‘Team Depp’ or ‘Team Heard’? How your answer says a lot about you

For the Deppites and the Heardians, it feels as if a member of their own tribe or family are in peril in court

Sean O'Grady
Monday 02 May 2022 05:35
Comments
<p>It’s their business, and it feels wrong to dwell on the more distressing aspects of their behaviour to one another</p>

It’s their business, and it feels wrong to dwell on the more distressing aspects of their behaviour to one another

There are lots of things out there to feel justifiably angry about, deranged even. The war in Ukraine. Food banks. Seemingly ineradicable mysognism. Casual racism. Trump. The climate crisis. Partygate. Refugees.

Justifiably agitated too, because all those things actually affect us all, directly or indirectly. Matters of life and death, sometimes. They’re part of the country we want – and the world we want to live in. We should care, we should rant on social media, we should use intemperate language in parliament, we should glue ourselves to the road.

But Johnny Depp and Amber Heard? I’ve never met them, you’ll not be surprised to learn. I don’t know anyone who has. Their lives don’t impinge on mine (an especially bizarre thought). What they do with their lives, public and private, affects me very little indeed. Maybe if they’re in a film or something – and I watch it – but that’s it. I feel very sorry for what has happened to them, the same as I might for any couple.

It looks traumatic and terrible, but I think we all know that it is inevitably going to be more traumatic and terrible with the cruel eye of the television camera bearing down on them, and their being the centre of global scrutiny on social media. It’s not helping these two people.

It seems very strange that quite so many of us are seemingly so upset about their troubled, to put it mildly, relationship. It is as if a child or close friend were involved; rather than a couple of strangers who happen to be strangers. It is unhealthily strange indeed, because so many have taken up completely partisan positions on them.

The fans feel their pain, not because they have to to, as parties to the arguments, but because they want to – and they condition themselves to get emotionally hurt by reading about the case, and what others are saying about it, on Twitter or by watching the news reports.

For them, the Deppites and the Heardians, it feels as if a member of their own tribe or family – or perhaps even they themselves – are in peril in court, having the most intimate details of their private lives strewn out for the world to see. Their mental health is being prodded and poked, and their reputations for the rest of their lives at stake. I doubt that Heard or Depp welcome or value the “support” of their fans, as opposed to their lawyers.

Of course, it’s nothing very new or uncommon at all. We’ve become so used to the bitter wars of attrition over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that we’ve forgotten what is in fact as stake (if anything). You’re either for Harry and Megs or for Wills and Kate. It’s like a game show – Pointless Royals.

Any word or act by either of the pairs is automatically used as ammunition in a neverending war that resolves nothing, not least because any resolution is out of the hands of the public. It doesn’t matter much where the Duke and Duchess of York live, what they name their kids – or what Meg’s siblings think of her.

This connection and investment in personalities infects politics from time to time, but it’s more comprehensible because Boris Johnson actually does matter.

To keep up to speed with all the latest opinions and comment sign up to our free weekly Voices Dispatches newsletter by clicking here

It doesn’t make any difference to anyone but me, but I’ve avoided reading too much about the various Heard-Depp court cases because it seems both intrusive and irrelevant. It’s their business, and it just feels wrong to dwell on the more distressing aspects of their behaviour to one another.

People in relationships and families do all sorts of things to one another for all sorts of reasons that are good and bad, and the sterile, remote atmosphere of a court hearing isn’t the ideal place to capture their conflicting moods “in the moment”, or even to establish the facts. That is even more true of the grotesque versions that wind up on the web.

If you are Team Depp or team Amber Heard, fighting a virtual war on their behalf, I’d very respectfully suggest taking a few moments to consider whether the lives of strangers are worth getting that het up about. Then ask yourself if there aren’t more important things around to do something thing about.

And then go and vote next Thursday. It always makes me feel better.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in