Spoiler (media)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A spoiler is a summary or description of a narrative (or part of a narrative) that relates plot elements not revealed early in the narrative itself. Moreover, because enjoyment of a narrative sometimes depends upon the dramatic tension and suspense which undergird it, this early revelation of plot elements can "spoil" the enjoyment that some consumers of the narrative would otherwise have experienced.

The term spoiler is often associated with specialist internet sites and in newsgroup postings. Usually, the spoiling information is preceded by a warning ('SPOILER!'), or the spoiler itself has to be highlighted before it can be visibly read on the web page by those keen for details and not fazed at the thought of such potentially plot-revealing information. Occasionally, these warnings are omitted, accidentally or deliberately (see below), and some unwitting readers have had films, books, television programmes and other works that they were looking forward to experiencing spoiled.

There is in this information age an increasing problem for those who would prefer to avoid spoilers to entirely do so, especially for fans ahead of high-profile media releases. Some persons may reveal spoilers for their own malicious pleasure – consciously ruining a narrative experience for others. An example of this would be putting a major plot point that one is aware of (e.g. "So, such-and-such a character DIES!!!") in the subject line of a post on a message board or in an internet chatroom. These can be reported to moderators and such posts taken down, the posters blacklisted, but after the damage is done.

On Usenet, the common method for obscuring spoiler information is to precede it with many blank lines known as 'spoiler space' – traditionally enough to push the information in question on to the next screen of a 25-line terminal. A simple cipher called ROT13 is also used in newsgroups to obscure spoilers, but is rarely used for this purpose elsewhere.

One notorious British example of a spoiler was a piece of graffiti near London's Leicester Square around the time the film The Usual Suspects was released to great media hype. An arrow had been drawn to one of the characters on a huge poster for the film with the legend, "It's him!" – thus revealing the plot-hinging twist of the film's climax. Another example involved comedian Stephen Fry revealing on TV the solution to the mystery in Agatha Christie's celebrated stage play The Mousetrap, for comic effect on the supposed grounds that its record-breaking, decades-spanning run meant that everyone must already have seen the play.

Spoiler warnings are not generally found in scholarly reference works. Readers of such works, including online encyclopedias, should be prepared to see all important plot details and "surprise endings". In general, the only way for an audience to avoid spoilers is to avoid any and all media references to a given work that the audience might be interested in.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Spoiler (media)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools