Truth is stranger than fiction; fiction has to make sense.
This quip, variously attributed to Mark Twain or Leo Rosten, is quite true. In story, writers must pay a great deal of attention to motive and consistency. In real life, people are hilariously inexplicable.
It’s no secret that I hate spoilers, and this past week was a doozy as the popular Downton Abbey season careened to a halt. Within a couple of hours social media was seeded with spoiler landmines. And I observed something pretty funny.
Person A (not her real name) posted her reactions on Facebook, referencing the dramatic events of the final episode. Person B (not her real name, either) commented beneath, recommending the post be edited to keep the identical content but include spoiler tags.
It wasn’t a nasty comment, just a Hey, you might wanna slap some spoiler tags on that. But Person A replied that she believed in free speech, not censorship, and Person B had no right to ask her to censor her posts. (Never mind that there was nothing about censorship — all the same content would remain, only tagged for identification.)
Wait for it….
Furthermore, Person A wrote, she “did not invite hostility” on her Facebook page and so would be deleting Person B’s comment. Which she did.
So, it’s censorship to ask that a spoiler tag be applied to a spoiler, but supporting free speech means you delete others’ comments. Huh.
Yes, I laughed aloud.
I held off watching Downton Abbey until I couldn’t handle missing NPR’s jokes on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me anymore, and then I ended up marathoning all of Season 1 in one sitting. A great example of characters being not always likable, yet fascinating.