The sadness of Johnny Depp

Rolling Stones has published a fabulous profile of Johnny Depp, written by Stephen Rodrick. It’s about 15 minutes’ worth of reading long and I highly recommend you read it right now. The profile’s power comes from excellent writing and a narrative that makes you come really close to feeling sad for Depp but never truly letting you get there, like an asymptotic sympathy held in check only but significantly by the fact that the actor, now in his 50s, is craving for a pity you realise he doesn’t deserve.

I harboured a soft spot for him towards the end for being a man who believes so much in a goodness of the world and its people that just doesn’t exist. But aside from being what seems like one of the “broken people” – Depp’s coinage – Depp comes across as being inebriatedly oblivious to the consequences of his ludicrous actions despite multiple attempts from his friends and family to ‘save’ him. He still thinks he’s funny, that he’s doing right by his family and friends, and that he was screwed over by TMG, the company he hired to manage his finances, when he wasn’t looking. But why wasn’t he looking?

As Kayleigh Donaldson sums up nicely on Pajiba, Depp just seems to be stuck in a time-capsule and convinced that his karma will do him right.

Depp is in his 50s now. [His] attempt at swagger is just depressing. Usually, this is the kind of stuff you’d think Rolling Stone would be all over: The rock & roll life to the max, no apologies and no holds barred. But it’s 2018 now, and Rolling Stone has evolved. Its coverage is different, the people it covers has varied far beyond the world of rock. Besides, even the actual Rolling Stones themselves don’t do this shit anymore. Depp comes across as stuck on his own planet, drunk and alone except for the one yes man who thinks it can all be solved with a few good words.

Rodrick’s profile takes down yet another lone genius not worth celebrating as much as he is, at least outside of his films. Depp’s thinking is shallow, his interests restricted to his immediate vicinity, his ostensibly philanthropic concerns brandished about as if they mean anything. To extrapolate what Donaldson says, the West of the 1960s could’ve protected him the way it did someone like Kerouac or Thompson but in 2018, Depp is just being a fool. He needs to catch up quick but until he does, he will remain obtuse.