Monday, August 9, 2010

Spoiler Alert!

I have nothing to spoil. I just want to talk about spoilers and how you really have to go out of your way to avoid information these days. Especially now that I can't see a film on opening weekend or pick up a game or a book right away, I find myself in a constant game of cat and mouse, except almost in reverse. I am still the mouse, however the difference is now the cat no longer chases me, he just sits in places I have to go except he has no idea I am coming. I run out of my hole to the kitchen pantry and, BAM! Kitty is already having a snack. Such is my life attempting to remain somewhat spoiler free in a world of instant gratification and all enveloping news coverage.

As a consumer of pop culture, and by consumer I mean a mental landfill into which pop culture information is poured by large trucks, I seek out information on that which interests me. As I have spoken to on other occasions, living abroad makes the consumption of such things a bit of an H.G. Wells like experience. I find myself fighting today armed only with last month. My only true defense that keeps me safe from harm is the spoiler alert and I am grateful for it.

Par example, I have not seen Inception. It will not open in "The China" for another month and a half. I am trying to remain as information free as I can. I do not necessarily care about definitive information or answers to plotlines and such. My need to stave off the information wave that crests over my shoulder shadowing it's impending doom is to keep my mind open and experience the images and themes as intended and in the moment. Now surely it should be simple to avoid information about the film by just forgoing any articles about the film, right? Here is where the cat sits sleeping with it's jaw wide open as I plunge into it's open crevasse of spoilery death.

If avoiding information were that easy, I could rest sound. Anymore you have to be constantly on guard, especially if you are me as the information you seek to avoid now filters it's way into all the other media I consume. In the fight to stay relevant, all media devoted sites cross-pollinate. They cover a little bit of everything in addition to their bread and butter. My comics and my film mix on a regular mix. Cool sports journalists use media references to keep a younger audience engaged.

Sports columnist Bill Simmons of ESPN has a podcast that very often touches on television and film. A recent discussion of Mad Men's latest season opener got him on the subject of spoilers and why having to issue spoiler alerts at all seemed ludicrous. He admitted that anyone living overseas obviously does not have instant access such things and often finds themselves in the same predicament I face. Again, if it were just avoiding any bright flashing sign that said "I AM GOING TO DISCUSS ALL DETAILS REGARDING THE THING IN WHICH YOU HAVE SHOWN INTEREST" I could live my life in ease.

How do I avoid these thing when they pop up in everything else I turn to for entertainment? A particular webcomic I read has a penchant for talking about the most spoilery of spoilerishiest information almost the day of or after these things open or air. I had to avoid it like the plague following the LOST finale and found myself having to turn away the other day after I caught a glimpse of the word inception.

Turn back the clock to 1994 even, and we don't have this problem. You are aren't smothered, covered and chunked with every intimate detail of plotlines or revelations. Such is the nature of a life abroad in a modern age. So thank you to everyone who uses the spoiler alert. Your consideration and kindness are greatly treasured.

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