Johnny Depp plays the fool, jokes about Trump assassination

Johnny Depp plays the fool, jokes about Trump assassination
The famous American actor has had an extraordinary career, but in recent years he’s been in the news for all the wrong reasons: marriage problems, financial woes, bad on-set behavior. And now Johnny Depp is talking about assassinating the US president.

Depp kept this current streak of bad decisions alive last Thursday when, while introducing a screening of his 2004 film, The Libertine, to an audience at the Glastonbury Arts Festival, he embraced violent language when speaking of President Trump.

Depp’s screed began when he asked the crowd, “Can you bring Trump here?”

When the actor was met with jeers and boos, he replied, “You misunderstand completely. When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? I want to clarify: I’m not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it’s been awhile, and maybe it’s time.”

He concluded by saying, “By the way, this is going to be in the press and it is going to be horrible. It’s just a question; I’m not insinuating anything.”

"I am not complete" – Edward Scissorhands

Depp’s diatribe is another in a long line of inappropriate remarks and actions by celebrities in regards to President Trump. There was Madonna’s “blow up the White House” remarks at the Women’s March in January, then the Snoop Dogg’s Ronald Klump video where the rapper jokingly shoots a clown-faced Trump character, and most recently Kathy Griffin’s infamous Trump beheading photo shoot. 

The thing that makes Depp’s comments even more thoughtless than those of his fellow celebrities is that they occurred less than two weeks after a left-wing lunatic, James Hodgkinson, literally tried to assassinate Republican congressmen while they practiced on a Virginia baseball field. Representative Steve Scalise is still hospitalized recovering from serious injuries as a result of the shooting.

“Me? I’m dishonest, a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for.” – Jack Sparrow

The reaction to Depp’s screed was predictable. Trump’s family attacked the actor and White House spokesman Sean Spicer seethed.

Depp quickly apologized, saying: “I apologize for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump. It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.”

“Why is the rum always gone?” – Jack Sparrow

In court filings, it was claimed Depp spends $30,000 a month on wine, which gives us a clue as to what fueled his ill-fated Trump joke. For this reason alone I think Depp’s apology is sincere.

What interested me about this situation was not Depp’s empty-headed remarks, but from where they were born. Depp, Madonna, Snoop Dogg and Kathy Griffin are artists that have been very successful by intuiting what audiences want and giving it to them. I think Depp sensed the violent animus that pulsates through our political discourse and embraced its darker instincts in order to satiate his desperate desire for love and acceptance from his audience.

Anti-Trump sentiment has reached a crescendo in liberal circles resulting in the onset of a sort of madness. This anti-Trump fever brings with it an ever-escalating level of fury and is reinforced by a cosmological feedback loop that is vigilantly patrolled by the like-minded.

Depp is symbolic of most liberals in that he has surrounded himself with those who think exactly as he does. He also limits his information intake only to things with which he already agrees. Any contradictory information is swept down the memory hole, and any who dare question the suffocating group think are exiled out of the bubble. I have experienced this strident thought policing first hand out here in Hollywood.

This means that Depp’s tirade is less a statement on the actor’s personal character and more an indictment of the rage and moral depravity that permeates our collective political culture.

“Close your eyes and pretend it’s all a bad dream. That’s how I get by.” – Jack Sparrow

Anti-Trump fever has made Democrats desert any moral or ethical grounding and jettison their compassion. This fever forces liberals to be blind to the humanity of their opponents.  This dehumanization believes that, “not only are Trump supporters wrong, they are evil”.

When you dehumanize your opponent, violent language becomes acceptable, and violence unavoidable.  James Hodgkinson is a glaring example of this, but so were the mindless mobs that rioted at Berkeley against Milo Yiannopoulis, at Middlebury College against Charles Murray, and the masked fool who punched Richard Spencer on inauguration weekend.

The reaction to these violent acts reveals the rot at the soul of our politics. After alt-right leader Spencer was punched, the internet, along with some mainstream media outlets, erupted in joy over the “punching of a nazi”. While Republican Steve Scalise was still lying in his hospital bed with serious injuries, MSNBC host Joy Reid attacked him over his political beliefs. Nebraska Democrat, Phil Montag, was recorded saying he was “glad”Scalise was shot because the congressman is trying to take healthcare away from people. Fellow Nebraska Democrat Chelsey Gentry-Tipton thought it was “funny” that Republican congressmen were crying over the shooting of Scalise and she didn’t feel sorry for them because of their pro-gun political views.  I can assure you, these heartless and thoughtless opinions are not confined to MSNBC and Nebraska. I hear them consistently in Los Angeles from angry Democrats, too.

Just last week, Tony Foreman, an alt-right Trump supporter was stabbed nine times in Santa Monica by two men hours after a pro-Trump rally. While it is unclear whether this attack was politically motivated, right wing media have not been shy in declaring this to be another violent attack by anti-Trump forces. When viewed in the context of recent liberal behavior, it is difficult to mount an effective counter argument to that claim.

Let’s not kid ourselves, Democrats are not dancing alone to the music of blind hate; Republicans are just as bad. A recent Pew survey revealed that 45 percent of Republicans hate Democrats and 41 percent of Democrats hate Republicans. Hate, like hypocrisy, cuts across party lines.

In May, conservative pundit Charles Sykes wrote a very insightful piece in the New York Times where he lamented the fact that conservatism is no longer a place of ideas, but instead nothing more than anti-anti-Trumpism.

Sykes point was that the most important thing in the eyes of conservatives is to infuriate anti-Trump liberals. I think Sykes is correct about the vacuity of conservatives, and the same principle-abandoning dynamic is true of liberals as well. This sort of blind partisan hate is going to devour us all, and engulf us in a conflagration that will destroy America.

So how to stop this downward spiral? For the moment I will direct my answer to my fellow Hollywood leftists among whom I live. Regardless of how awful you think conservatives are, liberals need to bottle the acid, stop unfriending people and start engaging them. Stop being so mindlessly emotional and start being strategic and thoughtful. Sharpen the sword of your arguments in the fire of debate, do not permit them to grow flaccid and whither in the safe confines of the left wing bubble.

“All my life I’ve tried to be the good guy, the guy in the white hat. And for what? I’m not becoming like them; I am them.” – Donnie Brasco

I am not a Trump supporter at all, but I know this, if you think he is a boor, then stop resisting him with boorishness. If you think Trump lacks decency, then stop resisting him with indecency. If you think Trump is a bully, then stop resisting him with threats and violence.

If you cannot change someone’s mind with your ideas, you certainly won’t be able to do it with your fists. If anti-Trump liberals don’t want to listen to me, maybe they should listen to Gandhi, who once said, “Conquer the heart of the enemy with truth and love, not violence.”

I hope the resistance to Trump heeds Gandhi’s sage advice even if it is only for strategic reasons and not out of benevolent goodwill, but I fear that the anti-Trump fever, along with its conservative counterpart the anti-anti-Trump strain, is too far along, and that we are in for a long, hot and violent summer.

Meanwhile, don’t blame poor Johnny Depp for his desperate attempt to gain acceptance with his audience by attacking Trump. Instead, we should blame ourselves, who not only permit this kind of hateful discourse among allies with our silence, but encourage it.

Michael McCaffrey, for RT

Michael McCaffrey is a freelance writer, film critic and cultural commentator. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he runs his acting coaching and media consulting business. mpmacting.com/blog/

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.