June 04, 2013

Depp Derangement Syndrome

Sunday I posted a link on Facebook's NativeCelebs page about Disney selling Tonto costumes. My caption read:Dress up as an authentic Comanche for Halloween! With a bird on your head! Because Johnny Depp respects Indians! #disneyfailMost people joined in the criticism, while a few defended Depp. But someone named Joe Ratley went off the deep end.

He and other Depp lovers are suffering an irrational obsession with their lord and master. I call it Depp Derangement Syndrome.

Here's my exchange with Ratley:I'm really getting angry at whoever is posting these digs accosting Johnny Depp's Native identity on the NativeCelebs header above. It's obvious that you are NOT someone of intelligence, compassion, and fairness. There are many of your ilk; I'm a Cherokee in Oklahoma and I hear this same kind of PREJUDICE all too often from other SMALL people trying too cut someone else down to their own size, or motivated by some other EVIL reason. Whoever you are you do a malignant disservice to the health and futures not only of individual Native Americans, but to our collective, synergistic futures. Damn you, damn you. Show your face, let us know the traitor among us. Now all you do is sully the reputations of all you are associated with at NativeCelebs. One doesn't have to possess some "card", or your approval to exist as the Creator has fashioned them/us. Snake, mean snake! Go get somebody some coffee and clean the restroom after you're done.Most of the people here disagree with you, Joe. Maybe you should think about why you're in the minority on this issue.

I've stated the reason for criticizing Depp many times. In case you weren't paying attention, here it is again: We want authentic Native roles for authentic Native actors. Johnny Depp's Tonto is neither. It's an affront to anyone who wants genuine Native celebs to succeed and the public to appreciate them.

Depp doesn't have a card, a proven Native ancestor, or any evidence whatsoever that he's Native. Until he does, it's a fact that he's non-Native, not an opinion. If you don't like this fact, too bad.

My name is Rob Schmidt. I'm one of the people who runs this page. And I stand behind my criticism 100%. If you don't like it, leave.

Ratley can't handle the truth

And apparently you have nothing to say about the substance of this posting. Namely, the fact that Disney is selling a costume that 1) will let kids dress up as phony Indians like minstrel performers in blackface, and 2) will further the misunderstanding of today's modern Indians.

None of this has anything to do with Depp's identity. I guess you're the one lacking in intelligence since you don't understand this and can't address it.

As for compassion, you want us to have compassion for a multi-millionaire actor? How about you have compassion for the 5 million-plus Native Americans he's stereotyping? And fairness? My criticism is perfectly fair and justified and you haven't shown otherwise. Your whining tells me you're a big baby who can't handle reasoned debate.Fuck you, asshole. And while you're at it, "Rob Schmidt", get a clue as to who's in the minority about this issue. You are no different from the Nazis who scourged Europe with their racism in the name of blood purity. While you drooling your "opinions", I'd like to know just what "position" you hold at NativeCelebs? And if you are in a position to speak for "NativeCelebs", and IF you ARE, well then NativeCelebs would be just another rock around the feet of OUR people TRYING, yet failing, to hold us back. You're a small person with a small heart and a small mind. Johnny's Depp's CULTURAL, ECONOMIC, AND ARTISTIC CONTRIBUTIONS to OUR people outshine you like the sun. You're a nobody, "Indian card" or not. Change your name to "Custer", you venomous snake. "Modern Indians"?! Yeah, sure.If you're too dumb to count the comments on this posting, Joe, that's your problem, not mine. The majority agree with me.

"Fuck you" is your response? Wow. Clearly you lack the intellect to address the issues I raised. Here they are again:

Disney is selling a costume that 1) will let kids dress up as phony Indians like minstrel performers in blackface, and 2) will further the misunderstanding of today's modern Indians.

Depp's alleged contributions to Native people in other areas don't excuse his minstrel-show performance in The Lone Ranger. Not to mention Disney's promotion of this false and stereotypical representation of Indians via a Halloween costume. They're unrelated issues. Duhhh.

My position is that I volunteer to help Annie, who owns this page. You can send her a private message about firing me if you wish.

Since this issue has come up dozens of times before and she hasn't fired me yet, I doubt anything will come of it. Presumably because she understands that criticizing Depp's Tonto means promoting authentic Native roles by authentic Native actors.

But you never know. Give it a try and see what happens.

Meanwhile, my contributions to this page outshine your whiny criticism that continues to avoid the issues I raised. What's the matter, Joe? Are you afraid to debate the authenticity of Depp's costume? Or the broader issue of dressing as fake Indians in Halloween costumes? What are you waiting for?

P.S. I'm not Native at all, so I don't have an "Indian card." But I have worked in the Native media for about 20 years. I'm a freelance writer for Indian Country Today and an editor at Pechanga.Net.

And when I began volunteering at NativeCelebs, I believe it had only 7,000 or 8,000 likes. The fact that it's now approaching 20,000 likes suggests I'm doing something right.

Mocking Ratley

Ratley began soliciting people on NativeCelebs to send him info about me. That quickly got him banned from the page.

He also began sending me private messages on Facebook. I began sharing and commenting on them with my Facebook friends:

  • Someone named Joe Ratley is now threatening me because I criticized Johnny Depp. Here's his (formerly) private message to me:Hey "KoreaTown", expect someone to step into you and read you the Riot Act. The signal has been given. - Boo RadleyIt would be tough to get me fired since I'm self-employed. I'm not even worried about an IRS audit, since my taxes are totally straightforward and honest. Really, I'm dying to know who's gonna try to shut me up and how.

  • "Boo Radley" aka Joe Ratlike explains his "Koreatown" reference:With "friends" like you, Asshole. Who needs enemies? "KoreaTown", Jerk, refers to YOU dressing up like a Native American. Everyday is Halloween for you.He says I've "gathered attention" to myself for criticizing Depp. Yeah, because this is the first time I've criticized anyone in my 20+ years of writing about Native issues.

    Woe is me...I'm in trouble now. Millions of Natives who revere Johnny Depp are gonna turn against me!

  • Now "Boo Radley" aka Joe Ratlike is soliciting my home address and phone number on the NativeCelebs page. He claims I've libeled Johnny Depp and, I guess, he's gonna sue on Depp's behalf.

    Ratlike apparently needs to buy a clue about such legal concepts as "public figure" and "injured party." Fanboys don't get to sue on a celebrity's behalf. And celebrities don't get to sue over criticism they don't like.

  • I think the "libel" I'm accused of is saying Depp is a white man. Really? Even if he were federally enrolled, I think I could state my opinion that he doesn't have enough blood or culture to be a real Indian.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, lawyers. I know it's not libel in Depp's case. But if a public figure were federally enrolled and I challenged his Indian-ness, would he have a viable libel suit against me?

    I say no, obviously. It would be like saying, "I don't agree with Joe the Scientist who says global warming is real. He must be lying because his claim is false." If you sincerely disagree with the facts, I think you can say that without fear of repercussion.

    As long as you're talking about a public figure or policy issue, that is. Obviously, you're at risk "disagreeing about the facts" with public comments about a private citizen. You can't say, "Joe the Scientist says he's faithful to his wife but I think he's a philanderer."

  • Q: What's the greatest thing Johnny Depp has done for Indians? 1) Remade The Lone Ranger with Tonto in a bird hat. 2) Donated $25K to Navajo scholarships. 3) Worn an AIM t-shirt in public. 4) Other.

  • Ratley the wolf boy

    Ratley finally found my phone number, called me, and left me a message. Incredibly, he demanded that I publicly apologize to Depp in the pages of Variety and the Hollywood Reporter.

    He also continued to send me private messages, which I continued sharing:

  • Boo-boo Ratlike begins to threaten violence:Fritz, the Cultural Thief, your my special project now, but I share you with all my Native brothers and sisters who want to "play" with you. The marvelous thing about the Internet and gizmos like Google Earth is that when hunting vermin like you, it's as easy as your favorite java joint, your grocery store, your neighborhood bar, your local post office, ad nauseum, etc. Let's call it your rat labyrinth. We Tsa-la-gi are excellent trackers, even the coyote fear us, because we run in packs like wolves. Fritz, you're in some hazy wonderland where you think that you have Native American benefactors, and you fantasize that somehow the paternalistic noblesse oblige that you dream you have lavished upon us gives you some sort of Donald Trumpian power, some free ride among the hounds, some shelter from the storm. Our generous and talented brother, Johnny Depp, doesn't have the time, or the inclination to shine some light on your pathetic 15 minutes of "fame". Dominick Dunne wouldn't waste his time on you. It could be a fast car; don't jaywalk! or a mean dog, Nice Kitty, here Kitty-Kitty ... or some strange and unaccountable seizure, watch your waiters, and don't forget to tip. Yeah, when your time comes, the "circumstances" might be suspicious, or you might pass away quietly in your "sleep". So when you meet The Creator, shall your spirit be clean? And the most that might be accused of me might be cyber-stalking. Fritz, I take some of what I've said back. You might wind up on Law and Order SVU. I could produce and write the screenplay, and Adam Beach would solve the murder. You, Big Guy, would make an excellent corpse. Your Hollywood dog, Joe Ratley"...your favorite java joint, your grocery store, your neighborhood bar, your local post office." Uh, if you hang out at one of the four grocery stores I frequent, you might see me once a month. You won't see me at any of the other places.

    I look forward to meeting a thug who's willing to wait a month in a grocery store to meet me. Hope you enjoy the wait, Boo-boo!

    Let's see...read me the Riot Act? Nope. Libel lawsuit? Nope. Variety apology? Nope. Now we're down to pure thuggery. Way to represent the Cherokee, wolf boy.

    He found my phone number on the Internet after begging people to help him find it. That's some tracking!

  • I may or may not leave my condo tonight. If you want to mug me, please wait outside in the cold and dark for a few hours. Try to intercept my car, which you may or may not recognize. You may get lucky!

  • I like the idea that Cherokees all think alike and all love Johnny Depp. That they're a pack of wolves who will hunt someone down a thousand miles away if the big ol' alpha dog gives the order.

  • I think I dropped some underwear on the way to the laundry. Any of my Native friends with wolf-like senses...do you think you could find it for me? I understand y'all are great trackers.

  • Ratley turns ugly (uglier)

    After I got back from the inaugural Indian Country Online conference, I posted more on Ratley Wednesday:

  • Boo-boo Ratley sent another couple of messages Monday and Tuesday. His latest insults are "Judas" and "Skinwalker." "Judas" implies I'm betraying my own people, Indians. "Skinwalker" implies I'm pretending to be an Indian. Both insults are comically off the mark, like calling me "Shorty" or "Fatso."

  • I just learned Boo-boo has been tweeting about me too. By my count, an incredible 76 times, most of them Sunday and Monday. Can you say "lunatic"?

    Boo-boo contacted several people whose tweets I retweeted, including Sherman Alexie. Yeah, because Alexie et al. really want to hear from a stranger that someone named Rob Schmidt is criticizing Johnny Depp. That's probably right up there in the top one million things they're concerned about.

    Almost no one has replied to Boo-boo. Hilariously, one tweet generated 5-6 responses, but they thought he was talking about Rob Schmidt the horror director. Way to go, Boo-boo!

    Unfortunately, his tweets include threats like this:@bluecorncomics Rob Schmidt, Skinwalker. Hunt at will. Bounty offered. Same as skunk. Need pelt to cash in. Culver City, CA verminSo I've reported him to Twitter and will have a lawyer write him a letter.

  • To my Twitter followers: I apologize to anyone who's received a tweet from Joe Ratley, a lunatic who's upset because I criticized Johnny Depp for his Tonto costume.

  • Here's the public apology Boo-boo Ratley has been demanding from me.

  • Sheesh. Someone should write about the Native fascination with Depp, who has demonstrated no more Native blood than Elizabeth Warren, Ward Churchill, or Iron Eyes Cody. It's deranged.

    For more on Johnny Depp, see Inside Scoop on Lone Ranger and Depp Admires Tonto's Giant Nuts.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    He called you a Nazi? Ach! Mein Godwin!