Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Matt Damon film The Martian. We might throw a little Game Of Thrones action in here, too, just to keep people on their toes.
Having already battled against the forces of Gravity, deflated footballs, and the ravenous mobs that watch Nat Geo, astrophysicist raconteur Neil deGrasse Tyson may have finally gone up against a force too big even for his famously persnickety charms: people’s outrage at having popular movies spoiled for them. Specifically, the Cosmos host hopped on Twitter yesterday to lavish praise on Ridley Scott’s new film The Martian, highlighting the way it depicts rational people applying scientific principles to solve life-threatening problems.
That was all well and good—as Facebook incessantly reminds us, people fucking love science, provided it’s the cheap, not-boring kind. But Tyson possibly pushed things too far when he tweeted out the following message to the 4.3 million people who follow him:
(A brief reminder: The Martian is a movie about whether or not Matt Damon is going to get to be the first man to die on Mars.) And although it’s true that much of the pleasure of The Martian is in the journey Damon and his cohorts take, and that Andy Weir’s book has been out for four years now, it seems like people did not enjoy Tyson’s advance warning of stranded astronaut Mark Watney’s fate. It didn’t help that the astrophysicist then assured readers that “You think it’s a spoiler, but actually, it’s not,” which does not appear to be a sentence that stands up to much in the way of scientific scrutiny. (It’s possible that the entire endeavor was some sort of elaborate experiment to see how many times the words “SPOILER ALERT NEIL I HATE YOU” could be transmitted over the internet in a single 24-hour span, in which case it seems to have been a resounding success.)