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The Ferrett's Official Spoiler Policy - The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal
June 1st, 2004
11:03 am


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The Ferrett's Official Spoiler Policy

I am now setting the official policy on spoilers for this journal. If you dislike them, feel free to unfriend me with no harm done on anyone's part.

Trailer Spoilers
Giving information that can be seen in either the trailer or a one-paragraph summary of the movie as seen in TV Guide is not a spoiler. Informing you that Shrek 2 is about Fiona and Shrek's relationship is widely-known information that is freely given.

I realize that some of you wish to go into every movie with a clean slate. I respect this. But I cannot be a party to the Cloak of Secrecy you wish draped over every media source.

Plot-Busting Spoilers
These are twists or surprises that change the nature of an entire movie. Examples of the plot-busting spoiler in a current movie are Fight Club, The Sixth Sense, The Usual Suspects, The Crying Game, and Memento.

You have fifteen years to get with the program. I feel this is more than generous; after all, if you've had a decade and a half in this lifetime to see The Empire Strikes Back and have yet to find out that Darth Vader is Luke's father, well, I can't coddle you forever. Likewise, the fact that Rosebud is a sled has been public knowledge for over fifty years, and is part of a classic film - if you don't know yet, I'm sorry, but we can't shield you from pop culture reference forever. And yes, Virginia, Soylent Green is made of people.

Plot-Busting Spoilers only apply to reasonably popular media. If there's some obscure film that has a weirdo twist, I'll never mention it. You have to have had a good chance to see it before I'll break it.

Ordinary Spoilers
These are the plot developments that are part and parcel of every movie; who lives, who dies, what drives the plot. In general, since these are less memorable, I will usually not ever refer to these. They're simply not remarkable enough to riff on for mass amusement, so why bother?

(Exceptions may be made for reasonably-dramatic death scenes - I retain the right to make poppy comparisons to famous blazes of glory in my writing. The same for ludicrously bad endings like Van Helsing.)

In general, you don't know that these events will happen, even if you can hazard a reasonable guess. Will Newt be safe from the Aliens? Do Jack and Rose make it in Titanic? Well, Hollywood Logic tells us that the kid usually survives and the lovers get to the end... But who knows?

Likewise, how a character gets past a particular obstacle is usually cloaked in secrecy. How the heroes defeat the villain is negotiable. Whether all of the ancillary characters make it to the end is variable.

Thus, I won't mention those. There's no need.

Genre Spoilers
If a movie's in a particular genre, there are some things that are going to happen. I am not going to pretend that you and I both don't know that any given kids' movie is usually going to end happily, that the couple will get together at the end of the romantic comedy, that the villain will either be killed by dropping from a great height or he will vanish to return another day.

You know it. I know it. I'm not going to pretend surprise and go, "Gosh, who knew? Shrek 2 had a happy ending!"

We both did, okay? As long as I don't tell you how the happy ending is reached, it's not a goddamn spoiler to mention that one is had. It's expected.

The first rule and this rule may also allow you to put two and two together. "If Shrek 2 is about Fiona and Shrek's relationship," you'll say with dawning horror, "And it has a happy ending... Well, then, I know how this movie ends!"

Yep. If the movie is good enough, it can get past the predictability of the happy ending - which Shrek 2 does, and how. If it's not, shielding you from the vague details won't make the movie any better.

Again, this is personal taste. But it's my taste, and my journal.

Ridiculously Predictable Spoilers
You have a year to see a particular media source before I start giving away things that are blatantly obvious. Voldemort is the Big Bad in the Harry Potter books; eventually, he's going to have to stage a big comeback if he's going to be any threat at all. The simplest of logic will tell you this.

Should I accidentally drop this news that it happens in Book X, don't be surprised. I won't set out to ruin your fun - you may note that I have masked the book number in this case - but if I forget and drop the penny, well.... I can't stave off the bleedingly obvious forever.

Yes, this applies if you're waiting for the movie to be made from the book. The original media is what counts.

Any questions? Concerns? Feel free to leave them in the comments field, but you're gonna have to make one hell of an argument to get me to change my mind.

(51 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

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Date:June 1st, 2004 03:10 pm (UTC)
The only thing to urge is to make sure that what may be common knowledge in one part of the world isn't in another.
The last series of Buffy for example, was mostly ruined because the fate of some of the characters was known way before the episodes were shown in my country.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 03:11 pm (UTC)
That's why you have at least a year. And usually, much longer.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 03:12 pm (UTC)
And yes, Virginia, Soylent Green is made of people.

This created a nasally-filtered-coffee moment. My office mate now has further proof that I'm a loon.

Thanks, Ferrett, I definitely needed the giggle today.

[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 10:07 pm (UTC)
Ya know... people who read LJ's at work kill me. I've seen atleast comments in my own journal and SEVERAL in Ferret's of the "Okay, you just made me laugh aloud at work" variety... You'd THINK people would learn!! :-P

Personally, I say let your office mate in on the joke. Print out your favorite LJ entries, print them out in 16-point font and wallpaper your office/cubicle/department with them. I know I'm considering it.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:June 2nd, 2004 12:23 am (UTC)
Oooh that was terrible. +10 points.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 03:19 pm (UTC)
i can think of only one other spoiler category: Historical Spoiler.

it ceases to be a spoiler when it is as a known fact in history, or is a movie based on a well-known piece of literature.

the obvious examples are: The Titanic sinks at the end. Romeo and Juliet die tragically.

but many others apply.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 03:36 pm (UTC)
This policy clinches it for me. Added. :)
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 03:37 pm (UTC)
You also might want to include spoilers for movies based on historical events. I know people who got shit for revealing that the Titanic sunk or which side won the war in Troy.

"If you can't be arsed to open a book in your entire life, I refuse to be responsable for ruining your day."
Date:June 3rd, 2004 07:56 pm (UTC)
As bad as they mangled Troy early on, I wasn't sure who *was* going to win!
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 03:38 pm (UTC)
I can just see all those folks that think trailers and "next week on Buffy" are spoilers, flipping channels and shrieking and covering their eyes when the Spider-Man trailer comes on. And showing up to the theatre fifteen minutes late, on purpose. Whatever floats their boat, I guess.

[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 03:38 pm (UTC)
Ya know... I don't get to see movies very often and sometimes, the only way that I can feel "up to date" with the movies, is to live vicariously through you, my dear friend. So spoil away, that I may feel as if I've gone myself!
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 03:39 pm (UTC)
As a question, how long would a book be out before you will "spoil" it? Taking the Potter books as a refrence. Book 5 has been out for a while, but how much would you write about it if you were to? (just using this as a marker since you mentioned it.) or would you wait for book 6 to come out?
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 03:47 pm (UTC)
Rosebud is a sled

There's a Peanuts strip about this. Linus is sitting watching TV, and Lucy walks up behind him. 'What's on?' she says.
'Citizen Kane'
'I must have seen that film about a dozen times.'
'This is the first time I've seen it'
'Rosebud was his sled'

I read this when I was, ooh, twelve? Years before I knew what Citizen Kane was (or come to that, what the concept of a spoiler was...)
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 08:24 pm (UTC)
Date:June 1st, 2004 03:56 pm (UTC)
Just to get them all together in one place:
   Darth Vader is Luke's father.
   Rosebud is a sled.
   Soylent Green is made of people.
   Will Newt be safe from the Aliens?  (This is a spoiler because it mentions Newt's name.)
   Do Jack and Rose make it in Titanic?  (Same here.)
   Shrek 2 had a happy ending!

Hey, how did "The Stand" turn out, anyway? I've been meaning to read/watch that one...
[User Picture]
Date:October 24th, 2006 01:00 pm (UTC)
I get the feeling you'd enjoy this:

http://www.theaterhopper.com/store/tshirts/default.php - scroll down to "Spoiler."

Hey, Ferrett, it seems like the kind of thing you'd enjoy too.

I'm spreading so much joy!
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 03:57 pm (UTC)

Parry, thrust, riposte.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 10:14 pm (UTC)
Shouldn't that be "Thrust, parry, riposte?"

Of course, I'm kinda anal about judging fencing, so I'd probably see it more like "Priority, attack, passe, counter-attack, parry, riposte, counter-parry, counter-riposte, counter riposte is good and the counter-counter attack is out of time. Touch left. However, that fencing was sloppy. Yellow card on BOTH of you! Clean it up or get the heck off my piste, gentlemen. En guarde."

Or something like that. (Boy, I feel goofy today).
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 04:01 pm (UTC)
Technically Newt's safe from the aliens but not the unfortunate side effects of crashing into a planet.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 04:34 pm (UTC)
My opinion on spoilers is that if a spoiler is going to ruin your movie-going experience, then maybe the movie or scene isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Case in point: I knew well in advance to seeing Episode II that there was a light saber battle that involved Yoda doing some insane acrobatics. Watching the film, I knew it was coming. When it came, it was not at all what was expected, and my prior knowledge of the fact did not detract from the scene at all.

Another case in point: Knowing that the ending is going to be a surprise in a M. Night film is technically a spoiler. But it never detracted from my viewings of his films.

I say bring the spoilers on. I don't want people to pussyfoot around how they really feel about a movie just because someone isn't able to watch a film without previous knowledge of the film tainting it for them.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 07:02 pm (UTC)
I've come to love the patented Ferrett Argument Technique.

1: Present a well-written idea as nucleus of debate.
2: Rebuke nay-sayers with logically consistent but emotionally charged / prosaicly intimidatory rhetoric.
3: Adopt peeved, superior tone in all future posts regarding original topic.

Heh, don't worry about me, cheif. I love you to bits. I'm just spoiling for a fight. *eg*

For the record, I LOVE spoilers. I used to run a website called 'Shatner's Bassoon' which contained (alongside photoshopped pics of William Shatner playing various instruments) a comprehensive list of over 500 films and spoilers for each and every one of them. I collected spoilers like stamps. The sole aim of the website was to ruin people's fun. I'm resurrecting it as soon as my net-time increases.
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