There was a time when you could go see a movie or watch a TV show with no advance knowledge of what you were going to see. Now—thanks to eager news sites, spy photographers and anxious PR departments—every stitch of our entertainment gets examined and exposed before the garment is finished.
It's par for the course in today's modern entertainment landscape. Not a day goes by that doesn't feature a news blip like, for example, Hawkeye will cameo in Thor; or these dozen stars will cameo in The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made; or someone got the Deadpool script, has read it, and posted an in-depth plot summary. And, yes, we here at Blastr are guilty of helping feed the beast. But why is there a beast to begin with?
It's wonderful to be "in the loop," to have information before anyone else does. I understand that. It's intoxicating in an empty-calorie kind of way. It's also, ultimately, self-defeating. In a culture based on immediate gratification, on being able to have whatever you want whenever you want it, the very concept of patience seems to have evaporated. Ask yourself, When was the last time you were truly surprised by a movie? When you went in with an untainted mind and just let it do its thing?
It's hard to do, even if you're not voraciously searching for scoops. Trailers give away far too much; studios willingly dispense nuggets of information to journalists, who then spin them into the biggest news ever of the day; the paparazzi set up camp outside every shooting location with long lenses, ready to snag a picture of Spider-Man's Andrew Garfield kissing Emma Stone, or Chris Evans in his Captain America togs, or Ryan Reynolds covered in a Green Lantern motion-capture suit.
And the worst part of it is that there's no going back. The genie will steadfastly refuse to get back in its bottle. Some filmmakers, most notably J.J. Abrams, are trying to help by shrouding productions in a veil of secrecy, doing their best to nurture the sense of mystery we used to have when sitting in a darkened room, waiting to be entertained—but even Abrams can't stop Super 8 casting memos from being yanked from Paramount. The hunger for spoilers shows no sign of diminishing, so the websites devoted to them will keep hunting and the complicit PR departments will keep providing. And the magic will keep slipping.
But if you can't stop the spoiler train from charging ahead, the one thing you can do is step off. Disengage. Walk away. I know a dude who refuses to watch trailers of movies he knows he wants to see so that his mind can remain fresh as virgin snow. That's a bit extreme, but it does point to a truth: You can control the way you ingest information. Choose for yourself how much of tomorrow's pleasures you want to trade in exchange for today's. If you've got any other ideas, let us know.
Or you could become a Shaolin monk. You'd never see any movies or TV, but you'd kick a lot of ass.