I refused to do a post on the epicly stupid Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial (which I call the “Deppamation trial,”), but now that the verdict is in, I have some passing observations. If you haven’t heard, the jury vindicated Depp, awarding him Depp $15 million that due to a cap on Virginia’s punitive damages, will end up being only $10,350,000. Heard got an unsatisfying two million based on one of her allegations against Depp. Meanwhile:
- In a healthy society, nobody would care. The media publicity the trial received, blotting out information on genuinely important events, is unforgivable. These are both sick narcissists, and Depp’s lawsuit was reminiscent of Oscar Wilde’s insane defamation suit that ended up putting him in jail. Depp was revealed as a vicious creep, and Heard, whose fame depends on her association with Depp, was shown to be worse. Heard will lose money, but Depp, who actually is talented, now has the career prospects going forward of Kevin Spacey or Bill Cosby. But as he has hinted, he doesn’t care, as long as he stuck it to the former love of his life.
- On Headline News this morning, they spent ten minutes analyzing this trial compared to 15 seconds on the Sussmann verdict.
- If 10% of the fools that followed this idiocy spent the time reading Roe v. Wade, the Alito leaked draft, and District of Columbia v. Heller, instead, our society would have taken a major step toward responsible citizenship.
1. I’m sure you will all be thrilled to hear that John Hinckley has been cleared to be a free man as of June 15. I know Jody Foster must be thrilled. I accept the conclusion that Hinckley was delusional when he shot Ronald Reagan, press secretary Jim Brady (inflicting permanent brain damage, a police officer and a Secret Service agent. Nevertheless, I believe that an assassin or would be assassin that inflicts such harm on the nation should never see the light of day again, no matter how mentally healthy treatment may render him. An assassin even crazier than Hinckley robbed the nation of President James Garfield, who might have been one of the great ones. We hanged him. I’m glad. Reagan was never the same after he was shot, and the least Hinckley should pay in compensation is his freedom.
2. Wedding un-invitation ethics. Apparently many couples who had to postpone their weddings because of the Wuhan virus are now finding that the event has become too expensive in the Age of Biden. Thus they are cutting back on elaborate venues and other gewgaws, including the invitation list. The question being posed in the New York Times is, “What’s the best way to dis-invite guests who have already been invited?” The ethical answer is “There isn’t a best way. There isn’t a good way. You committed to inviting them, and they must stay invited if you have to have the reception in a firehouse hall and serve burgers and Cheez Wiz. No exceptions.
Grace and I were disinvited from a wedding once, by a couple whom I introduced to each other and the woman had been one of my closest friends. The BS explanation was that since we were such good friends, they had decided that we were the ones to be cut because we would “understand.” Right. I understood all right: it was a snub, and I’m pretty sure why. I think I’ve spoken to either of them four times, as briefly as possible, in 30 years.
3. The rest of the story: that pre-school teacher that used LGBTQ propaganda flashcards to teach colors to 3 and four-year olds has resigned. That will probably end the episode, but shouldn’t she should be sued. The school’s principal, who professed to be unaware that this indoctrination was going on, should be fired.
Hell, everyone connected to the school should be fired, the building razed, and its former grounds sown with salt. OK, maybe that’s going a little too far…
4. A lot of women have a phobia about guns. Phobias are biases, and biases make you stupid. Two op-eds in the Times show the problems of addressing gun issues rationally and ethically, never mind effectively. The one I found particularly telling was by Times opinion-writer Pamela Paul writes that men’s insane “love” of guns is a psychological malady that must be eradicated by even more bad statistics, hysteria and fear-mongering than we have about guns already. “Public education and creative P.S.A.s helped reduce teenage cigarette use significantly,” she writes. Seriously? That’s a pathetic and dishonest analogy. Smoking kills the smoker. Once enough people knew the truth about tobacco, of course the practice declined. And there is no constitutional amendment barring tobacco bans: indeed it is unethical that the FDA hasn’t banned nicotine yet, when it should have long ago. Owning a gun and knowing how to use it conveys power to the purchasing citizen. No amount of media and activist brain-washing is going to erase that fact.
5. More men get it about guns, but conservative Ross Douthat’s essay, “The Simplest Response to School Shootings” shows how difficult finding a serious and effective solution, or half-solution, is. The best he can come up with is red-flag laws, which essentially boil down to pre-crime. He approvingly quotes a criminologist who says, “If you make buying a firearm more difficult for people who find it difficult to do anything socially, that makes a difference.”
So construct systems that discriminate against “types” of people who might turn into shooters even if they have done nothing illegal nor expressed a desire to harm anyone? Douthat wants “experiments with age-based impediments rather than full restrictions — allowing would-be gun purchasers 25 and under the same rights of ownership as 40- or 60-year-olds, but with more substantial screenings before a purchase. Not just a criminal-background check, in other words, but some kind of basic social or psychological screening, combining a mental-health check, a social-media audit and testimonials from two competent adults — all subject to the same appeals process as a well-designed red-flag law.”
Such appeals processes are expensive and burdensome, as well as stigmatizing. Futhermore, if there is any profession that has more relentlessly proven itself more over-rated and untrustworthy than psychiatry/psychology, please enlighten me. After four years of Yale psychology professor Bandy Lee stimulating the metaphorical wet dreams of Trump-haters by asserting that he was nuts, I think real doubts about these “experts'” competence and objectivity are essential. What Douthat is advocating is profiling—you know, the good kind, where white men are presumed guilty.