Thursday, May 4, 2017

Why there's no statute of limitations on spoilers

Funny, but wrong, and if you don't want to know how King Kong ends, skip this joke for what follows:


There's no statute of limitations on spoilers for the general public—everyone should have the chance to experience a story as the writer intended. If you don't know how Oedipus Rex ends, I won't be the one to tell you. I envy people who don't know the endings of great stories.

There is a statute of limitations on spoilers for critical pieces that assume the reader or viewer knows the piece in order to analyze it. But even then, the ending shouldn't told be in the title of the critical piece—it's more considerate to title something "About That Big Star Wars Reveal" than "About R2D2 Having Hitler's Brain."

That said, the accidental revelation of an ending is no big deal. Like stepping on someone's toe, it happens. Only jerks do it on purpose.

The intentional revelation, though? A story spoilered cannot be unspoilered. I oppose the death penalty, but I'd make an exception for those who love to spoil.

ETA: There's no such thing as new stories and old ones. There's just stories you haven't read and stories you have.

ETA: If you wouldn't reveal the end of a mystery, don't reveal the end of any story. All stories are mysteries when first experienced. #spoilers

ETA: I saw Citizen Kane for the first time at a revival house not long after this Peanuts cartoon came out. Among the minor regrets of my life is that thanks to Schulz, I missed the opportunity to experience the movie as Orson Welles had intended. Click to embiggen if you wish.