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Spoiler alert

[ 2009-04-02 10:03]     字号 [] [] []  
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Spoiler alert

Nancy Matos

Reader question: What does “spoiler alert” mean?

My comments: This term comes up more and more in today’s day and age of leaked Internet downloads and public viewing channels like “Youtube” and “Yukou.”

In western media, if you pick up an issue of “TV Guide” (a magazine with television listings and program descriptions) or an entertainment magazine, you will come across the words “spoiler alert” a lot. It is also widely found on Internet forums and blogs. Spoiler alert is used when someone is about to reveal a movie plot or discuss juicy information about a television program that hasn’t yet aired. In case someone out there hasn’t seen the movie or show yet, they will preface their writing with: “spoiler alert.” It’s easier than saying, “If you haven’t seen this film yet, read no further!” or “Don’t read this if you don’t want to know what happens in next week’s episode of ‘24’!”

A famous movie spoiler was uttered by the late American film critic Gene Siskel in 1993 on his annual "Memo to the Academy" program, co-hosted by fellow movie critic Roger Ebert. He announced a key character secret from the film “The Crying Game”—the lead female character is actually a man. As the film was gaining quite a bit of press after receiving several Academy Award nominations, the plot reveal upset the cast and filmmakers, who felt it ruined future audience’s experience in watching the film.

Since the film came out over ten years ago, I don’t feel it’s inappropriate to reveal that key bit of information about “The Crying Game” and am not “spoiling” anything for our readers. Which begs the question: when does the time come when a spoiler alert isn’t needed? How long after a film or television show has been aired that we can reveal plot twists? For example, is it okay for me to say that in the “Sex and the City” movie Carrie and Big get married, since it came out last summer? Or did I just upset one of our netizens who has been waiting to watch it? Would it be my fault if I discussed the ending of last night’s episode of “Lost” because you didn’t have time to watch it?

Bottom line: if you happen to get a sneak preview of a film or TV show, good viewing etiquette does call for a spoiler alert to be used BEFORE it has been aired to the public. Don’t “spoil” it for the rest of us!



About the author:

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.