What is Hollywood, you ask, dear children? A quorum of whores babbling endlessly on about fucking while the bordello is razed for a penny arcade -- Paul Bern

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Anxiety gnaws at my insides. Sweat dribbles off my nose. I’m trapped in a Dostoyevsky novel. Why? I have a vague terror that somebody (is it my Double…??) is going to reveal some crucial plot point of some cultural artifact that I have yet only a peripheral awareness of, thus de-spoiling my potential pleasure – robbing me of some undefined future “experience” that might bring me joy. There is no question. Spoilers defile me.

Wait a minute. Uh…

Nobody should actually give a shit about spoilers, but as many an entertainment journalist in the age of the internet has discovered – There will be Blood when the spoiler taboo is not properly observed.  Spoilers shouldn’t be anything -- but they represent an interesting psychological, political, erotic, and economic phenomenon.

First of all, spoiler etiquette implies a basic charity towards a childlike mode of being where one’s authority figures are taking care that you, the unspoiled, don’t stumble over the sadistic power differential in your knowledge-power relations. It’s a come-on. They are servicing your ignorance, while stoking your desire, hypocrites lecteurs!

The “innocent” – or perhaps we should call them the pre-initiated, are begging not to be told something that they long to discover. It’s probably not too much of a [SPOILER] here to suggest that this is an Oedipal scenario par excellence.

When reviewers must avoid spoilers, they immediately mystify the banal – empowering the factual “she’s got a dick!” with some kind of fetish power. This kind of writing is quasi-religious –writing these real absences never fails to make something more interesting than it inevitably is. Willfully obscuring, we might say teasing, language – that is language designed to hide something, is inevitably propagandistic. But also erotic, in that it delays and expands the masochistic anxiety inherent in NOT KNOWING.

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