I needed a trigger warning. Was the algorithm trolling me? Can algorithms even do that? Based on my experience, yes. Yes they can.
The gist of the Twitterer's argument was that knowing a twist or two doesn't matter if the story is good. And if it does, well, that just means the story is not a good story. Knowing a character dies - for example - doesn't matter particularly, because you still don't know the preceding details of that death. You should still be able to enjoy a film or show without needing plot hooks like surprise and/or revelations.
This would have been a laughable proposition if I hadn't been filling with rage.
But what was worse was that the idea was getting traction. People were piling in to agree, comment and re-tweet. It was obvious that this madness was dangerously close to trending.
To put it bluntly, spoilers are not okay and the argument that "it's about the journey" is a bunch of old cobblers. I don't care if you have a laissez faire attitude to the whole thing, that's your prerogative. Fair play. You do you, sure, just leave me out of it.
But right when I thought the harbingers of extreme-righteousness were readying to occupy a terrifying new and deluded high ground, the cavalry arrived when cult director Edgar Wright came tweeting to the rescue.
Usually a genial sort, his ire had been provoked by the streaming giant Netflix, which had just added one of his films to their line-up, complete with an unavoidable and spoiler-filled trailer.
"@Netflix also shows the key twist to The World's End as the automatic trailer [plays] on the page," he tweeted to a fellow director grousing about the same problem. "So tough shit if you wanted to go in blind."
Seeing someone rally against the growing pro-spoiler hordes had a calming effect - even if they weren't going down without a fight. Some damn fool tweeted him back saying, "That sucks man, but everyone knows that Edgar Wright movies are made for watching 100 times, so I wouldn't fret too much about it."
Wright wasn't having a bar of it, replying, "But they would definitely ruin the first time for anyone watching it," before taking the fight to Netflix directly, "Hey @NetflixFilm, change the autotrailer for something less spoilery!"
Netflix, which takes great pride in having a sassy Twitter account, appeared to be all out of sass as Wright's challenge was left unanswered.
But it was good enough for me. Wright's position was a justification to my militant anti-spoiler stance and a full stop to the madness I was seeing.
It was good to know that, at least as far as The World's End was concerned, a spoiler was indeed considered the end of the world.