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Tell GR: Do Spoilers Matter?

Posted on Tuesday, May 22 @ 17:00:00 PST by

In a recent post at the New York Times, literary critic Stanley Fish argues that people who care about spoilers aren't enjoying media the right way. In fact, Fish cites studies that people enjoyed stories that had been spoiled for them more than stories that hadn't been spoiled.

... subjects significantly preferred spoiled over unspoiled stories in the case of both... ironic twist stories and... mysteries.... giving away... surprises makes readers like stories better, perhaps because of the pleasurable tension caused by the disparity in knowledge between the omniscient reader and the character.

I will say that on more than one occasion I have been compelled to finish a book I had fallen out of because I read a plot summary online.

But despite that understanding position, I have to say that the trade off for many readers is unfair and that media should typically be consumed unspoiled. My review of Journey is a direct result of unspoiled enjoyment. The Avengers had minimal spoiler-y material, but I still ran out to see it on opening day to avoid any premature revelations.

In my opinion, spoilers are a concept of manners, not enjoyment. People generally know if they care enough about a piece of media to be wary of spoilers. I say, be polite and mark any spoilers, but what do you think?

Do spoilers matter?

Let it be known that this post is not an opportunity for you to ruin amazing things for everyone. There will be repurcussions for that kind of action.

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