or not to scapegoat? That is the question.

Also, there is something rotten in the kingdom of media.

It has come to my attention that the only times I sit down and write a blog entry recently is in one or another way related to Johnny Depp. What can I say? I’ve grown rather fond of him lately. Or I just dislike scapegoating (can I make it a verb? Screw it, of course I can; we live in the digital era and correct grammar and syntax is unnecessary. By the way, and after a research of a second I knew it is a verb thus the title on top) him… if you know what I mean.

And hypocrisy. Heaven knows I hate hypocrisy.

What is a scapegoat?

«A scapegoat is a person or animal which takes on the sins of others, or is unfairly blamed for problems.»

What is scapegoating?

«Scapegoating (from the verb «to scapegoat» -I can almost hear you laughing or see you rolling your eyes) is the practice of singling out any party for unmerited negative treatment or blame as a scapegoat. Scapegoating may be conducted by individuals against individuals (e.g. «he did it, not me!»), individuals against groups (e.g., «I couldn’t see anything because of all the tall people»), groups against individuals (e.g., «Jane was the reason our team didn’t win»), and groups against groups.

«A scapegoat may be an adult, child, sibling, employee, peer, ethnic, political or religious group, or country. A whipping boy, identified patient or «fall guy» are forms of scapegoat.»

It’s easier to recognise and possibly fight scapegoating if the object of it is a minority, or an underprivileged person. On the other hand, it has become popular and -as it seems- acceptable to scapegoat a white, rich, middle-aged male.

«People with Personality Disorders are particularly susceptible to showing dysfunctional differential treatment because they sometimes allow their feelings to override facts. This means their feelings become so intense that what they feel about a person or situation can receive more of their attention or take a higher priority than what they know about that person or situation. This can then lead to distortions in how they interpret a given situation which are then used to rationalize or justify the way they feel and the way they behave as a result.

Scapegoating can occur in all aspects of life, however, it is most clearly demonstrated and can be most destructive when the person showing favoritism has some form of power or authority over others, such as in parent-child, teacher-student and boss-subordinate relationships.»

And you are going to ask «come on, what’s that having to do with Johnny Depp?» Well, if you’ve read my previous entry you have already read me taking on media and their treatment of him. Or at least attempt to. I’m pretty certain media don’t care about my blog, damn them all.

Remember the Bean Pears’ article in slashfilm that wanted us to punish Johnny Depp, and I quote «it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than that for Depp to get back in the good graces of the rest of us» because of » the only thing we can do is continue to point it out and hope that the broader issue of domestic abuse is eventually looked down upon in an industry which has a notoriously noxious history with women»?

Of course you do. Remember, that is.

Basically the author doesn’t know if Johnny Depp actually abused his wife, but also disregards the fact he should be presumed innocent and wants to make him an example of a «broader issue«. Insert «scapegoating» definition.

So, this week was the world premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (or Salazar’s Revenge, because, unless a movie has two titles is… seriously why does the movie has two titles?) and instead of being excited about it or not (personal opinions on franchise are welcome even if they are negative), we have his ex financial managers leaking stuff in magazines, tabloids, newspapers -unfortunately, I can no longer see any difference between the last two- and taken as more or less granted.

The latest story is that «Johnny Depp’s former managers have claimed the star is fed his lines through an earpiece so he doesn’t have to memorise his scripts

This information changed the course of my whole life.

No wait, it didn’t. I don’t particularly care. Acting is more than memorising lines, acting is… magical. Personally, as a student I couldn’t memorise a damn thing but I knew my subjects. I even understood them better than my fellow classmates who memorised them but had no clue what the hell they were about. If the teacher asked a question differently they couldn’t answer. But I digress…

Nevertheless, the rest of the groundbreaking story is that it comes from a new court filing in an increasingly bitter battle between the actor and his ex-managers. He’s suing them for mismanaging his money and they’re countersuing him. Among their claims about his spending, they say he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to employ a sound engineer to read him his lines on film sets. The actor has used the method «for years to feed him lines during film production«, according to a court document that was filed.

«Depp insisted that this sound engineer be kept on yearly retainer so that he no longer had to memorise his lines,» according to the papers, written by attorney Michael Kump on behalf of The Management Group’s Joel and Robert Mandel.»

So what do media do? They use this little titbit (I love to write little and titbit together even though titbit is more than enough; so sue me!) to ask a question to actress Jessica Chastain.

Mashable’s take on the issue:

«Johnny Depp spends an inordinate amount of money to have someone feed him his lines in an earpiece so he doesn’t have to memorize them. It’s one of those facts that seems to confirm that some things in the universe are exactly as they seem.»

They don’t question it. Like, at all! They take it as fact!  And their writer continues:

» Sort of like how Jessica Chastain shows up and does her job in a professional manner. When asked whether she has a trick for memorizing her lines, Chastain responds, “No, I guess my technique is working hard.”»

Huge applause for Ms. Chastain.

Jessica Chastain’s roll eye made headlines.

 

the independent.PNG

bbc en43

Seriously, I feel like I am the odd one out. Truth be told, it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last, but I hated this. But hey! Making fun of Johnny Depp is trendy, no?

Admit it; it is.

I almost feel sorry for her too because she has a great film in Cannes Film Festival and media care more her rolling eyes at Johnny Depp. Do you wonder why? Because «Johnny Depp!» She made these particular headlines because of Johnny Depp whom everyone adores to hate at the moment; by «everyone» I mean media and social media.

Alternative #1: The whole thing is real. Johnny Depp has hired someone to tell him his lines in his ear piece. Unless said someone is acting in his place, I can’t see the problem. Especially, considering Johnny Depp is a. dyslexic (according to the internet, don’t take my word on it) and b. almost blind from one eye, according to the man himself

«His glasses are prescription, and he needs them badly, though they don’t do anything for his left eye. Since birth, he’s been «basically blind as a bat» in that one, in a way that’s impossible to correct. «Ev­erything is just very, very blurry,» he says. «I’ve never had proper vision.» The right eye is simply nearsighted (and lately, far-sighted). So whenever he’s acting – un­less he’s lucky enough to be in a scene where his character wears sunglasses – Depp can see only a few inches away from his face.»

If it was anyone else social media would be up to arms to call her out for ableism. As we said, it’s Johnny Depp though so «she’s Queen».

Alternative #2: The whole thing is BS with TMG running a smear campaign against their former client, something that is supported by Ms. Dunst interview from 2008 that Mr. Depp likes to listen to music when he acts.

«But Johnny Depp has music playing in his ear when he acts,» she said. «He has an ear bud. That’s why he’s so great.»

A decade ago, he was great, now?

On top of that, Brenton Thwaites, who co-stars with Depp in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean, said it was «impossible» he was having his lines fed through to him.

«I’d say it’s normal for older actors who have memory problems. Johnny’s too impulsive to do that, every take is different»

Hush now, child, we don’t care about that. Ad-libbing and improvising nonsense. Media have the true story.

Ms. Chastain took the gossip, rolled her eyes, and made herself to be studious and hardworking. As opposed to Johnny Depp being lazy? Whatever her intention, media took it as such. And she hasn’t corrected that impression yet. She hasn’t gone out to say the rolling eyes was because of the question and it was in no way directed at Johnny Depp. Let’s be honest here, the rolling eyes was directed at Depp. She and the media insinuated he’s too lazy to learn his lines.

And it’s so damn unprofessional.

If someone came to me and asked me how I work by stating how my colleague in the library next town works and I rolled my eyes at the sound of his name and then continued praising my work ethic, I would consider myself unprofessional. And lame. Kinda pathetic. Personal opinion here.

It’s easy. Ms. Chastain could have started her reply with: «People have different methods of working; whatever Johnny does works for him for over 30 years. To talk about me…» insults no one, demeans no one, accepts no gossip as truth. That’s not what she did.

Why?

Because it is easy to scapegoat Johnny Depp based on rumours. But damn it all to hell and back, it is not professional.

And it is not right.

 

Food for thought:

«Being publicly accused of a crime one did not commit could lead a person to jump off a bridge. Once the information is out there, defending yourself, clearing your name, fighting suspicion and tolerating disdain is a horrible predicament.

People with little information can form strong opinions and take unwarranted retaliatory action from expulsion from the clan to spreading the false word. In Jane Eyre, the cruel headmaster tells the girls to let no one be her friend, take her hand or comfort her. You get the sense that this is the worst for Jane, worse than the head blow and the lack of bread.

If the accusations are not true, the person is in a situation that is similar to being bullied. Even if one is rich, successful, famous or “has it all,” the psychological devastation can be ruinous. If you are not believed, if you cannot fight back with the true story, if now you are distrusted and under scrutiny, the sense of helplessness is overwhelming. People with inner vulnerabilities are easy targets. Others sense the fragility and find it thrilling to gang up or attack. Having a scapegoat can help a group form a strong bond and find meaning in what could be otherwise empty lives.»

 

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scapegoat
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scapegoating
  3. http://outofthefog.website/top-100-trait-blog/2015/11/4/favoritism
  4. http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-39778178
  5. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-creativity-cure/201402/false-accusations-scapegoats-and-the-power-words

 

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