I'm scared of mice, heights, and movie violence. I do what I can to avoid the first two, but sometimes--often--I can't avoid that last one. And sometimes I don't want to. Then what does one do?
You can spoil the movie/TV show with spoilery spoilers, although even those don't really give you the ammunition you need to navigate a movie scene-by scene. Or you can stretch every sweater you own trying to watch the show through textiles. Or you can run out of the room, squint, la-la-la, turn on the subtitles and hold your hand up so that you just see dialogue...none of these really work. Nothing helps much. If you watch a movie, any movie, you have to submit to it. And as phobic as I am, I can't really do that knowing something violent might be coming.
I needed to see The Wire, though. It was ridiculous I wasn't able to watch it before now.
To that end, I introduce my new coping tool, the brainchild of my pal Will. He very very kindly helped me out by compiling Will's Wire Violence Guide [click to view], as we began calling it. It contains timestamps and descriptions of the worst bits (as he judged it), all with an eye toward not spoiling the plot.
I'm not sure Will gets my phobia, but the Guide works. You can see him trying to figure out how to write about different scenes (it almost reads--how apropos--like police lingo), trying to guess what would bother me. The Guide ends up being amusingly phlegmatic at times about some horrid shit as a result.
I'm sorry to say that by the end I was getting phobicked-up again, worrying about everything coming on the Guide, but the point of this story is that without it, I would have stopped watching The Wire after the first episode. Period. The guide allowed me to at least squint my way through the series when necessary and have some moments when I knew I could relax. It sucks that I can't just completely enjoy not knowing what's coming, but--there you go. Gotta do what you gotta do. You gotta be fierce, show some flex, give and take on both sides.
(My favorite descriptor from the Guide: "Episode 3 - 49:45 - You see a guy getting sort of waterboarded, then at 50:15 he gets shot in the leg and has a bottle smashed over his head, then shot in the leg again at 50:30, then finally gets shot in the head at 50:55. Then at 51:10 a guy gets slapped twice.")