Completely spoiling the reason for our eventual extinction, Netflix had cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken conduct an ethnographic study on spoilers, identifying the new social norms that will eventually lead the human race to club each other to death with its now-useless DVRs. As with all things related to society’s downfall, spoilers are mostly an American phenomenon: 76 percent of U.S. respondents said that spoilers are “just one of those things that we have to live with these days”—specifically, because we are creating them, like climate change and mass shootings. That’s compared to the less than 4 percent of British respondents who believe spoilers are acceptable, owing to the “much stronger adherence to social conventions than in the U.S.” One simply does not spoil television programs, any more than one serves tea without biscuits and a man in a dress singing naughty songs about his bum.
But while the existence of spoilers is something that all must accept and/or try politely to ignore by closing our eyes and thinking of cricket, it’s our attitude toward them that is mapping the fault lines of our crumbling civilization. For instance, while 72 percent of Canadians agree that spoilers are now just a “simple fact of life,” to be endured with unfailing politeness like any ordinary moose attack, naturally, they feel guilty about them anyway. Some 69 percent said they’d accidentally spoiled something and apologized for it, while just 11 percent said they felt that the day after a show airs is an appropriate time to discuss it publicly. In comparison, a mere 37 percent of Americans said they’d felt guilty for spoiling something, while 21 percent said it was okay to start talking about a show as soon as it airs; 100 percent punctuated their responses with shotgun blasts.
As McCracken detailed in his report, Americans’ typically cavalier attitude can likely be attributed to the growing reality that spoilers equal power. “To know about a show that you don’t know about is to have power,” McCracken told The New York Times, rather ominously. “I live in the future that you are about to occupy.”
As these advanced time travelers wield their mighty foreknowledge, they generally fall into what McCracken has identified as the five types of TV spoiler people—the most dangerous of which is the Power Spoiler, who uses spoilers to crush their enemies and ruthlessly climb the evolutionary ladder, one Game Of Thrones plot twist at a time. Indeed, all on the Internet must bow before their superior adaptive ability to watch or read things on a slightly faster timetable, particularly the lesser breeds of the Shameless Spoiler (amoral, but not immoral), the Impulsive Spoiler (annoying, but helplessly so), the Coded Spoiler (just annoying), and the Clueless Spoiler, the blundering Neanderthal who will be first to be wiped out in the coming spoiler-related cleansing.
To find out what kind of spoiler you are and when to expect your own extinction, Netflix has created this interactive quiz. Note that there isn’t an option to not be any kind of spoiler, because—as proven by esteemed anthropologist Grant McCracken—being a spoiler is simply part of human behavior now. If you don’t consider yourself a spoiler, well, you are probably a monkey who’s somehow gotten ahold of a laptop. You should drop it, before your beautiful monkey innocence is corrupted.