The Humanoids: The Spoilers

No, I’m not spoiling anything in this post. Well, I might spoil your day if you don’t agree with my opinion but there isn’t anything in here you’d call a spoiler in the traditional sense. Instead, I’m talking about people who spoil things which includes people who spoil things with spoilers.

Is it time to institute an internet-wide protocol on spoilers?
One of my per peeves is inadvertently coming across unidentified spoilers. If you’ve read my Mass Effect trilogy reviews and analysis posts, you would know that I go out of my way to indicate if there are spoilers and the extent of the spoilers in the post. Even though the first Mass Effect game was released some five years ago, I felt obligated to make sure that people who want to play the series don’t have the games unintentionally spoiled. However, even though I wrote the posts and added the spoilers, I think that putting a spoiler work on a game nearly a half-decade old is excessive.

That prelude provides a perfect segue into this rant about spoilers since it was spoilers for the ME3 Extended Cut ending that brought this to mind. (And, no, it won’t contain any spoilers.) As I noted in a post earlier this week, the Extended Cut was being released across the three consoles at various times with 360 getting it first, PS3 getting it last and PC somewhere in the middle. Before two of the consoles had the new endings, 360 douchejuices were already dropping unidentified spoilers across the internet. Naturally, you’d think people would be kind enough to not spoil the changes to the ending before everyone even got a chance to play the ending. Well, the featured comment on a Kotaku post that was tracking when the DLC was released across platforms and continents was a discussion about the new ending which contained a massive spoiler. It wasn’t as bad as the title to Kotaku post which revealed one of the new things in EC DLC.

In the 24/7 discussion cycle and race to be first to feel relevent which has been brought about by the likes of Twitter, people don’t seem to care about spoilers any more. People are just throwing opinions out there looking for retweets and mentions and favourites. I’ve mentioned before how Twitter uses these as a reward system. People get a sort of endorphin rush from getting mentions, RTs and the like and being the first to comment about something, consequences be damned, will increase your chances of getting the desired reward. The value put on that reward seems to be greater than the value of common decency. After all, not all of us are sitting at home playing games when a new game or DLC drops or have the time or ability to watch a movie’s first showing.

So I think it’s time that we, as a collective internet, adopt a set of guidelines to prevent the proliferation of spoilers. Movies, TV shows and video games should be covered under this guideline. (Seeing as books take a while to read and I’ve never seen book spoilers spread like wildfire across the internet, I’ll omit them here.) If video games are released worldwide within a short timeframe worldwide (usually Tuesday in North America, Wednesday in Europe and Friday in Australia), spoilers should be kept offline until Sunday afternoon following North American release to give everyone time to play it. Movies should get a week from the first Friday of release. That gives everyone who really wants to see it a whole week to watch it. The spoiler blackout for TV shows will be the next episode of that show but no longer than one week. That’s because networks and Hulu don’t always get episodes online within 24 hours which means we can’t go with a more reasonable 48- or 72-hour cap on spoilers.

I don’t expect anyone to pay the slightest bit of attention to what I say here. If anything, I just want people to think twice before they ruin everything for the rest of us. Just imagine being in line outside the theatre for Empire Strikes Back and hearing “Wow! I can’t believe Darth Vader is Luke’s father!” That’s what you spoiler ignorant folk are doing.

Who are the idiots voting for the Hockey Hall of Fame?
There was a bit of buzz over the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame voting process because former Toronto Maple Leaf and media darling Mats Sundin was eligible for induction. Much to no one’s surprise who is a Leafs fan, he was voted into the Hall in his first year of eligibility. Also making the cut to go to the HHOF were Joe Sakic, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure. The biggest omission this year was Brendan Shanahan as well as another year without Phil Housley getting in.

I can understand Sakic and Oates getting in. Sakic was one of the elite players of his day. Sure, he held on a little too long but in the 90s and early 2000s, he was one of the top five players in the NHL. Oates was an American superstar back when star American players were less common than now. He was one of the best set-up men in the game and still sits 6th all-time in assists. Pavel Bure was a good player when he was healthy. I might give him the benefit of the doubt because he was one of the elite players of his generation. If he won a title or some more individual awards, he had the potential to be remembered as fondly as Bobby Orr. Potential to be great shouldn’t make you a Hall of Famer. If you were great, you were great. If you’re Pavel Bure, you would have been great if you’re knees weren’t shit.

Then we get to Mats Sundin. My dislike of Sundin is well documented on University of Western Ontario campus radio and drew such ire that someone wrote in a complaint to the campus newspaper saying that I should be taken off the radio. Sundin was always a good player on a bad team. He was never an elite player at any point of his career. His stats aren’t better than Housley or the unjustifiably hosed Brendan Shanahan. And how many Stanley Cups and individual awards did Sundin win? His Hockey Hall of Fame candidacy is largely the creation of the Toronto-centric Canadian hockey media and overzealous Leafs fans.

If I had a ballot, I think I would fill it out Sakic, Shanahan, Pat Burns and Fred Shero. It would probably be controversial to put two coaches into the Hall but they definitely have earned it. Burns owns three Jack Adams awards for coach of the year won with three different teams and has won the Stanley Cup once. Fred Shero won two Stanley Cups, four division titles, one Jack Adams and once coached the Flyers to a massive drubbing of the Soviet Red Army team. I doubt anyone would argue with that ballot… Except maybe Leafs fans.

Why do NASCAR fans hate Jacques Villeneuve?
For some reason, Jacques Villeneuve moonlights in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in a couple of the series road course races. He’s the 1997 Formula One World Drivers’ Champion, driver for two F1 World Constructors’ Championship teams, winner of 11 Formula One Grands Prix, 1995 Indy Car Champion, 1995 Indy 500 race winner and five-time Champ Car race winner. His racing resume is longer than anyone else in the 43 car NASCAR Nationwide Series field. He has more talent in his big toe than all but a handful of the drivers in the Nationwide Series. However, after running into the back of Danica Patrick’s car on the last lap of last Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Road America, Villeneuve hate boiled over among NASCAR fans, media and drivers.

I’ve come to two possible reasons why NASCAR fans hate Villeneuve. They’re either hypocrites or xenophobes. NASCAR’s roots are in the south-eastern United States whose people are known as a very open, welcoming and tolerant group of people. Or it could be the exact opposite of what I said. Villeneuve is a Quebecois driver who grew up in Monaco and came up through the open-wheel ranks in America and internationally. It sure seems like Villeneuve would immediately be popular in NASCAR’s southern roots. As for NASCAR fans’ hypocrisy, only one word needs to be used to illustrate it: Earnhardt. If that was Dale Earnhardt who ran into the back of Danica, he would have been lauded for using the chrome horn and doing his usual “have at it” racing. He became a hero for that. It was so loved that NASCAR changed the rules a few years ago to something that series officials even referred to as “boys, have at it.” Suddenly, when one of the boys does have at it, NASCAR fans want him run out of the sport. Makes perfect sense.

It is understandable, however, that the NASCAR drivers and media would all turn on Villeneuve. NASCAR’s TV ratings are down from their peak. A driver as marketable as Danica Patrick will draw TV viewers back to the sport. With more viewers comes higher ratings and a likely increase in live race attendance. In order for that to work, Danica has to appear to be competitive. Last Saturday was the first time this season that Danica looked like a threat to win a race. She wasn’t going to win regardless of Villeneuve’s intervention but he did prevent her from finishing in the top five. Scoring a top-five on merit rather than fuel mileage would go a long way to making her look competitive. The NASCAR drivers and media will go a long way to protect her because she can bring money into the sport which will allow all them to keep their jobs. Their future well-being can be aided by Danica being successful. In other words, the Villeneuve hate from people employed by the industry of NASCAR are against him because they know where their bread will be buttered.

As for the accident, I would say it’s no one’s fault. Villeneuve was forced onto the grass by Max Papis which compromised his braking. That meant he ended up in the back of Danica rather than passing Papis on the inside. However, suggesting that Villeneuve was forced on the grass makes me a hater and other unmentionable adjectives.

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