Memeageddon: The tradegy of Amber, Johnny

I wonder why you clicked on this post? Did you like the idea of Memeageddon? Have you been following the making of the best documentary drama in history: “The tragedy of Amber & Johnny” 

Well, to set the scene for you, I will be talking about the trial between Heard & Depp in this post. Still, perhaps, more importantly, I think we need to talk about how we cope with drama. This includes how we feel when attacked and what we can do about it. If that interests you, please do stick around.

The tragedy of Amber and Johnny

As the story goes, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp met on the set of their 2009 film The Rum Diary. Apparently, there were some feelings between them, but they were both in relationships. Eventually, Amber and Johnny got together in 2012. They got engaged in 2014, and in 2015 they tied the knot on an island that Johnny owns. Fifteen months later, they divorced, which should have been the end of the story. However, in 2018, Amber then published a piece in the Washington Post about domestic abuse. The readers naturally speculated she was talking about Johnny.

In 2019 Johnny filed a lawsuit against Amber, claiming what she wrote hurt his career. In 2020 Johnny also took the Sun newspaper to court for claiming he was a wife-beater. In that case, the judge listened to the story of 14 different occasions that Johnny allegedly abused Amber, and he lost, which cost him his role in Fantastic Beasts 3. Now we’re in 2022 we’re going through the whole thing again. However, unlike the hearing in the UK, we’re now invited to the entire 4K experience streamed live right to our own devices, chopped up and glamorised for consumption with theme music, speculation and hilarious close-ups.

If you’ve not been following the court proceedings, you’ve missed some amazing drama. According to Johnny, Amber cut the end of his finger off, and on another occasion, we’re told she did a poo in their bed. Conversely, there was an occasion when Amber was allegedly strip-searched by Depp and another when he assaulted her sexually with a bottle.

Of course, none of this is supposed to be entertaining, but I’m finding it so compelling to watch and genuinely riveting. I’ve no idea whether anyone’s really telling the truth, but what’s perhaps most interesting about this trial is the likelihood that absolutely everything we’re hearing is true from a particular point of view. 

Take for example, the trial in the UK between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy recently. Coleen says Rebekah was leaking stories to the press through her personal social media stories. They turned up to court, and it was found to be objectively true that Rebekah had leaked stories in this way before. Although I don’t know the outcome at present, it isn’t a stretch to assume she’s involved somehow. The point I’m making here is that it seems like all the ‘crazy’ is actually true, if only on a purely surface level.

The Amber vs Johnny story it’s far more complicated. The evidence suggests that Amber is volatile and that Johnny is some kind of addict. Unfortunately, Amber is coming across as quite cold and a bit odd. In contrast, Johnny is ridiculously likeable and seems at times to even be making the experience fun and lighthearted.

Regardless of their personalities, something is going on with this case that really is strange and more than a little unsettling. 

Have you noticed that we’re basically siding with the class clown? Don’t get me wrong, I’m trying hard not to inject any judgement calls into this piece. However, I can’t quite believe the amount of traction creators online are getting from using Amber’s testimony to create sketches on TikTok, Youtube and Reels. In the social media war, Amber’s becoming the butt of the joke simply because Johnny has found a way to look endearing. Which is sort of his entire thing.

This may seem like an odd analogy, but imagine this case if it were between Monica and Joey from Friends. We love them both, but we want different things from them. When Monica becomes uptight and shrill, it makes us happy, it’s the hallmark of her character, and when she goes supersonic, we love it. Joey’s different. He’s silly, funny, endearing and a bit cheeky. Now, imagine them in a case like this. Monica takes the stand and gets all uptight, but Joey says something goofey. Who wins? Well, it may not have been a massive success, but there’s a reason Joey got the spin-off. 

The split personality of digital natives.

Recently, I came across some research about the characteristics of digital natives. This is the generation who’ve not known anything other than the world of social media. 

Typically, digital natives are great multitaskers; they’re intuitive with technology, are passionate about equality and value transparent, clear communication. Unfortunately, they’re also a generation who say things online they don’t mean. They’ll communicate with several people at once and struggle to find a depth of connection with anyone. They’re also wildly inconsistent, with a tendency to passionately promote well being, kindness and peace whilst also lacking the wisdom or self-control to afford their peers the same courtesies they want for themselves.

Let me be really clear, I’m in my 40s, but I understand digital natives. I work with them professionally, and I can often struggle with some pitfalls.

What am I supposed to do when I’m surrounded by drama?

I hope there might be some kind of lesson we can learn from watching this trial between Amber and Johnny. The question is, how do you cope when you’re going through some messy situation? Maybe there’s something you’ve learnt from a painful experience?

I must admit I’ve not experienced what Amber and Johnny are going through. I hope I never do, but if you’re struggling with anything that feels similar, here are some thoughts that I hope might help.

1. Don’t broadcast.

“Dear world of social media. I’ve had enough. From this day forward, I’ve blocked that person who upset me, and I suggest you protect yourself as well.”

If you could do a phrase search of my blogs, you’d find me saying this regularly. Don’t broadcast your drama widely; instead, find a trusted person who you respect and get your advice from them. If you can, find someone who’s stable and won’t stoke the fire anymore.

2. Don’t whirlwind.

“I know what you mean; you’re the one who always helped those ungrateful idiots; I always knew they were mistreating you.”

Like the first, it’s important to distance yourself from anyone who will whip you up by sharing your outrage. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have support; you should. But when you’re fired up, you don’t need a coach to get your blood boiling; you need a mentor. Someone to help you unpack your own feelings.

3. Don’t monologue 

“…and that’s when I felt most betrayed! When I realised all the problems were because of this person, and the way they did what they did to me.”

This is a big one for me. I love storytelling, and it comes out a lot when I feel wronged. I can tell the story, whip up your emotions, and in turn, I can quickly get stuck in an inner monologue that robs me of calm. Avoid monologuing at all costs. It’s a massive waste of time.

4 Don’t sleuth

“Did you know that when that thing happened, that person told my friend and apparently they’re in it together?”

When you’re in pain, it’s difficult to accept that the person who hurt you is probably also hurt. Still, it’s easy to act like an amateur spy when we’re hurt, finding connections when you’re just overtired and overstimulated. It’s too easy to imagine fantastic stories when no one’s really against you.

Try hard not to let yourself become suspicious of others; they’re probably not involved.

Finally, I want to share a passage from the Bible about good relationships with you. It’s from a passage where the Apostle Paul encourages a church to love one another extravagantly and give themselves in humility to each other. I appreciate this might seem like an odd sort of way to finish a post where the subject matter is far more about outrage than love, but in a sense, there’s no better way to come to a close.

Jesus talked about forgiveness all the time; he commanded that we forgive wrongs and deal with our attitudes. More than anything, we’re actually called to a higher level of love and compassion. What better time could there be to keep that focus than when we’re on the cusp of some dramatic outrage.

Some food for thought.

If this post stirred anything in you, why not check out my book, Stuck in the Mud: Stories of Hope for when you’re stuck. You can get it from loads of online stores, including Amazon.

Special thanks to this great article from page six for providing some helpful backstory.

Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage

One Comment Add yours

  1. William Thompson says:

    Great stuff John; honest, thought provoking and some helpful top tips as usual.


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