Spoiler alert! June 25, 2005 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Please edit this comment in the AskMe conspiracy-movie thread to remove the spoiler.
posted by nicwolff to Etiquette/Policy at 9:30 AM (114 comments total)

What's the statute of limitations on movie spoilers? Fifty years? Sixty?
posted by ColdChef at 10:17 AM on June 25, 2005


I'm sorry, but if the movie came out during the goddamn Kennedy administration and the actor's status as the villain is practically general knowledge, then it's not a freakin' spoiler.
posted by scody at 10:39 AM on June 25, 2005


It's not even as if there is any doubt that Angela Lansbury is a villian when you watch the movie ... (which, by the way, is The Manchurian Candidate.)

Oh, and while I'm at it, Dorothy wakes up and realizes it was all a dream, and rosebud is a sled.
posted by crunchland at 11:19 AM on June 25, 2005


A fucking sled?!
posted by xmutex at 11:25 AM on June 25, 2005


And Soylent Green is people!!!

And that lady in "The Crying Game"...
posted by wendell at 11:26 AM on June 25, 2005


Oh, and Romeo and Juliet both die at the end.
posted by xmutex at 11:28 AM on June 25, 2005


In defense of nicwolff's comment--I didn't actually know about the nature of Lansbury's character before I saw The Manchurian Candidate (I thought, "Hey, that's the lady from Murder, She Wrote and that's it), and the film was much better for that.
posted by Prospero at 11:39 AM on June 25, 2005


Romeo and Juliet die?? Damn you, xmutex! Just because crunchland ruined a movie for you doesn't mean you have to take it out on the rest of us! Don't you dare tell me how Hamlet comes out; I'm hoping he and Ophelia will get back together...
posted by languagehat at 11:43 AM on June 25, 2005


I'm with nicwolff. The inclusion of the spoiler adds nothing to the thread/answer/recommendation and has the potential of worsening the viewing experience.
posted by dobbs at 12:10 PM on June 25, 2005


In Million Dollar Baby, she becomes paralyzed and asks her trainer to kill her, which he does.

The Titanic sinks, and Jack dies.

That new Batman movie actually sucks.
posted by odinsdream at 12:25 PM on June 25, 2005


At the end of Star Wars Episode III Anakin Skywalker becomes . . . oh, I can't say it, it's just too delicious!
posted by brain_drain at 12:48 PM on June 25, 2005


[In Metatalk thread #9716, Smart Dalek agrees with nicwolff and his supporters, while wondering aloud if anyone felt Jason "Ken Jennings Was Already Old News" Kottke was treated unfairly by Sony Entertainment...or if anyone's going to mind if the juicy parts of the Serenity movie are posted to the blue three hours into the film's opening weekend...]
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:51 PM on June 25, 2005


What's the statute of limitations on movie spoilers? Fifty years? Sixty?

Forgive me, but I don't really your logic here. Because something is old, it's therefore been assumed that everyone has seen it? Or because it's old, the value of its surprises have somehow depreciated and are therefore up for spoiling?

I think spoilers are bad as well.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 1:01 PM on June 25, 2005


jesus christ, let's all go fucking bumper bowling and be done with it.
posted by fishfucker at 1:05 PM on June 25, 2005


Saying Angela Lansbury is the villain ISN'T A FUCKING SPOILER. Giving away the whole plot is. Sweet Santa on a sleigh ride, are we not supposed to refer to the relevant plot points and character arcs in any movie for fear that someone out there hasn't seen it?
posted by scody at 1:44 PM on June 25, 2005


You know, I never saw that movie. Not much point now, I suppose.

Assholes.
posted by yhbc at 2:50 PM on June 25, 2005


somebody's wound up a little tight today, eh scody?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:54 PM on June 25, 2005


In Gone With The Wind, tomorrow is another day.
In Chinatown, she's a daughter AND a sister.
In On The Waterfront, Terry could have been a contender.
And Bonnie & Clyde do not live to a ripe old age.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:02 PM on June 25, 2005


At the end of Maelstrom the main character is still a loathesome shitharpie.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 3:07 PM on June 25, 2005


Why don't we just ban discussions of all movies?

An aversion to spoilers is one thing; demanding compliance from everyone, to the point of calling for the suppression of other people's expression, should be classified as a nervous disorder.

Plot's only one aspect; it's possible to enjoy a movie while still knowing how it turns out.
posted by mcwetboy at 3:08 PM on June 25, 2005


yhbc: don't act so petulant, and don't call me an asshole. There's still plenty to see and enjoy about Manchurian Candidate. It's a great, thrilling, complex, richly satisfying film, even if you know going into it that Lansbury isn't the heroine -- as I did the first damn time I saw it. It's not some super-secret twist like in The Crying Game, for goodness sake.
posted by scody at 3:21 PM on June 25, 2005


Mary, Mother of God, I'm sorry.

I was trying to give an incentive to see the movie: Angela Lansbury.

Mr. Haughey or that jessamyn user can edit my post, post-haste.

Please, if you would like to see a good movie, see a good movie like the Manchurian Candidate. (I thought with the recent remake the cat would be out of the bag.)
posted by Colloquial Collision at 3:50 PM on June 25, 2005


It turns out that Mary wasn't God's mother after all, but his aunt.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 3:54 PM on June 25, 2005


Yes, I know. But how to convince my Catholic friends...
posted by Colloquial Collision at 4:02 PM on June 25, 2005


scody, yhbc's joking. Take a breather.
posted by jonson at 4:39 PM on June 25, 2005


Samuel L. Jackson's character in some other old-ass movie:

"Nigga Please!"
posted by snsranch at 5:32 PM on June 25, 2005


odinsdream : "In Million Dollar Baby, she becomes paralyzed and asks her trainer to kill her, which he does."

Fucker.

Guess I'll scratch that off my list of movies to watch. Fucking movie is still in the theaters. They haven't even given an estimated date for DVD release here.

Odinsdream moves from "list of Mefi members I like" to "list of people to kill".
posted by Bugbread at 6:36 PM on June 25, 2005


In the '70's movie Sunday Bloody Sunday, nothing actually happens, except I think the dog is hit by a car. The movie was a hit with the critics; everyone else went to sleep.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:43 PM on June 25, 2005


Last Year at Marienbad sucks. There, I said it.
posted by kenko at 7:19 PM on June 25, 2005


They kiss.
posted by Tuwa at 7:23 PM on June 25, 2005


Yo, bugbread

July 12
posted by cyphill at 7:42 PM on June 25, 2005


Yo, cyphill

I don't live in Region 1
posted by Bugbread at 7:49 PM on June 25, 2005


& things don't turn out really well for Tony in Scarface.
posted by juggernautco at 8:03 PM on June 25, 2005


Sorry bugbread.

I think I need a disclaimer below all my comments that reads "this post was crafted in America, and thus reflects only and American POV. The author is not liable for any falseness of information due to the reader

belonging to another religion
living in another country
having a different skin color
having a different educational background"
posted by cyphill at 8:28 PM on June 25, 2005


Because something is old, it's therefore been assumed that everyone has seen it?

Yes, that's correct.

I, however, have never seen the movie in question.

Regardless, it's a fair and reasonable assumption.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:29 PM on June 25, 2005


Everyone is probably in agreement that dropping a spoilerbomb on the day a movie comes out is a bad thing; everybody is probably in agreement that giving away the end of Romeo and Juliet is a non-thing; so the question isn't really "is there a statute of limitations?", but "at what point does saying the ending stop being assholy?"

I'd say it'd be nice to at least wait two years (considering that that's about the longest release date gap between countries, with the occasional exception ("Clerks" was released in Japan 6 years after it was released in America)).

Not that there should be a rule or anything. It's just a nice thing to do.
posted by Bugbread at 8:41 PM on June 25, 2005


I said: Because something is old, it's therefore been assumed that everyone has seen it?

stavros said: Yes, that's correct.

Regardless, it's a fair and reasonable assumption.


No, it's a ridiculous assumption. Which was my point. Though I'd love to hear an argument as to why I'm wrong.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:47 PM on June 25, 2005


Quite the ridiculous assumption. Some of us are still actively working and exploring our way through genres. Giving away the ending of a movie that was at the time shocking its viewers with its twist ending or weepy ending or whatever ending is to cheat us out of the selfsame experience. What a mean-spirited thing to do!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:27 PM on June 25, 2005


No, it's a ridiculous assumption.

Oh come on, just because you're late to the party, you can't expect everyone else to keep their hands off the hors d'oeuvres.
posted by kindall at 9:35 PM on June 25, 2005


Odinsdream moves from "list of Mefi members I like" to "list of people to kill".


What bugbread said re Million Dollar Baby.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:38 PM on June 25, 2005


Oh come on, just because you're late to the party, you can't expect everyone else to keep their hands off the hors d'oeuvres.

What does that even mean? I'm not suggesting that others shouldn't watch movies; just not to assume that everyone has seen everything.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:47 PM on June 25, 2005


Guess I'll scratch that off my list of movies to watch. Fucking movie is still in the theaters. They haven't even given an estimated date for DVD release here.

So the only reason to watch a movie is to find out how it ends? This isn't Agatha Christie we're talking about here. C'mon.... the experience of Going To The Movies is not about the plot ... its about the performances, the lighting, the world that is created, the journey. If you're only going to a movie to "see how it ends" then I'd advise you to rethink what it is that you get out of movies. You're missing about 7/10ths of the experience.

Go see it anyway. Often the journey means more when you already know the destination.
posted by anastasiav at 9:58 PM on June 25, 2005


SeizeTheDay : "No, it's a ridiculous assumption.

Kindall : "Oh come on, just because you're late to the party, you can't expect everyone else to keep their hands off the hors d'oeuvres."

You're misreading the assumption. The assumption was "if it's old, everyone has seen it". That assumption is ridiculuous. This whole thread is proof of that. If the assumption was correct, this discussion would never come up.

You're talking about a different assumption, which is that it's OK to talk about the endings of movies if they're old. That assumption may or may not be incorrect, but it isn't the assumption that SeizeTheDay and FiveFreshFish were calling ridiculous (though, of course, I suspect that they would find this second, more important assumption to be incorrect as well).

anastasiav : "So the only reason to watch a movie is to find out how it ends? This isn't Agatha Christie we're talking about here. C'mon.... the experience of Going To The Movies is not about the plot ... its about the performances, the lighting, the world that is created, the journey. If you're only going to a movie to 'see how it ends' then I'd advise you to rethink what it is that you get out of movies. You're missing about 7/10ths of the experience."

No, the only reason is not to find out how it ends. I could go to themoviespoiler.com for that. But the experience of Going To The Movies (actually, I don't go to the movies, I go to the Video Rental Shop) is about the plot, and the performances, the lighting, the world that is created. But unless we're talking about art videos or the hopelessly banal, the plot is a big part of it. The plot is not a vehicle for people to show off their acting chops, the plot and the acting are the wheels that carry The Story. Movies, for the most part, are about The Story. If they weren't, you could just chop them up and show them in any order. After all, the acting is all there, the lighting is all there... Or, perhaps I should say, instead of The Story, "The Experience". It's a cumulative affair. Million Dollar Baby with a given away ending isn't nearly as much of an Experience, I'd imagine. In the same way, if the cast of Million Dollar Baby all wore Daffy Duck costumes, the Experience would be greatly diminished. If they all acted as woodenly as porn actors, the Experience would be greatly diminished.

This is especially true with realistic movies (as opposed to sci-fi, action, horror, etc.). You get drawn into the character's world. You think of them as real people. You want to know what is going to become of them, whether they overcome their problems or be crushed by them. The ending isn't the only thing that's important, the process that gets them there is. But the process rests on the ending. It's like a sweater: the last knot isn't the only part of the sweater that's important, but if that knot comes undone, the rest of the sweater falls apart, leaving you with yarn (lighting, acting), which is cool and all, and great fun to play with if you have cats, but sure isn't as cool as having a sweater.

As you say, if you're only going to see how it ends, you're missing the other 70%. But if you know how it ends, you're missing 30%. I like movies, but I don't think I'm going to invest two hours to see something 30% off.
posted by Bugbread at 10:20 PM on June 25, 2005


(and to be clear, I'm not trying to be a MeTa whiner here. I wouldn't have thought of the international time gap either back when I was at home. And I don't think we need a rule or anything. It's just a plea: "Hey, remember us folks living outside North America. Please." And, uh, I guess, a death threat on odinsdream (sorry, man, but you know how it is). Past that, just plain ole discussion about What Movies Are)
posted by Bugbread at 10:36 PM on June 25, 2005


Does anyone have a link the the classic metatalk spoiler thread?
posted by drezdn at 10:52 PM on June 25, 2005


RIN DIK says "ferk. bilillik!"
posted by quonsar at 11:23 PM on June 25, 2005


Any possibility of prefacing comments containing spoilers with a [Contains spoiler] note?
posted by Frisbee Girl at 12:41 AM on June 26, 2005


As you say, if you're only going to see how it ends, you're missing the other 70%. But if you know how it ends, you're missing 30%. I like movies, but I don't think I'm going to invest two hours to see something 30% off.

By this assumption, though, you're effectively arguing that people don't talk about movies at all, because every word we say is taking away something from the "perfect movie experience". People talk about the plots, the cinematography, the dialogue, show clips from the movies, talk to the actors about it...are you saying that all of these should be stopped so that you can get The Entire 100% Movie Experience?

If you're not, what, then, is the basis for your argument that talking about the ending is worse than talking about any other part of the movie? I don't get it.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 4:47 AM on June 26, 2005


I don't get it.

I'm not sure if you're faking idiocy or actually being an idiot, but I can't believe that any normal person has a problem understanding why people don't want to know the ending of a movie before they see it. Yes, you can see it again, knowing the ending, and perhaps even a deeper and more fulfilling experience, but that doesn't mean you don't want to have that first time.
posted by languagehat at 6:32 AM on June 26, 2005


classic MeTa spoiler thread [WARNING: spoilers]

and isn't it sort of clear early on that Lansbury is going to be some sort of evil bitch, in that movie?
posted by jessamyn at 6:51 AM on June 26, 2005


Yes, you can see it again, knowing the ending, and perhaps even a deeper and more fulfilling experience, but that doesn't mean you don't want to have that first time.

I want a lot of things in life but whether or not they're reasonable is a different matter, languagehat. The idea that "the ending" is the most important, sacred part of the movie and that we should tippytoe around it years after it's been produced is not reasonable.

I do think that there's a certain level of jerkness that's involved in spoiling a new movie for a large number of people but we can't be expected to avoid every single person's "movies I haven't seen" list. That's unreasonable as many of us actually enjoy discussing movies openly.

I'm not sure if you're faking idiocy or actually being an idiot, but I can't believe that any normal person has a problem understanding why people don't want to know the ending of a movie before they see it.

I don't understand why people put such a premium on the ending, considering the majority of movie endings are not spectacular in any way. I think it's one of those traditional responses that noone really thinks out enough to realize how dumb it is.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 6:56 AM on June 26, 2005


*sigh*

OK, you're responding in a civilized way to my heat-induced snarkiness, so I'll play nice. Yes, "the majority of movie endings are not spectacular in any way," but we're not talking about those movies, we're talking about movies with endings that might be considered a surprise. No one's complaining that someone told them that the couple got together in Your Basic Romantic Comedy. So that's a red herring. And yes, many of us enjoy discussing movies openly, including me, but it's only fair to do so in a way that warns people who haven't seen the movie to avoid the discussion. "Did you like the end of Surprise-Ending Movie? [Warning: spoilers!]": good. Casual mention of end of movie in a totally different thread: not good. Is that so difficult?
posted by languagehat at 7:24 AM on June 26, 2005


If you're not, what, then, is the basis for your argument that talking about the ending is worse than talking about any other part of the movie? I don't get it.

Because the ending of a spoilable movie (most aren't) is the only thing that can be ruined by talking about it. Because it's the surprise and the tension of not knowing that makes a surprise ending into an experience. There's no element of surprise in the cinematography or acting or the set-up of the car chase scenes that's ruined by knowing about it in advance. A breathtaking vista lovingly filmed through softly focused lenses is still a breaktaking vista lovingly filmed through softly focused lenses, even if you know it's coming. Talking about it in advance doesn't lessen the visual impact. On the other hand, a surprise is not a surprise if you already know about it.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:29 AM on June 26, 2005


Casual mention of end of movie in a totally different thread: not good.

Honestly, it took me a little bit to realize that saying A.L was the villain was even a spoiler. It just seemed like a really good reason to see the movie.

I don't really disagree with you, languagehat, that basic human decency dictates that a warning would be pretty good.
I just think that expecting people to avoid harmless mentions of decades old movies is a little bit too far, but I'm fairly sure that's just based on my view of movie-watching. To each their own, or something to that extent.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 7:35 AM on June 26, 2005


I've never minded spoilers, but then, I've been known to read books backwards. I'm able to appreciate a storyline as a whole, even if I've consumed it in non-sequential pieces. I see story writing and appreciation the same way programmers appreciate code. It doesn't matter which part you look at first, as long as you can enjoy and appreciate the whole picture.

If a movie/book/plotline is so weak that it has to rely soley on the elements of shock and/or surprise, it can't be that good of a story.

And I don't see why people can't excersize a little self control and just not read anything anywhere about any given movie or work of fiction if they really want to preserve whatever novelty it is that they're trying to preserve.

Which is why movie critics and reviews confuse me. Why even bother going to some supposed authority to tell you if something is good or bad, when it's such an ultimately subjective experience anyway. I bet someone out there even enjoyed Gigli, despite all the negative criticism.

Is a the dining experience of eating at a restaurant that you've read a review about ruined when they tell you what's for dessert?
posted by loquacious at 8:52 AM on June 26, 2005


On a similar tip to loquacious' comments above, I found out some time ago that even if every reviewer tries to avoid spoilers, they all tend to hint at them in some way that reading enough careful reviews explains all the twists anyway. And enough reviews to spoil it might be four, which is what happened to me with Hannibal. (Which might be why I disliked it so much, or maybe it really was that much worse than The Silence of the Lambs.)

So ... how much is the reviewer's responsibility not to "spoil it," and how much is the filmgoer's?

semi-spoiler below:
(And yes, four reviews was enough to make it apparent about dinner, and more dinner, and the consequences of being bound.)
posted by Tuwa at 9:13 AM on June 26, 2005


Tuwa: No, Hannibal just sucked.
posted by cyphill at 9:42 AM on June 26, 2005


Yeah, I haven't seen the movie (and have no desire to) but the book was a huge letdown. Like lots of other people, I'd been blown away by Silence of the Lambs (I was so hooked I kept reading it as I was walking on a nature trail with my family) and was eagerly awaiting the followup. Years later, it finally came... and it was not just bad, it was in-your-face, take-that bad. It's as if the guy resented everyone for liking his plucky heroine and bugging him about a sequel and decided to stick it to them. Fuck you, Thomas Harris.

I don't really disagree with you, languagehat

I don't really disagree with you, either, I was just hot and testy. And I agree that the Angela thing wasn't really a spoiler; the woman was a nasty piece of work from the outset. I was just addressing the general question.
posted by languagehat at 9:55 AM on June 26, 2005


I had this conversation with a friend last night:

"Have you seen The Manchurian Candidate?"
"Yes--the Frankenheimer one, not the remake."
"If someone had said to you beforehand, 'Hey, see this movie--Angela Lansbury makes a great villain,' would that bother you?"
"That's a spoiler. Whoever said that ought to be stabbed."

To be fair, I used to be as cavalier about spoilers as some of the rest of you, and I assumed that the statute of limitations on them wasn't more than a year or so, until I had the pleasure of watching The Empire Strikes Back with a woman in her late twenties who, honest to God, did not know the ending beforehand. Having the vicarious experience of being surprised by events in the final act of ESB is one of the most fun times I've had while watching a film.
posted by Prospero at 11:05 AM on June 26, 2005


But Hecubus, I haven't seen that movie!
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:20 AM on June 26, 2005


And anyway, it's much more fun to make up fake spoilers for movies. Like "In Million Dollar Baby, she returns the giraffes to the wild, but ends up getting eaten by zombies."

Fun!
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:22 AM on June 26, 2005


Is a the dining experience of eating at a restaurant that you've read a review about ruined when they tell you what's for dessert?
Oh don't be so fucking stupid. It is so simple - people like twists in movies to surprise them the first time they see that movie. If you are too retarded to understand that, then fine, just take it from me, it pisses people off. Don't do it. Simple, no? Another thing for the hard of thinking among you, if you are say 20 years old, it is unlikely that you will have seen every film released in the last 50 years, so don't make the assumption that everyone has seen the same films you have.
Forfucksake, nobody is saying don't talk about any aspect of any film ever, just that if you want to talk about a plot point that is supposed to be a surprise, then give people fair warning about it.
posted by chill at 11:40 AM on June 26, 2005


Chill, chill.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 11:58 AM on June 26, 2005


I'm stupid because I can critique and appreciate a good storyline by simply being able to conceptualize the whole, completist perspective and structure of the work without having to always experience it in a purely linear fashion?

Durrr. Maybe I am autistic.

I generally don't reveal spoilers. Frankly, I really rarely talk about movies, which may explain my adaptability to non-linear appreciation. I'm fairly good about reviewing works of art and literature and giving a synopsis of the, uh, general point of any given work without spoiling it.

Unless asked. Or I get excited about describing something I like a lot and I forget that people dislike spoilers for some reason unfathomable to me.

But the whole point of describing something - even using spoilers - is to convince the recipient of the description that they might enjoy the work and to go experience it for themselves.

And it's a very subtle thing to try to describe any work of art without "giving away spoilers" or even worse, coloring the viewers own perspective of the work itself with your own perspective and interpretation. If anyone wants to bunch up their panties about something, it should be that, not the continued coddling of clumsily manipulative crap-works that rely solely on spoilers to titillate.

In the same way an ID3 tag describing and naming an MP3 isn't the same as listening to it, a meta-description of any work - movie, literature, visual art or music - isn't the work itself. It's not the experience of partaking of the work itself.

The imagery and symbology of a map is not the actual, physical terrain.

That's why I stand by my statement of claiming that only weak works of art rely on spoilers.

Almost everyone knows how Romeo and Juliet ends. That doesn't make it any lesser of a work art to know that, especially when it's well executed and presented. I know how most of my MP3s begin, progress, and end. That doesn't stop me from listening to them.

Here's a spoiler for you: Eventually, you're going to die. Everyone is eventually going to die. Our Sun is going to die, or maybe explode. The whole fucking universe is probable going to come to an end and run out of energy at some point - even if it might be reborn, the point is probably moot.

Does that stop you from trying to enjoy your life regardless?
posted by loquacious at 12:27 PM on June 26, 2005


These comments went from funny to "don't be so fucking stupid" really fast.

I have to say, as a person whose only posted derailing comments in this thread that I think in some cases it is inappropriate to reveal spoilers, but, I have to agree with loquacious here. I accidentally heard about the "twist" in Million Dollar Baby because a dick on the radio decided it was amoral and he had to warn people not to see it. I saw the movie a month later, and the fact that I knew what was going to happen didn't effect my enjoyment of the movie at all.

Of course we all know movies that revealing the spoiler basically ruins the whole thing - Usual Suspects, The Machinist, Fight Club -because these movies are entirely reliant on the twist. But movies like the Manchurian candidate are so deeply stinted in atmosphere and plot developments that revealing Angela Lansbury as a villain really doesn't hurt the viewing of the movie at all.
*spoilers*
She isn't the head villain by any means, and from her first appearance, dominating the potential prez we know she isn't the nicest person. In every scene she has she controls the people around her effortlessly, the filmmakers are not trying to hide the fact that she is a villain.
posted by cyphill at 12:46 PM on June 26, 2005


Oh, ok. That settles it. It's bad because Prospero's friend says so.
posted by crunchland at 1:23 PM on June 26, 2005


There are two debates here. There's the debate as to whether we should allow spoilers on the site and that's a reasonable debate, it's the other debate I don't understand.

Person1: I don't like to hear about the major plot points before I see a movie because it spoils my enjoyment
Person2: You are wrong, it doesn't.

Huh? That's the equivilent of:

Person1: I don't like oranges, they make me vomit.
Person2: You are wrong, oranges are delicious.

If someone says it spoils their enjoyment of a movie can't you just take their word for it.
posted by dodgygeezer at 1:26 PM on June 26, 2005


***SPOILER***





In The Wizard of Oz, Episode II: The Bitch is Back, the Wicked Witch of the West reveals to Dorothy that she is her father.
posted by cytherea at 1:36 PM on June 26, 2005


dflemingdotorg : "If you're not, what, then, is the basis for your argument that talking about the ending is worse than talking about any other part of the movie? I don't get it."

It's (again) that the ending is the lynchpin of the movie, upon which the remainder of the movie hinges. I don't live in a house just because it has a foundation. A foundation is not the only important part of a house. But if a house's foundation is made of elmer's glue and sand, I'm way less likely to live in that house, regardless of how cool the door frames and wallpaper is.

loquacious : "If a movie/book/plotline is so weak that it has to rely soley on the elements of shock and/or surprise, it can't be that good of a story."

Yes, it can. It can be a movie where you believe A is happening, and the end makes you reevaluate the entire movie, reinterpret certain conversations. A movie where the knowledge of the twist can cause the second viewing to be a totally different experience. Or, rather, I totally agree with you, exactly as you phrase it: "If a movie/book/plotline is so weak that it has to rely soley on the elements of shock and/or surprise, it can't be that good of a story", with the corollary addition "If a movie/book/plotline is so strong that it fully utilizes the elements of shock and/or surprise to an effective end, it must be that good of a story".

loquacious : "Is a the dining experience of eating at a restaurant that you've read a review about ruined when they tell you what's for dessert?"

No, because anticipation of what the desert will be is not one of the more critical parts of a meal.

loquacious : "Almost everyone knows how Romeo and Juliet ends. That doesn't make it any lesser of a work art to know that"

Not any less of a work of art, but (for some), a less enjoyable work of art. I've known the ending of Romeo and Juliet forever. The first time I read it, there was no tension. No anticipation. No "what's going to happen". It was like opening presents on a Christmas when you already know what you got: a mechanical process, with occasional note taken to the quality of the wrapping paper or the ornateness of the bow. After all, the issue isn't how good the art is: the greatest painting ever made, locked in a vault with no viewing allowed, is still the greatest painting ever made. The issue isn't whether knowing certain elements makes a work less good, but whether it makes it less enjoyable.

loquacious : "Here's a spoiler for you: Eventually, you're going to die."

We all know that, ipso facto it is not a spoiler.

Loquacious, I understand that you don't think knowledge of the endings of movies devalues them (despite the fact that we have multiple people here telling you that it does for them). And I understand that you consider yourself superior in some way for being able to grok things better than we. And, of course, I consider myself better than you for being able to grok the importance of surprise. So you're better than me for not valuing surprise/anticipation, and I'm better than you for valuing surprise/anticipation. But I think I may get extra points, because I can fathom your opinions, but you apparently can't fathom mine. Go me!
posted by Bugbread at 2:11 PM on June 26, 2005


Referring to the idea that "Because something is old, it's therefore been assumed that everyone has seen it?":

No, it's a ridiculous assumption. Which was my point. Though I'd love to hear an argument as to why I'm wrong.

Because when things have been around for a while, they become baseline cultural knowledge that you don't even need to have seen the film to know.

People know that Romeo and Juliet die, because that's part of our cultural heritage at this point, just as we know that she wonders wherefore he is Romeo. People know that Rhett walks away from Scarlett and says "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." People are aware that Ahab meets a bad end because of his burning hate and that we should call our narrator Ishmael. We all know that HAL goes nuts and sings "Daisy" as he dies. All without necessarily reading or seeing any of these works.

In a similar but less intense way, most people at least are aware of Lansbury's legendary performance as the Republican Mother From Hell, or Momzilla, and that she is in fact a villain in that film.

Revealing or noting what is (or should be) common knowledge isn't a spoiler, especially as nothing in particular hangs on that fact. Revealing what is well-known to be a twist or zinger still isn't kosher, whether the work in question is The Crying Game or "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." But this is not a case of a twist. It's obvious from the moment you meet her that Lansbury is a stone cold bitch; there's no twist or zinger in it at all -- there aren't really any twists in the whole movie, near as I can recall.

bugbread: your complaint about Romeo and Juliet is silly, since Billy S tells you in the damn prologue that they take their own lives.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:36 PM on June 26, 2005


It was like opening presents on a Christmas when you already know what you got

Excellent analogy. "Quit sniveling, kid—it's the same fucking toy and you'll enjoy it just as much; who cares whether you find out what it is before you open the package or after? Oh, and by the way, you're gonna die, so what do you care?"

Some of us like to keep from knowing endings, some of us don't care. But not caring about suspense should not be the same as not caring about the feelings of those who care about suspense.
posted by languagehat at 2:40 PM on June 26, 2005


Revealing or noting what is (or should be) common knowledge isn't a spoiler

You've demonstrated perfectly why I believe the assumption: Because something is old, it's therefore been assumed that everyone has seen it? is ridiculous.

You comment (or should be) gives your position away. You, and whomever agree with your position, are not the arbiters of what is common knowledge. Which is the point. And when there may be any doubt as to a bit of information's "commonness", caution should be applied at all times. You don't HAVE to agree with me, of course, but IMHO, it's simple courtesy to keep your mouth shut.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:46 PM on June 26, 2005


ROU_Xenophobe : "Referring to the idea that 'Because something is old, it's therefore been assumed that everyone has seen it?':

     No, it's a ridiculous assumption. Which was my point. Though I'd love to hear an argument as to why I'm wrong.

Because when things have been around for a while, they become baseline cultural knowledge that you don't even need to have seen the film to know."


Statement 1: Everyone has seen all old stuff.
Statement 2: Disagreement that everyone has seen all old stuff.
Statement 3: "Yes, [everyone has seen all old stuff] because it becomes baseline knowledge, and you don't have to see the old stuff"

Not having to see it does not mean that you've seen it. Becoming baseline knowledge does not mean that you've seen it.

Or, a more succinct proof that the statement is false: I have not seen The Manchurian Candidate (but I don't intend to, so the spoiler is a non-issue).

You can try to point out thousands of logical proofs that I've seen The Manchurian Candidate, but they will all be false, because in empirical reality, I have not.

ROU_Xenophobe : "bugbread: your complaint about Romeo and Juliet is silly, since Billy S tells you in the damn prologue that they take their own lives."

Huh, I forgot about that. Apologies.

ROU_Xenophobe : "People know that Rhett walks away from Scarlett and says 'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.'"

Actually, I didn't (again, I'm not one of the ones saying that's a bad spoiler or anything. I just actually didn't know A) Who Rhett said it to, and B) That he walked away from said person)

loquacious : "That's why I stand by my statement of claiming that only weak works of art rely on spoilers."

Weak ass Citizen Kane.
posted by Bugbread at 4:11 PM on June 26, 2005


You comment (or should be) gives your position away.

Some things should be common knowledge, though, and not just through the merit of the work. If someone (from the US) really doesn't know that Darth Vader is Luke's father, they're not a precious flower that should be protected from hearing about it; they're just ignorant.

Obviously The Manchurian Candidate isn't Star Wars, or Moby Dick, or Gone with the Wind. But there are some things out there that someone might reasonably think that people-in-general know.

You, and whomever agree with your position, are not the arbiters of what is common knowledge. Which is the point.

Sure. However. It's one thing to reveal the twist in something where there's an important twist, or to spoil the ending of a current film. That's just churlish. But talking about something that you honestly believe people just plain know is not the same thing. At worst, it's a simple factual error in proportion to how reasonable it is to think that something is common knowledge, not anything malicious. At best, from the speaker's point of view, it says more about the complainer than anything else.

Like above. If bugbread is from the US, I'm astonished that there are (reasonably literate) adults who don't know that scene from GwtW. Doesn't mean I think he's dumb or illiterate, but that I was mistaken in thinking that that scene had percolated down to common-knowledge stuff.

It doesn't apply in this case anyway. Stating that Lansbury is a villain isn't a spoiler any more than it is to state that Sauron, Darth Vader, or Snidely Whiplash are villains. It's blindingly obvious that she's a villain from the get-go; she might as well have a big hat with a neon arrow pointing down to her and a giant flashing VILLAIN!!! on top. Nor does knowing that Lansbury is the villain before you see movie, instead of 10 seconds into her first scene, tell you the first bloody thing about the ending of the film, singing octomapuses and all.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:22 PM on June 26, 2005


The big surprise in Cars is that all the characters get spoilers. appropriately enough.

Oh, and Shepherd Book gets killed halfway through Serenity.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:41 PM on June 26, 2005


Bugbread, if you feel that Citizen Kane relied entirely on the fact the rosebud was a sled, you need to review and rethink that film.
posted by cyphill at 5:47 PM on June 26, 2005


What cyphill said.

The key words in my argument are "rely" and "solely".

Shakespeare didn't rely on surprise plot twists. Neither did Citizen Kane. Neither do any good and merited works of art that I can immediately consider.

I don't consider myself superior. And certainly not because I can appreciate these things non-linearly. I haven't attacked any person, especially not anyone here. I've attacked sub-par creative works - and for fuck's sake, that's just opinion. There's plenty of stuff I enjoy - even oranges - that others may feel free to loathe.

And again, I do my damnedest to not reveal spoilers. Therefore, any anger directed towards me by any reader of my words is grossly misdirecting that anger. Go me.
posted by loquacious at 8:14 PM on June 26, 2005


ROU_Xenophobe : "If bugbread is from the US, I'm astonished that there are (reasonably literate) adults who don't know that scene from GwtW. Doesn't mean I think he's dumb or illiterate, but that I was mistaken in thinking that that scene had percolated down to common-knowledge stuff."

Sorry, as mentioned above, I'm not in a region 1 country, hence the whole discussion. My part in this discussion isn't "don't give away any endings ever", but "remember us non-US/Canadians who live in countries where the movie just came out in the cinemas a few weeks ago". Not "never say the ending", but "wait a little longer than you think is necessary, because common movie knowledge in the US isn't necessarily common knowledge overseas yet."

cyphill : "Bugbread, if you feel that Citizen Kane relied entirely on the fact the rosebud was a sled, you need to review and rethink that film."

Fair point. I interpreted loquacious's comment as implying that works with twists are thereby relying on the twist and as such sub-par. If we separate loq's statements into the three camps "movies which rely solely on a twist", "movies which rely, but not solely, on a twist", and "movies which do not rely, but are benefitted by, a twist", then I'll agree that category one movies are by nature sub-par.

Category one movies would be things like bad action or suspense movies where it turns out oh-my-god-his-wife-is-the-killer. Completely reliant, solely, on the twist (the twist is necessary and sufficient for enjoyment of the movie).
Category two movies would be things such as murder mysteries, where in addition to the twist, there is fine acting, intricate plot, wonderful lighting, what-have-you. Completely reliant on the twist, but not solely on the twist (that is, the twist is necessary but not sufficient for enjoyment of the movie).
Category three movies would be, perhaps, stuff like Citizen Kane. Not reliant on the twist at all, but benefitted by it (neither necessary nor sufficient).

If twists/endings are so unimportant, one does have to wonder why Welles would bother with the whole setup. Why doesn't he just tell you at the start of the movie that Rosebud is the sled?

loquacious : "I don't consider myself superior. And certainly not because I can appreciate these things non-linearly. I haven't attacked any person, especially not anyone here. I've attacked sub-par creative works - and for fuck's sake, that's just opinion. There's plenty of stuff I enjoy - even oranges - that others may feel free to loathe."

Come on, loq, I may have overstated my position, but you're understating it here. Saying "I don't like this movie", like "I don't like this orange", is not a statement of superiority or attack. "This movie (which you like) is sub-par", like "Oranges (which you like) are sub-par fruits" is clearly though indirectly stating "This is sub-par. You like it. Therefore your tastes are sub-par. Conversely, I've identified this as sub-par, therefore my tastes are not sub-par. I have, as it were, better tastes than you", which is both a (very very soft, don't get me wrong) attack, and a very clear declaration of superiority.

Sure, it's just opinion, but of course it's opinion. I mean, what else could it be? Incontrovertible fact that these works are sub-par?

I'm not saying you shouldn't say your opinion. Please don't read me that way. But when you express an opinion that you have better (as opposed to different) tastes than other people, you are also stating the opinion that you consider yourself in some way superior to them. Please, state your opinion, but be honest with yourself.

loquacious : "And again, I do my damnedest to not reveal spoilers."

Go you!

loquacious : "Therefore, any anger directed towards me by any reader of my words is grossly misdirecting that anger. Go me."

I'm not angry at you, and you aren't angry at us. Go us!
posted by Bugbread at 3:00 AM on June 27, 2005


Bruce Willis was dead the whole movie!
posted by Mach5 at 4:57 AM on June 27, 2005


Whilst we are on the subject of films, I would like to say that I saw the League of Gentlemen 'Apocalypse' film, and it was really good. Much better than Ep3 which I only enjoyed because of the immense amount of information about the film I had already seen, so I could appreciate it for it's hackneyed self. Especially the NOOOllacoaster bit. 'You don't wanna know, dude'

Whilst I do not mind spoilers I respect people's dislike of them. However, I don't think it is something to get excited about. If your escapism is ruined by having some pre-knowledge of a film then either get used to it or find a film that everyone hasn't seen, that is not part of mainstream discussion.

Extra bit of babble: If you want to live in a isolated world, experiencing every film aknew WTF are you doing watching TV, listening to radio or using the internet? These days film trailers contain the entire movie plot in some cases, so you can't even go to the cinema!

He is a hero and he has a big cock.
posted by asok at 5:37 AM on June 27, 2005


If you want to live in a isolated world, experiencing every film aknew WTF are you doing watching TV, listening to radio or using the internet? These days film trailers contain the entire movie plot in some cases, so you can't even go to the cinema!

Dunno who that's directed at, since so far no-one has indicated that they want to live in a isolated world, experiencing every film anew. Still, for those of us who don't want to live in an isolated world, but want to see movies without knowing critical surprises (as opposed to knowing absolutely nothing, like the director, the time period, the genre, etc.), the answers to your questions are:

I don't watch commercials on TV (yay hard-disk-recorder!), I don't watch celebrity news or celebrity interviews, I don't own a radio, and I don't visit film sites. I don't watch movies in theaters (they cost $18 here, which isn't worth it), and hence don't see any trailers. Works out pretty well for me. The Million Dollar Baby spoiler was the first I've eaten in something like 2 or 3 years, and I use the internet a good chunk, so it's apparently not the minefield you're supposing it is.
posted by Bugbread at 5:44 AM on June 27, 2005


If your escapism is ruined by having some pre-knowledge of a film...

Don't be a dick. The rest of us are trying to have a civilized conversation, OK?
posted by languagehat at 6:55 AM on June 27, 2005


My husband laughs at me because I won't watch trailers, and I'm usually unwilling to read the literary promo/kudos text on the back cover of a paperback because it often gives away too much for me (I read the first page of the book instead, or go by heartfelt recommendations). I like to approach books and films as nearly as possible as a perfect virgin.

And thus, I won't read threads about things that I know I want to read/see, as well as avoiding everything else I suspect might offer TMI. I don't really understand why odinsdream did the Million Dollar Baby spoiler here, because it wasn't even funny or clever. Seems like a waste.
posted by taz at 7:26 AM on June 27, 2005


taz : "I'm usually unwilling to read the literary promo/kudos text on the back cover of a paperback because it often gives away too much for me (I read the first page of the book instead, or go by heartfelt recommendations)."

Huh, me too. I didn't know other people did the "don't read promo blurbs on books" thing as well.
posted by Bugbread at 7:51 AM on June 27, 2005


"I'm usually unwilling to read the literary promo/kudos text on the back cover of a paperback because it often gives away too much for me (I read the first page of the book instead, or go by heartfelt recommendations)."

That's fascinating - I've never heard of such a thing... As a near constant, inveterate fiction reader, I just can't imagine bringing myself to do this. Do you finish every book you start? How many are disappointing??
posted by jonson at 8:32 AM on June 27, 2005


Strangely enough I knew a girl who would decide whether to read a book by reading the last page. But you know, she was a bit weird.

I'm one of those people that once I've decided I want to see a film I will try to avoid trailers, interviews, articles and anything else to do with the film - it makes things more enjoyable. Imagine if you could see Psycho without knowing all the stuff everyone knows now - it'd be mind blowing.
posted by dodgygeezer at 8:41 AM on June 27, 2005


Though I'm not the one who originally posted it, I have the same habit, and the answer is:

I finish every book I start, and few are disappointing, because I tend to read (first) books recommended by folks as "you have to read this", which tend, most of the time, to be good. If they're good, I then tend to read other books by the same author, which, again, are generally good. Then, after I've read the book, I have a habit (not goal oriented, just an odd habit) of reading reviews of the book, and inevitably (especially on the internet), people will mention that author A was clearly influenced by author B, so then I buy the highest rated/bestselling book by author B (you can easily find out which of an author's books is generally considered best without finding out the plot), and the cycle continues. In a sense, I worm my way through a particular vein.

The other thing is, when I read a book that seems remarkably different from what I've read before, when I read reviews afterwards it will inevitably name a genre I've never heard of ("Book B is an excellent example of the horrorcore detective smurflobber genre"), and then I look for the most highly recommended books by other authors within the same genre, and, again, the cycle repeats. I'm not a near-constant reader, but I do read fairly often.
posted by Bugbread at 8:43 AM on June 27, 2005


That's fascinating - I've never heard of such a thing... As a near constant, inveterate fiction reader, I just can't imagine bringing myself to do this. Do you finish every book you start? How many are disappointing??

This is why when I'm interested in any book I crack that sucker open and start reading from wherever. And if it grabs my interest from there after a few pages, I crack it again and read a few more random pages. If my tastes aren't offended after a bit of that, it's generally a keeper.

The whole debate of "spoiler vs. non-spoiler" is a pretty interesting (and often heated) microcosm of worldviews.

Some enjoy the journey, others enjoy the destination.

I think the part that bothers me about the "non-spoiler" viewpoint is that it basically amounts to an individual placing the burden of non-spoilage on everyone else but themselves.

Yeah, it's polite to not spoil plot twists, or to at least give warning that spoilers are forthcoming.

But it's also polite to not expect everyone else to refrain from discussing the work in question simply because you haven't experienced it for yourself, yet.

In the near future, technology like the contexual web or better AI would solve all of this. All of your datastreams could be tailored to self-censor anything you want, spoilers included.

I'm not entirely sure if this is good or bad, but I guess it doesn't really matter at all, because everyone would be theoretically able to choose.


Strangely enough I knew a girl who would decide whether to read a book by reading the last page. But you know, she was a bit weird.


I do this. Yes, I'm rather weird. I even find some of the stuff I do weird, which is weird. I don't bandy that about lightly. It's hard for me to accept that my geniune weirdness isn't as common as I wish it would be, but then it wouldn't be weird, would it? I promise I could tell some pretty tall, true tales - but that would be kissing and telling.
posted by loquacious at 8:56 AM on June 27, 2005


Jonson, it's extremely rare for me not to finish a book I start.

I'm never so invested in the pure idea of finishing a book that I won't give up if I'm reading it and my attention constantly wanders, but my vetting process has been pretty on target.

Many of you may be puzzled by my preference, but I'm constantly puzzled by any other approach. However, it appears that most people evidently do want to sort of read/see a synopsis in advance of seeing a film or reading a book, so I understand that I'm somewhat unusual. (But I don't demand that anybody do anything special for me... except if they are loaning me a book or recommending one, I stop them before they tell me too much, and if there's a big discussion launching of a film I haven't seen (but want to), I'll probably leave the group while that's going on.
posted by taz at 9:13 AM on June 27, 2005


loquacious writes "Some enjoy the journey, others enjoy the destination."

Some enjoy both.

loquacious writes "I think the part that bothers me about the 'non-spoiler' viewpoint is that it basically amounts to an individual placing the burden of non-spoilage on everyone else but themselves."

Nah, us non-spoilers put the burden of non-spoilage on ourselves as well.

For me, the part that bothers my about the 'spoiler' viewpoint is similar: it amounts to an individual making the choice for someone else how they should enjoy a work. It's why I don't have a problem with sites like themoviespoiler: it allows people who want to enjoy a movie one way to do so, without making that choice for anyone else. If you avoid spoilers in non-spoilery forums (or, better stated, mark your spoiler with "spoiler"), that allows people who are cool with spoilers to enjoy things the way they want, and folks who don't like spoilers to enjoy things the way they want as well.

loquacious writes "But it's also polite to not expect everyone else to refrain from discussing the work in question simply because you haven't experienced it for yourself, yet."

Which is what I was hoping would happen, and what is, I think, the most sensible solution. Not allowing people to discuss things because there are spoilers is silly. People intentionally spoiling stuff (damn you, Odinsdream) is uncool. But if people mark spoilers with ***SPOILER*** or the like, everybody wins, and the world is filled with rainbows and kittens.

The Pennyarcade forums used to have a problem with spoilers (some people wrote their spoilers in incredibly small print, but then other folks have their browser specify the minimum font size, rendering that useless), so they instituted a spoiler tag in phbb: It automatically puts things inside [spoiler] tags as black print in a black box, so you can only see the spoiler if you click and drag over the box to select (and thereby reveal) the text.

Of course, it didn't work too too well, not because people didn't use it, but because they used it to put jokes and non-spoilers. For example, "If you didn't like movie A, you might not like movie B [spoiler]because you suck[/spoiler]". So they instituted a new tag: [realspoiler]. Incredibly silly, but for some reason, as of the last time I was involved in their forums, it actually worked and was used as intended.
posted by Bugbread at 10:14 AM on June 27, 2005


What the fuck?! I post a simple spoiler-removal request - because someone may have spoiled the principal twist in a great conspiracy movie in a thread recommending conspiracy movies to people who haven't seen them! - and you post-crazy gits manage 90 comments on whether spoilers are good are bad?
posted by nicwolff at 10:32 AM on June 27, 2005


Yeah. We're good at that. Wanna give us a gold star?
posted by Bugbread at 10:34 AM on June 27, 2005


The fact that Lansbury is a bad 'un isn't much of a spoiler, though the fact that you made a fuss over there being something about her that is spoilerworthy certainly is. What a conundrum!
posted by redfoxtail at 10:41 AM on June 27, 2005


Um, "good or bad" - JRun ate my preview. And, no, no gold stars for anyone. I'm going to the beach and try to forget how to type.
posted by nicwolff at 10:41 AM on June 27, 2005


I don't care what nicwolff says, this thread is delicious.

And a question to all you "don't read the blurbs on books" people. How do you know you want to read the book?
posted by cyphill at 11:05 AM on June 27, 2005


cyphill writes "How do you know you want to read the book?"

Answered above, for me.
posted by Bugbread at 11:14 AM on June 27, 2005


someone may have spoiled the principal twist in a great conspiracy movie

Saying that Lansbury is a villain isn't a spoiler. She's obviously a villain.

If you said that she was [rot13]Funj'f pbagebyyre[/rot13], that would be a spoiler. But she's a heartless, controlling, conniving bitch -- which we might call "villainous" -- from the first frame she appears in.

(as an aside, putting spoilers in rot13 really isn't a bad way to deal with them. Yes, there are a few people who've learned to read rot13'd English, but, well, they shouldn't have, should they now? Putting text into the background color is also good.)

(is there a handy rot13 extension for firefox?)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:22 AM on June 27, 2005


ROU_Xenophobe writes "(is there a handy rot13 extension for firefox?)"

Leetkey

It translates ROT13, LEET, Hex, Bin, and a lot of other things you probably don't need that all often. However, what's nice is that it transforms text directly where it is, instead of popping up a translation window or anything silly like that.
posted by Bugbread at 11:49 AM on June 27, 2005


And a question to all you "don't read the blurbs on books" people. How do you know you want to read the book?

What? All two of us? I said what I did right after I said I don't read the blurbs: "I read the first page of the book instead, or go by heartfelt recommendations".

A question for all you must-have-plot-synopsis-first people: How do you know if it's worth your time to have a conversation with somebody new? Do you ask for a resume first? Sample clips of previous conversations? Letters of recommendation?
posted by taz at 12:01 PM on June 27, 2005


a question to all you "don't read the blurbs on books" people.
What? All two of us?


I think there's more than that. I also try to avoid spoilers; I don't completely avoid blurbs and reviews, but I have a pretty good sense of when they're going to get into the plot and I stop reading then.

If somebody tells me "You've got to read this book, you'll love it," I take that as a good sign. I don't need to know it's about an orthodontist who marries his second cousin and has an affair with a trapeze artist.
posted by languagehat at 12:33 PM on June 27, 2005


languagehat writes "I don't completely avoid blurbs and reviews, but I have a pretty good sense of when they're going to get into the plot and I stop reading then."

Actually, I've got to recant what I said before and go with languagehat here. I don't totally avoid blurbs/reviews, but I've gotten a pretty good eye for when reviews are going to launch into plot, and I stop there. The blurbs on the backs of books generally launch into the plot right away ("When his train launched off the tracks into the Amazonian forest, John never suspected that he would be embroiled in a series of conspiracy and byzantine machinations headed by the world's most influential bankers and trapeze artists..."), so I avoid even glancing at them, but cover blurbs are safe, and reviews are safe as long as you keep your eyes open for one of the telltale signs of "here comes the plot".
posted by Bugbread at 12:42 PM on June 27, 2005


bugbread: gn zhpu.

Didn't they say that on Firefly?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:49 PM on June 27, 2005


[rot13]ab ceboyrz[/rot13]
posted by Bugbread at 12:53 PM on June 27, 2005


ROU_Xenophone:

It seems leet key is the only ROT13 converter for Firefox that is still supported, but it is heavily aimed at 1337 and not modifiable. That is, you can select a string of text, right click, select the "leetkey" context menu item, and select ROT13 to do ROT13 conversion. However, at the bottom of the screen is the word "1337". Clicking it will convert the selected item to 1337, and only to 1337. It would be much nicer if you could set it to convert to whatever it is you convert to a lot.

So...

Go to "about:config". Select the key called "leetkey.KeyboardMap", double-click, and replace the text string with the following:

65=N,66=O,67=P,68=Q,69=R,70=S,71=T,72=U,73=V,74=W,75=X,76=Y,77=Z,78=A,79=B,80=C,81=D,82=E,83=F,84=G,85=H,86=I,87=J,88=K,89=L,90=M,97=n,98=o,99=p,100=q,101=r,102=s,103=t,104=u,105=v,106=w,107=x,108=y,109=z,110=a,111=b,112=c,113=d,114=e,115=f,116=g,117=h,118=i,119=j,120=k,121=l,122=m

Restart the browser, and from now on, the "1337" button in the Firefox status bar will act as a ROT13 button.
posted by Bugbread at 1:18 PM on June 27, 2005


By the way, matt, kudos for developing a site design such that long lines are permitted without breaking, but doing so doesn't break the H-scroll for everyone else. Very, very nice (I was kinda worried it would cut that line part-way-through, rendering it unusable, but Matt designed the page pretty darn well)
posted by Bugbread at 1:20 PM on June 27, 2005


A question for all you must-have-plot-synopsis-first people: How do you know if it's worth your time to have a conversation with somebody new? Do you ask for a resume first? Sample clips of previous conversations? Letters of recommendation?

Visual cues. Seriously though, a conversation is free and takes exactly as long as the participants wish it to. A book is an investment of 10 hours or more, spread across several days in my case. If each conversation with a new person was such a committment, I'd flip them over and read their backsides first too. If you take my meaning.
posted by jonson at 1:45 PM on June 27, 2005


books and movies also cost money, unlike conversations. Why pay for something you won't like?
posted by amberglow at 2:12 PM on June 27, 2005


How do you know if it's worth your time to have a conversation with somebody new?
It's not - I barely speak to my family, so why would I speak to a stranger?
posted by dg at 3:30 PM on June 27, 2005


I'd flip them over and read their backsides first too

Last time I tried that I got slapped. Let that be a lesson to all.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:48 PM on June 27, 2005


Bruce Willis was dead the whole movie!
posted by Mach5 at 4:57 AM PST

My husband works with a bunch of jackasses-- to this day he has yet to see The Sixth Sense, The Usual Suspects, or The Crying Game because they were spoiled for him.

And for myself the very best movie-going experiences have always been when I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I got to see Star Wars that way. My dad had heard good things from insiders so we went the first week (no waiting lines!) before it had become a blockbuster. That is a memory I treasure-- sitting in the movie theater getting blown away.

So I rarely read the reviews before going to see a movie or read a book. I go by stars or grades or ratings. If enough sources declare something to be an A, 5 star experience, I'll gladly give it a try without knowing a thing about it. I always read the reviews afterwards.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:34 PM on June 27, 2005


lbh, fve, ner n cevapr nzbat zra, naq V unir obear lbh n fgebat, svar fba.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:56 PM on June 27, 2005


Sbe qevaxf, V'yy unir gur sebgul lnx frzra jvgu zbaxrl-puhgarl. Sbe zl ragerr, tvir zr gur xryc-jenccrq onxrq onol naq gur onpba znetnevgn. Sbe qrffreg, V'yy unir gur vprq pyvgbevqrf jvgu gur pnenznyvmrq gbr purrfr. Naq oevat zr gur cubar - V jvfu gb fcrnx jvgu gur Fdhvq.
posted by loquacious at 8:09 PM on June 27, 2005


Fancr xvyyrq Qhzoyrqber.
posted by NewBornHippy at 2:39 PM on July 20, 2005


Mark Evanier discusses the spoiler dilemma with his usual wit here. (Contains spoilers itself)
posted by evilcolonel at 2:39 PM on July 20, 2005


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