Let me start off by posting a few memes I’ve come across in the past 48 hours:
Now, I’ve talked about this before, but I feel the need to reiterate. You might think I’m a bad geek for saying this, or insist that I don’t really love Star Wars (which would be utterly false), but let me say this right now:
GET OVER YOURSELVES, YOU RAVING NUTBALLS!
Look, I get it – you don’t want somebody spoiling Star Wars for you. Fine. That’s fair. Spoiling somebody else’s fun is a jerk move. That, however, doesn’t mean you get to tromp around the internet lighting fire to anybody who wants to discuss a movie they just saw and didn’t appropriately warn you beforehand. You’re acting like spoiled children. It’s embarrassing.
I don’t want the movie spoiled for me, either. If some jerk comes along and deliberately spoils the movie in the comments of this post, for example, that makes them a consummate ass and no friend of mine. But accidental spoilers are a different thing entirely. So is having a conversation about an experience other people haven’t had. Even beyond all that, there is the simple fact that it is just a goddamned movie and you should act like a fucking grown-up.
It’s times like this that make me feel like I’m not a geek after all. I mean, hell, I play (and sometimes write) role-playing games, I have a Warhammer 40,000 hobby, I write science fiction and fantasy, I’ve LARPed, gone to movie premieres in costume, I love Star Wars, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings and the rest of it…but I’m not a fanatic. I’m just not. I am not freaking out right now. I’m excited to see The Force Awakens (I see it tomorrow), but I’m not bouncing off the walls, eight-year-old-on-Christmas-Eve excited.
Irrational, blind enthusiasm for things is always, has always been, something that freaks me out. People who paint their chests at football games are basically an alien species. The people who scour every second of movie trailers to reveal the smallest hints at prospective plot points are as bizarre to me as Donald Trump supporters (well, maybe not Trump…how about Cruz supporters? Yeah, that’s still pretty freaking gonzo nuts). I do not get it. I recognize that it’s a central part of our species – fanaticism is as old as ideas themselves – but I am not comfortable with it. I cannot turn off my rational brain and allow the emotional one to take the reins. Not over something like a movie, anyway.
So go forth, enjoy the movie, discuss it with friends. But don’t go burning bridges with Uncle Hank because he accidentally let something slip. Don’t cuss out some teenage cousin because they “ruined” something so insignificant as a Star Wars movie. Yes, I said insignificant. Because it is. I might love it, you might love it, but ultimately it’s just a movie about things that never happened in a place that doesn’t exist. It probably doesn’t even rise to the level of art (and if it did, spoiling it would be impossible, anyway – you can’t “spoil” The Great Gatsby or VanGogh’s Starry Night). It should never rise to the level where we would jeopardize our friendships and emotional well-being over it. That’s childish.
I remember once I had a book spoiled for me (accidentally) by a friend. I snapped at her about it. She snapped back. It was then that I realized she was right. It was childish and selfish of me; I had no right to act that way.
Neither do you.
- The Iron Ring is coming off a hell of a run after being selected as Book Bub’s “Fantasy pick of the day” about a week ago. It peaked at #2 overall on Amazon for Fantasy e-books! It is still on sale for 0.99, but probably not for much longer. Act now!
- My short story, “Adaptation and Predation” has been published by Escape Pod science fiction podcasts. It’s the first time an audio recording of one of my stories has been done, which is pretty damned cool. The story is set in The Union of Stars, so if that world of mine had piqued your interest at all, go and check it out now – it’s free!
People get angry over the dumbest things.
Exhibit One: Spoilers
I get it – you don’t want the ending of something ruined for you. That’s fine, and I’ve been there before. As someone who loves stories, I try not to spoil things for my friends; case in point, I was on the verge of watching the third act of The Shawshank Redemption the other day when my wife commented that she’d never seen the movie. Since we were catching it halfway through, I turned off the television and pointed out that it would really be better if she watched the whole thing sometime (mental note: purchase Shawshank Redemption). I did this because I’d like her to fully enjoy the movie as I did, as the end of that film is one of the greatest in film history.
But if I’d left it on, what then? Would my wife freak out and cover her ears like a child, yelling ‘Spoiler Alert?’ Would she be mad at me for ‘ruining’ the movie for her forever? Would she leap across the room and try to wrestle the remote from my hands to prevent her premature knowledge of Andy Dufresne’s fate?
Obviously not; she’s a grown-ass woman. Yet, we see geeks and nerds and so on acting this way frequently. It’s almost become a socially acceptable form of nervous breakdown – by dint of the fact that you have yet to see/read thing X from start to finish, you reserve the right to silence all conversation involving X in your presence. If denied, it is acceptable for you to stuff your fingers in your ears and throw a half-humorous (but that means half-serious!) tantrum. It’s, frankly, ridiculous. We shouldn’t indulge in it if we value our dignity.
The other side of the coin, though, is those out there who seek to spoil. These folks I fundamentally do not understand. They are the guys who scour the internet for sneak peeks of Batman’s newest costume or hunt down scripts to the latest scifi movie. They’re the ones who lurk in the depths of various internet forums attempting to access the secret ending to some book before that book is even available. What the hell is wrong with these people, exactly? Why can’t they wait like a normal person and enjoy the story when it is available? It’s just a movie, for God’s sake! You aren’t revealing some world-altering detail that we all need to know, you’re just frothing at the mouth to consume any vestige or dreg of your favorite movie franchise that you’re behaving like a lunatic. Calm down! You will get to read the book, I promise. Why do you want to know aspects of the plot right now? Furthermore, why the hell do you feel the need to tell everyone else until, inevitably, is scrolls across my Facebook feed?
I accept that nerd/geek culture is filled with people overly enthusiastic about their favorite stories. That is, indeed, a recognized facet of the subculture. This, however, does not absolve us from behaving like mature human beings. If somebody spoils a story, you don’t get to freak out. It, ultimately, really isn’t that big a deal, so act with a little class. On the other side of the coin, though, don’t go about spoiling things just because you can. Wait. Be patient – the movie will come out, you will get to see it, and then you can talk about it with your friends to your heart’s content. And, should you and your friends start talking about how awesome Thor 2 was, those present who still want to see it and object to having it spoiled should have the good grace to excuse themselves from the conversation without shrieking at you. We’re grown-ups, folks – act like it.