Category Archives: commentary

Johnny.

Johnny was my idol.

Johnny Crawford. Son of RIFLEMAN.

Then, Ringo Starr. Mickey Dolenz.

And, David McCallum. To use a borrowed term: “…….Yumm.”

(Who knew why blond curls captured me, but my Kindergarten crush had so many.)

Heck, my own father – the first crooner, the first bones player…….he’d set the bar high.

How does a girl choose?

Before the hormones descend, it’s purely an aesthetic. Pretty faces. Strong bodies. Drummers. But, as the female child transforms, all her sought after features manifest on the random character in the story which tells her own……

Johnny Depp never drew me. His characters were cartooned buffoons. His skin was painted. He was masked.

By the time he showed his face, I had moved on. From 1987 through the 90s and beyond, after a five year dalliance into slumtown as a diner waitress/ pop band keyboard backup I had become a working professional, both accepting my first position in the related arts department of the school district for which I had spent my college years preparing, and taking the stage as a live musician. I was done with idol worship. There was real work to do.

Turns out, my commitment to reality vs. fantasy blew right past the two major heartthrobs of my first graduating class: Mel Gibson, and Tom Cruise. I would play catch up a decade hence, renting everything Mel ever did and writing him a screenplay which he never read because I, longtime step- skipper, attempted to bypass acquiring a literary agent by calling Ed Limato’s office on July 4th. Sharon Stone answered the phone. But, I digress.

So, my world unfolded, populated by literal men, competitive women, and hundreds of children – a gritty gruel of thrill and toil. There was hardly time to experience anything except all the forms of work that a functioning artist generates – rehearsing; performing; teaching; practicing; rinse, and repeat. A teacher by day, professional musician by night, if fantasy had fed imagination this was displaced by actuality. I had entered the realm of that about which others dream.

Perhaps because I was slave to my work, any men who entered my personal sphere saw an easy take. Never any energy left at the end of a week to protect myself from opportunists, the busier I got the less I could discern what was coming at me.

And so, the teacher became the reluctant student. I learned about what makes men seek women, why they keep them and why they discard them. I found out that relationships can be treacherous ground, best left for those who have the time at the end of a day for somebody else.

But, through my role as a public performer I developed a sense of kinship with those others glorified. I knew they were just worker bees, cloaked in familiar persona. I recognized their foibles, afflictions, and failings. And, it was this familial sensibility which drew me to Johnny Depp’s public display of one not so private life.

As captivated as the rest of the some two million, I paid keen attention to his daily, live testimony – whether on the witness stand, or seated at his doodle pad. I had, by this time, seen his dramatic roles, and respected the actor’s depth and timing. I watched his every move, training my ears to every word. His adversary also piqued my interest, as did the slew of ridicule which seemed to follow her everywhere. They each presented the selves they wished us all to see.

And, I peeled them apart.

What did I find? Johnny had ardent fans, but they mirrored what his life had become; Amber had virtually none, at least according to the media blitz. But, what Johnny revealed to me was a quiet child miserably abused, a young man with a gentle, soft heart for the mistreated, and a soul so tortured that benumbing it seemed the only act worth taking on his own behalf. Furthermore, he’d evolved as the commodity of those who saw in him what he’d never recognized in himself. His whole life had unfolded almost entirely outside of his own design.

As creative polymath, he set aside the artistic gifts he naturally possessed in favor of living out characters which seemed attached to an increasing number of external players – agents; producers; directors; writers; casting departments. And, as if to balance that precarious scale, he’d taken to gathering his trusted friends close and handing them extravagance on a silver platter. His indulgences escalated. Ultimately, his ill fated convergence with Amber the tipping point, Johnny’s life was now unmanageable.

The video and audio testimony convinced me of that about which I was very familiar; Johnny was a nearly lifelong substance addict. Many such unfortunates had been in and out of my life. And, Johnny was given to binging, these episodes likely producing periods of amnesia. If he testified to an action, his confession was only as good as his memory of the event.

Regardless the jury verdict, Johnny is still caught in a delicate situation. Were he to admit to the possibility of physically abusing his partner, acknowledging what he might not remember as potential fact, this would vindicate him as a man. But, his heart might not let him. He likely cares too much about those who, for decades, have come to both own him and depend upon him for their livelihood. Coming clean would, ironically, only serve him; by contrast, doing so could leave those he loves as well as his dependents bereft.

Some may also say that “wife beater” is a label to doom any career. I don’t disagree. All labels diminish, reducing every story to its most common denominator. The same is true of “Sexiest Man Alive”; one can neither top nor bottom out from under either. In this case, domestic abuse was proven in court, on both sides of the argument. It’s possible restoring honor is important to some, but for those too humble to crave it the point is moot.

I won’t idolize you, Johnny Depp.

I could forgive you, but you’d have to confess.

And, who among us would remove our mask, first?

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Copyright 6/10/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo littlebarefeetblog.com All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying, in whole or part including translation, permitted. Sharing by direct blog link, exclusively; no RSSING. Thank you for respecting the writer’s honor, however craven.

ALCOHOLIC AMNESIA.

*this post is a video transcript.

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alcoholic amnesia.

that’s really at the crux of any argument that could win the case for amber heard, in my opinion, and I am not an attorney.

the video she captured of his behavior in the kitchen, slamming the cupboards around and drinking a lot of wine while he was already drunk in the morning, is enough evidence for anyone who has been in a relationship with somebody who is an active alcoholic. and, anyone who has been in a relationship with an active alcoholic knows that the potential for violence is always there.

many have actually seen aggressive behavior perpetrated toward inanimate objects, and have come very close to either being struck or being restrained or moved harshly -shoved – whatever; the potential is always there, and I would say it’s a matter of random luck of the draw who gets struck and who does not. because, when an alcoholic is in a binge drunk in the surly phase all bets are off as to whether or not that person can a) control what they do physically, or b) remember it.

it’s about whether they even remember it.

so, that’s the real issue. because, in a court of law, when you’re asked if you did or did not do something, as an active alcoholic how can you testify truthfully to something you cannot recall?

and, how can you defend it, if someone else has seen you do it?

that’s at the crux of this.

apparently, they both drank — we have enough evidence that Amber drank as well as Johnny — and, maybe all her wine consumption provoked her to slap back and and do the things that she did physically. maybe they both have alcoholic amnesia (although, her patterns seemed to be more about continuous drip, rather than black out) but, I don’t know how you enter alcoholic amnesia into a courtroom and assess it and measure it for its value. I think that should be considered because, obviously, it’s at the heart of this case.

alcoholics don’t remember what they say and do when they’re in the surly phase or in the pre-comatose phase, and if they have a habit and a behavior pattern of binging then they have a whole lifestyle of long episodes that they cannot retrieve – and, to them, don’t exist.

that side of the person as demonstrated

can’t be defended

nor can it be testified.

the alcoholic doesn’t realize or believe, in large part, that they’re capable of that kind of behavior.

now, some may remember some aspects of what they say and do. they may remember how they felt, perhaps, during the phase; but, they don’t remember what they did or said.

and, they may acknowledge evidence if they see it on film — ( they have to; they can’t deny that kind of evidence) — but, do they palpably, viscerally, tactiley, kinesthetically remember with their bodies and their minds?

that’s the issue, in my opinion. and, that’s just my opinion.

God bless the jurors, and Johnny and Amber – still vulnerable, both to each other and to themselves.

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Previously presented on YouTube @ Ruth Ann Scanzillo’s Music & Musings. Verbatim, until the end.

5/31/22.

Guns: Lapel Pin of the Powerful Elite.

I have a brass lapel pin in the shape of a cello.

In earlier years, the sterling silver eighth note or Treble clef populated these accessories, bestowed by the aspiring or devoted student, and my jewelry box is peppered with several.

( However, I can’t say whether I have ever actually worn any of them. As a working professional, I guess the doing always trumped the wearing; after all, musicians don’t generally feel the need to bear labels. They just show up and play. )

What we pin to our chest is a moniker. It tells the world of affiliation pride. From the American flag to the Masonic cross, so many associations and clubs require them of each member. But, what of such symbolism, and its affect on the subconscious?

Those who “pack” don’t wear theirs on the lapel. But, they might as well.

Because to these, the weapon is a mark.

They are part of the collectors’ culture. Some do use their rifles, to kill game in sport. Others place value on the history of the guncraft, its material detail and design, much as that of the fine wristwatch or other outmoded accoutrement.

To such afficionadi, history is what drives their interest. But, the lines blur here. Historian > politician……….many a retired general, on a visit to the officers’ club, might discuss his latest acquisition with those from whose social circle he or she seeks acknowledgement. Unfortunately, these are those whose power over legislation holds sway, and which has brought us to the scrutiny of the world stage.

Why? Because another “club” has arisen in our society, born and bred in its underbelly, populated by the disenfranchised, remotely located, and easily alienated. The anarchy of assault weapon acquisition is a burgeoning subculture, and poses a palpable threat to our social stability.

In fact, there are more assault weapons available in the United States per capita than anywhere else on earth. And, every time a lone shooter has massacred innocents, from Parkland to Uvalde, the assault weapon has been chosen to accomplish the deed.

The disparity between the culture of the elite collector and that of the stockpiling insurgent must be vanquished. Laws governing ownership are antiquated, and serve only the former while emboldening the latter. Those in leadership must recognize to which group they might belong, and legislate accordingly. And, the time to do so waits for no man, woman, or child.

My cello pin has a tiny, engraved bridge, set of strings, and protruding post known as the endpin. My real cello’s endpin is, when fully extended, almost two feet of sharpened steel, a weapon in itself. I know the difference.

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Copyright 5/29/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying in whole or part, including translation; sharing permitted via direct blog link, exclusively. No RSSING. Thank you for respecting authenticity.

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