There are a lot of things I just don't understand about American culture. Crocs? Not looking good, my friends. But something that miffs me more than even bad shoe phenomenons is the obsession Americans seem to have with spoilers.
The LOST season finale was ruined for me three days before it aired by some jackass on the subway in Boston. The only thing that surprised me about (SPOILER ALERT!) Walt's return was the puberty that had happened since he escaped from the island at the end of the second season. Remember that time Rosie O'Donnell gave away the twist to Fight Club on her talk show? Edward Norton and I were not on the same page when he finally put it all together. As I appreciate any opportunity to feel that I'm on the same page with Ed Norton, I was not impressed. There are websites and message boards dedicated to getting the inside scoop on what's going on in movies, television and books before they air or premiere or sell, and being the first person to know and tell these facts to unsuspecting and often unwilling bystanders is apparently some sort of adrenaline rush to a lot of sad little people.
Case in point - the last installment of Harry Potter. The release date is midnight, July 21st. However, sometime early Wednesday morning, it showed up on the internet. Now, if you want to know what happens and you choose to seek out these spoilers, I can't stop you. But why can't you just keep it to yourself!?
The New York Times published a book review that included the (unconfirmed, but most likely true) information provided by those who put the illegally obtained book on the internet. One would think, as many unsuspecting readers did, that such a reputable news source would have the decency and integrity to hold off until the book is released to publish a news story that includes huge plot points. But alas, they just had to be first, I guess. Maybe that's what it is about spoilers and America - we just need to win.
Thankfully, I have avoided the internet, the newspaper, and the radio in an attempt to remain spoiler free, and thus far I have been successful. I will not be in attendance at the midnight release party, as at the release of the sixth book, a group of boys at the front of the line received their books, read the last few pages and shouted out what happened to a line full of costumed fans. Way to go, fellas. You did it.
Doesn't anyone like surprises anymore?