The Depp vs. Heard: toxic existence?  

Live stream of the globally watched trial Johnny vs. Amber is over. With his verdict, a few lazy evaluations have also appeared in our local area. However, in an effort to have an opinion without having to pay attention to the topic, they remained on the surface of this fascinating event.

The process of Johnny vs. Amber was not just an extravagant show, even if it engaged human sensationalism to its heart's content. It had so many levels of meaning and so many cultural interpretations that it would be a shame to let it float into oblivion, on the surface of our shallow media waters.

What we consider sacred, pure and what profane, dirty

Domestic violence is gender-based violence, it is committed against women. Men live in cultural superiority, I don't ask for it because I live it. Male power is real. I won't give you too much insight into my personal experiences, but it is definitely worth noting, as it shows in our work meetings. The men present often respond to my comments and questions to my partner, not to me. They persistently ignore that I exist until the question of whether everything is written down comes up.

Even from how difficult it is for me to write the following lines, it is clear how for me a woman is untouchable in the event of violence. I feel compelled to describe how much it is necessary to maintain the image of the sacred - innocent and pure woman and the profane - punishable and dirty man. The formula must remain clear because it could cost someone their life. And if not life, then soul. But the meaning changes unstoppably, and the relationship of these two people has become one of the milestones of transformation. The transformation may not be considerate, but pretending it isn't happening is comparably reckless.    

What authenticity means and how we construct it

At first, the process unfolded slowly, like an ocean of confusing and contradictory events. I hesitated whether I wanted to dive into it. Well, that response irritated me. Comments and notes from people around. I felt that this was a moment where culture was happening - something that was beyond us and we needed to fit in with it, live it and derive from it.   

"A desperate act by two toxic shooting stars" was the most widely shared and at the same time the laziest comment. He guaranteed that one would remain wise with virtually no effort. A fool would fall for one or the other, wouldn't he? Maybe not. The corners of our collective soul have been swept away by the fascinating power of authenticity. What can we believe as real and what can we not? Who is "ourselves" and who is not? What is the decisive criterion?   

393 / 5 000 Výsledky prekladov Výsledok prekladu Both participants were actors, so the audience was accompanied by an unusual vigilance. We wanted to examine the statements. We were more alert and interested in the evidence, the testimony of others. For the truth to be confirmed from the outside, independently. But despite this vigilance, an experience began to settle in the audience - an indecipherable and inexplicable feeling, which at the time had no factual, evidentiary background. Something was different, something didn't fit.

This feeling soon translated into an endless amount of memes with Amber. Regardless of the physical evidence, Amber proved to be out. She was out not only to the social media users who participated in her public lynching with the greatest fervor, she was also out to the jury, as the verdict showed.

Mimo means inauthentic, self-contradictory. As one reporter for Law and Crime, which was broadcasting live from the courtroom, said: “Amber lost it the moment she spoke. Maybe not even because of what she said, although that also weighed, but especially how she said it." She personified the limits of authenticity and made us feel what it's like when someone is "not themselves", not in line with what they present . It is not in accordance with its own truth.

Trustworthy doesn't just mean consistent or pretty    

Johnny Depp entered the online world with the telling communication concept "Never Fear Truth". He is active on the domain of the same name and mainly shares his artistic and musical achievements. He says that a person creates believably for others only if he is in harmony with his own truth. No matter how ugly she is. He carries the motto with him for years. But this public tribunal portrayed him in unexpected plasticity.

His integrity did not put him in a position of trust. In the narration of others, but also in his own statements, he proved to be very contradictory. Loving and hateful, cruel and gentle, dark and falling, both bright and anchored. He was definitely not clean.  

He did not deny his endless addictions, his unreliability, his harsh humor, or his impulsiveness. Without hesitation, he talked about how he punched a photographer who did not respect his privacy. But he also showed his sensitive and perceptive face when he talked about the people he cares about.  

We are human, we easily slip into meaning abbreviations. A "junkie" can hardly be clean and fair for us. Someone with such a harsh and graphic vocabulary, so unstable, changeable and so often reaching into darkness, cannot be innocent after all. That's hard to digest. But the non-plastic one-dimensionality of Amber Heard was much harder to digest. As my husband said, Amber offered the world a corporate brand. All clean, nice, caring and finally with an eco-friendly advice "save the planet, don't print this email". Stable, unchanging and perfect.  

Pushing the physical and psychological boundaries of the public

Depp has never allowed a lot of prying into his privacy and the intimacy of his family. He kept children out of social networks, out of public interest until they were adults. To this day, his son has no social media and his daughter only makes professional public appearances (note for less savvy readers - Depp has children with Vanessa Paradise, not Amber). The same was true of their father until recently.

The trial became his first, and at the same time open to consequences, act of disclosure. Disgusting and fascinating at the same time. He made available to us the notes of personal doctors, psychiatrists, recordings of private conversations, photos, videos, scenes from the partner's life. He slammed the door on his kitchen counter furiously and staggered unsteadily toward the bottle. Another time he apathetically stated that he would cut himself. That it doesn't hurt. He tried to run away, to escape - undignified. He bowed to the ban on leaving the room and repeated over and over that he needed space. He received physical blows, again and again.

It is one thing to let the whole world into your intimate space, into your living kitchen, living room, cottage. It's not obvious either, although the paparazzi have taught us to be stubborn. It's something else to let the whole world into your head. To show your weakness, your vulnerability, your stupidity, to bear the shame and embarrassment of your failures.

It was a plot twist that luckily worked out in his favor in the end. But he didn't have to. When it's "after" it's easy to declare that the evidence has spoken clearly. Yes, it was felt that the evidence fits the logic of Johnny Depp's story rather than his ex-wife Amber's. But both sides tried and made solid arguments in the end. They offered meaningful stories.

One was about a young and talented actress - a woman who fell victim to the depraved, perpetually fetid, declining female heartthrob, close friend of Marilyn Manson (i.e. filth incarnate). Intoxicated, he did not shy away from throwing a whiskey bottle at her, beating her and belittling her. After all, that's what men do. Because they can. And they have each other's backs. Misogynistic Hollywood.   

The other was about a conflicted man of mature age who has fallen and gotten up countless times in his life, screwed up a lot, but not screwed up everything. He reached the stage where he decided to face what it brought. Finally, don't run away. To take what is his, but not to take what is not his. Physical violence against women and sexual violence is simply not his thing.  

Not only defamation, loss of reputation and job opportunitiesí

Johnny Depp started this lawsuit because he wanted to prove that he lost his reputation and opportunities as a result of a deliberate and targeted lie that his ex-wife spread about him. Her media profile was "wife beater". Amber Heard, in turn, sued him for the same, or she sued his lawyer, who wrote about her on his Twitter that she spreads hoaxes and lies. (Depp did not comment on her in the media, she could not sue him personally).   

In the end, this suit was a "re-famation" rather than a "de-famation trial". The trial became a reality show that made both actors visible and brought them media attention. People around me had never heard of Amber Heard before. I guess everyone knew Depp, but not all of his darkest corners and troubles. Not in such depth and proximity. Today we can understand him and feel with him.

It wasn't just a cold calculation of loss and profit. The content of the statements and the subject of the dispute was a drastic probe into the partnership relationship, in all its shades. He created an opportunity to go within and search. Both sympathize and judge. Let the stories of both sides work and find the response within yourself, believe and doubt.

None of us were in their kitchen and saw those scenes, all their details. Our knowledge, despite the enormous efforts of lawyers, despite the evidence and testimony of witnesses, has remained limited. The actual experience remained unknowable. I didn't envy the people on the jury - the ones who had to decide. They decided on dignity and they knew it. It wasn't about money. In the end, the judge sent the jury backstage while reading the verdict, because they forgot to fill in the financial compensation boxes.

I'm getting used to the fact that we make decisions based on available and imperfect knowledge. It can be uncomfortable. We'd rather not decide. We'd rather just see a "toxic couple who owe each other nothing." But as for the Depp vs. Heard can definitely stand up somehow. The jury clearly showed that it can be done. I was surprised by their confidence, but I liked it. I was cautious and humble when estimating the result, but being humble does not mean being without attitude. Despite the possibility of being wrong. I realize this and I am #justiceforJohhny.