At time of writing – two things are happening.
- If you were to look outside the window nearest to my computer desk you would note that there is storm happening. It’s windy, it’s raining and thunder can be heard way off in the distance.
- Approximately four hours from my current location -there is a rather large bushfire raging right across Country Victoria. Whether it was started by natural causes or deliberately lit remains to be seen and I certainly hope it wasn’t- but as yet the authorities have not had the opportunity to investigate the matter. For now though, I am doing my best to will that which is outside my window to head up that way and do its bit for the people and put the fire out… but somehow…. I doubt its willingness to listen to me and do the right thing. By anyone. Stubborn, stormy fucker that it is!
Listen… Can we talk fandoms for a minute? Is that all right? You don’t mind? Oh good! I was hoping you wouldn’t! Fandoms are interesting things aren’t they? They are home to people from all walks of life. Regardless of age, sexual preference, political views, race, religion and whatever else, fandoms have a tendency to bring people together for their love of a thing/ person/ book/ TV Show.
Case in point:
In July 2017 I was introduced to the wonderful world of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. I’d had a particularly shitty time of it up until then. I’d lost friends and family members in one way or another over several months until that point and was feeling pretty shattered. It was suggested that my Husband and I watch the series (and read the books) due to my Husband’s interest in both Historical Fiction and his Family connections to Scotland. I was told to watch it simply due to the semi naked Scotsman running around the Highlands.
By the end of the first episode of series one I was hooked and wanted to start reading the books as well.
Move forward to March 2018 and not only have I watched all three seasons of the TV show, I have read all the (main) books to date and have started on the short stories and novellas. I follow Diana and the cast and crew of Outlander on all their social media platforms, I have joined numerous Outlander related Face Book groups and connected with like minded people on Twitter.
After such a long period of feeling alone and heartsore, I finally found a place that made me happy. Where I felt I belonged to something truly wonderful and that, in the only way the Internet can provide, I’d finally found a home.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for my significant other. Try as he might, it was something that he could just not get into. That being said though, he has found his own version of Outlander via a series of books called “The Jacobite Chronicles” written by Julia Brannan. Apparently, it’s very good and he’s recommend I read them once I’ve finished with all the Outlander related books.
But I digress …
In the months since I discovered Outlander, I have began to notice that the fandom has, what could only been described as factions. I know what you’re thinking. I can sense you’re nodding in agreement with me.
“Of course there is!” I hear you say. “ They are as follows….”
- Those that love the books and refuse to watch the TV series
- Those that watch the TV series and won’t read the books
- Those that watch the TV series and listen to the books on Audible
- Those that have read the books, watch the TV series and pick holes in the storyline of the series and be critical of the writers because they feel over 90% of the book is missing and refuse to accept that it’s nigh on impossible to adapt a book in its entirety for television;
- And those who just accept both the books and the TV series for what they are and appreciate the work and dedication that goes into creating both of these things on a daily basis.
On one hand you would be correct. These would be and still are the factions within the fandom.
Today however, it is not those factions I wish to talk about.
Hold on to your hats folks. It’s time to get to the nitty gritty of this blog. This is something I’ve wanted to talk about for a very long time. I will say now that this may rattle some feathers and to be honest, due to the subject matter, I would be surprised if it didn’t. The fact is every fandom has them. Every fandom has to deal with them one way or another. Frankly, I wish that wasn’t the case everyone got along. It’s there though. It’s the disease commonly known as Spoilers.
It’s become apparent that once a person has contracted spoiler’s disease then they tend to fall into one of the following categories:
1) The Avoider
This is the most debilitating form of Spoilers Disease. It’s also very rare. If you are one of these people, the rest of us tend to worry about you. You avoid Spoilers like the plague. Anything with ******Spoiler Alert***** written on it has you running for the hills. You become fragile and flighty. You tend to just disappear off all your social media and refuse to come out until the time is right. Their motto (If they were brave enough to have one) is generally, “I have a favourite thing and I can’t wait to see the new stuff on the thing so I’m taking steps to ensure I don’t see anything and thus avoiding the internet and everything at all costs“ and whilst that’s to be applauded- the rest of us would like to know that you’re still around.. Just so we know that you’re OK. OK?
- The Accepter
This the more common form of Spoiler Disease. You’ll find this form of Spoilers Disease across any number of fandoms. Their attitude is more or less, “I have a favourite thing and I can’t wait to see the new stuff on the thing so I’m taking steps to ensure I don’t see anything and thus avoiding the internet along with other sources where possible – but because I’m a level headed normal person who understands that thanks to the fans, social media, News reports and possibly the stars of said thing itself, that sometimes leaks happen… and that’s OK because people get excited and I won’t hold that against anyone. So there! “
You guys are Ok. You guys know the deal. I have a respect for you. Sure, you maybe didn’t want to see that Insta-gram post or look at that tweet – but you know that where possible means that sometimes shit is going happen. And it doesn’t bother you in the slightest. The words *****Spoiler Alert***** don’t bother you. In fact, it gets you a little excited to be honest. But, being so cool.. You don’t admit to that!
- The Amazing Over Sharer
Whilst not as common as The Accepter, and not as crippling as The Avoider, this strain of Spoiler Disease focuses on the extremes of the Spoiler Alert. They are full of energy. Day in. Day out. Often, others find them exhausting. These people want to know everything they can about their favourite thing and wish to share that information with every living soul on the planet. Whilst they don’t have a motto so to speak they can be seen running around shouting “Wheeeeeee! “ “Squeeeee! “Yaaaay!” and “ ZOMG! LOOK!” All the while waving their arms around in the air on a regular basis *****Spoiler Alerts**** are your life and everyone knows it.
4) The Arsehole/Spoiler Alert Kill Joy
This is the most aggressive of all strains of Spoiler Disease. Sadly, it’s starting to spread like wild fire. These people are heard shouting, “ I have a favourite THING that I love and YOU should have known I DON’T LIKE spoilers of any kind and so as such YOU shouldn’t of posted that anywhere on the internet and so, even though we don’t know each other, I am going to make YOU feel like a piece of shit about it. I’m going to TROLL everyone! Not only that, I am going to literally boycott the THING, get angry at everybody involved with the thing and be a right git to all and sundry because everyone should know that I HATE spoilers! I am going to take this as a personal affront to my person and go around being mortally offended for ever!” ******Spoiler Alert****** These people hate spoilers.. Can you tell? And they’ll stop at nothing to tell you that. They’re ruthless and can be down right mean and nasty about it to boot.
If you have lasted this far, then dear reader, I congratulate you. It is here that I tell you why I felt this blog had to be written.
Firstly, I need to tell you that I don’t mind spoilers. If I were honest I’d say that I was somewhere between, (by my own definition) an Accepter and an Over-sharer.
I love talking about upcoming things (In my case Se 4 of Outlander and DG’s long awaited 9th Book in the series) I love the discussions on FB forums relating to Se 1-3 of the TV show and conversations that have anything to do with books 1-8 to date.
What irks me is the use of ****Spoiler Alert*** for everything. I cannot count the amount of times I’ve seen discussion threads disintegrate because someone neglected to add those two little words. I’ve seen people get offended, get abusive, call others names and turn comment on something into a verbal, vitriol, shit show because “ Oh, thanks for the spoilers!” has been uttered somewhere.
An example of this occurred a few days ago when, in one of the forums I follow, someone asked a question relating to what everyone hoped to see in the upcoming season. (Se 4 is based on the forth book “Drums Of Autumn”) Naturally, this was cause for excitement because there had been photos and videos of the cast and crew that very morning. There were the standard answers and, reading along, I got a twinge of excitement as I saw a whole lot of things I’d forgotten about
Then, just like that – the post was deleted by the admin of the group. And why? Because somebody got all up in arms about how they hadn’t read the books and this discussion wasn’t fair on them and, you guessed it “ Thanks for the spoilers” reared its ugly head again.
It seems to me that FB forums, fandoms, and heck the Internet in general has to cow-tow to these people. These Kill Joys. That everything has to be handled with kid gloves in order to ensure these ‘ delicate flowers’ are not in anyway inclined to feel butt hurt because something has been said about something they like.
One has to ask the question – Is that sort of behaviour acceptable? Do they think that because they are sitting in front of a computer screen that they suddenly get a “You get to be an arsehole today” card. I don’t think so at all. I really don’t.
See, rather than trying to ***Spoiler alert**** everything- here’s what we should do. DEAL WITH IT!.. *Ahem* .. Sorry for yelling but really, it’s not that hard is it?
If you haven’t watched Outlander the TV series – My advice to you is watch it. ASAP. However you can. Be it Netflix, Pay TV, iTunes, Google Play, DVD or Blu Ray – watch it. (Yes, I know there are some countries in the world that are still waiting for Se 3 to come out and I cannot sympathise enough!) It’s the most amazing, incredible, beautiful thing you’ll ever lay your eyes on and your life will be all the better for watching. Trust me.
If you haven’t read the Outlander books – Do it. You wont be able to put them down. They’ll also fill the gaps when it comes to explaining how the TV shows work. They’re good like that. Again, your life will be richer for having done so.
Likewise the audio books- if that’s your thing. Just do it.
Stop bitching about spoilers. Stop complaining. Stop making people feel like shit because you haven’t done and or simply refuse to do something. Stop being overly sensitive. Stop making admins of FB groups have to delete perfectly decent, amicable, respectful (Granted, sometimes excitable) conversations about this series because you’ve not taken the time to catch up with everyone else. It’s taken me nine months to get to this point and Droughtlander isn’t over yet!
Honestly, if people put as much effort into just enjoying things as they do bitching about spoilers – the Internet would be a better place I reckon.