mar 16

Spoiler Alerts for the Rest of Us

Last week, Vulture tried to write an apology for the spoiler, an argument that most people who work in online media have found themselves embracing at one point or another. (I once managed a network of sites that had to time-delay Oscars coverage across the country, timezone by timezone. It was a catastrophe.) It's a common debate among media people, but it's seldom a public one -- until now! The comments of the post have NY Mag scribes (mostly notably, Adam Sternbergh and Emily Nussbaum) spontaneously arguing both sides. More of this, please.


Fascinating discussion, particularly because NY Mag is the only publication I am aware of that puts spoilers into the headline. Who else does this?

I basically have to unsubscribe from Grub Street for the duration of Top Chef.

posted by kathryn at 11:40 PM on March 16, 2008

There seem to be two questions here that only partially overlap. The first is cultural: What does the spoiler tell us about current pop culture (or, more likely, about people who get paid to digest pop culture)? And there's lots to say about that, so more of this, yeah.

The second question is about the ethics of spoilers, and, like lots of ethical questions, can mostly be answered pretty simply: Don't be a dick.

In other words, don't go out of your way to tell people things they don't want to know yet. And, please,don't pretend (as Sternbergh does in his weirdly frothing and disingenuous posts) that telling me what happened on The Wire last night in yr damn headline a) is the same as discussing a 60+ year old movie; b) has no effect on how someone will later experience that story; or c) is somehow integral to contemporary cultural discourse.

posted by Keith at 12:43 PM on March 17, 2008

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